SEAL OF VIRGINIA

The Great Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the basement of the state Capitol.

Panel to examine Va. laws with Jim Crow-era language

RICHMOND — Gov. Ralph Northam has named nine people to a new commission designed to eliminate Jim Crow-era discriminatory language in state laws and regulations.

Northam announced Tuesday that his appointees included Norfolk Circuit Court Chief Judge Jerrauld Jones, former Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Herring and Chief Deputy Attorney General Cynthia Hudson.

The commission was inspired by legislation passed this year that eliminated an exemption in state law that said certain jobs traditionally held by African Americans, including ushers and doormen, didn’t have to pay minimum wage.

The commission is set to have its first meeting this week and issue a report in November.

Northam pledged to focus on addressing Virginia’s history of racial inequity after a blackface scandal nearly forced him from office in February.

Companies deny fault in suit over 2017 copter crash

CHARLOTTESVILLE — The company that manufactured a helicopter that crashed and killed two Virginia state troopers monitoring the white nationalist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017 says it’s not guilty of negligence and fraud.

The Daily Progress reported that Amanda Bates and Karen Cullen filed a lawsuit in June that accuses various companies responsible for manufacturing and maintaining the helicopter of wrongdoing in the deaths of their husbands. They allege the helicopter that crashed should have been retired and didn’t receive proper inspections.

The lawsuit names entities of Rolls-Royce Corp. and Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., Dallas Airmotive Inc., Triumph Group Inc., Uniflight West Penn LLC and Goodrich Pump & Engine Control Systems Inc.

ER nurse announces 2021 bid for lieutenant governor

RICHMOND — An emergency room nurse from Charlottesville is launching a bid to be Virginia’s next lieutenant governor.

Kellen Squire announced Aug. 29 that he’s running to be the Democratic nominee in the 2021 lieutenant governor’s race.

Squire ran unsuccessfully for the House of Delegates in 2017. Squire said in his campaign announcement that his biggest political influence is former Lt. Gov. Henry Howell, an outspoken populist who served in the 1970s.

Squire’s announcement made him the first declared candidate for lieutenant governor. The current lieutenant governor, Democrat Justin Fairfax, who is facing allegations of sexual assault from two women, has indicated he may run for governor in 2021.

VDACS reminds residents about ginseng harvest rules

RICHMOND — As Virginia’s ginseng harvest season begins, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is reminding residents about regulations aimed at protecting the plant.

American ginseng, which grows wild in Virginia’s forests, is listed as a threatened species under the state’s Endangered Plant and Insect Species Act. Ginseng collection is prohibited on most public lands in Virginia.

On public lands where ginseng harvesting is allowed, diggers must obtain a permit. On private property, anyone harvesting ginseng must obtain permission from the property owner.

Wild ginseng harvest season began Sept. 1 and ends Dec. 31.

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— From wire reports

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