Once upon a time I ran a news site, now I just have opinions on the news. 

Good morning, RVA: State budget talks, ERA hopes, and a national emergency

Good morning, RVA! It's 51 °F, and today’s highs of 65ish are <chefs kiss>. Cold, wet weather returns tomorrow, though, with temperatures in the upper 30s. So, enjoy today!

Water cooler

The Commonwealth’s journey to a budget continues to unfold, and I’ve got a handful of links to inform you about a process that, to me, still seems dark and mysterious. First, the Commonwealth Institutes has a long, detailed post about where we stand on options for increased state education funding. This next bit makes me furious: When compared to the Governor’s proposal: “The impact of [the House’s] proposal is that the 27 school divisions with the highest child poverty rates (combined enrollment approx. 150,000) will receive $10 million less in state funding, while the 27 school divisions with lowest child poverty (enrollment approx. 625,000) will receive an additional $6 million—furthering the inequity in the state’s funding distribution.” Next, C. Suarez Rojas at the Richmond Times-Dispatch says Henrico’s school district could actually lose money in the deal. And, finally, also in the RTD, Michael Martz says that Virginia Legislative Black Caucus member Del. Luke Torian refused to meet with the Governor about the budget 💸, saying “I am still not at a comfortable place with the governor in the circumstances.”

Read this (charming?) piece by the Virginia Mercury’s Ned Oliver about how Democrats in the House of Delegates are still working to get the Equal Rights Amendment passed. I love this exchange between the Democratic woman pushing the ERA forward and the Republic man trying to stop her: “Ayala countered that if Gilbert takes exception to her proposed rule change, she takes ‘exception to him not giving me my equality’”.

OK! A federal court says Virginia’s House of Delegates must use the new district map drawn by a court-appointed expert, says Graham Moomaw at the RTD. Republicans had already appealed to the Supreme Court, which will hear the case on March 18th, so the issue is far from resolved. Additionally, OneVirginia2021 reminds us that even fair, court-drawn maps are a suboptimal solution and that we should all want an independent commission—bound by (obvious) rules banning gerrymandering—tasked with transparent redistricting. You can support that cause over at reformvirginia.org!

RVA Mag has a Capital News Service story recapping a panel about gentrification that I wish I would have known about! It featured a ton of my favorite people in town, and I would have encouraged y’all to make it your business to be there.

Interested in / terrified by what the president can do should he declare a national emergency? Here’s a very detailed table of all the powers available to him should he decide to do so. The Atlantic has some of the same information in a narrative form, if giant tables aren’t your thing.

Monday is Washington’s Birthday, aka Presidents’ Day, aka a federal holiday, and I’ll be taking the day off from Good Morning, RVA, sleeping in a bit, and making a bigger, day-off sized pot of coffee. Until Tuesday! Related: The Wikipedia entry on this holiday is interesting, especially the list of which states call it Presidents’ Day, something involving just Washington, a combination of Washington and Lincoln, or something else all together.

This morning's longread

How Virginia’s Kyle Guy weathered heartbreak and learned to live with anxiety

As March approaches and basketball intensifies, I enjoyed this piece about anxiety and a guy who’s been in a stressful situation or two.

Mentally, that progression has been steady. After a summer of healing, his continued work with Freeman, and his own awareness and openness in dealing with pressure, Guy has found himself in a much better place, including being more open with his family and close friends. “I wish that there was this one big moment for me, but there wasn’t,” Guy says. “It took a lot of hard work, and the people around me helping me through it. The more I stayed in a routine and made mistakes with it, the more I learned about how I was going to cope with it. And it gradually got better. I haven’t had a panic attack in a very long time. I’m thankful, and I’m happy that I figured it out.”

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Good morning, RVA: RPS budget presentation, environmental justice, and creative protest

Good morning, RVA: School money PDFs, a new RRHA leader, and an old penguin