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Gov. Northam commits to repealing racially discriminatory language in Virginia law

A report claimed there are dozens of instances of overtly discriminatory language still in Virginia's laws.

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia's Governor Ralph Northan on Thursday committed to repealing racially discriminatory language in Virginia’s Acts of Assembly, as identified by the Commission to Examine Racial Inequity in Virginia Law. 

The Commission interim report claimed there are dozens of instances of overtly discriminatory language still in Virginia's books. This includes laws banning school integration, prohibiting black and white Virginians from living in the same neighborhoods, and prohibiting interracial marriage.

While many of these Acts have been overturned by court decisions or subsequent legislation, they remain enshrined in law.

Northam established the Commission to examine the racial inequality in the law back in June and members were appointed in September.

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“If we are going to move forward as a Commonwealth, we must take an honest look at our past,” said Governor Northam. “We know that racial discrimination is rooted in many of the laws that have governed our Commonwealth—today represents an important step towards building a more equal, just, and inclusive Virginia.”

Northam said the Commission was inspired by the leadership of Senator Spruill and Delegate Marcia Price in repealing Jim Crow era minimum wage exemptions during the 2019 legislative session. This effort is part of the Northam administration’s ongoing work to right historical inequities in areas like education, healthcare, and access to business opportunities. 

The Commission’s work is slated to continue after the 2020 legislative session.

View the full interim report below:

Northam has been pushing for racial equality after a yearbook photo was found showing one person in blackface and the other in a Ku Klux Klan outfit under Northam's name. He claimed he wasn't in the photo.

An investigation into the photo by the law firm McGuireWoods on behalf of Eastern Virginia Medical School came up "inconclusive."

RELATED: Northam bounces back from blackface scandal to campaign

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