Here’s the Virginia News you need to know to start your day.
1. Supreme Split. Virginia House Republicans made their last stand to keep racially gerrymandered district maps. Oral arguments in the Supreme Court wrapped up on Monday and there was little clarity on how the court would rule. Highlights include Justice Brett Kavanaugh confusingly arguing the districts were drawn this way to avoid discriminating against African-American voters. Whoever wins could end up determining who wins the General Assembly and oversee redistricting in 2021. This highlights the long-term impact that state & local elections can have and serves as a reminder to register to vote.)
2. Health Insurers Want A Lot More Money. Another day, another example of the broken healthcare system. Insurers in Virginia are asking the state to allow increases of as high as 339.6% in the premiums they charge for long-term care policies, which often cover the cost of nursing homes. Because the increases are so dramatic, the commission wants to hear insurers’ rationale at a public hearing on May 21 in Richmond. Interested Virginians can let the state know where they stand by appearing at the hearing or sending written comments by April 22nd. Click here for more details.
3. Firefighters Walkathon. In some positive news out of Virginia Beach (which, by the way, just launched a questionable new tourism campaign), two Suffolk firefighters will make a 130-mile journey by foot to raise money and awareness for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. They’ll depart Neptune’s Park in Virginia Beach on March 23rd and plan to conclude their journey at the State Capitol in Richmond on March 29th. One hundred thirty miles reminds us of this… I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more.
4. Chief Recommends Firing Officer Accused of Being White Supremacist Chesterfield County Police Chief Jeffrey Katz is recommending that Officer Daniel Morley be fired from his position as a School Resource Officer at L.C. Bird High School. Yeah, you read that right. A white supremacist has been interacting with high school students by day while recruiting for the white nationalist group Identity Evropa by night. That’s one of the groups, by the way, that helped plan the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017. Boy bye.
5. Richmond among the least healthy communities in Virginia – Richmond has a lot going for it: a wealth of history, a great food scene, and a growing economy. Yet, for the second year in a row, it ranks near the bottom of the list of Virginia localities when it comes to health outcomes. According to the 2019 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps report, Richmond ranked 107 out of 133, a slight improvement over last year, but still not where the city wants to be.
While Richmond placed 107th, Petersburg finished dead last for a second year in a row. There are a lot of reasons why both cities rank so poorly, perhaps none bigger than the fact that about one quarter of residents in each city are experiencing a severe housing cost burden.