Dogwood Weekly Wrap-Up – March 31, 2019
By Keya Vakil
March 31, 2019

Here’s Dogwood’s week in review.

  1. Trump comes for your healthcare – Another week, another example of the Trump administration actively working to undermine the Affordable Care Act. Earlier this week, Trump directed his Justice Department to intervene in a federal-court case seeking to have the entire ACA struck down. If Trump gets his way and you’re one of the more than 200,000 Virginians who received expanded Medicaid coverage this year, your healthcare could be affected. Trump insists that Republicans would replace the ACA with something better, but once again, Republicans seem to have no actual plan.
  1. Dominion Energy caves; upholds energy efficiency deal – Under pressure from Gov. Ralph Northam and other legislators, Dominion has agreed to the initial promise it made last year to spend $870 million on energy efficiency programs. In recent weeks, Dominion had argued that the figure should include any lost revenue due to decreased electric usage, which would’ve reduced actual spending by hundreds of millions of dollars. Before you start thinking Dominion is a benevolent company, remember they’re sticking consumers with the bill for clean-ups of several coal ash pond sites across the state. Because, you know, it’s not like they’ve got enough money to do it themselves.
  1. Governor Northam embraces his pen – It was another busy week for the Governor, who this week signed bills to combat rising drug costs and overhaul the state’s foster care system. He also signed bills that require priests, ministers, and rabbis to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect. He embraced his veto power, blocking a bill that would have barred convicted felons from becoming notary publics and another vague bill that would’ve created a new public employee role called a “school protection officer.” He capped off the week on Thursday by amending two bills in order to provide funding sources for improvements to I-81. I’m tired just reading about it all, but after all the chaos that’s occurred this year in Virginia, it’s good to see things move forward.
  1. Former Governor Wilder accused of sexual harassment – In more troubling news, a student accused former Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder of sexually harassing her by kissing her without her consent. Sydney Black worked with Wilder at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2017, says Wilder, who is 66 years her senior, also proposed that she live at his house and offered to take her on foreign trips and pay for her law school. Wilder is a historic and influential figure in Virginia, but the #metoo movement has exposed harassment and assault from people at all levels – no matter their social, political or economic position. Virginia politicians are clearly no exception.
  1. Virginia makes the Final Four – One year after a historic loss in the first round of March Madness, the Virginia Cavaliers are now only two games away from winning the national championship. They beat Purdue in a thrilling game on Saturday night, earning a spot in the Final Four, where they will play the winner of Sunday’s Auburn-Kentucky matchup. Go Hoos!

That’s all we got for this week’s wrap-up. See you next week.

  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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