Dogwood Daily: News-to-Go – April 17, 2019
By Keya Vakil
April 17, 2019

Welcome to today’s edition of the Dogwood Daily. We’ve got all the Virginia news you need to know coming right up.

But First…

The Bey-hive is out in full force today and with good reason. Not only did Beyoncé’s “Homecoming” documentary hit Netflix today, but she also surprised the internet by dropping a live version of her “Homecoming” album, recorded during her performance at Coachella in 2018. After one listen through, we highly recommend it. I mean, of course we do, it’s Beyoncé.

5 Things you need to know today…

  1. President Trump vetoes resolution to end U.S. involvement in Yemen’s Civil War — In response to Congress attempting to check his powers, President Trump vetoed a resolution that would have ended American support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen. The resolution passed through both the House and Senate, but Trump’s veto means the United States will continue its involvement in the Saudi bombing campaign against Yemen’s Houthi rebels. The Saudis have targeted civilian facilities and blocked aid shipments from getting to Yemenis, prompting the United Nations to deem the crisis the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va), who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees, responded that Trump’s veto “shows the world he is determined to keep aiding a Saudi-backed war that has killed thousands of civilians and pushed millions more to the brink of starvation.” Kaine also added that he hoped Congress would stand up for American security interests and override the veto.
  2. Beto 2020 hits Virginia — Democratic Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke hopscotched around the state on Tuesday, making stops in Norfolk, Hampton, and Short Pump, while also speaking to students at the College of William & Mary and the University of Virginia. During his event in Virginia Beach, O’Rourke expressed his support for local state Sen. candidate Missy Cotter Smasal and said that Virginia’s elections this fall would play a key role in the state’s future. Henrico-based Dels. Schuyler VanValkenburg (D-72) and Debra Rodman (D-73), who is running against Republican Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, also attended O’Rourke’s local event. On Wednesday, O’Rourke will attend an event with Joshua Cole, a candidate for the House of Delegates in the Fredericksburg region. O’Rourke will also make appearances in Prince William, Fairfax and Alexandria on Wednesday.
  3. Virginia Democrats close the fundraising gap, but Republicans still hold the edge — Virginia Democrats running for the General Assembly had a successful first quarter, outraising Republicans according to first-quarter numbers released on Tuesday. With all 100 seats in the House of Delegates up for grabs in November, Democratic candidates raised $2.4 million in the first quarter while Republican raised $1.7 million. In the Senate, where all 40 seats are on the ballot, Democrats outraised Republicans $1.9 million to $1.1 million. Among the strongest fundraisers for the Democrats were Daniel Helmer, who raised $162,216 for his race against Del. Tim Hugo (R-40), and Del. Debra H. Rodman (D-73), who raised $178,918 in her race to unseat Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant (R-12). Despite these strong numbers, Republicans still maintain a significant cash on hand advantage in the House ($6 million to Democrats $4.2 million) and in the Senate ($4.9 million vs $4.4 million), meaning Democrats still have work to do.
  4. Virginia’s Medicaid work requirements en route to federal approval — When Virginia Republicans reluctantly agreed to expand the state’s healthcare program by expanding Medicaid, they did so on the condition that the state would also have a Medicaid work requirement. That program is inching towards federal approval, despite public backlash and a recent court decisions blocking similar work requirement programs in Kentucky and Arkansas. While the state is keeping an eye on lawsuits in other states, Karen Kimsey, chief deputy director of the Department of Medical Assistance Services, which manages Medicaid in Virginia, insists pending litigation won’t impact the Virginia program. Meanwhile, Virginia Republicans have expressed frustration frustrated at how long the process has taken; the current timeframe means the work requirement program may not be implemented until mid-late 2020.
  5. Virginia ranks 27th in ranking of greenest states — According to a new WalletHub ranking of America’s greenest states, Virginia clocks in at 27th. The only individual category where Virginia appeared in the top 10 was in “highest total municipal solid waste per capita,” where Virginia was third. This comes after the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranked the Commonwealth 26th in energy efficiency and the U.S. Department of Energy ranked Virginia 37th for renewable energy. The state does come in at 17th for solar energy, and there may be hope for a higher ranking in the future: Most of the high-ranking states are Democratic states, and if Virginia continues to trend blue, the state may more embrace more environmental measures.  
  • 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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