Dogwood Daily: News-to-Go
By Keya Vakil
April 23, 2019

Welcome to today’s edition of the Dogwood Daily. We’ve got a round-up of all the Virginia news that’s been happening coming right up.

But First…

It’s official. Two weeks after winning a national championship and a week after declaring for the NBA draft, Kyle Guy officially shut the door on returning to the Virginia Cavaliers. He joins fellow teammates De’Andre Hunter and Ty Jerome in ruling out a return to Charlottesville.

5 things you need to know today…

  1. Virginia’s flood-filled future — Yesterday was Earth Day, and in commemoration we took a deep dive into one of the biggest risks facing Virginia: flooding. As climate change gets worse and sea levels rise, the Commonwealth will grow increasingly vulnerable to major floods and storm surges. The Hampton Roads area, home to 1.7 million people, is at particular risk, and is the second-most vulnerable area in the country to rising seas. While residents’ concerns grow, the Republican-controlled General Assembly has shown little desire to tackle climate change and has largely rejected bills that attempted to deal with the issue of flooding.
  2. Supreme Court to decide on LGBT workplace discrimination protections — On Monday, the Supreme Court announced that it would rule whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 guarantees gay and transgender Americans protection from workplace discrimination. The Court has accepted three cases concerning LGBT rights, the first cases since the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who voted to uphold the right of same-sex couples to marry. LGBT groups fear that Kennedy’s replacement, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, could shift the court’s view on gay rights. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has said the Civil Rights Act does guarantee protections to LGBT individuals, while the Trump administration has come out in opposition.
  3. Marijuana legalization opposed by some judges — While Virginia Republicans block Democrats’ attempts to decriminalize possession of marijuana, local prosecutors are acting on their own. Norfolk and Portsmouth prosecutors recently declared they would dismiss most misdemeanor possession cases. Portsmouth’s local judges are on board, but Norfolk’s are not. Despite the clear racial disparities in prosecution of marijuana laws, these judges say that prosecutors must go through the state legislature, paving the way for a battle that may well be decided by the Supreme Court of Virginia.
  4. Some Republican lawmakers unconcerned about affordable housing — Amazon’s HQ2 will bring 25,000 jobs to Northern Virginia, but it’s also likely to cause a wave of housing headaches. While Gov. Northam managed to scrap together an additional $4 million in funding for affordable housing from the General Assembly, the affordable housing issue remains a concern for advocates across the state. Republicans are less concerned, however, with Del. Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach) telling the Virginia Mercury that he wants “nice houses,” and wants to “up the property values.” Republicans have insisted it’s up to localities to deal with the question of affordable housing and gentrification, and not the state.
  5. Portsmouth mayor proposes committee to study city’s racial issues — Mayor John Rowe has proposed creating a committee to “explore issues of race, ethnicity, equity and culture” in Portsmouth. This comes after weeks of uproar following the resignation of former police Chief Tonya Chapman. Chapman said she was forced out of her job because of her attempts to fight the department’s issues with “systemic racism.” According to Rowe, the committee, made up of 16 to 22 people appointed by the City Council, would make proposals to celebrate the city’s diversity. While that unfolds, the FBI continues to investigate Chapman’s allegations.
  • 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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