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.
Ever wondered what you could (or couldn’t) get away with putting on a vanity license plate? Now you can find out by diving into the hundreds of personalized license plate requests the Virginia DMV rejected in 2018.
5 Things you need to know today…
- Opioid deaths decline for the first time since 2012 — The national opioid epidemic is still ongoing, but in Virginia, there might be reason for cautious optimism. There were 17 fewer opioid deaths in 2018 than in 2017, marking the first year-to-year decline since 2012, according to a report compiled by Virginia’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
- Environmental groups put pressure on Northam — Gov. Ralph Northam is facing pressure from activists who want him to veto a Republican budget provision that would prevent Virginia from joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a nine-state compact that aims to curb greenhouse gases linked to climate change. Northam has until Friday night to decide and is examining whether a potential line-item budget veto would withstand a legal challenge in the Virginia Supreme Court.
- Virginia Tech students protest school’s Title IX office — Hundreds of Virginia Tech students walked out of class and marched across campus to protest the university’s Title IX office on Tuesday. The students demanded reforms in the office, which they say has failed to adequately address sexual assault on campus.
- New survey indicates racism remains a major issue in Virginia — A new survey from Christopher Newport University’s Watson Center found that roughly 75% of Virginia voters believe racism remains a significant problem in Virginia. The poll also found that 65% of Virginians agreed that police treat minorities differently than whites, while 57% believe that minorities are treated differently by courts.
- Gov. Northam speaks out against mandatory minimums — In an op-ed in the Washington Post, Gov. Ralph Northam announced vetoes of two mandatory minimum sentence bills and said he would not sign any new mandatory minimum bills during the rest of his term as Governor. Northam explained his decision by pointing out that the data does not “indicate that mandatory minimum sentences keep our communities safer. Instead, mandatory minimums are disproportionately harming people and communities of color.”