Dogwood Daily: Transgender military ban in Virginia
By Keya Vakil
May 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. And if you’re a fan, please forward to three friends who need to know what’s going on in the Commonwealth and tell them to subscribe here

But First…

If you’re one of the roughly 17,000 people who will be affected by the upcoming Metro shutdown, make sure to plan ahead. The shutdown begins Saturday and will run through September 8. D.C. area officials are encouraging commuters to consider carpooling or working remotely, so as to avoid exacerbating the region’s existing traffic issues. More details on the closures and alternate services be found here.

5 Things you need to know today…

  1. Republicans upset over delay in Medicaid work requirement — Nearly 300,000 Virginians have signed up for Medicaid thanks to the state’s expansion of the program, but the program’s work requirement – a key Republican condition for expansion – is no closer to being instituted. While Democrats wholeheartedly supported Medicaid expansion, the few Republicans who agreed to expand Medicaid did so on the condition that people getting the benefits would have to be working or show they’re trying to get a job.
  2. Virginia will comply with Trump’s trans military ban — Adjutant General Timothy Williams told ThinkProgress that the state will comply with Trump’s decision, saying that Virginia National Guard’s service members “must meet established Department of Defense (DOD) readiness standards,” including the guidelines laid out by the discriminatory policy. Had Virginia refused to comply, it would have joined five other states (California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon and New Mexico) who have said their National Guards won’t abide by the ban.
  3. Mental healthcare for children is lacking in Virginia —  Virginia ranks 41st in the country for mental health providers for children and adults, prompting state lawmakers to overhaul the state’s mental health system. At least one in 10 Virginia children has suffered a major depressive episode, and 63% (48,000 children) did not receive any treatment for it. Only 20% of those who did get treatment received it consistently. The state is redesigning its Medicaid program to pay for mental health care and the Joint Subcommittee to Study Mental Health Services is focused on reforming the mental health system’s structure and financing.
  4. Lynchburg City Schools consider enacting “living wage” — The Lynchburg City School Board is seeking a way to raise salaries for dozens of the system’s lowest-paid employees to meet a “living wage” threshold. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s living wage calculator, the living wage threshold for a worker in Lynchburg would be $11.28 per hour, or $23,462 per year for a full-time employee.
  5. Rep. Bobby Scott pushes anti-age discrimination and criminal record bills –Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Newport News) sponsored the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act, which would do, well, exactly what it says. Scott also introduced legislation to tighten rules for the criminal records potential employers can see. The bill would require that the FBI’s records on individuals are accurate before they are sent to the agencies and employers that rely on them to make hiring and licensing decisions.
  • 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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