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.
After a historic 32-game run in which he won nearly $2.5 million, reigning Jeopardy champion James Holzhauer was finally defeated last night. Holzhauer, who was beloved by some while criticized by others for “breaking” the game, fell only $56,484 behind all-time champion Ken Jennings, who won $2,520,700 during his outrageous 74-game winning streak in 2004.
5 things you need to know today…
- Gov. Northam to call special session to take up gun control laws – In the wake of Friday’s deadly shooting in Virginia Beach, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam told the Associated Press that he will recall state lawmakers to the Capitol in the coming weeks to take up a package of “urgently needed” gun control bills to prevent further mass shootings in the Commonwealth. Northam’s proposed bills will include legislation that explicitly bans high capacity ammunition magazines, prohibits silencers, and mandates universal background checks on gun purchases.
- Lawmakers cut state-funded program that provides abortion for low-income women with fetal anomalies – A new report from Virginia Public Radio reveals that Virginia state lawmakers cut funding for a Department of Health Program that paid for a small number of abortions in cases where low-income women had fetal anomalies. The program had a budget between $30,000 and $70,000 a year and only about 100 women qualified in the last three years, but the funding cut is likely to be placed under a microscope at a time when abortion access is under attack and multiple Virginia Republicans have called for a total ban.
- Dominion customers’ bills could surge by almost $30 per month by 2023 – A series of Dominion Energy projects could cost the average Virginia household an additional $29.37 per month by 2023, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. Dominion expects customers to only see an increase of $14.72 per month, as the company anticipates the cost of the projects will be offset in part by reductions in fuel costs, but the State Corporation Commission still criticized the utility giant for failing to include the projects in the company’s long-term plan which was submitted in March.
- Virginia coastal adaptation and climate ‘czar’ puts together climate change report – Virginia’s new climate ‘czar,’ Ann Phillips is traveling across the Commonwealth and putting together a plan to protect Virginia’s coastal waterways from climate change, according to a report from Virginia Public Radio. Phillips hopes her report will help persuade the General Assembly to fund a statewide climate change adaptation and protection program, a measure they’ve been reluctant to support thus far.
- Significant gaps remain in Virginia’s foster care system – We’ve previously written about the flaws in Virginia’s foster care system, which struggles to place foster children with family members and fails to provide relative foster families with the same benefits, resources and case management that non-relative foster families receive. Now, the Virginia Mercury has a two-part report on kinship care. The first part focuses on how those relative foster families get by without support from the state, while the second part examines how few guidelines or regulations there are for diverting foster children to family members.