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Virginia’s June 11 primaries are just under a week away, so if you’re in one of the districts that has an election next Tuesday, consider this a friendly reminder to get out and vote.
5 Things you need to know today…
- House passes bill to protect ‘dreamers’ – The House of Representatives passed the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 on Tuesday, a bill that would offer a path to citizenship to more than 2 million undocumented immigrants, including “dreamers” whose parents brought them to the United States when they were children. Virginia is home to nearly 70,000 immigrants who are now eligible for protection under the bill, according to the Center for American Progress. The bill now moves to the Senate, where its likely to stall at the hands of Republican leadership.
- Republicans refusing to reconsider gun safety laws – Despite Gov. Ralph Northam’s call for a special session and a renewed push to reform the state’s gun laws, Republican leaders in the General Assembly have already indicated they won’t budge on the issue. In a statement, House Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) said his caucus would use a special session to focus on passing “tougher sentences” for gun crimes, including mandatory minimums. Democrats, on the other hand, hope to use the special session to pass laws to prevent gun crimes in the first place.
- Northam establishes commission to study racial inequity in state laws – Gov. Ralph Northam has established the Commission to Examine Racial Inequity in Virginia Law, the purpose of which is to review the state’s laws “with the goal of identifying and making recommendations to address laws that were intended to or could have the effect of promoting or enabling racial discrimination or inequity,” Northam wrote in the order. As The Virginia Mercury reports, the move is Northam’s latest effort to make amends for the blackface scandal that has engulfed him this year.
- Only three Republicans face primaries over Medicaid votes – Despite conservative outrage and threats to primary the 23 Republicans in the General Assembly who voted to expand Medicaid in Virginia, only three of those Republicans are facing challengers this year. The expansion, which was spearheaded by Democrats, has already allowed nearly 284,000 low-income Virginians to enroll in Medicaid. The program is deeply popular and at least one political scientist indicated to the Washington Post that its popularity is likely a factor in the lack of primaries against Republicans who voted for the bill.
- ACLU sues Chesterfield County apartment owners over alleged racial discrimination – The ACLU filed a federal lawsuit against the owners of Sterling Glen Apartments in Chesterfield County. The suit alleges that Sterling Glen’s policy of banning felons and people with certain misdemeanor charges from living there disproportionately affects people of color and is intended to keep African Americans out. The ACLU is seeking to obtain a permanent injunction to force the owners to revise their criminal records policy and conform with anti-discriminatory state and federal housing laws.