Welcome to today’s edition of the Dogwood Daily. We’ve got a round-up of all of today’s Virginia news 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.
The first 2020 Democratic primary debate is tonight, in Miami, and will air from 9 – 11 p.m. on NBC.
5 Things you need to know today
- House passes border bill as horror stories continue – Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $4.5 billion border aid package on Tuesday, almost entirely along party lines, with only three Republicans (none of whom are from Virginia) voting for the bill that provides humanitarian aid, sets new health and safety conditions for children kept in federal custody and gives Congress additional mechanisms to oversee detention center operations. The legislation comes as stories of the appalling conditions that migrant children are being housed in continue to pour in.
- Virginia Beach City Council support independent investigation into mass shooting – The Virginia Beach City Council indicated its support on Tuesday for an independent inquiry into the May 31 mass shooting in Virginia Beach that left 12 people dead. This development comes after the families of three victims requested an independent investigation, though the council said any investigation wouldn’t begin immediately and would only start when police felt it wouldn’t interfere with their work.
- Legal residents have to work for 10 years before they’re eligible for Medicaid in Virginia – Virginia requires legal residents who are not American citizens to provide 10 years of work history before they’re eligible for Medicaid. The strict (and obscure) measure means that thousands of legal residents of Virginia have been unable to sign up for Medicaid since Virginia expanded the program. Jennifer Lee, Director of Virginia’s Department of Medical Assistance Services, acknowledged to WCVE News that the law is a “barrier,” though it’s out of her control and it will be up to Virginia lawmakers to change the requirement.
- Richmond’s bus system earns praise for its improvements – Richmond’s transit system, which was ranked among the nation’s worst in 2011, has emerged as a leader in public transportation thanks to a recent overhaul of the region’s bus network and the creation of Pulse, the city’s new rapid transit line. Since changes were implemented in the summer of 2018, ridership on the city’s bus system has increased by roughly 15%. Despite this increase in ridership, however, the system is still expected to come in $1.4 million short on fare collection revenue projections for the fiscal year.
- Virginia to allot $12 million for electric transit buses – The Commonwealth will use more than $12 million in state funding to deploy 17 electric transit buses across Alexandria, Blacksburg and Hampton Roads. Nearly $9 million of the funding will come from the state’s settlement with Volkswagen after the company was found to have violated the Clean Air Act by selling vehicles rigged to pass pollution tests. The electric buses will reduce carbon and nitrogen oxide emissions and are expected to reduce costs for transit agencies due to lower fuel and maintenance costs.
From the Gram