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.
If you’re one of the 1.2 million D.C. area residents hitting the roads for July 4, make sure you prepare yourself for what a AAA spokesman said likely to be an “absolute gridlock nightmare.” On second thought, maybe just staycation.
5 things you need to know today
- 2020 Dems come out swinging on first night of primary debates – After months–or in some cases, years–of anticipation, the first 2020 Democratic Primary Debate took place last night and was notable for its sparring over healthcare and immigration policy. Check out our coverage of the debate for a recap and a primer on how the issues discussed would affect Virginia. And make sure to pop on over to our twitter feed again tonight for more live coverage on the second night of the debates.
- Supreme Court strikes down Census citizenship question but declares open season on partisan gerrymandering – The Supreme Court delivered two enormously consequential decisions on Thursday that are likely to have reverberations for decades. In a huge blow to voting rights advocates, the court ruled that partisan gerrymandering challenges to electoral maps are political questions that cannot be reviewed in federal court. Shortly thereafter, the Court ruled that a controversial citizenship question cannot be added to the 2020 census for now, saying the Trump administration’s explanation for it was insufficient.
- Some Virginians say addressing gun violence requires more than just new laws – Gov. Ralph Northam and fellow Democrats are pushing to reform the state’s gun laws, but for some Virginians, that’s not enough. For many Virginians of color, addressing the neglect of struggling communities of color is imperative to addressing gun violence. Several residents and activists in Hampton Roads made their views about that clear this week during a round table event. Among the issues they want addressed are “low access to jobs, little to no access to quality health care, and inequitable education systems.” Advocates said that only through addressing those issues can they lessen gun violence in communities of color.
- Immigrants are key contributors to Virginia’s economy, despite facing huge challenges – A new study from the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis says that immigrants are making huge contributions to Virginia’s economy. Over 70% of Virginia immigrants participate in the workforce compared to 65% of U.S.-born residents, and the report found that immigrants create jobs directly when they start new businesses and hire employees. Despite the benefit they provide to Virginia, the report also found that many immigrants lack affordable health insurance, experience high housing costs, and face discrimination.
- Funding lags behind rate of Virginia children who need help for disabilities -Virginia’s so-called Early Intervention Program, which is supposed to help infants and toddlers with developmental delays, is signing up children faster than its recent funding growth, according to a new report. Nearly 25% more children are being served since 2014, but funding for the program has only grown by 9%. The result is a 12% drop in the resources available to each child and a steady decline in how well the children do. To combat the disparity, the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities has called for an increase in state funding.
From the Gram