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.
Planned Parenthood has withdrawn from Title X, a federal program that provides birth control and reproductive health care to low-income women, after refusing to comply with the Trump administration’s rule forbidding referrals to doctors who perform abortions. You can read more about what this means for Virginia here.
5 Things you need to know today
- The Department of Environmental Quality’s budget has been slashed even as the Governor looks to expand its role – The Department of Environmental Quality has seen its budget cut by $60 million in recent years, and the staff has been reduced by 74 positions since 2001, according to a report released Monday. Governor Northam commissioned the report as part of his effort to he expand the agency’s involvement in protecting Virginia’s environment. The document contends, however, that it will be difficult to expand the agency’s role without more funding from the General Assembly. – The Virginia Mercury
- Republican Del. Chris Head brags about making gun debate “go away” – Del. Chris Head (R-Botetourt) recently bragged that Republicans devised a plan to “neutralize the conversation” around Virginia’s gun laws until after this November’s elections. Head is referring to Republicans’ decision to end July’s special session on gun laws in under 90 minutes, which prompted outrage from gun safety activists. “We needed to make it go away,” Head said of the issue. Head’s statements come just months after a gunman killed 12 people in a mass shooting in Virginia Beach. – The Roanoke Times
- Activists question if Richmond Coliseum development will actually offer affordable housing – Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney initially promised an “unprecedented commitment to affordable housing” when he announced the deal to redevelop the city’s downtown. However, as details of the development plan have emerged, significant questions have arisen as to how affordable the units will actually be. Numbers provided by developer NH District Corp. show that the planned affordable housing units will not be significantly cheaper than many market rate apartments in the Richmond area. – VPM
- Norfolk files lawsuit over confederate monuments – Norfolk filed a federal lawsuit Monday, arguing the Virginia state law restricting their ability to remove Confederate statues violates the city’s First and 14th Amendment rights. The Virginia statute specifically protects against the removal of memorials honoring wars, which has prevented Norfolk from removing a statue honoring the Confederacy. The statue has attracted protests and backlash in recent years and the city wants to remove it, but said in the lawsuit that it is afraid of potential legal liability. – The Virginian Pilot
- Homicides could be cut by 36% in Virginia with just three new gun laws, researcher says – Claire Boine, a researcher from Boston University, made a presentation to a state panel Monday, recommending laws that she said could lead to an estimated 124 fewer homicides a year. The proposals would prohibit people who have been convicted of violent misdemeanors from possessing guns, give authorities the discretion to reject concealed carry permit applications, and institute universal background checks. Democratic lawmakers saw the presentation as affirming the common-sense proposals they have already been advancing. Republicans, however, dismissed most of the research. – The Virginia Mercury
From the Gram
This story has been updated to include a link to The Virginia Mercury’s story on Claire Boine’s presentation on gun laws.