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.
Families affected by the Virginia Tech shooting continue to fight for stronger gun safety laws, twelve years after the deadly shooting. “We’re not giving up on this,” said the father of a student wounded in the shooting.
5 Things you need to know today
- Governor Northam says economy is doing well, but warns of looming recession – During his annual financial speech before the House Appropriations and Senate Finance committees on Monday, Governor Ralph Northam shared that the Virginia economy is currently booming. With unemployment at 2.9 percent and a surplus of $797 million, Northam said the state finances were “in a good place.” But he also warned that there are signs the economy is slowing down and said President Trump’s trade war with China and the growing federal debt are contributing factors. – The Washington Post
- More than $431 million expected to be returned to taxpayers – Virginia ended the last fiscal year with $797.7 million more in revenue than anticipated, bringing the state’s total reserve funds to $1.6 billion. As a result, the state is expected to return $431 million of that reserve to taxpayers in the form of $110 checks to individuals and $220 checks to couples. Lawmakers said not to anticipate a similar surplus next year, however, as most of the surplus was due to unexpected federal tax policies and one-time wealth gains that will not be repeatable in the future. – Richmond Times-Dispatch
- Virginia soybean farmers have seen sales to China fall 83% during Trump’s trade war – Soybeans have historically been Virginia’s top export to China, but President Trump’s policies have put a huge dent in soybean farmers’ profits. In 2016, Virginia sold $700 million in agriculture exports to China, but that number has since fallen to $235 million, a decrease that Governor Northam attributed to Trump’s trade war. Virginia Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, both Democrats, also condemned Trump’s trade war, calling it both “haphazard” and “ill-planned.” – The Virginia Mercury
- Crime commission concludes the second day of gun hearings – A second day of hearings before the State Crime Commission ended with further inaction on gun safety legislation, prompting Democrats to once again criticize Republicans for their obstruction. The commission heard arguments from gun safety advocates, as well as those who oppose any new regulation. Republican Senator Mark Obenshain, chairman of the commission, didn’t give a timeline on when it would publish findings from the hearings. Lawmakers aren’t scheduled to discuss the issue again until November 18, after the fall elections. – Richmond Times-Dispatch
- The Virginia Lottery is concerned that unregulated “skill” games will hurt their bottom line – Over a quarter of retailers currently selling lottery tickets now also offer game-of-skill gambling machines, which the Virginia Lottery is concerned is contributing to a decrease in lottery ticket sales. Virginia Lottery Director Kevin Hall said the last three months “have not been what they were” for the lottery, and is paying close attention to see if the machines are contributing to the downward trend. – Richmond Times-Dispatch
From the Gram
Correction: An earlier version of this newsletter referred to the game-of-skill gambling machines as “newly approved,” when they remain unregulated. This story has been updated to correct that headline.