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.
Interested in interesting people? Check out our interview with Elizabeth Gray, this week’s Virginian of the Week.
5 things you need to know today
- Jerry Falwell Jr. accused of corruption – Jerry Falwell Jr., President of Liberty University and ardent supporter of President Donald Trump, stands accused of shady business deals, self-dealing, sexual impropriety, and bullying. Falwell has also allegedly used the university to sway state elections, despite laws prohibiting a non-profit from trying to influence elections. Falwell’s behavior has gotten so out of hand that longtime officials at the conservative, Christian university have lost their faith in him. – Politico Magazine
- UVA Health System aggressively sues former patients – The University of Virginia Health System has sued former patients more than 36,000 times in the six years leading up to June 2018. The lawsuits, which totaled more than $106 million, allowed the school to seize wages and bank accounts, put liens on homes and pushed hundreds of families into bankruptcy. – The Washington Post
- Cox says House shouldn’t have to reimburse law firm – Lawyers for Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) say the House shouldn’t have to foot the $800,000 legal bill from the racial gerrymandering lawsuit House Republicans spent years contesting. Perkins Coie, the law firm that filed the suit in 2014 on behalf of a group of African American voters, is seeking to recover almost $4.6 million from the state for its work on the case. In a filing, Perkins Coie expressed frustration, saying that after being forced into a long fight, “the bill is due.” – Richmond Times-Dispatch
- Governor Northam appoints first ever Director of Diversity – Gov. Ralph Northam announced Monday that Dr. Janice Underwood would serve as Virginia’s first-ever Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Dr. Underwood, former Director of Diversity Initiatives at Old Dominion University, will be working to implement and promote inclusive practices across Virginia state government. Dr. Underwood said during the announcement that she was committed to promoting “lasting, institutional change at all levels of state government.” – WSET
- State Water Board Council issues key permit for Alexandria Metrorail Station – The State Water Board Council voted last Friday to issue a water protection permit for the construction of the proposed Potomac Yard Metrorail Station in Alexandria. While critics expressed concern that the project would cause the destruction of wetlands, supporters said that rejecting the station’s construction would only encourage suburban sprawl in the area, increasing carbon emissions and leaving the environment worse off. With the water protection permit secured, Alexandria now only needs a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to proceed. – The Virginia Mercury
From the Gram