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.
Wondering how much money candidates for Virginia’s General Assembly have raised so far? Lucky for you, the Virginia Public Access Project has posted the post-Labor Day campaign finance disclosures filed by candidates for the General Assembly.
5 things you need to know today
- GOP censures Riggleman after he officiated gay wedding – The Rappahannock County Republican Party in Virginia officially voted to censure Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.), accusing him of “abandoning party principles.” Riggleman’s office, however, said the censure was payback for his decision to officiate a same-sex wedding in July. While it did not explicitly mention the wedding, the censure did question Riggleman’s “support for traditional family values, and other conservative principles.” – The Hill
- Judge refuses to throw out charge over threatening tweet – A federal judge has refused to throw out charges against Joseph Cecil Vandevere, a North Carolina man who took to Twitter and threatened to lynch Qasim Rashid, a Muslim-American candidate for Virginia’s state Senate. Vandevere argued that his indictment should be dismissed on First Amendment free speech grounds, but U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn Jr. refused, saying he could not rule that the threat was merely “political hyperbole” or that “no reasonable person would interpret this communication as a serious expression of intent to do harm.” Vandevere’s trial is currently scheduled to start October 7. – WTOP
- Del. Chris Jones closing pharmacy in Suffolk – Del. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk) is closing the Suffolk pharmacy he’s operated for the last 34 years. Jones announced the shutdown of Bennett Creek Pharmacy to his 17 employees last Monday, and by Thursday, store-closing signs had been posted. Jones recently faced scrutiny when it was revealed that his pharmacy was the third-largest buyer of opioids in Suffolk, purchasing nearly 1.5 million pain pills between 2006 and 2012. Jones, however, told the Suffolk News-Herald that the decision to close the pharmacy was strictly financial. – Suffolk News-Herald
- Rep. Gerry Connolly sponsors gun safety measure – U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va) has sponsored a bill to prevent firearms sales to military service members with felony domestic violence convictions. If passed, the Safe Homefront Act would strengthen Department of Defense policies requiring the reporting of domestic violence convictions and Military Protective Orders (MPOs) to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The bill comes after U.S. Air Force member Devin Kelley, who had been convicted of domestic violence, shot and killed 27 people in Sutherland Springs, Texas in 2017. – Prince William Times
- Virginia to develop self-driving trucks – The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute will receive $15 million in federal funding to support research on developing self-driving trucks and how to safely integrate them. The funding is composed of two separate $7.5 million grants, one focused on refining the self-driving software’s development and the other on developing the guidelines on how best to implement the technology. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va) said that while the development of automated driving systems has the potential to improve lives, “it’s important to get safety right the first time.” – WTOP
From the Gram