Dogwood Daily: Amazon resumes political spending in Virginia

By Davis Burroughs

October 18, 2019

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

But first …

Though not Virginia-specific, we thought it was worth mentioning that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney admitted Thursday that the White House withheld nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine to further President Trump’s political interests. Democrats said Mulvaney’s comments amount to a confession and could be a turning point in the impeachment inquiry.

Five things you need to know today …

  1. Amazon sends thousands to 26 state lawmakers: Amazon sent $23,000 to 26 Virginia General Assembly candidates Friday, resuming its political giving after halting donations in the wake of getting approval to build HQ2 in Arlington. The donations were split among 14 Republicans and 12 Democrats, ranging from Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-9), who is rumored to be running for governor in 2021, to Del. Lee Ware (R-65), who resigned from a state committee reviewing the headquarters deal in February “because of the size of the subsidy we were offering Amazon.” -Washington Business Journal

  2. Virginia Beach City Council requests ban on gay conversion therapy: The Virginia Beach City Council has asked the Virginia General Assembly to ban gay conversion therapy. In the letter sponsored by Council Member Michael Berlucchi and the Virginia Human Rights Commission, they say the therapy is a harmful practice to change one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Suicide rates nearly double for LGBTQ youth who undergo formal intervention therapy, the letter states, citing research from the Family Acceptance Project. Berlucchi and VHRC conclude with a request to lawmakers to make conversion therapy unlawful. -WTKR

  3. Man convicted of plotting to bomb Virginia Beach school released from prison: Just over 8 years into his sentence, the man convicted of plotting to bomb students and teachers at Landstown High School in Virginia Beach was released from prison earlier this week. Philip Bay was arrested in 2009 after police found 28 pipe bombs, Molotov cocktails, sawed-off shotguns and other explosive devices in his home. He was 17-years-old at the time of his arrest but was tried as an adult. -WAVY

  4. Teacher fired after using the n-word on a student: A middle school teacher was fired by school officials who confirmed she used a racial slur against a student. Several of the Lucille Murray Brown Middle School student’s peers reported the incident to school administrators immediately. “She called him a n—let,” said the parent of one student who heard it happen. -WDJB7

  5. Northam awards $6M in new school security equipment grants: Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday that 340 schools in 70 school divisions have been awarded $6 million in grants to pay for security equipment and systems. Schools will use the funds to purchase and install video monitoring systems, voice, and video internal communications systems, mass notification systems, visitor-identification systems, access control systems, two-way radios, security vestibules, and other security upgrades. Per Northam’s request to General Assembly lawmakers, the total annual appropriation for the program will double next year, from $6 million to $12 million. -NBC29

  6. With another shutdown on the horizon, Virginia members of Congress look to safeguard state: The clouds of a government shutdown are once again rolling over Washington this fall, an ominous sign for Virginia. A 2019 study from the personal finance website Wallet Hub finds that Virginia is among the top 10 states most affected by a federal shutdown. National security workers and federal contractors would be among the hardest hit. Recognizing Virginia’s vulnerability and the likelihood that a budget impasse causes the government to close its doors once again, several members of Virginia’s Congressional delegation have put forth plans to safeguard the state. -The Dogwood
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