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.
Running late to work? The new express lane opened on Interstate 395 in Northern Virginia, but it may cost you a pretty penny.
Five things you need to know today …
- Giffords’ gun safety organization adopts highway outside of NRA headquarters– Giffords, the gun safety organization co-founded by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, has announced plans to adopt a highway outside the NRA’s Northern Virginia headquarters. In its deal to adopt Virginia Highway 665 in Fairfax, known as Waples Mill Road, the Giffords organization will clean the highway twice a year for three years. In exchange, the Virginia Department of Transportation will install a sign recognizing the adoption by Giffords. –The Dogwood
- Virginia GOP chooses General Assembly leaders– Republican delegates elected Del. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) to serve as minority leader and Del. Kathy Byron (R-Bedford) as chairwoman of their caucus when the General Assembly reconvenes. Gilbert, who currently serves as House majority leader, was challenged for the position by Del. Terry Kilgore (R-Scott County) but ultimately held onto his spot. –Richmond Times-Dispatch
- Virginia’s guardianship process investigated– The Richmond Times-Dispatch has released part one of a three-part series on how Richmond’s guardianship process leaves vulnerable people unprotected. As part of the investigation, they discovered that VCU Health System has taken hundreds of low-income patients to court since 2009 in order to strip their rights on their own medical care decisions. The process often resulted in sick, elderly, or disabled patients being transferred out of a hospital and placed in poorly rated nursing homes. And the law firm that represented many patients is compensated by the hospital system, raising conflict of interest concerns. –Richmond Times-Dispatch
- Rockbridge County social services faces scrutiny– The recent death of an infant in the Lexington area has called attention to failings in Rockbridge County’s social services department. After being born with drugs in her system, Charlee Ford was assigned a social worker to perform regular visits. The social worker labeled the family at high risk for abuse and neglect, but the department appears to have failed to contact CPS afterward. The Roanoke Times discovered several cases where social services improperly screened out child abuse complaints for four years or allowed claims to fall through the cracks. –The Roanoke Times
- Virginians fighting climate change– Virginia is already facing the reality of the climate crisis with extreme heat, stronger storms, and rising sea levels. The newest episode of the Pledge podcast profiles Virginians taking on climate change, including Kim Sutter, an organizer for Mothers Out Front, a women-run non-profit fighting against climate change. She also profiles Cindy Burbank, a Republican working on getting both sides of the aisle engaged in the fight. -The Pledge