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.
On Sunday, The Richmond Times-Dispatch released the second portion of its excellent three-part investigation series into Richmond’s flawed guardianship process. Read the story here.
Five things you need to know today …
- UVA doctors denounce employer’s billing practices– Doctors at the University of Virginia Health System are talking out about their employer’s aggressive pursuit of unpaid medical debts. In September, a Kaiser Health news report revealed that UVA aggressively pursued patients with outstanding balances, even going so far as to garnish wages and push families into bankruptcy. While the health system has announced plans to scale back collections practices, the doctors are calling for UVA to stop suing patients altogether. -The Washington Post
- Virginia’s lax payday loan protections– Virginia’s predatory lenders are facing increased scrutiny from consumer advocates. A damning report from the Pew Research Center found that Virginia has weaker payday loan protections than most of the country and is one of only six states without any limit on interest rates for lines of credit. It also found that as many as one out of eight title loan borrowers has a vehicle repossessed each year. The Virginia Poverty Law Center and others are calling for the General Assembly to add new consumer protections. -The Dogwood
- Companies fighting state to get at uranium– Three Chatham-based companies are bringing a lawsuit in an attempt to change a Virginia law that prevents them from mining uranium in the state. The companies argue that the ban violates the state’s constitution because it restricts how the companies can use their own private property. It is the companies’ last resort after a Supreme Court decision this summer upheld Virginia’s ability to make such a ban. The uranium deposit they are after is the largest in the nation and has an estimated value of $6 billion. -Danville Register & Bee
- Northam pens refugee-friendly letter to Pompeo– Gov. Ralph Northam wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to say that Virginia would welcome more refugees. The move is a rebuke to President Trump’s executive order granting states the power to reject refugee settlements. “We welcome new Virginians to make their homes here,” Northam wrote. Since taking office, the president has cut the number of people who can resettle in the United States to 18,000 people each year, the lowest it’s been in forty years. -The Washington Post
- Casino report released– A report found Virginia could get an extra $262 million in tax revenue every year if casinos were approved in the state. But the study also found that the negative impacts of gambling would increase if the casino’s operating licenses were approved, and gambling treatment and prevention programs could potentially cost the state up to $6 million annually. The General Assembly is expected to vote on whether or not to allow casinos in next year’s session. -The Virginian-Pilot