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.
Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is here! Sweet Providence Farm in Floyd County will provide this year’s official state Christmas trees– one of which will go in the main room of the governor’s mansion and a smaller one that go in the mansion’s private residence. The trees are set to be presented to the governor and first lady today.
Five things you need to know today …
- Republicans probably won’t fill judgeship vacancies– Republican leaders say they are unlikely to force a vote on vacant judgeships before Democrats take control of the General Assembly in January. Senate Majority Leader Timmy Norment (R-James) said the General Assembly will likely not move forward before the 2020 session in the “absence of bipartisan agreement.” Timing could play a role in the decision, as there is a limited window to find qualified candidates and call legislators back to Richmond for a vote in less than a month. -Richmond Times-Dispatch
- Freitas announces run for U.S. House– Del. Nick Freitas has announced he will run for the seat currently held by Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-7th). Freitas is a member of the Virginia GOP’s libertarian community, and has represented the 30th district since 2015. He has been critical of Spanberger’s decision to support the House’s impeachment proceedings against President Trump, despite mounting evidence that shows the president made investigating former Vice President Joe Biden a condition of releasing military aide to Ukraine. -Richmond Times-Dispatch
- State seeks help from VCU and UVA with prison health services– Virginia has reached a tentative agreement with VCU Health and UVA Health to assist in providing medical care to Virginia inmates. The medical care in Virginia’s prisons has faced increased scrutiny in recent years after multiple inmate deaths. According to the agreement, UVA would be paired with Fluvana’s Women Prison, and VCU would be paired with State Farm Correctional Center. -Virginia Mercury
- Northam supports redistricting amendment– Gov. Ralph Northam said he supports a proposed constitutional amendment that would give the power of drawing legislative and congressional districts to a 16-member commission. The amendment was introduced with bipartisan support, and advocates say it would result in a fairer election process for both parties. It remains unclear if Democrats will support the legislation once they take power, incoming Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) has yet to back the amendment. –Richmond Times-Dispatch
- Hampton Roads activists work to make sure everyone is counted in census– Activists in Hampton Roads are working to make sure residents who fall into one of the area’s historically difficult-to-count populations respond to 2020 census officials when it comes time. The census, which is set to begin in March, has ramifications for everything from voter maps to federal aid. About 22% of the region’s total population falls into one of the underrepresented groups, and Hampton Roads stands to lose millions of dollars in federal funding if a large enough percentage of the communities don’t respond. -Daily Press