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.
Candidates spent record amounts of money in last month’s election: 34 candidates spent more than $1 million dollars, more than double the number who spent that amount or more in 2015.
Five things you need to know today …
- Northam aims to maternal mortality rates– Gov. Ralph Northam announced $22 million in new spending aimed at reducing the number women who die after giving birth. The package includes a plan to extend Medicaid coverage for recent mothers from 60 days to a full year, and additional funding for new mothers to have helpers visit them at home. Northam acknowledged the racial disparities in maternal death rates at a press conference announcing the funding, saying that it was “unacceptable” that black women die of pregnancy-related complications at twice the rate of white women. -Daily Press
- State may raise gas tax– Virginia’s Transportation Secretary Shannon Valentine indicated that the state might raise gas taxes next year to pay for road improvements and other projects. The state is on the hunt for new funding sources to cover an anticipated drop in cash flow tied to cars’ increased fuel efficiency. Valentine also said the state might also add tolls and other fees to fill the gap. Final recommendations are expected later this week. -WTOP
- Assault weapons ban wouldn’t include confiscation– An assault weapon ban backed by Gov. Northam will include a provision to allow Virginians to keep firearms already in their possession. While Democrats had previously indicated that they intended to ban military-style weaponry, this is the first time a party leader has shared a clear position on how they plan to handle already-purchased guns. Northam spokeswoman Alena Yarmonsky indicated that additional details on both this bill and others related to gun safety would be announced “prior to the start of the upcoming session.” –Virginia Mercury
- Protest against proposed gun safety bills– About 100 people marched in protest against several newly-proposed gun safety measures at the state Capitol yesterday, about a month before the General Assembly meets with a new Democratic majority. Philip Van Cleave, head of the anti-gun safety group Virginia Citizens Defense League, said the rally was only the beginning of a massive lobbying effort. “I’m going to open the floodgates, and that’s coming pretty soon,” he said at the rally. -Richmond Times-Dispatch
- Rasoul files Green New Deal legislation– Del. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke) filed the Virginia Green New Deal Act, which aims to move the state away from fossil fuels and build the state’s renewable energy infrastructure. The bill calls for new electricity generating plants, a requirement that 80% of electric utilities’ output be generated from clean fuels by 2028, and a moratorium on the expansion of the state’s fossil fuel import/export industry. Rasoul said the bill prioritizes working families and vulnerable communities over special interests. –Daily Press