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.
Happy Friday! Here’s some nice news to end out the work week: Mount Ararat Baptist Church has donated $18,000 to pay off school lunch debt in Stafford and Spotsylvania.
Five things you need to know today …
- Northam proposes free community college program– Gov. Ralph Northam has proposed making community college free for low and middle-income Virginia residents seeking degrees for specific high-demand fields. The $145 million program would cover costs related to tuition and professional training, which participants would “earn” through a community service requirement. The program is the latest in Northam’s budget proposals and still has to be approved by the General Assembly before being implemented. -The Washington Post
- Guy increases lead during recount– Democratic delegate-elect Nancy Guy’s vote margin has increased during the recount process currently underway in Virginia Beach. Guy has picked up 13 votes so far, giving her a 40-vote lead against Republican Del. Chris Stolle. The votes are currently being recounted from 19 precincts in Virginia Beach and one partial precinct in Norfolk. -WAVY
- Recycling in Virginia– The Department of Environmental Quality found that Virginia had a 46% recycling rate in 2018, the highest since the state began keeping track. While that news is promising, recent developments have put a damper on the reports. China stopped importing recyclable materials in 2018, making it difficult for recycling businesses to sell their recyclables and some localities have shut down curbside recycling programs. Monica Boehringer, vice president of the Virginia Recycling Association, warned the state could potentially lose recycling programs if “we don’t sort it out quickly.” -The Roanoke Times
- Call to increase funding– Several groups in Virginia have launched a campaign to boost education spending in Virginia by nearly $1 billion. State funding has fallen 9% since the 2008-2009 school year, and school systems have increasingly relied on local dollars to fill in the gaps. The Commonwealth Institute of Fiscal Analysis announced the ‘Fund Our Schools’ campaign on Wednesday, calling on lawmakers to address the funding shortage and lift the funding cap on psychologists and other support workers. The cap was put in place during the 2008 financial crisis but was never lifted even as the state’s economy recovered and enrollment swelled. -WAMU
- Bill aims to cut Dominion’s excess profits— Two state lawmakers unveiled the bi-partisan “Fair Energy Bills Act” which aims to restore consumer protections from the state’s biggest utility, Dominion Energy. The effort was shared by Dels. Lee Ware (R-Powhatan) and Jerrauld C. “Jay” Jones (D-Norfolk) in an effort to regain the State Corporation Commission’s authority to set profit levels for Dominion Energy and other utility companies. The effort is one of several bill currently in the works focused on breaking up the utility’s monopoly on power generation in the Commonwealth. -The Washington Post