Dogwood Daily: Northam calls for $1.2 billion in education funding
By Sean Galvin
December 17, 2019

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.

But first…

Fire ants are known for their painful stings and concrete-like nests which can destroy farm equipment. The ants have long plagued Virginia’s coastal communities are now apparently moving west.

Five things you need to know today …

  1. Northam calls for $1.2 billion in education funding– Gov. Northam announced Monday that he will call for $1.2 billion over the next two years for education funding, marking a 68% increase for the amount needed to keep up with Virginia’s basic standards or quality. Of that money, $808.5 million will go towards “rebenchmarking” the state’s contributions to public school funding and $145.1 million would go towards increasing teacher pay a total of 3% in 2022. The proposal was one Northam’s final budget announcements before unveiling his full plan on Tuesday to the General Assembly’s money committees. -Richmond Times-Dispatch
  2. Issues with firefighters’ cancer coverage– A review found that a state law meant to assure firefighters’ bills are paid if they get work-related cancer isn’t working the way it should. The law says it should be presumed certain cancers are a result of their jobs, but the Workers Compensation Commission and Virginia courts have been requiring that firefighters prove they’ve been exposed to specific materials. As a result, 7 out of the 20 cases were rejected by the commission in the past 11 years. -Daily Press 
  3. Culpeper needle exchange program delayed– Health officials in the Culpeper area have paused the implementation of a needle exchange program after area police didn’t show support and questions arose over whether the law allowing the program would expire. The program was designed to provide access to clean needles and provide safe disposal of used ones in an effort to fight the spread of diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C. Culpeper Police Chief Chris Jenkins has expressed public disapproval for the plan, however, and the law allowing it is set to expire in 2020. Health officials said they would wait for the law to be extended before starting up the new program. -Virginia Mercury 
  4. Fredericksburg’s VA center set to be largest in the country– The VA will be building the nation’s largest health care center in Fredericksburg by 2025. DeAnne Seekins, director of the VA’s Mid-Atlantic Health Care Network, said the center would be over 400,000 square feet. The announcement was made Friday morning at a briefing for veterans. The Fredericksburg region is currently home to over 42,000 veterans, and that number is only expected to rise in upcoming years. -The Free Lance-Star
  5. Poultry farms receive water permits with special conditions– The State Water Control Board recently approved groundwater withdrawal permits for 45 poultry facilities on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The approvals came with special requirements that placed specific limits and would require the farms to monitor the well levels and come up with conservation plans. The regulations are particularly stringent in the area due to its proximity to ocean water. -Delmarva Now

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