Dogwood Daily: Democrats considering new approaches on redistricting
By Sean Galvin
January 13, 2020

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…

If you need an uplifting story to get you through Monday, check out this story about an injured bald eagle in Fairfax County that was recently rehabilitated and released back into the wild.

Five things you need to know today …

  1. Democrats considering new approaches to redistricting– Virginia Democrats are considering how best to approach political redistricting in 2021. A constitutional amendment that passed last year will be up for a second and final vote before the General Assembly this year, but some Democrats are pushing for a different approach. They say the court, which is controlled by conservatives, could still lead to gerrymandered maps that favor the GOP. Party members have introduced a number of different proposals suggesting different methods.  -Richmond Times-Dispatch
  2. New bills on environmental justice introduced to General Assembly– Virginia legislators are set to consider several bills to incorporate environmental justice into the daily workings of the state government. Legislation from Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington) would explicitly make environmental justice a focus of the Department of Environmental Quality, and a bill from Sen. Ghazala Hashmi (D-Chesterfield) would require state agencies to asses the environmental justice impact of new regulations. And Del. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke) introduced Green New Deal legislation to overhaul the state’s energy systems and direct clean energy funds to minority communities. -Virginia Mercury
  3. Potential new law aims to protect student publications– A proposed new law in Virginia would limit how much school administrations can censor student publications at public institutions. Under the proposal, administrators can censor content only if its libelous, slanderous, violates federal law or is likely to cause violence. If adopted, Virginia would be one of roughly twelve states with similar laws. The proposed legislation comes in the wake of two recent scandals in the state. Maury High School in Norfolk forced a student to delete information about the crumbling conditions of the school, and a Radford University employee stole school newspapers to hide the headlines from the public. –The Washington Post 
  4. Housing Summit held in Alexandria– Local leaders and residents gathered in Alexandria for the city’s 2020 Housing Summit on Saturday, covering topics including housing for seniors and how the state’s growing workforce affects affordable housing. In the last twenty years, the price of housing in Alexandria has increased by 122%. Helen McIlvaine, director of the city’s Office of Housing, said the goal of the conference is to educate the community and hear their input. “We want to really get their feedback,” McIlvaine said. -WTOP
  5. Ashwell named chief deputy attorney general— Erin Ashwell, a lawyer from Roanoke, has been appointed as Virginia’s chief deputy attorney general. Ashwell served as attorney for ten years at law firm Woods Rogers, where she specialized in civil litigation and appeals. Ashwell was notably part of the lawsuit against the organizers of the Charlottesville’s Unite the Right rally. Ashwell will start the position February 10th. -The News & Advance

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