Dogwood Daily: Conversion "therapy" ban nears finish line

By Matt Blair

February 4, 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 felt the ground shake yesterday you (might) not be losing your sanity. A “weak” earthquake was recorded yesterday in Central Virginia.

Five things you need to know today …

  1. Conversion therapy ban passes– Virginia’s gay rights protections may finally be entering the 21st century. The House approved legislation Monday banning counselors from attempting to change a youth’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The Senate voted on a companion version of the bill last month. LGBTQ advocates had been trying for years to ban the practice of “conversion therapy,” but had been blocked by the Republican-controlled legislature. The House and Senate bills will need to be approved in each other’s chambers before a final version is presented to Gov. Northam to sign. -Virginia Public Media
  2. Gun safety measure blocked– The Virginia Senate voted Monday to block legislation that would make it a felony to “recklessly leave a loaded, unsecured firearm” in a way that endangers a minor. Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) and Sen Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) joined with Republicans, citing fears that gun owners would be penalized by the legislation. The proposed law was backed by Gov. Ralph Northam, and a similar measure had already passed the House. -The Washington Post
  3. The bad type of surprise– State lawmakers are considering several proposals that would protect patients from surprise medical bills from an out-of-network provider. Del. Luke Torian (D – Prince William County) and Sen. Barbara Favola (D – Arlington) introduced legislation in their respective chambers to establish fixed amounts that out-of-network providers can charge for their services. -Virginia Public Media
  4. Not-so-fake news– An investigative piece into Virginia’s guardianship system by the Richmond Times-Dispatch last year inspired legislation now in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. A bill introduced by Sen. Monty Mason (D-Williamsburg) aims to reform the current system and end ethical conflicts. Last year’s story in The Richmond Times-Dispatch found several Richmond health care providers asked courts to have their lawyers appointed as the legal guardian of several low-income patients, only for the lawyer to then discharge the patients to poorly rated nursing homes. -Richmond Times-Dispatch
  5. Innovation Campus has a new leader– Virginia Tech announced that Lance Collins has been hired as executive director of the school’s new Innovation Campus in Alexandria. Collins has been the dean of Cornell University’s engineering school since 2010, where he helped establish Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island in New York City. The $1 billion campus is a part of the agreement struck with Amazon when the company agreed to set up its second national headquarters in the state. -Richmond Times-Dispatch

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