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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…

So long, winter. You can anticipate some wintery conditions in Virginia coming up this weekend but after that, meteorologists say we can expect reasonably warm weather from there on out.

Five things you need to know today …

  1. Gun safety bills pass Senate— In a win for Gov. Ralph Northam, the Senate passed two gun safety measures from his gun control package that they had previously rejected. The Senate advanced HB 1083, which would increase the penalty for leaving a gun near a minor, and HB 9, which requires people to report lost or stolen firearms. The Senate version of the bill extended the window people have to report their missing firearms to 48 hours, up from 24. It is unclear if House lawmakers will go along with the edits. Both pieces of legislation passed the Senate narrowly, with the Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax breaking a 20-20 tie for HB 9. -Richmond Times-Dispatch
  2. LGBTQ protections pass General Assembly 🏳️‍🌈 ️‍— A bill adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s anti-discrimination laws is now headed to Gov. Northam’s desk. The law passed the House Monday and then through the Senate on Wednesday. Advocates celebrated their victory, saying the law would make Virginia safer for everyone and add much-needed protections for the LGBTQ community. The Governor has publicly voiced support for the law and is expected to sign it. -6 News   
  3. $1.6 billion opioid settlement— Virginia and a coalition of 39 other states reached a $1.6 billion settlement with opioid manufacturer Mallinckrodt. The company agreed to pay $1.6 billion to a trust. which aims to cover the cost of opioid addiction treatment. The company also agreed not to market future opioid products. The deal exempts Mallinckrodt, which is the largest opioid manufacturer in the United States, from all other opioid-related lawsuits. Attorney General Mark Herring announced the settlement yesterday. -WVTR
  4. Hanover really wants to keep their Confederate school names— This seems like a questionable use of funds, but Hanover County is withdrawing $75,000 from a contingency fund to fight a federal lawsuit from the NAACP over two schools named for Confederate figures. The NAACP’s lawsuit alleges the school name violates the constitutional rights of African American students and their families. The town doesn’t have any more insurance money left, and had to access the funds in order to keep fighting the case. The Hanover Board of Supervisors voted 6 to 1 approving the transfer, with the sole Democrat voting against. -Richmond Times-Dispatch
  5. Truck stop operators fight gaming machine ban— Four truck stop operators are set to meet with Gov. Northam and Virginia Lottery leaders to argue against a gaming machine ban. The owners say that the games are a major draw and bring customers into their businesses, where they then buy food and other products. The owners are pushing the General Assembly to vote to regulate and tax the machines instead of banning them outright. Lottery officials, meanwhile, blame their slumping sales on the games and are looking to ban them. -Richmond Times-Dispatch