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 Super Tuesday! If you haven’t voted yet, Virginia’s polls close at 7 p.m. Need help finding your polling location? Follow our guide here.
Five things you need to know today …
1. We Followed One Undecided Virginia Voter on Super Tuesday. Here’s What Happened. After dozens of candidates and months of debates that slowly narrowed down the field, we followed Erica Sweets of Alexandria to vote this morning in Alexandria before going to work. Like many Virginia voters, Sweets has moved back and forth over which candidate she supports, and was still making up her mind as she headed to the polls. Her indecision wasn’t for lack of paying attention, instead it was the constantly changing field of candidates that made her decision more difficult. – The Dogwood
2. Virginia General Assembly Passes Bill to Undo Abortion Restrictions- The General Assembly passed a bill that eliminates medically unnecessary restrictions formerly required before seeking access to safe and legal abortions. Proposed by Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D), SB 733 would eliminate restrictions like the required ultrasound and 24-hour waiting period. SB 733 also removes the targeted regulation that abortion providers laws, also dubbed TRAP laws, that require abortion providers to be regulated like hospitals. The bill would also allow patients access to early abortion care from a highly trained clinician. – Bill text at Virginia Legislative Information System
3. Virginia Becomes the First Southern State to Ban Conversion Therapy– Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill on Monday that bans conversion therapy for minors, making Virginia the first Southern state to ban the practice. “Conversion therapy” is the pseudoscientific practice of attempting to change someone’s sexual orientation and has been highly discredited by professionals. “Conversion therapy is not only based in discriminatory junk science, it is dangerous and causes lasting harm to our youth,” said Northam, who was formerly a pediatric neurologist. “No one should be made to feel wrong for who they are- especially not a child. I’m proud to sign this ban into law.” –The Washington Blade
4. Virginia Lawmakers are in a Stalemate Over Expanding Authority for Pharmacists– House and Senate lawmakers both have proposed legislation that aim to offer Virginians more access to treatments from their local pharmacies. However, key differences between the bills could lead to a deadlock during the conference, jeopardizing a chance that the final version will be passed. Currently, pharmacists are only allowed to administer certain drugs, like Tamiflu, in a “collaborative agreement” with doctors, nurse practitioners or physician assistants. Legislators are forcing a deadline to work out the differences before the General Assembly reconvenes on Saturday. – The Virginia Mercury
5. Lt. Gov. Fairfax Criticizes McAuliffe, Stoney – Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) said he was hesitant to support former Vice President Joe Biden after Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) endorsed the candidate. In a tweet Fairfax accused both McAuliffe and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney of orchestrating “racist and false allegations” against him in order to stop his becoming governor. Fairfax was accused last year of sexually assaulting a woman at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. – The Hill & The Richmond Times-Dispatch