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 humans ever get to Mars, we may have Virginia to thank. According to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, the first mission to land on Mars may be powered with the help of rockets designed right here in the Commonwealth.

Five things you need to know today …

  1. Clean energy bill advances— Virginia’s General Assembly is advancing legislation that proponents are calling the most ambitious clean energy policy in Virginia’s history. The Virginia Clean Economy Act (CEA) would lay out a pathway to eliminate all power plant carbon pollution in the state by 2050. The legislation also includes an expansion of Virginia’s investment in clean energy technology and the establishment of new energy efficiency standards. The infrastructure improvements will require a new workforce and is expected to create an average of 13,000 jobs per year through 2050. -The Dogwood 
  2. Economy is coasting on the coast— Military spending in Virginia’s Hampton Roads region is expected to continue to boost the economy this upcoming year. Roughly 40% on the economy is connected to Defense spending, and the military is expected to spend an additional $2 billion in the region in 2020. According to a study from Dragas Center for Economic Analysis and Policy at Old Dominion University, the economy in eastern Virginia is expected to grow faster than the rest of the country. In addition to military spending, the study found that tourism and the booming Port of Virginia will drive the economy. -WTOP  
  3. (Even more) proof that climate change is real — Experts say Hampton Roads should expect 1.7 feet of higher water levels by 2050. The report by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science found that sea-level rise is continuing to accelerate. Low-lying cities in Hampton Roads have seen a dramatic surge in flooding in recent years. This past year alone, Norfolk saw seawater levels rise 5.3 millimeters— significantly up from the annual average of 4.6 millimeters. “It’s been accelerating faster and then even faster this year,” according to Molly Mitchell, a marine scientist who helped lead this year’s report. -The Virginian-Pilot 
  4. Legislation to protect undocumented citizens— Roughly 308,000 undocumented immigrants in Virginia stand to potentially gain the ability to drive in the state. The bill advanced through the state Senate last week and will be voted on Tuesday in the House. The bill is just one of several new pieces of legislation aimed at improving the lives of the undocumented, including offering cheaper tuition for undocumented immigrants and barring local police from asking crime victims about their immigration status. Similar legislation had been blocked in previous sessions by the Republican-controlled General Assembly. -The Washington Post
  5. Wait, that’s illegal?— Lawmakers in the House of Delegates passed a bill to repeal the crime of having consensual sex outside of marriage in the Commonwealth. HB 245 was introduced by Del. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria), who called it a “Victorian-era law.” Levine said it was important to remove the law from the books, even though the Virginia Supreme Court declared in unconstitutional in 2005, because it could potentially cause confusion. The bill will now head to the Senate for consideration. -13 News Now