Welcome to today’s edition of the Dogwood Daily. We’ve got all the Virginia news you need to know coming right up.
If you live in Norfolk and find yourself craving Swedish meatballs or affordable-yet-questionable furniture, you’re in luck: A new IKEA opens its doors in the city on Wednesday. 15,000 shoppers are expected, so maybe wait a week until the buzz dies down, because while we love Ikea, that’s way too many people to deal with on a Wednesday.
5 things you need to know today
- UVA finds redemption; wins national title –The Hoos did it! One year after the most stunning loss in March Madness history, the Virginia Cavaliers defeated the Texas Tech Red Raiders to win the 2019 National Championship. Charlottesville has had a rough few years, and while this doesn’t resolve the substantive issues that remain present there and elsewhere, it at least brought the city together to celebrate something positive.
- Trump continues purge of Department of Homeland Security – One day after demanding the resignation of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, President Trump continued to overhaul department, as the White House announced the removal of U.S. Secret Service Director Randolph D. “Tex” Alles. At the same time, Trump is elevating Stephen Miller, a virulent anti-immigration adviser, and seems eager to restart the controversial family separation practice that outraged much of the country last year. Not having a functioning DHS is one way to “drain the swamp,” we suppose.
- Planned Parenthood seeks to overturn Virginia’s abortion restrictions – Despite the fact that poll after poll shows that at least two-thirds of Virginia voters believe abortion should be legal, access to the procedure has been under attack in the Commonwealth. Following a controversial 2012 law passed by the Republican-controlled government, the total number of providers statewide has decreased from more than 40 to around 20. These restrictions are at the heart of a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood in federal court. On Monday, a lawyer for Planned Parenthood argued that the restrictions create a burden for Virginia women and restrict access to the point where some women haven’t been able to get an abortion before their 10th week of pregnancy. A summary judgment is expected by May 20.
- For some George Mason students, it’s Kava-nope – Six months after undergoing arguably the most contentious confirmation hearing in Supreme Court history, Judge Brett Kavanaugh is again the subject of protests and outrage. Kavanaugh has been slated to teach a summer course in England for law students from George Mason University, prompting backlash from hundreds of George Mason students. Survivors of sexual assault organized and demanded he be terminated, and a petition asking administrators to remove him has obtained nearly 3,500 signatures. Some faculty members also seem wary about Kavanaugh’s hiring, while a group of parents and alumni have pledged not to donate to the university if Kavanaugh is teaching. Despite this public outcry, George Mason President Angel Cabrera has said he has no intentions of terminating Kavanaugh from his position.
- Northam’s approval rating dips, but voters still prefer Democrats – Unsurprisingly, this year’s scandals have hurt Gov. Ralph Northam’s standing in Virginia. According to a new poll, Northam’s approval rating has dropped 19 points since December and now stands at 40%. Despite this drop, 52% of voters say he should remain in office and 46% of voters say they prefer to see Democrats control the General Assembly, as opposed to 42% who would prefer Republicans maintain control. This split ought to make for a competitive election cycle this fall, when control of both houses of the General Assembly will be up for grabs.