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…

As we shared in our newsletter last week, the Monacan Indian Nation is fighting against a water pumping station that has been built at Point of Fork. Yesterday’s issue of The Washington Post has more in-depth coverage of the story.

Five things you need to know today …

  1. Push to commemorate historically black high schools– Alumni of Virginia’s historically black high schools, which were a result of segregation in the state, have been pushing politicians to preserve their alma maters. Virginia has seen an increased number of applications for commemorative markers requesting that the schools be added to historical registers in recent years. Jennifer Loux, who directs the state’s historical marker program, says people need to “know that there was always widespread activism and interest within the black community for improvements in education.” Read the full story to learn more about this important part of Virginia’s history. -The Washington Post 
  2. Advocates encourage new laws addressing trafficking- Virginia is currently one of only six states that doesn’t offer any expungement for victims of trafficking, but several legislators are looking to change that. Del. Steve Heretick (D-Portsmouth) and Sen. Mamie Locke (D-Hampton) and Del. Jason Miyares (R-Virginia Beach) have all filed bills in the General Assembly that would allow judges to expunge certain charges for people forced into sex work. The bills filing comes at the urging of advocate Ateba Gaines and attorney Wade Skalsky, who have pushed lawmakers to assist those forced into human trafficking. -The Virginian-Pilot 
  3. Northam announces criminal justice proposals– Gov. Ralph Northam announced several criminal justice legislative proposals on Friday, including a plan to decriminalize marijuana possession. His proposal also included amending the state’s approach to parole and increasing the threshold required to charge someone with felony larceny. Northam said at a press conference he believes many of the policies will become law under the new Democratic majority General Assembly. -WTOP 
  4. Right-wing groups promote rally– State police briefed Gov. Ralph Northam after several groups opposing gun safety laws encouraged protesters to come to Richmond in January. Far-right websites across the country have urged followers to participate in the January 20 rally, organized by The Virginia Citizens Defense League. The group said it anticipates as many as 50,000 or even 100,000 people, but police say they haven’t yet seen indications that participation will be that high. -The Washington Post
  5. Possible bond referendum on flood control measures– Virginia Beach residents could vote on a $430 million bond to finance efforts to protect the area from floods. Several city council members in Virginia Beach have signaled they are open to putting the referendum on the ballot, and Mayor Bobby Dyer also indicated that he is leaning towards supporting the referendum. About 2000 structures were damaged during 2016’s Hurricane Matthew, bringing renewed attention to the high risk of flooding in the area. -The Virginian-Pilot