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Week four of this legislative session began on Sunday, January 28th with the Virginia AFL-CIO conference. It was an honor to share the platform with Congressman Bobby Scott, Governor Ralph Northam along with AFL-CIO President Doris Crouse-Mays and Lorne Seay, Secretary Treasurer. I was privileged to open their session with prayer.
Following words from the governor and congressman, President Crouse-Mays prepared the more than 200 labor union representatives for their “Lobby Day” at the State Capitol.
As always, I welcome my union brothers and sisters with a luncheon reception in my office. This was their opportunity to discuss the bills they were supporting. Two of the bills were HB551, which calls for higher wages and HB463, which calls for employee meal breaks. The food was delicious and the conversation was enlightening.
House Democratic Caucus members stand united on an amendment to HB 371, which calls for stronger sexual harassment policies for the General Assembly. 
Last Monday, I traded in my orange for red for the 33rd Annual Delta Days at the Capitol. Members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. from chapters all over the Commonwealth came to the Capitol to speak with Governor Northam and Lt.  Governor Justin Fairfax, and legislators about their 2018 priorities which include: healthcare, voting rights and suppression, education (SOL reform, closing the achievement gap), public safety/gun laws, economics, environmental, and transportation. It is always exciting to be visited by members of my sorority.
I am pleased to announce my bill
HB1343 passed out of subcommittee 8-0. If passed, HB1343 will allow an employer to use the services of an employee, who is also a notary, as a part of his or her responsibilities in the business. I expect the bill will be heard in the full committee this week. 
Representatives from Virginia Beer Wholesalers Association came by to ask for support of two pieces of legislation coming before me in the General Laws committee. Delegate Bulova’s HB422 would allow a 20% production threshold for a brewery’s tasting room to operate. They also support Delegate Knight’s HB820 that clarifies a long-standing ABC policy and protects the integrity of the tax collection process. 
AARP of Virginia volunteers visited this week to discuss their legislative priorities. Of course, Medicaid Expansion was number one on their list. They would also like an increase in retirement security, increase long-term care ombudsman funding, and ensuring that decisions are fair to all generations. To find more information about AARP, click here
Hampton representatives from the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation visited my office during their breast cancer advocacy day. Their advocacy goals are: support legislation to enable Virginians to receive breast cancer screening and treatment regardless of insurance status or ability to pay, promote research initiatives aimed at understanding and eradicating breast cancer, support policies for Virginians in all stages of the breast cancer journey, and support policies aimed at breast cancer risk education. It is always important to be reminded of the importance of regular mammograms. For more information about the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation, click here
Members of the Virginia 512 Service Employees International Union (SEIU) came by to advocate for bills that reflect their union’s concerns. SEIU is dedicated to improving the lives of workers and their families and creating a more just and fair society. One of their chief priorities is increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour. SEIU has other bills of which they have requested support. Quality home health care and quality public services are just a few.   To view their legislative priorities, click here.
My HB1407, would have placed into code Executive Order 20, which was signed by former Governor Terry McAuliffe.  The bill, which defines microbusiness, was heard in a subcommittee of General Laws last week. Although the subcommittee did not pass the bill, it remains in effect.
Ralph Shelman, founder and CEO of Insight Enterprises was joined by other representatives from the center.  Insight Enterprises is a part of Virginia Association of Centers for Independent Living (CIL). This center is in the same Riverdale office complex as my local office, so I know them well. They all crowded into my office for a lively visit to advocate for the integration and inclusion of people with disabilities into all aspects of society. The association also promotes the professional development, improvement, and expansion of community-based, consumer-controlled CILs, and promotes community education throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. For information on their legislative priorities, please click here.
I truly enjoyed a visit with Virginia Pharmacists Association representatives from Hampton University. These impressive students discussed legislation on the opioid crisis and five bills that have been introduced to address certain pharmaceutical benefit managers. In addition, there are other bills they support as well as those they oppose. They were well informed on the reasons why they support or oppose the bills. When I am visited by bright young minds, I am sure the future is in good hands. 
This week the National Coalition of 100 Black Women and women legislators held a press conference calling for an increase in the adoption of bills designed to create more equitable opportunities for all communities where every Virginian—no matter their race, gender and/or socio-economic status — has an opportunity to thrive. In addition, the press conference was a call to action to stop the disparities in current policies and practices resulting in the subjugation of people, especially people of color and those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to continued oppressive systems. Topics addressed were: Healthcare expansion, minimum wage increases, education, criminal justice reform, employment barriers, and second chance opportunities.
It is always a pleasure to meet with representatives of Transitions Family Violence Services.  From my time spent serving on the board, I came to know them well and the services they provide for our community.  The agency assists adult and child victims through the provision of shelter, counseling, advocacy and education services. The agency works to increase the awareness of domestic violence and provide opportunities for community members to participate in this mission.
Members of the Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance (HRMFFA) attended the Hampton Roads Caucus to share their views on bills they are supporting. HRMFFA was created by Hampton Roads mayors and chairs caucus and represents regional interests in matters relating to attracting retaining, and growing Hampton Roads’ many federal capabilities and installations.

City of Chesapeake Councilwoman Ella Ward and Bob Crum, Executive Director of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission/Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization attended the caucus meeting to state their position on various bills. Some of the bills advocate for passenger rail service between Hampton Roads and Richmond, I64 improvements between Hampton Roads and Richmond, and increase state funding for K-12 public education.
Tim Paige of Consumer Energy Alliance attended the Hampton Roads Caucus as well. Consumer Energy Alliance is the voice of the energy consumer in support of affordable, reliable energy for working families, seniors, and businesses across the country. Mr. Paige expressed his support in off-shore energy and lowering the cost of electricity.
Senator Kaine visited Hampton to kick-off Black History Month with the Greater Hampton Roads Black Democrats. State Senator Mamie Locke and I were asked to share updates from this session of the General Assembly.  Senator Kaine followed with news from the U.S. Congress and with a question and answer session afterwards.  The event was well attended, as documented by the Daily Press and WAVY 10 News. See the links attached. 

Thank you for your continued support in me as your voice in the House of Delegates. As always, please don't hesitate to reach out to my office with any questions and concerns you may have. 

All the best, 
Delegate Jeion (ja-WAN) Ward 
Copyright © 2018 Jeion Ward for Delegate, All rights reserved.

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