Week 3 of the Virginia General Assembly Session is complete!
February is recognized as African-American/Black History Month. This month is an annual celebration that recognizes the contributions in arts, entertainment, law, politics, sciences, sports, and much more.
In recognition that Black history is also American history, each day a member of the House speaks about a moment in Black history. Their comments are always, thought-provoking and enlightening.
2021 Special Session
On February 4, Governor Ralph Northam signed a proclamation calling the members of the General Assembly into special session on Wednesday, February 10 to align the legislative calendar with the customary 46-day length for odd-numbered years.
This special session will coincide with the conclusion of the current 30-day session that began on January 13, and will ensure the legislature can complete its work on the state budget and pandemic relief.
Update in the General Assembly
Last week was certainly a busy week. We began to hear bills from the Senate and House members began to present their bills to the Senate.
It has been quite a feat trying to present bills in the Senate at the same time we must attend House Committee meetings, yet somehow we make it happen.
In addition to attending meetings simultaneously, the Virginia House of Delegates passed the amended 2020-2022 biennial budget (HB 1800) by a vote of 68-30.
The House’s package of budget amendments will fund policies that support the House Democratic Caucus’s 2021 agenda aimed at building a better Virginia. This fiscally responsible budget will also protect the Commonwealth’s “AAA” bond rating by placing an additional $130 million into Virginia’s revenue reserves.
The House Appropriations Committee released its recommended amendments to the FY 2020-2022 budget on February 10.
The updated budget includes funding to:
Protecting Virginia Families
* Improving education by allocating $231.4 million for 5 percent teacher pay raises
* A 3.5 percent pay raises for state employees.
* $429.5 million for no-loss payments to public schools, in addition to $1.3 billion in Federal relief and $51.1 million to address COVID-19 learning lost.
* 84 million to maintain affordable access to Virginia colleges and universities and $8.3 million to increase Tuition Assistance Grant awards and include online students.
Keeping Virginia Healthy
* Paid sick leave for essential workers
* A $12 per patient, per day increase in nursing home payments
* Funding for worker’s compensation for healthcare workers and first responders who die, or are totally or partially disabled by COVID-19 as an occupational disease suffered in the line of duty.
* Prenatal care through Medicaid/FAMIS regardless of the pregnant person’s citizenship status
Rebuilding a stronger, cleaner economy.
* An additional $20 million in funding directed to Rebuild VA grants, bringing the program total to $140 million. * Funding for a pilot program allowing public broadband authorities to compete for 10% of Virginia Telecommunications Initiative grants.
* A one-time $5 million capitalization to fund electric vehicle rebates
* Additional funding for agricultural best management practices to meet Chesapeake Bay cleanup benchmarks
SCHOOL REOPENING BILL
As you may have heard, on Monday morning, Delegate VanValkenburg will present our House School Reopening bill to the Education Committee. He has worked hard the develop a plan by talking to other caucus members and the Administration. The bill will address some of the issues around opening schools safely.
In addition to the bills I patroned, this is a list of some other bills that I was proud to support:
HB2319: Strengthens regulations on the storage of firearms
These bills and others have been sent to the Senate for action.
The Hampton/Peninsula Health Districts are currently vaccinating members of Phase 1a-health care workers, phase 1b 65+, essential workers, 16-64 with healthcare conditions, and people living in congregate settings. Please understand current vaccine demand far exceeds the current vaccine supply. Once you have registered, you will be contacted by phone or email to schedule your appointment. It may be at least 4-5 weeks before you are scheduled. The Hampton/Peninsula Health District encourages you to check with your primary care physician and/or your pharmacist to see if they can vaccinate you more quickly.
Surveys: HPHD surveys are NOT scheduling you for a vaccine. These surveys are the first step in getting a vaccine. These surveys are to capture your information and HPHD will contact you when it’s time to schedule an appointment to get vaccinated, by sending an email with an appointment link. Due to this, an email is required for registration and scheduling.
If you are 65+ please fill out the phase 1b intake form:
There were 49 new covid cases reported Friday, down from 62 on Thursday. Over the past seven days, there was an average of 61 cases daily. Hampton has had 7,986 coronavirus cases reported since the pandemic began.
In Virginia, there were 3,191 new cases reported today. Over the past seven days, there was an average of 3,249 new covid cases daily. Virginia has had 544,209 covid cases reported since the pandemic began.
You can get more information on cases, the latest testing results, and the new COVID-19 vaccines, by visiting the Virginia Department of Healthwebsite.
Reminder to Take Precautionary Measures
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
Stay home when you are sick.
Avoid contact with sick people.
Avoid non-essential travel.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (i.e. YOUR CELLPHONE, Remote Controls, Keyboards, Counter tops, Refrigerator Handles, Doorknobs, etc.)
If you have any questions, please email me at email@example.com.