Now that the General Assembly session has adjourned, I want to update you on some of the accomplishments we made this year. I am very proud of the progress that we made this session.
Gerrymandering. Many of you may remember that I was one of the only two people in the 11 affected districts who voted against the 2011 heavily gerrymandered maps. I spoke against the map on the house floor, because I knew that it was wrong for legislators to choose their constituents. I have carried legislation year after year that called for an independent commission to draw the lines. That is why when SJ 306 was presented, I could not support it.
The legislation would create a commission of both citizens and legislators who would design the maps. This was better than what had been the common practice, but it was not what many of my constituents wanted. However, it will allow citizens to weigh in with legislators to have their voices heard. I will continue to follow its implementation to ensure the effectiveness of the legislation.
Precincts in the new 92nd House District include:
City Hall (part)
Hampton Library (part)
The Supreme Court is still hearing an appeal brought by the House Republicans. Stay tuned.
Healthcare. Passage of Medicaid Expansion earned all the headlines last year. Today, more than 200,000 people have access to affordable health care. Closing the Medicaid gap is both the fiscally and morally responsible thing to do to help Virginians. To see if you are eligible go to: www.coverva.org/expansion/
Opioid addiction is a growing epidemic in all parts of our Commonwealth. As we continue to find resources to address the epidemic, this session we passed HB 2158. The legislation expands the list of people who may dispense Naloxone, a life-saving drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. We must continue to fight for needed resources to reverse this epidemic.
Quality Education for all. HB 2053, increases school counselors to student ratio, which requires school counselors to spend the majority of their time providing direct services to their students. Although we made progress this year, we have a lot further to go. Access to mental health services in our schools is extremely important. There is much more to be done.
Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program; eligibility. Extends the benefits of the Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program to the spouse or child of a veteran with at least a 90 percent permanent, service-related disability. It’s always a pleasure to support legislation that provides access to resources for military families
I attended Hampton Downtown Child Development Center’s fundraising breakfast. I was honored to have been seated with Tuskegee Airman, Mr. Bernie Peters.
I attended Senator Kaine’s breakfast with Hampton Roads faith leaders. He listened to everyone’s comments and suggestions. Following the breakfast, he toured local military housing to discuss issues tenants were experiencing. Senator Kaine wrapped up the day with a round table discussion about the high number evictions in our area. Experts addressed the problems and discussed potential solutions.
After weeks of signing honor roll certificates, I finally delivered them to each school. They were graciously received by each building.
I also had an opportunity to give a legislative update with Senator Monty Mason at Hampton Democratic Committee’s monthly meeting. I will be hosting my legislative update and “Meet and Greet” following the governor’s veto session early next month. Watch for your notice.
As always it is a pleasure to serve you in the 92nd House District. Thank you.
Delegate Jeion A. Ward
Virginia House of Delegates
Ninety-Second House District