2014 Legislative Agenda
The 2014 legislative session has been very exciting, I've been busy serving on five committees, and defending my bills in both the Senate and The House of Delegates. Here is an update of where my bills stand and their next steps in the house.
TANF ---Index benefits to the COL Adjustment as determined by the Department of Labor (SB 132) -- This helps women and children. Families stay an average of 3 years on TANF. The caseload has been decreasing in Virginia and $5M was shifted in the last biennium from TANF block grant dollars to funds General Fund services. Tabled for the year in House Subcommittee of Health and Welfare.
Independent living services: Individuals between the ages of 18 and 21 (SB 134) -- A clean up bill that changes the wording from "may" to "shall". Passed both the Senate (38-0) and House of Delegates (89-9).
Medicaid - - Suspend Medicaid Coverage rather than terminate coverage for foster youth who enter the DJJ system (SB 273) -- The intent is to make it quicker and easier for the foster youth to re-gain Medicaid coverage when they leave the DJJ system. The bill does not change who is eligible for Medicaid. Stricken in Senate
Foster Children Convicted of a Barrier Crime (SB 278) -- Permit case workers to issue a waiver in determining the eligibility of a foster home when a youth 18 years or older has a criminal record because of conviction of a barrier crime. Stricken in Senate
Virginia Freedom of Information Act; participation in meetings in event of emergency or personal matters (SB 161) -- Removes the requirement that a public body approved by a majority vote of the members present at a meeting the remote participation in the meeting by one of its members in the event that an emergency or personal matter prevents his attendance in person at the meeting. Passed the Senate (40-0), currently in House Subcommittee of General Laws awaiting decision.
Special license plates; Equality Virginia (SB 162) -- Authorizes the issuance of revenue-sharing special license plates for supporters of Equality Virginia. Stricken in Senate.
Department of Juvenile Justice; use of isolation and restraint (SB 272) -- Prohibits the Department of Juvenile Justice and any mental health facility from isolating or physically restraining a child unless it is necessary to protect the child's health or the health of other children. Stricken in Senate.
State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act and General Assembly Conflicts of Interests Act; limitations on gifts; disclosure of gifts; ethics expert. (SB 274)-- Limits the total value of all gifts received by a state official or employee and by a legislator to no more than $100 in a single calendar year. Incorporated into SB649.
Charter schools; enrollment. (Sb 276) -- Authorizes the local school board to require that current students of an existing public school that is to be converted into a public charter school and their siblings be given enrollment priority over the open enrollment lottery. This bill contains an emergency clause. Passed the Senate (40-0), currently in House Committee of Education
DSS; amend the state plan for foster care and adoption assistance to include payments for individuals up to age 21 (SB 277)-- Directs the Department of Social Services to amend the state plan for foster care and adoption assistance to include payments for certain individuals up to the age of 21. Passed the Senate (40-0), currently in House Appropriations subcommittee of Health and Human Resources.
State Executive Council for Comprehensive Services for At-Risk Youth and Families; membership (SB 369) -- Increases the membership of the State Executive Council for Comprehensive Services for At-Risk Youth and Families by adding a third private provider representative and a member who may be either a representative of a child advocacy group or organization or a representative of a mental health advocacy group with a specialization in children's mental health. Passed the Senate (40-0), currently in House subcommittee of Health, Welfare, and Institutions.
Alcoholic beverage control; limited mixed-beverage restaurant licenses (SB 502) -- Allows limited mixed-beverage restaurant licensees to sell and serve wine, beer, and champagne for on-premises consumption. Passed Senate (40-0), currently in House committee of General Laws.
Teacher Evaluation (SB 43) -- VEA asks that the time be extended from 5 business days to 10 business days before a teacher must decide to appeal an evaluation. Passed both the Senate (38-0) and the House (94-0).
Sliding Scale Style Child Care Subsidiaries (662) -- Allow counties to continue using a local sliding scale in determining copayment responsibilities for families receiving child care subsidy. (Passed the Senate (40-0), currently in House subcommittee of Health, Welfare, and Institutions)
Social history (SB 128) -- Allows the courts to take a juvenile’s social history into account before ordering the juvenile to be committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice for placement in a juvenile correctional center. (Passed the Senate (38-0), currently on 2nd reading on the House floor)
Emergency custody and temporary detention (SB370) -- Extends the time that a person may be held pursuant to an emergency custody order to 12 hours. Currently, a person may be held for up to four hours, with an additional two-hour extension available upon a finding by a magistrate that good cause exists for an extension. (Incorporated into SB260, which passed the Senate (38-0), currently in House committee of Appropriations)
Reporting of Water Usage (SB 671) -- Requires electric generating stations seeking a Virginia Water Protection Permit to submit an estimate of the amount of water that will be withdrawn and consumed for the lifecycle of the fuel used by the proposed generating station. (Passed by Indefinitely)
Allow non-Virginia residents the ability to attend school of Deaf and Blind (SB 672) -- Requires the Board of Visitors of the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind (Board) to include in its criteria and procedures governing admissions to the school provisions for the admission of students who are not residents of the Commonwealth. The bill provides that out-of-state students may be admitted on a space-available basis and that priority be given to students who are residents of the Commonwealth. (Passed the Senate (40-0), currently in House subcommittee of Education)
SANE – Sexual Abuse Nurse Examinations (SB 275) -- In cases where patients may have been exposed to HIV –require insurance companies to waive the co-pay so there are no barriers to obtaining drugs that can prevent HIV and AIDS. (Recommended to become a study)
Domestic Assault (SB 510) -- Ban those convicted of a misdemeanor sexual assault from possessing a firearm for a duration of five years. (Passed the Senate (29-6), tabled in House subcommittee of Courts, letter to Crime Commission recommending a study)
Elections; absentee voting (SB 129) -- Provides that persons age 65 or older on the day of an election for which an absentee ballot is requested are entitled to vote absentee. (Incorporated into SB16)
Juvenile Records; Virginia State crime commission to study expungement of records (SJ 24) -- Directs the Virginia State Crime Commission to study expungement of juvenile records. (Passed Senate by voice vote, reported out of House subcommittee to House floor)
Thank you for your support. It is a privilege to serve you in the Virginia Senate. I am hopeful that many of these bills will pass the House and head to Governor McAuliffe's desk.