News

Strong Support for Seclusion and Restraint Restriction: VA Senate Passes Bill 35-4

 

 

Richmond, VA- Today, the Virginia Senate voted 35-4 to pass SB 782, a bill that requires the Board of Education to issue regulations on the use of seclusion and restraint, parental notification and training requirements. 

 

The bill’s patron, Sen. Barbara Favola (D-Arlington), urged her colleagues to vote in favor of the bill: “We have heard powerful testimony from parents and students across the Commonwealth who suffered from this lack of regulation- the case has been made, let’s help protect these children.”

 

Sen. Garrett (R-Lynchburg) also spoke on the bill, giving moving testimony on what exactly it feels like to experience seclusion and restraint: “By God I was warehoused. And it’s still happening today.”

 

On Sunday, the Washington Post editorial board endorsed Senator Favola’s bill, calling it “grounded in common sense.” The bill was reported out of the Senate Education and Health committee 11-4 on January 14th.

 

Although guidelines for seclusion and restraint in Virginia have existed since 2004, only eighty schools have used them to adopt a policy. Thirty-two states have statutes addressing seclusion, restraint, or both. 

 

 

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Senator Barbara A. Favola represents Virginia’s 31st district, which includes parts of Arlington and Fairfax counties, and a portion of Loudoun County. For the 2015 session, Senator Favola sits on the Local Government, Rehabilitation and Social Services, and Transportation Committees. 

Women's Reproductive Health Caucus: Statement on Bill Banning Abortions

In solidarity with NARAL, Planned Parenthood, Progress VA and other stakeholders, the Women’s Reproductive Health Caucus strongly opposes HB 2321. HB 2321 would ban abortions after 20 weeks, regardless of whether the pregnancy is the product of rape or incest. This bill violates the rights of women and represents an inappropriate interference with a woman’s healthcare decisions. HB2321 is even more radical than a similar Congressional bill that was just defeated by a coalition of Republican women lawmaker for being too extreme. HB2321 is radical and we will work with our partners to make sure it does not become law. 

 

Senator Barbara Favola, co-chair

Delegate Kay Kory, co-chair

 

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The Women's Reproductive Health Caucus meets every Wednesday at 8 a.m. in Senate Conference Room 3 East, General Assembly Building. Caucus members include lawmakers from both the House and Senate, as well as relevant stakeholders: Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice, Progress VA, JCDC, ACLU, and the League of Women Voters.

Bill Denying In-State Tuition For DACA Recipients Defeated in Senate, 20-19

I spoke against Sen. Black's bill (SB722), which removed in-state tuition benefits for DACA recipients. In-state tuition is often the only way these students are able to afford higher education, and I'm happy to report the measure was defeated by a 20-19 vote. Read part of my speech, included in the Senate Democratic Caucus press release:

“I as a Virginian, and I would ask that all of us as Virginians, would want to have students of that caliber who are willing to contribute to our economy, to improve their own lives, and to actually make us stronger, and make us a better community. We want them. We need them. They are part of us. We should allow them to be going on to college. I think the point here is, they’re not a drain on our economy. They’re a plus to our economy.” 

http://www.vasenatedems.com/news/senate-rejects-bill-to-deny-dreamers-in-state-tuition

Women's Reproductive Health Caucus Press Release

The Women’s Reproductive Health Caucus will focus on promoting access to health care, including access to constitutionally protected safe and legal abortions. The fight will require lawmakers to pass legislation that removes mandatory pre-abortion ultrasound and wait time requirements. The Caucus will also champion bills that expand contraceptive coverage on insurance plans and define "birth control" as separate from abortion. 

 

“We are excited to support legislation that further protects reproductive rights and expands women’s healthcare options.” Senator Favola (D-Arlington) said. “These bills represent important steps in ensuring all Virginian women are safe, healthy, and have control over their own bodies."

 

Some of the bills have been the subject of previous fights in the General Assembly. Referencing the "birth control" bill, Del. Vivian Watts (D-Annandale) says, "Every year for the last 11 years, a bill to protect the rights of Virginia women from efforts to ban access to birth control has been defeated. Opponents to this medically sound legislation deny the morality of responsible reproduction."

 

While championing legislation that enhances women’s healthcare, the Caucus will closely monitor bills that may infringe on women’s reproductive health. Bills concerning telemedicine services as written pose no threat to reproductive health, but amendments could serve to inhibit access to birth control and emergency contraception.

 

“We plan to work with the Governor and the Attorney General this year to advance women’s health care in Virginia and to rebuff legislation enacting even more punitive regulations than those already put in place.” said Delegate Kory (D-Falls Church). 

 

The Women’s Reproductive Health Caucus meets weekly to discuss legislation important to women’s health and reproductive freedom. Sen. Favola and Del. Kory chair the Caucus.

 

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The Women's Reproductive Health Caucus meets every Wednesday at 8 a.m. in Senate Conference Room 3 East, General Assembly Building. Caucus members include lawmakers from both the House and Senate, as well as relevant stakeholders: Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice, Progress VA, JCDC, ACLU, and the League of Women Voters.

Republicans Kill Hate Crime Bill on Party Line Vote

Dear Friends,

 

Today, the Republican controlled Senate Courts of Justice Committee killed SB 799 a bill I introduced to address the perpetration of hate crimes against LGBT individuals. SB 799 included within the definition of “hate crime” a criminal act committed against a person because of sexual orientation or gender identification for purposes of reporting to the state police.

 

Sexual orientation alone accounted for 20% of the total number of hate crimes in 2013, according to the latest Hate Crime Statistics report. Half of LGBT respondents to an Equality Virginia survey said they had experienced hate violence or harassment. In the LGBT population, 18% live in states with hate crime laws that do not cover sexual orientation and gender identity - including Virginia.  There are an estimated 183,545 Virginians who identify as LGBT and would be affected by sexual and gender orientation inclusion into hate crime law.   

 

What will it take to ensure that all Virginians gain equal protection? I am deeply disappointed by the actions of the Republicans who voted against this measure, on a party line vote. It’s a sad day for the LGBT community, and for all Virginians.

 

I look forward to continuing to support equal protection for all Virginians, and thank you for your support. 

Hate Crime Bill Press Release

For Immediate Release: Wednesday January 14th 2015

 

 

SEN. FAVOLA BILL ADDRESSING SEXUAL ORIENTATION HATE CRIMES IN COURTS COMMITTEE 

 

RICHMOND, Va. - Today, the Senate Courts of Justice Committee will discuss SB 799, a bill that Senator Barbara Favola (D-Arlington) introduced to address the perpetration of hate crimes against LGBT individuals. SB 799 includes within the definition of “hate crime” a criminal act committed against a person because of sexual orientation or gender identification for purposes of reporting to the state police.

 

Senator Favola spoke to the importance of enacting SB 799: “Every Virginian should feel welcome and enjoy equal protection under the law. It is critically important to send a message that no one should experience violence or harassment based on gender identification or perceived sexual orientation.” 

 

Attorney General Mark Herring, a strong defender of LGBT rights, worked with Senator Favola to craft and introduce the bill. “No Virginian should be singled out for violence or discrimination because of who they are, whom they love, or where they come from. I am proud to have worked with Sen. Favola to introduce this important measure."

 

Background: Sexual orientation alone accounted for 20% of the total number of hate crimes in 2013, according to the latest Hate Crime Statistics report. Half of LGBT respondents to an Equality Virginia survey said they had experienced hate violence or harassment. In the LGBT population, 18% live in states with hate crime laws that do not cover sexual orientation and gender identity - including Virginia.  There are an estimated 183,545 Virginians who identify as LGBT and would be affected by sexual and gender orientation inclusion into hate crime law.   

 

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Senator Barbara A. Favola represents Virginia’s 31st district, which includes parts of Arlington and Fairfax counties, and a portion of Loudoun County. For the 2015 session, Senator Favola sits on the Local Government, Rehabilitation and Social Services, and Transportation Committees. 

Senator Favola Presents Diverse Legislative Agenda

As we contemplate a fresh new year and bright new world, it is time to recommit ourselves to being the “change” that is so needed.  Although the environment in Richmond is hyper-partisan, Senator Favola is dedicated to working across party lines to create a fairer and more just society. 

 

Highlights of her legislative agenda include tackling income disparity, addressing the need for safer childcare, providing better access to mental health services, stopping sexual assaults on college campuses, and removing guns from those convicted of misdemeanor sexual assault crimes.   Senator Favola's specific bills are noted below:


Income Disparity:

Allow local government to increase the minimum wage over three years up to $10.50 with the passage of a referendum.

 

Index payments to theses families so the payments increase with the Department of Labor issued Consumer Price Index.

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Child Support for Disabled Adult Children: 

Allow judges to assign child support for special needs adult children in divorce cases.

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Child Care:

Require all day home providers to meet minimum standards related to CPR, background checks and settings that meet fire code safety requirements.

 

Require the licensure of any provider caring for one or more unrelated child.

 

Ask the Department of Education and the Department of Social Services to convene a stakeholder group to develop a framework for requiring certain professional competencies. 

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Education Pre-K -12:

Re-establishes the authority of school boards to create a 3 -person panel in a teacher termination process.

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Juvenile Justice System:

Expunge the records of a juvenile for non-violent larceny crimes that would be considered felonies if the juvenile were an adult.

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Mental Health:

Fund pilot projects throughout the State that enable Community Health Centers to enter MOUs with public school systems to provide mental health services on-site at the schools. 

 

Fund pilot projects to increase the availability of counseling services for children who have witnessed domestic violence.

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Sexual Assaults on College Campuses:

Require colleges and universities to offer sexual assault victims the option of receiving services off campus at a community based center specializing in sexual assault cases.

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Domestic Violence:

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Require those who have been convicted of misdemeanor stalking, sexual assault and sexual assault and battery of a household member to give up a fire -arm for five years.

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Public Safety:

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Include “gender,” “gender identity”, and “sexual orientation” in the current “Hate Crimes” statute.

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Voting:

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Enable individuals 75 years of age or older to go to the head of the voting line.

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Aging:

Request that the Joint Commission on Health Care study the availability of dental services at long-term care facilities.

 

Senator Barbara Favola Proposes Legislation to Assist Survivors of Sexual Assault on Virginia Campuses

Arlington –December 4, 2104 – Today, Senator Barbara Favola submitted a request for drafting of a bill with support from Senators Jill Vogel and Jennifer Wexton.  The bill would do the following: 

Require Virginia's Colleges and Universities to enter a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a local Sexual Assault Crisis Center to ensure that campus survivors of sexual assault have immediate access to a confidential advocate who can provide a trauma informed response that includes an explanation of options for moving forward. Informed consent increases the likelihood that survivors will participate in reporting to law enforcement and will participate in the adjudication process. 

Colleges and Universities must also take steps to hold offenders accountable.  This Includes protocols that address the following:

--Provide an option for survivors who do not want to make an official report to make an anonymous report, 

--Provide amnesty for survivors who are concerned that an official report might jeopardize their academic status, 
--Provide clear guidance on linking victims to community resources. 
Senator Favola noted that "Survivors need to feel empowered to come forward and supported in ways that enable them to fully participate in the prosecution of their attackers."

Senator Favola Visits Mobility Lab

At Mobility Lab’s Lunch At the Lab this week, the 14-year veteran of the Arlington County Board discussed a wide array of transportation issues in Virginia, including the Silver Line, the Columbia Pike Streetcar, Virginia’s transportation bill, and Uber.

Favola began the luncheon with a discussion of how her experience in transit-oriented Arlington County has informed her more recent Richmond experience. Mentioning data suggesting that Arlington’s traffic has declined even as its population has increased, the senator attributed this to the county’s smart-growth policies, particularly its robust transportation demand management program.

Mobility Lab Visit

- See more at: http://mobilitylab.org/2014/07/11/virginia-senator-discusses-silver-line-streetcar-uber-at-mobility-lab/#sthash.py2q4wre.dpuf