2022 Session Update: Keep Speaking Up for Low-income Virginians
Friday, February 4th, 2022
We’re winding down week three of the General Assembly session. While some of our bills haven’t made it, many are still moving forward, and that progress has only been possible with your help. Together, in just three weeks, we’ve generated over 150 calls, emails, and tweets to legislators on important legislation for low-income Virginians! These efforts can make a real difference in the lives of everyday Virginians, and we are so grateful for your support.
Keep speaking up! Several bills are up next week that we need your help to move forward. Take action below and urge the GA to vote YES to improved living conditions for nursing home residents and language accessibility in the Commonwealth.
Below, an update on some of our issues:
VPLC opposes SB 500, which, if passed, could change how the SCC can set rates for electric and gas investor-owned utilities, opening the door to even more exorbitant bills for customers.
The bill to ban transcript withholding at public universities passed the Senate! This bill had bipartisan support, and now it goes to the House of Delegates. Virginia is among the top 10 states with the highest number of students impacted by transcript-withholding – there are an estimated 58,000 students with stranded credits at public four-year universities in Virginia.
DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE
HB 69, which VPLC opposed because it would diminish the “Best Interests of the Child” factors in favor of a parent’s arbitrary request for the judge’s assurances of “frequent and continuing contact with both parents so as to maximize the amount of time the minor child spends with each parent,” was defeated in subcommittee.
HB 623, which would bring guardianship reform to the Commonwealth, passed out of the House Courts of Justice Civil subcommittee.
HB 690, which would protect vulnerable adults against unlawful eviction from assisted living facilities, passed out of the House Health, Welfare and Institutions subcommittee. This is a big step forward in protecting older adults in Virginia.
HB 646, which would improve living conditions for nursing home residents in Virginia, will be up in House Health, Welfare and Institutions subcommittee on Tuesday.
VPLC supports legislation that would ensure healthcare for all children in Virginia regardless of immigration status. This bill, SB 484, passed the Senate Education and Health committee.
Our priority for next week is SB 284, Senator Ebbin’s Warranty of Habitability Bill. It will get heard in Senate General Laws Wednesday afternoon. Stay tuned early next week for how you can help us move this bill forward!
SB 270, which would ensure that all state agencies in the Commonwealth offer language access services, passed unanimously through Senate Finance and is headed to the Senate floor next week.
HB 1049, which would advance language equity by making sure that people who are limited English proficient or people with disabilities have access to Virginia state government, passed out of the House General Laws committee.
HB 1270, which would increase access to SNAP by allowing incarcerated individuals to apply for the program prior to their release so they have access to food help and education and training programs upon release, passed out of House Health, Welfare and Institutions subcommittee and has been re-referred to House Appropriations.
HB 1158, which would have strengthened cash assistance for children living in poverty by repealing full family sanctions within TANF, died in subcommittee. Still, we are hopeful the change could still be made as a budget amendment in the Senate proposes a similar rule.
VPLC supports several other public benefits bills that are doing well so far. These include HB 587, which would speed up the school meal application process; HB 583, which would allow students with school meal debt to participate in extracurricular activities; and HB 582, which would require public higher education institutions to ensure that all students have access to accurate information about SNAP, including eligibility and how to apply.
STAY TUNED: CITIZENS’ ADVOCACY TRAINING ON ANTI-POVERTY EFFORTS
VPLC attorneys recently held an advocacy training in collaboration with the Circles Ashland and RVA groups. It’s important that people who are affected by the programs we seek to improve have a seat at the table to help drive change. We will work with participants to draft their narratives and arrange meetings with lawmakers, and we look forward to holding more trainings soon. Stay tuned for updates from us on future opportunities to get involved.
Thanks, as always, for your support. We’re grateful to have you with us as we create a just Commonwealth together.
Executive Director, VPLC
Want to learn more about our advocacy efforts during the 2022 legislative session? Visit our Legislative Advocacy Page.