2022 Session Update: New Leadership, Same Mission
Friday, January 21st, 2022
The 2022 General Assembly is off and running, with 1,938 House and Senate bills filed — and more expected to come. Our advocates are dealing with a lot of change this year: a new Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, members in the House of Delegates, and committee chairs. But among the change, one thing remains constant: we will spend as many hours as necessary to advocate on behalf of low-income Virginians.
Below, an update on some of our issues and how you can help:
HB 839 is speculated to be up Tuesday in the Commerce and Energy Subcommittee. VPLC supports this bill because it would let the State Corporation Commission do its job of protecting utility customers and ensuring a fair rate of return for utility companies and ensure the clean energy transition of the Virginia Clean Economy Act.
We are continuing to advocate for the creation of two pilot parent representation centers to increase access to justice for parents, which would improve outcomes for children in foster care.
VPLC supports SB 159 and HB 732. This legislation would stop public universities from holding back student transcripts from students who owe a debt to the school, allowing students to move forward with employment or complete their education.
SB 40, which would protect Virginia’s vulnerable adults from unlawful eviction from assisted living facilities, will be up next Friday. VPLC supports this bill as it guarantees that older adults have the same rights to stable housing as any other tenant in Virginia.
VPLC opposes HB 237, which rolls back important consumer protections on Short-Term Limited-Duration (STLD) plans passed in 2020. While these plans meet the needs of some consumers with short coverage gaps, they are not designed to be comprehensive, year-round coverage and lack many consumer protections. STLD plans are often misrepresented to consumers, and many people purchase them without knowing their limitations.
VPLC supports budget amendments (House Budget Amendment Item 304 #44h, Senate Budget Amendments Item 304 #12s & Item 304 #32s) that would streamline Medicaid enrollment for recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI). People who receive SSI are among the nation’s poorest, and currently, SSI recipients in Virginia must go through a complicated and duplicative process to get Medicaid despite being known to meet the Medicaid eligibility criteria. This bill would remove administrative barriers keeping vulnerable Virginians from getting necessary health coverage.
Our priority for next week is Senator Ebbin’s SB 284, which would allow tenants to raise poor conditions and lack of repairs as a defense to nonpayment of rent.
VPLC supports Senator Hashmi’s SB 270, which would ensure that all state agencies in the Commonwealth offer language access services. Nearly 500,000 Virginia residents (6.1% of Virginia’s population) speak a language other than English. 12.1% of Virginians have disabilities, and roughly 11% of adult Virginians have low literacy levels. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also legally requires language access, as recipients of federal funds are prohibited from operating programs in a manner that discriminates on the basis of race, color, or national origin.
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.