Celebrating one legislative victory as we look toward more.
Saturday, August 8th, 2020
Last week, we celebrated an end to the injustice of predatory lending with the passage of the Virginia Fairness in Lending Act. But with the special session of the Virginia General Assembly right around the corner, we hope you will roll up your sleeves with us and get back to work advocating for justice for those dealing with the terrible impact of this pandemic. Here is a list of legislation VPLC will be working to get passed:
Preventing mass evictions in Virginia during the pandemic
State and federal moratoriums on evictions have expired. Without further action by state leaders, thousands of Virginia renters will be forced out of their homes this fall in the midst of the worst public health crisis we’ve experienced in over a century. If these mass evictions are allowed to occur, they will not only threaten the health and safety of those who are evicted, but will also threaten public health and safety. We are advocating for legislation during the special session to do the following:
– Halt evictions except in cases where the tenant’s behavior poses a threat to the life, health, or safety of the landlords or other tenants.
– Promote payment plans over evictions by requiring landlords to offer a payment plan based upon the tenant’s ability to pay before initiating an eviction of the tenant. Eviction should only be authorized if the tenant refuses to accept a reasonable payment plan or refuses to follow through.
– Protect tenants who lost income during COVID-19 from a future of second-rate housing by preventing landlords from refusing applicants solely because of debt they accrued during COVID-19.
– Protect people living in hotels and motels during the pandemic by requiring that the same protections given to all tenants be given to all people who live in hotels and motels.
Expanding health care
VPLC, along with many other organizations, urge Virginia legislators to adopt three measures to address the disparate and devastating impact of COVID-19 on Latino and other immigrant communities. These communities must have better access to health care in order to limit the spread of the virus and prevent medical complications and death. The measures are:
– End unnecessary and harsh rules that keep immigrants from being eligible for Medicaid.
– Clarify that Medicaid “Emergency Services” specifically cover COVID-19 screening, testing and ALL related treatment.
– Increase the age that “legally residing” immigrant children can qualify for Medicaid and FAMIS insurance.
We are also advocating for funding to be put back into the state budget that will provide the following Medicaid services:
– Provide adult dental services
– Extend post-partum coverage from 60 days to 12 months
– Expand availability of home visiting services
Keeping utilities on during the pandemic
Families should not have to fear having their necessary utility service discontinued because their income has been decimated by COVID-19. We are advocating for an “Emergency Moratorium Debt Repayment Program” to ensure that all Virginians receive utility service regardless of payment status during the pandemic.
Placing funding back into the state budget for child welfare priorities:
– Child abuse prevention
– Intervention to prevent foster care
– Improvements in the foster care system
Paid Sick days
VPLC is working with other organizations to get legislation passed that would require all employers to provide five paid sick days during regular times to all full-time employees and a special two-week (80 hour) COVID-19 pandemic paid sick days coverage for all workers during this crisis. Learn more here.
GET INVOLVED: VISIT VPLC’s ACTION CENTER FOR UPCOMING ACTION ALERTS AND SUPPORT PAID SICK DAYS HERE.
Thanks as always for your support. We couldn’t do this work without you.
Jay Speer, Executive Director
Virginia Poverty Law Center