General Assembly Session Update: Recap on Week 3
Sunday, January 31st, 2021
While much of our work at the General Assembly is not making the headlines, we are quietly having success (so far) with our initiatives to create a more just and equitable Virginia.
Our housing bills are all about preventing evictions. Many of our initiatives are supported by landlords because avoiding eviction also often leads to landlords getting paid.
HB1900 (Delegate Hudson) and SB1215 (Senator Ebbin): These bills are designed to stop landlords from illegally evicting clients through such means as cutting off heat or electricity or changing locks to force tenants out of their homes. HB1900 passed the House and SB1215 passed a Senate committee.
HB1889 (Delegate Price): HB1889 makes permanent the policy passed during the 2020 special session that landlords must give tenants a 14-day notice before filing an eviction and larger landlords must offer tenants a payment plan. This bill passed the house on a close vote, so stay tuned for more updates.
HB2014 (Delegate Price): This bill makes Virginia law fair by guaranteeing that a tenant who pays everything they owe at least 48 hours before the scheduled eviction can’t get evicted for nonpayment of rent. The bill passed a subcommittee.
Preserving the American Dream Act, HB1327 (Senator McClellan) and HB2175 (Delegate Torian): These bills make modest changes to Virginia’s foreclosure law to help some homeowners facing foreclosure get the help they need to make their mortgage payments and protect their home. These bills also help preserve the least-cost entry into homeownership in Virginia: manufactured homes. Both bills passed committees in the House and Senate with only one opposition vote in the House.
Voting No to Association Health Plans and Yes to Reinsurance, HB2332 (Delegate Sickles): Association health plans skirt Affordable Care Act consumer protections and cherry-pick healthier and younger enrollees, creating an uneven playing field and increasing premiums for those dependent on comprehensive coverage. HB2332 would establish the Commonwealth Health Reinsurance Program. Reinsurance subsidizes insurers for certain high-cost enrollees. This creates a “healthier” and more predictable risk pool, allowing insurers to lower ACA premiums. States with reinsurance programs had an average premium reduction of 16.9% in the first year, and reinsurance does NOT undermine any ACA consumer protections or split the risk pool. In fact, the lower premiums may draw new, healthy individuals into the plans, strengthening the risk pool. This bill passed a house committee and was referred to another committee.
Increasing access to SNAP, HB1820 (Delegate Helmer): This bill will make 25,000 Virginia families eligible for food assistance funded by the federal government. The bill passed committees and is now on the House floor.
Simplify Access to Birth Certificates, SB1121 (Senator Locke): This bill, which would make it easier for individuals to make corrections to their birth certificates, passed the Senate 29-10.
Domestic and Sexual Violence
We have been involved in discussions about several criminal justice and gun law bills to prevent any unintentional negative effects for domestic violence victims.
Family and Child Welfare
HB2002 (Delegate Samirah): This bill requires the Division of Child Support Enforcement, when calculating child support for low-income families, to determine if the child would qualify for Medicaid or FAMIS. The bill passed committee.
Thanks as always for your support,
Executive Director, VPLC