As we conclude the first full week of the 2020 General Assembly session, there has already been much progress to report on. I and the rest of your new legislative leadership are working diligently to craft a fair, balanced budget and advance forward-looking bills resulting in abetter Virginia.
On Wednesday, Virginia made history by becoming the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Although the ERA was first introduced in 1923, it still offers substantial benefits to women today by: helping to protect women from sexual harassment in the workplace; ensuring equal pay for equal work; and reinvigorating the enforcement of existing gender equity laws. I am proud to be a co-patron of HJ1, the resolution that ratified and affirmed the ERA.
The House Appropriations Committee is working diligently to build a budget for the Commonwealth that is economically responsible, responsive to community input, and will improve standards of living and equity of opportunity across Virginia. You can read a summary of the Governor’s proposed biennial budget here: https://budget.lis.virginia.gov/sessionreports/2020/1/. Budget amendment requests from House and Senate members are now available here: https://budget.lis.virginia.gov/amendments/2020/1/. Budget amendments will be heard before the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 22.
In addition to my work on the state budget, this session I have introduced a set of bills based on what I have been hearing from experts and constituents of the 52nd district over the last year:
HB1251 – We must continue to take steps toward ensuring accessible and affordable healthcare for every Virginian. “Balance billing” saddles insured patients with unexpected medical debt which can place financial strain on Virginia families. HB1251 will end the issue of surprise balance billing for emergency healthcare services. *Have you received a surprise bill after a visit to the ER? Contact me if you want to share your story and help stop balance billing in VA.*
Community Policing Act – In the practice of policing, bias-based profiling, unwarranted property searches, and use of excessive force are examples ofcriminal injustice. The Community Policing Act will deterthese injustices and increase accountability for this misuse of power by creating a comprehensive database of the basis and outcome of every officer traffic stop.
Manufactured Home Lot Rental Act – Virginia’s eviction crisis is leaving too many families in cycles of housing instability. The Manufactured Home Lot Rental Act takes steps to ameliorate this for residents of manufactured home parks.
Legislation I have co-patroned include a bill that would regulate predatory payday lenders, and another that would allow for worker cooperatives.