Happy Crossover! After today's floor session, all House bills will have been considered by a committee and voted on on the floor and will head to the Senate to be heard in their committees and eventually the Senate floor. Likewise, starting next week, all House of Delegates committees will start discussing and examining bills that the Senate passed in the past few weeks. There is still a lot of work ahead of us, and I hope you will continue to let me know how you feel about bills coming before me in the House.
In this newsletter I have provided an update on my legislation, other important pieces of legislation the House has considered and passed, and an update on COVID-19 in the Commonwealth.
As a reminder, you can reach out to my office at any time at DelKDelaney@house.virginia.gov to schedule a virtual meeting with me during the session. I am looking forward to hearing from you as the session as the session continues. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email my office or call us at 703-996-9415 or 804-698-1067.
January was a tough month for COVID-19 cases in the Commonwealth, but finally, cases are starting to trend downward again. However, that does not mean we can let down our guard, particularly as cases of new mutations of the virus have been reported in Virginia. Please continue to practice good personal hygiene, wear your mask, and maintain social distancing when you leave the house.
Phase 1B of the vaccine rollout continues in both Fairfax and Loudoun Counties. Based on Virginia Department of Health guidance, 50% of doses should be allocated to people 65 and older and 50% of doses should be reserved for frontline essential workers.
The federal government has increased Virginia's allotment of vaccine doses from 105,000 doses per week to 129,000 doses per week. While that is good news, the new doses do have to be distributed to all 35 health districts in the Commonwealth. As you know, all states rely on the federal government to distribute vaccine doses by population.
And, as a part of the federal retail pharmacy program, 36 CVS locations across the Commonwealth will soon receive an additional 26,000 doses of the vaccine beyond our normal allocation. The Virginia Department of Health is working with CVS to identify locations and registration processes to promote swift and equitable distribution of these doses. The number of weekly doses and vaccination locations are expected to increase in the coming weeks for this program.
Finally, in his press conference today, Governor Northam announced new direction the administration sent to local school divisions indicating that all school divisions should offer some form of in-person learning by March 15. Read more about that announcement here.
Here are some resources and information about the vaccine in the Commonwealth and in Loudoun and Fairfax Counties:
I'm proud to announce that all seven of the bills I introduced this session have passed the House and are headed to the Senate for consideration! And they all received strong bi-partisan support in both committee and on the floor. I look forward to the opportunity to defend this legislation to my colleagues in the other body starting next week, and will continue to provide you with updates each week.
As is typical, the only bill that hasn't been voted on yet is the state's budget bill. The House and Senate money committees will be finishing their work on the fiscal year 2022 budget this weekend, then the budget bill will head to the floor for discussion and a vote. I will have more updates on this next week, but you can keep up with House Appropriations work on their website.
Here are some other critical pieces of legislation that were passed by the House in recent weeks:
HB 2333:As I mentioned last week, this bill allows more healthcare professionals to administer the COVID-19 vaccine, expands data transparency, and allows businesses more freedom to hold mass vaccination events on their property. This bill will be essential as supply of the vaccine increases in the Commonwealth.
HB 1828: Allows the DMV Commissioner to extend the validity of credentials during a declared state of emergency.
HB 1999: Authorizes the tax commissioner to waive interest payments for taxpayers during a public health emergency.
HB 2203: Requires the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services to establish the Virginia Agriculture Food Assistance Program for Virginia farmers and food producers to donate or sell their products to charitable food organizations.
HB 2204: Establishes the Get Skilled, Get a Job, and Give Back (G3) program in the Commonwealth, to provide financial assistance to people in the Virginia Community College System who are enrolled in a program for employment in a high-need field.
HB 1804: Directs the Department of Conservation and Recreation to develop recommendations for dedicated sources of funding for state parks that will be relatively stable from year to year.
HB 2263: Abolishes the death penalty in the Commonwealth.
As a reminder, below are some links for you to follow along with bills and the proceedings of House and Senate committees:
As always, if you'd like to schedule a time to meet with me or a member of my staff during the virtual session, please email us at DelKDelaney@house.virginia.gov.
Loudoun Delegation COVID-19 Vaccine Town Hall:
Please join the Loudoun Delegation to the General Assembly on February 9th at 6pm for a town hall with Dr. Danny Avula (State Coordinator on COVID-19 vaccine) and Dr. David Goodfriend (Director of the Loudoun County Health Department). We will be discussing the vaccine rollout and what the future holds on this critical issue.
You can email your questions in advance to Aaron at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can register for the event ahead of time here. It will also be broadcast live on Facebook.
Mental Health and Domestic Violence Resources:
At this trying time, it is important that we continue to care for our mental health. Here are some resources if you are struggling and need help:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Fairfax/Falls Church Community Services Board hotline: 703-527-4077
Loudoun County Mental Health Emergency Services...703.777.0320
Loudoun Suicide Prevention...703.777.0176
PRS CrisisLink: 703-527-4077 or text “Connect” to 85511
SAMHSA National Helpline: 800-662-HELP (800-662-4357)
Children's Regional Crisis Response: 844-NCrisis (844-627-4747) in English and Spanish