Key Filler-Corn Priorities Become Law; Studied by State Commissions
Preventing Sexual Assault on and off College Campuses, Improving Child Care Safety, Creating Opportunities for People with Disabilities, Common Sense Gun Safety Legislation among priorities that passed Virginia’s House and Senate
Springfield, VA – During a very productive legislative session, several key priorities championed by Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Springfield) passed the Virginia House and Senate this year and made their way to Governor Terry McAuliffe for his signature, including:
The ABLE Act: Filler-Corn’s bill, HB 1103 builds upon her work last year with Virginia ABLE Act. This bill ensures Virginia ABLE accounts will be exempt from state means testing. Filler-Corn was also instrumental in securing a $2,000 tax deduction for those who contribute to ABLE accounts in the 2017-2018 biennial budget. This legislation continues to follow a new federal law that was inspired by the late Stephen Beck, a 41st District resident who advocated for people with disabilities for years.
Ensuring Firearms are out the hands of Domestic Abusers: Filler-Corn served as Chief Co-Patron on HB 1391, which provides that it is a Class 6 felony for a person who is subject to a permanent protective order (i.e., a protective order with a maximum duration of two years) for family abuse to possess a firearm while the order is in effect. The bill also provides that such person may continue to possess and transport a firearm for 24 hours after being served with the order for the purposes of selling or transferring the firearm to another person. Filler-Corn had introduced similar legislation in 2015 and 2016. Because of HB 1391, Virginia now has one of the strictest permanent protective orders in the country.
Helping Children Return to School After Cancer Treatment: Filler-Corn’s bipartisan bill, HB 475 requires the Department of Education to review relevant federal regulations and suggest revisions to Department guidance documents on such federal regulations relating to a return to learn protocol for students who have been treated for pediatric cancer. This bill will help parents know what questions to ask. It will help schools be prepared for a student’s return and most importantly ensure a student’s transition back to school is as smooth as possible.
Teaching High School Students about Safe Relationships: Filler-Corn’s bipartisan bill, HB 659 requires any high school family life education curriculum offered by a local school division to incorporate age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the prevention of dating violence, domestic abuse, sexual harassment, and sexual violence. By teaching high school students about safe relationships, this law has the potential to curb sexual assaults before they even happen.
Creating Trauma Informed Training for Campus Law Enforcement: Filler-Corn’s bill, HB 1102, requires the Department of Criminal Justice Services, in consultation with the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and the Virginia Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, to develop multidisciplinary curricula on trauma-informed sexual assault investigation. This bill ensures that campus law enforcement will treat victims of campus sexual assault with sensitivity these victims deserve.
Improving Child Care Safety: The Senate Companinon bill (SJ 63) of Filler-Corn’s bill HB 474 passed. Both bills requests the Department of Social Services to (i) review all categories of child day programs exempt from licensure, (ii) formulate recommendations regarding whether such programs should remain exempt from licensure or whether any modifications are necessary to protect the health and well-being of the children receiving care in such programs, and (iii) consult with all relevant stakeholders.
Investing in High Tech Businesses: Working with the Governor, Filler-Corn introduced HB 1100, modifying the existing research and development expenses tax credit and create a similar tax credit for businesses with related expenses in excess of $5 million for the taxable year. The bill would change the existing tax credit by extending the expiration date from January 1, 2019, to January 1, 2026; establish an alternative computation for the tax credit beginning with taxable year 2016; and increase from $6 million to $7 million the maximum amount of tax credits that may be granted. Similar bills including SB 58, which Filler-Corn served as a co-patron on, passed and have been signed by the Governor.
Several of Filler-Corn’s Bills will also be studied by state commissions and committees.
Helping Virginians Have Peace of Mind: Filler-Corn’s bill, HB 473 directs the Board of Health to require that every state-licensed hospital, nursing home, and certified nursing facility establish a system for identifying end-stage and long term chronically ill patients and residents who may benefit from palliative care, helping them access treatment that is dignified, humane and appropriate. This bill is currently being studied by the Joint Commission on Health Care.
Helping College Students Save Money: Filler-Corn introduced HB 662, which would allow the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia (SCHEV) to provide grants to encourage low-cost or no-cost open educational resources. This would give college and university students the opportunity to spend less on textbook materials. This bill is currently being studied by the Joint Commission on the Future Competitiveness of Higher Education in Virginia.
“My priorities center around protecting our families, strengthening our education system, improving our quality of life in Virginia and helping our small businesses compete,” said Filler-Corn. “I know we can make Virginia an even better place to raise a family and start a business by maintaining our world-class public schools, providing safe child care, universities where our students feel secure, helping our seniors and people with disabilities and cutting red tape so we can help more businesses get off the ground.”