Preparing for the Reconvene Session
The last two weeks have been filled with many events around the community as well as preparation for the reconvene (“veto”) session back in Richmond. After the General Assembly adjourned sine die on February 23rd, the Governor has until tomorrow night to sign, amend or veto all legislation passed by the House and Senate during the 2019 Regular Session. We will meet on Wednesday, April 3rd to discuss, debate and vote on all legislation that the Governoramended or vetoed. While the acceptance of the Governor’s amendments requires a simple majority, two-thirds of the members of both legislative bodies must vote to override a Governor’s veto.
Bills of Interest that the Governor Signed
I am pleased that the Governor has signed two of my bills over the past two weeks: HB 2205, which will require the law and meaning of consent to be taught in high school Family Life Education courses and HB 2282, which will allow the Board of Counseling to create regulations for the issuance of temporary licenses to individuals engaged in a counseling, marriage & family therapy counseling, or substance abuse counseling residency. In layman’s terms, it makes it easier for postgraduate counseling residents who are training in the three aforementioned specialties to get their required training hours in a much more efficient way. Most importantly, it increases access to both mental health and substance abuse professionals.
Additionally, I wanted to share with you a few other bills that I co-patroned which the Governor recently signed as well:
HB 1732 will require each school board to develop training on safety procedures in the event of an emergency situation on school property. The bill also will require such training to be delivered to each student and employee in each school at least once each school year.
HB 1753 (Delegate Mark Sickles) will prohibit school employees from opening or closing an electronic room partition in any school building except under certain limited circumstances. The bill also will require any annual safety review or exercise for school employees in a local school division to include information and demonstrations, as appropriate, regarding the operation of such partitions. Lastly, the bill also will require the Department of Education to make available to each school board model safety guidance regarding the operation of such partitions.
HB 1804 will add cancers of the colon, brain, or testes to the list of cancers that are presumed to be an occupational disease covered by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act when firefighters and certain employees develop the cancer. The measure will become effective if reenacted by the 2020 Session of the General Assembly. The measure also will direct the 2020 Session of the General Assembly, in considering and enacting any legislation relating to workers’ compensation and the presumption of compensability for certain cancers, to consider any research, findings, and recommendations from the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission’s review of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation program.
HB 2020 (Delegate Matthew James) will require the Virginia Community College System, in consultation with the Department of Labor and Industry, to develop and deliver uniform, related instruction for registered apprenticeships in high-demand programs, as determined by the Virginia Board of Workforce Development and the Virginia Employment Commission, and for which coursework is not otherwise available. The bill will require such instruction to be available statewide and to be delivered in a face-to-face, online, or blended format.
HB 2577 will require health insurers, health care subscription plans, and health maintenance organizations to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder in individuals of any age. Currently, such coverage is required to be provided for individuals from age two through age 10. The provision will apply with respect to insurance policies, subscription contracts, and health care plans delivered, issued for delivery, reissued, or extended on or after January 1, 2020. I am so excited that we finally have “crushed the cap” on coverage. This process was a long time coming. I have been proud to support this measure for years and even served as chief co-patron on a similar bill in a previous year. What has been particularly special is to watch the drive and advocacy of so many advocates, in particular, Mark Llobell and Teresa Champion who were down in Richmond year after year advocating for this legislation.
You can see the hundreds of other bills approved by the Governor by clicking here.
Students Demand Action Meeting
I was pleased to join Students Demand Action-NoVa earlier this month as we commemorated the one-year anniversary of their walkouts demanding legislative action on gun violence prevention. One year later, these impressive students continue to lead in the fight for a safer Commonwealth. These students give me so much hope for our future. I know that with their advocacy, we can make Virginia and the country as a whole, a safer place.You can click here to read an article about the meeting.
Last week, I enjoyed attending the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s 41st Annual Valor Awards, hosted by NBC4’s Leon Harris. This is always a moving event with tremendous involvement from the community including leaders from business, federal, state, and local government–all supporting and honoring our impressive First Responders. Earlier this year, I was proud to work with Fairfax County Fire Rescue on legislation that would have created a PTSD Presumption in Worker’s Compensation for first responders. While neither my legislation nor a similar bill moved forward this year, I look forward to bringing the bill back next year. I remain grateful to our public safety officials for their sacrifices every single day.
Paving Plan in the 41st District for 2019
VDOT has released the paving schedule for 2019 and I will post the link to the map as soon as possible. I am pleased to see several major arteries on the list including:
- Braddock Road between Roberts Road and Red Fox Drive
- Braddock Road between Roberts Road and Burke Lake Road
- Burke Centre Parkway/Lee Chapel Road between Old Keene Mill Road and Burke Lake Road
- Burke Centre Parkway between Powell Landing Road and Oak Leather Drive
- Little River Turnpike between Elizabeth Lane and the Fairfax City Limits
- Roberts Parkway between Burke Centre Parkway and Fairfax County Parkway
- Roberts Parkway between Burke Centre Parkway and New Guinea Road
- Prosperity Avenue between Little River Turnpike and Arlington Boulevard.
Please continue to email me about concerns, particularly regarding roads that did not make this list this year. I will advocate for those to be added as priorities for 2020 repaving and at the very least—to be patched in the interim. I will keep you posted as well about when repaving will start on the roads mentioned above.