Virginia Legislation

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Virginia General Assembly
This is the official site of the Virginia General Assembly.  It houses a wealth of information, including members of the House of Delegates and Senate, committee assignments, bill tracking service, laws and regulations, calendar, current events, state budget, and a virtual tour of the Virginia State Capitol.

Who’s My Legislator 
Enter your address in the space provided and the names and websites of your state Delegate(s) and Senator(s) will appear.

Governor of Virginia
This is the official site of the Governor of Virginia, including bios for Governor Ralph S. Northam.  Subscribe to email updates, make citizen requests, and/or contact the Governor and his staff.


Announcing the Release of the

Virginia Roadmap to End Hunger


Special Session of the Virginia General Assembly

September 17, 2020 – The Virginia General Assembly remains in Special Session, surpassing the one-month mark as of Friday the 18th.  Only one piece of legislation has been approved so far. It was a time-sensitive matter related to the election.  Each chamber has largely acted on its own legislation.  The House approved 38 of its 149 introduced bills, and the Senate approved 44 of its 121 introduced bills. Those bills are crossing over and now being taken up in the opposite chambers.

Adjustments to the state budget remains one of the main reasons for convening the special session, and the House and Senate Appropriations committees continue to evaluate the governor’s introduced budget.  Thus far, there has been no announcement about when the committees might roll out their own versions of the budget, but most indications are that they expect to adjourn the session by the end of the month.

There has been some progress on the key pieces of legislation that we are following.  In particular,  legislation to expand telehealth advanced unanimously in the Senate and House of Delegates and is now expected to advance to the governor by next week.  Delegate Adams’ HB5046 and Senator Barker’s SB5080 do a number of things including:

  • Allows reimbursement for services regardless of the originating site, including at home
  • No entity can require the use of proprietary technology or applications in order to be reimbursed
  • Requires DMAS to continue reimbursement for telemedicine via audio only for covered services through July 1, 2021

Legislation to require the Department of Health to make public any reports related to any outbreak of communicable diseases at any medical care facility including hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and more, is expected to go to the governor next week as well.  It has passed both chambers.

Legislation that would have prioritized rapid diagnostic testing for certain essential workers, including health care workers, was defeated in the House Health committee.  Without the legislation, the Department of Health retains discretion about how to prioritize these resources.

Similarly, legislation was defeated in the Senate Finance Committee that would have extended a worker’s compensation presumption for healthcare workers (and other frontline workers) who work with COVID patients if they test positive for the virus.  The legislation would create the presumption that the individual contracted the virus at work and thus entitle them to workers compensation benefits.  However, the House version of the legislation passed the House and is back before the Senate Finance Committee, so they will get another chance to consider the proposal.

A full list of bills that we are following is attached here.

August 26, 2020 – The Virginia General Assembly has now completed the first full week of business during this special session.  The House of Delegates had to wait 5 days for the adoption of a rule change to allow electronic committee meetings and floor sessions before they could begin taking up bills, but as of Monday bills are being heard in the House.  The Senate is meeting in Richmond in a socially distant manner, but taking public testimony virtually.  On Tuesday, Senator Bryce Reeves of Spotsylvania announced he had tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in quarantine.

This week, legislation to expand telehealth advanced unanimously in the Senate and House of Delegates.  Delegate Adams’ HB5046 and Senator Barker’s SB5080 do a number of things including:

  • Allows reimbursement for services regardless of the originating site, including at home
  • No entity can require the use of proprietary technology or applications in order to be reimbursed
  • Requires DMAS to continue reimbursement for telemedicine via audio only for covered services through July 1, 2021

Legislation including HB5048 and SB5081 also advanced to require the Department of Health to make public any reports related to any outbreak of communicable diseases at any medical care facility including hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and more.

Legislation also advanced including SB5095 and HB5105 to require that when the Commissioner of Health determines that a communicable disease of public health significance exists in the Commonwealth, he shall ensure that any available rapid diagnostic testing indicating the existence of such communicable disease is readily available to all essential workers in the Commonwealth. Priority for access to such testing shall go to health care providers among others.

Finally, the House and Senate advanced HB5028 and SB5066 to create a presumption in worker’s compensation program to ensure that when health care workers and certain other front line essential workers test positive for COVID-19 it is presumed that they contracted the disease at work and is compensable under the program.  The legislation would apply to all cases dating back to January 1, 2020.  The bills have been reported and re-referred to their respective appropriations committees for further review as to their fiscal impact to the Commonwealth and localities.You can review all bills that we are following here.


August 19, 2020 – The Virginia General Assembly has convened today in Richmond for a special session to consider bills related to the COVID-19 pandemic and criminal justice reform, in addition to reviewing and making changes to the state budget. The House will be meeting at VCU’s Seigel Center, and virtually, and the Senate will be meeting at the Science Museum of Virginia in order to adhere to social distancing and safety requirements. The Senate has already begun committee work and those actions are summarized below. 

Yesterday, Governor Northam addressed a joint meeting of the House Appropriations, House Finance, and Senate Finance & Appropriations Committees ahead of the 2020 special legislative session. Virginia ended the 2020 fiscal year on June 30th with a $234 million shortfall in general fund revenue collections. While this is significant, it was less than projected, and Virginia still saw an overall revenue increase of 2 percent over fiscal year 2019. The Governor projects we will have $2.7 billion less than we expected in general fund revenue for the coming biennium. At the reconvened session in April, the Governor and the General Assembly “unalloted” most of the two and a quarter billion dollars in new spending that they had planned in the budget. Fortunately, funding for VAND’s long sought after food access fund was preserved.

Today, the Senate committees began taking up legislation. We have attached a full list of bills that we are following, but here is a sampling of the bills that were acted on today. Please let us know if you have questions or comments on specific legislation that VAND should consider.

Senate Education & Health Committee

S.B. 5081 Patron: Barker, Reported from Committee 15-0. Outbreaks of communicable disease of public health threat; posting of information. Requires the Department of Health to make information about outbreaks of communicable diseases of public health threat at any medical care facility, residential or day program, service or facility licensed or operated by any agency of the Commonwealth, school, or summer camp currently required to report an outbreak of a communicable disease to the Department available to the public on a website maintained by the Department. Such information shall include the name of the place at which the outbreak has occurred and the number of confirmed cases of and deaths resulting from such communicable disease reported by each such place.

Senate Education & Health Committee

S.B. 5081 Patron: Barker, Reported from Committee 15-0. Outbreaks of communicable disease of public health threat; posting of information. Requires the Department of Health to make information about outbreaks of communicable diseases of public health threat at any medical care facility, residential or day program, service or facility licensed or operated by any agency of the Commonwealth, school, or summer camp currently required to report an outbreak of a communicable disease to the Department available to the public on a website maintained by the Department. Such information shall include the name of the place at which the outbreak has occurred and the number of confirmed cases of and deaths resulting from such communicable disease reported by each such place.

S.B. 5080 Patron: Barker, Reported from Committee 15-0. Telemedicine services. Provides that no health care provider who provides health care services via telemedicine services shall be required to use proprietary technology or applications to be reimbursed for providing telemedicine services, and eliminates provisions stating that telemedicine services does not include audio-only telephone.  Further, the bill Directs the Board of Medical Assistance Services to amend the state plan for medical assistance services to provide for payment of medical assistance for medically necessary health care services provided through telemedicine services, regardless of the originating site or whether the patient is accompanied by a health care provider at the time such services are provided.

S.B. 5095 Patron: Dunnavant, Reported from Committee 15-0. Rapid diagnostic testing; essential workers; emergency.Requires that when the Commissioner of Health determines that a communicable disease of public health significance exists in the Commonwealth, he shall ensure that any available rapid diagnostic testing indicating the existence of such communicable disease is readily available to all essential workers in the Commonwealth. Priority for access to such testing shall go to (i) health care providers, (ii) law-enforcement officers, (iii) emergency medical services personnel and emergency medical services providers, (iv) patients in nursing homes who are determined by the nursing home to be high-risk patients, (v) public and private elementary and secondary schools in the Commonwealth, and (vi) public institutions of higher education and private institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth. The bill contains an emergency clause.

Senate Commerce & Labor Committee

S.B. 5066 Patron: Saslaw, Reported and Referred to Finance 12-3. Workers’ compensation; presumption of compensability for COVID-19. Establishes a presumption that COVID-19 causing the death or disability of firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, law-enforcement officers, first responders, and health care providers is an occupational disease compensable under the Workers’ Compensation Act. The provisions of the bill will be effective retroactive to January 1, 2020.


Virginia General Assembly 2020 Legislative Session

March 11, 2020 – This was a very successful year for VAND’s legislative agenda. Major priorities were approved by the General Assembly whether in legislation or the budget.

First of all, the Governor proposed a G3 plan (Get Skilled, Get a Job, & Give Back) which provides free community college to low/middle income students who are enrolled in a program at a Virginia community college that leads to an occupation in a high-demand field. The General Assembly provided $69 million in funding over two years to fund this initiative, and included a number of healthcare related degrees. The qualifying degrees are identified by their Classification of Instructional Program Codes, and 51.3101 Dietetics/Dietitian is included in the program.

VAND helped successfully pass HB 840 and SB 605. This legislation requires health insurers whose plan includes coverage for medicines to classify medically necessary formula and enteral nutrition products as medicine and to include coverage for medically necessary formula and enteral nutrition products for covered individuals requiring treatment for an inherited metabolic disorder. Such coverage is required to be provided on the same terms and subject to the same conditions imposed on other medicines covered under the policy, contract, or plan. The measure provides that the required coverage includes any medical equipment, supplies, and services that are required to administer the covered formula or enteral nutrition products. These requirements apply only to formula and enteral nutrition products that are furnished pursuant to the prescription or order of a physician or other health care professional qualified to make such prescription or order for the management of an inherited metabolic disorder and are used under medical supervision.

VAND also helped successfully pass SB 1073 and HB 1509 through the General Assembly. This legislation creates the Virginia Food Access Investment Program and Fund to provide funding for the construction, rehabilitation, equipment upgrades, or expansion of grocery stores, small food retailers, and innovative food retail projects, defined in the bill, in underserved communities.  The budget agreement provides $1.25 million for the fund and provides a full time employee at VDACS to implement the fund and coordinate efforts and programs to increase access to food.

VAND supported SB 95 which passed both chambers. This legislation requires a health carrier offering or providing a health benefit plan, including (i) short-term and catastrophic health insurance policies, and policies that pay on a cost-incurred basis; (ii) association health plans; and (iii) plans provided by a multiple-employer welfare arrangement, to provide, as an essential health benefit, coverage that includes preventive care. Essential health benefits include items and services covered in accordance with regulations issued pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in effect as of January 1, 2019.

VAND supported HB 342. This bill exempts from meals tax, which may be imposed by any city or town, and food and beverage tax, which may be imposed by any county, sales by sellers at local farmers markets and roadside stands, when such sellers’ annual income from such sales does not exceed $2,500.

You can view all the legislation that the VAND tracked this session using the link below.

TRACK VAND LEGISLATION HERE


February 28, 2020 – With just one week remaining until the scheduled March 7th adjournment, most of the legislative work is coming to a close.  Most committees have now completed their work but around 800 bills remain pending before the full House and Senate. The legislature has approved more than 1200 bills so far and the governor has approved 17 of them. Over the next week, House and Senate budget conferees will be working to negotiate differences in their respective biennial budget proposals.

On Friday, Governor Northam sent a letter to the budget conferees encouraging them to revisit some of the Governor’s priorities and adjourn on time.  In the letter, Governor Northam urged conferees to be mindful of structural balance in the state’s finances, the need to invest in people and programs that have been underfunded in the past, and the positive effects of creating opportunity and supporting programs that maintain Virginia’s economic strength. The Governor specifically asked conferees to consider investments in education, from early childhood to higher education; support for previously underfunded African American historic and cultural sites; investments in clean water and affordable housing; and reconsideration of a reinsurance program to promote affordable health care.

We continue to advocate for fully funding the Food Access Investment Program in the budget. The House provided $5.8 million for the biennium, though the Senate provided significantly less.

Most of the bills that we are tracking have either been defeated or if they have passed, are working their way through the final legislative steps. You can click the link below to view the full list of bills that we have been monitoring this year and the current status.

TRACK VAND LEGISLATION HERE


February 21, 2020 – Thanks to all who came to Richmond for VAND’s annual Legislative Day event this past Wednesday, February 19th.  We had 88 members meet with legislators and staff from throughout the Commonwealth and had a great, impactful day!  This week marks the end of the seventh week of the 2020 Virginia General Assembly session.  There are only two weeks left before the scheduled adjournment on March 7th.  Roughly 1,400 bills are still active between the House and the Senate and will need to be acted upon over the next 15 days.

This week was largely dominated by the new 2020-2021 biennial budget.  On Sunday, the House and Senate unveiled their respective budgets and on Thursday, both chambers formally adopted their versions.  The House and Senate will send the budget into conference where a special group of legislators from each chamber will negotiate the differences and produce a final new budget on March 5.

Finally!  Both versions of the budget include money for the Food Access Investment Fund, however there is a significant difference in the amount of funding.  The Senate’s budget includes $700,000 in the biennium to establish the Virginia Food Access Investment Fund and Food Access Coordinator position at the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.  The House’s budget includes $5.8 million the first year for VDACS to establish and operate the Virginia Food Access Investment Program.  Of the amount provided, $500,000 is provided for the agency to create a Food Access Coordinator position, to support improving healthy food access for communities with limited access to fresh locally grown products.  The difference will be negotiated in conference and a final amount will be agreed upon.

Both budgets include money for the summer feeding program but at different amounts.  The House included $12 million for the program to last two years of the budget.  The Senate limited the program to only one year.

Both chambers included $3 million from TANF for VA Federation of Food Banks to provide child nutrition programs, $15 million to continue state funded incentive program to increase student participation in school breakfast program, $2 million for breakfast after the bell programs, and $10.6 million to reduce or eliminate the cost of breakfast/lunch for federally eligible reduced price meals.

We will continue to monitor budget negotiations as we move through the conference process.  You can track all VAND legislation including other budget amendments adopted using the link below.

TRACK VAND LEGISLATION HERE


February 11, 2020 – Crossover – Today was the deadline for the House to act on all House bills and the Senate to act on all Senate bills. By now, all bills that are still alive have crossed over to the opposite chamber for consideration prior to the scheduled adjournment date of March 7th. In total, the House of Delegates and Virginia Senate approved roughly half of the 2829 introduced bills.

The House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees will release their proposed budgets on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 16th.  The budgets will reflect the priorities of the new majorities in each chamber.  We will update you following the release of the budget information.

The House and Senate passed identical versions of VAND priority legislation to require insurance companies to provide coverage for medically necessary formulas.  Both bills passed the chamber unanimously.  They go to the opposite chamber where the legislation will likely pass quickly with little debate since it has already been heard before.  The legislation will then go to the Governor’s desk for his action.  The law will take effect July 1st, and it will apply to health plans offered after January 1, 2021.

HB1509 patroned by Delegate Delores McQuinn which creates the Virginia Food Access Investment Program and Fund to provide funding for the construction, rehabilitation, equipment upgrades, or expansion of grocery stores, small food retailers, and innovative food retail projects in underserved communities passed the House 84-13.  The Senate version, SB 1073 passed the Senate unanimously.  This has been a VAND priority for several years and we are cautiously optimistic that we will be successful this year on both the legislation and funding for it.

Legislation was introduced in both the House and Senate to license naturopathic doctors.  As defined in the bill, a naturopathic doctor is an individual, other than a doctor of medicine, osteopathy, chiropractic, or podiatry, who may diagnose, treat, and help prevent diseases using a system of practice that is based on the natural healing capacity of individuals, using physiological, psychological, or physical methods, and who may also use natural medicines, prescriptions, legend drugs, foods, herbs, or other natural remedies, including light and air.  Both the House and Senate versions were defeated in committee.  VAND worked with the advocates and patrons to ensure that it did not apply to dietitians.

Several bills were introduced to make sure that people eligible for TANF and/or food stamps are not excluded because of drug related felonies.  SB124 passed the Senate 22-17 and HB566 passed the House 55-44.

For a full list of all the bills that VAND is tracking this session, click the link below.

TRACK VAND LEGISLATION HERE


February 7, 2020 – This week marks the end of the 5th week of the 2020 Virginia General Assembly legislative session.  Much like last week, committees and subcommittees met every night this week late into the evening to ensure that legislation is acted upon before crossover on Tuesday, February 11th.  Legislators are expected to meet over the weekend to act on any remaining bills still in committee.

A recent infographic from VPAP illustrates some of the popular issues this session as compared to the last.  The number of bills introduced by Virginia legislators is up this year, and issues generating more interest – including guns, labor rights, and discrimination – reflect the priorities of the new majority.

Several VAND priorities advanced this week.  Chief among them is legislation to create the Virginia Food Access Investment Program and Fund.  It passed the Senate unanimously, and it is expected to fare well in the House.  This has been a team effort with other organizations over the past few years.  The legislation provides funding for the construction, rehabilitation, equipment upgrades, or expansion of grocery stores, small food retailers, and innovative food retail projects in underserved communities in order to increase access to fresh, healthy foods.  A corresponding budget amendment also includes funding for increasing access to the fresh match program, which provides a $1 for $1 SNAP incentive for the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables.

This week saw major comprehensive pieces of legislation pass the legislature.  One piece of legislation will protect LBGTQ citizens from discrimination in housing, employment, and public spaces.  Virginia would become the first Southern state to adopt such protections if the measures become law as expected.  Legislation to allow casino gambling in the Commonwealth was another major topic of discussion as both chambers advanced similar bills from committee and are expected to pass their respective chambers.  The House also passed a major energy omnibus that will create a plan to get Virginia to zero carbon by 2050.

TRACK VAND LEGISLATION HERE


January 31, 2020 – Today marked the end of the fourth week of the 2020 Virginia General Assembly session. We are just 7 business days from crossover and 37 days from adjournment. There are still a significant number of bills left to be heard. As of today, 182 bills have passed the House, 229 have passed the Senate, and 298 have failed or either continued to the next session, and we started with roughly 3000 bills.

This week, the Senate and House both advanced legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The Senate proposed raising the minimum wage to $9.75 per hour come January 1, 2021, then $10.75 next year, and $11.75 a year later. At that point, employers would be able to count health insurance benefits toward what they are paying employees. The amended bill also tasks lawmakers with reviewing what a different minimum wage for different regions of the state could look like.

Our own HB840 which requires insurance companies to provide coverage for medically necessary formula will be voted on for final passage in the full House of Delegates on Monday, February 3. The Senate version passed the full Senate unanimously on Friday, January 31. The two bills will go to the other side for consideration again before going to the Governor for his signature.

Delegate Danica Roem had several pieces of legislation relating to school nutrition pass committee this week. HB 697 prohibits school board employees from requiring a student who cannot pay for a meal at school or who owes a school meal debt to throw away or discard a meal after it has been served to him. HB 698 allows public schools to distribute excess food to low-income students. HB 703 allows schools to solicit and receive donations to eliminate or offset any school meal debt.

Legislation to create the Virginia Food Access Investment Program and Fund, which would provide funding for the construction, rehabilitation, equipment upgrades, or expansion of grocery stores, small food retailers, and innovative food retail projects in underserved communities, passed the Senate Finance Committee this week. The legislation will go before the full Senate next week for a vote. The House bill was approved in the Agriculture subcommittee this week and will be in full committee on Wednesday.

TRACK VAND LEGISLATION HERE


January 24, 2020 – The third week of the General Assembly session is now complete. We are a little over halfway to crossover, the halfway point of the session. This past week was full of long committee dockets that heard many controversial bills for many hours. Issues related to guns continue to dominate the conversation around capitol square. Both the House and Senate advanced several proposals backed by Governor Northam aimed at preventing gun violence in the Commonwealth.

House Appropriations and Senate Finance are hearing reports from the various secretariats and their agencies prior to their consideration of proposed budget amendments. The committees will continue to work through the proposed amendments as they prepare the committee’s version of a two-year spending plan, which will be released on Sunday, February 16th. The tracking document includes relevant budget amendments.

The House and Senate advanced legislation advocated by VAND to require health insurance companies to cover medically necessary formulas for patients diagnosed with inherited metabolic disorders. The Senate version, SB654 (Boysko) was incorporated into SB605 (McDougle), passed the full Commerce & Labor Committee on Monday and was referred to the Committee on Appropriations and Finance. The House version, HB840, passed the House Labor & Commerce health subcommittee unopposed and will be on the uncontested docket for the full committee hearing on Tuesday, January 28th.

There are still a lot of bills left to be heard. The full list of bills we are following is included below. Please let us know if you have any questions.

TRACK VAND LEGISLATION HERE


January 17, 2020The second week of session was full of legislative activity.  Both chambers are now fully engrossed in legislative hearings and are moving through the enormous number of bills in a swift manner.  is the last day to introduce legislation and the total so far is 1651 house bills and 1014 senate bills.

The full list of bills that we are following can be found at the link below.  Most of these have not been taken up yet, but will be considered over the next two weeks before the February 11th crossover deadline.  One thing that moved this week is legislation to define milk as the “lacteal secretion of a healthy hooved mammal and provides that a food product is unlawfully misbranded if its label states that it is milk and it fails to meet such definition, except for human breast milk.”  An amendment clarifies that this change will take effect if a coalition of southeastern states all agree to the change collectively.  Also Del. Rasoul’s legislation to create a grant program for the Local Food and Farming Infrastructure Fund experienced movement.  Both bills reported out of subcommittee and will be heard in full committee next week.

Legislators also submitted their ideas for amending the state budget this week, and they can be found here.  We will be reviewing and identifying key amendments this week.  The House Appropriations committee and Senate Finance committee will review these proposals and put together their own versions of the amended state budget for approval on Sunday, February 16th.  The full House and Senate are scheduled to adopt their versions of the budget on Thursday, February 20th, before budget negotiators will begin crafting a new two-year spending plan to send to the governor.

TRACK VAND LEGISLATION HERE


January 14, 2020 – Last week marked the completion of the first week of the 2020 Virginia legislative session, in which there were several historic firsts for the Commonwealth. Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn was sworn in as the first female Speaker of the House of Delegates, as well as the first person of Jewish faith to be speaker. Delegate Charniele Herring was selected as the first female and first African American to serve as Majority Leader of the House of Delegates. In the Senate, Senator L. Louise Lucas was elected the first female and first African American to serve as President Pro Tempore of the Senate.

Both chambers met last Wednesday to organize. The Senate welcomed 5 new members to the chamber. Senator Dick Saslaw of Fairfax was elected Majority Leader and Senator Mamie Locke of Hampton was elected Caucus Chair. Senator Tommy Norment of James City County was elected Minority Leader and Senator Ryan McDougle was elected Minority Caucus Chair. Senator Louise Lucas of Portsmouth will now chair the Senate Education and Health Committee and Delegate Mark Sickles of Alexandria will now chair the House Health, Welfare & Institutions.

The House of Delegates welcomed 18 new members to the chamber. The House adopted a new set of rules to govern the House for the biennium. Major changes include changing masculine pronouns to feminine and changing the names of three committees. The rules resolution preserved the practice of proportional committee representation, giving each Caucus seats on committees equivalent to the number of House seats they hold overall. Another major change for the House and Senate is that Capitol Square, including the General Assembly Building and the Capitol will now be a gun free zone. No one, including legislators, will be allowed to carry a firearm in any legislative government building.

As of January 10th, 1546 House bills had been introduced and another 926 Senate bills. That’s almost as many as were introduced in 2018, and members still have another week to introduce legislation, though they are limited to only a few bills each after the start of session. Members had until January 10th to submit amendments to the governor’s introduced budget, and those will be made available by the middle of this week.

The legislature will spend the next eight weeks acting on the legislation introduced in their own chamber, and after February 12th they can only consider legislation approved by the other legislative body. Each chamber will adopt its own version of a new biennial budget on February 13th and work to negotiate a final agreement by the scheduled date of adjournment, March 7th.

While more bills will be introduced over the next week, here’s a list of the bills we are following so far:

TRACK VAND LEGISLATION HERE