Public Comments for 01/18/2023 Courts of Justice - Subcommittee #1
HB1452 - Medicaid Fraud Control Unit; appointment of sworn unit investigators to Unit, powers and duties.
I have worked in nursing homes and we absolutely need this law to protect elderly folks on medicaid. Local DSS units deem nursing homes a safe placement under their regs, so if there is an accusation of abuse, neglect or stealing someone's funds, adult protective services doesn't generally go after it. The local law enforcement is often not able to take it on either. What we really need are investigators who actually understand how medicaid works and what abuse of the elderly looks like. It is a huge problem, and we really need all the help we can get.
Please Vote NO on HB1452. This bill creates a Medicaid Fraud law enforcement investigating arm of the Attorney General's office. Thirty new law enforcement officers with badges and uniforms and the ability to investigate any "ancillary" criminal offense. This bill could subject families and recipients to overly aggressive tactics by the Attorney General's office. This bill does not expressly limit the investigations into activities by providers. The bill should be limited to investigations of providers and expressly state that the office does not investigate recipients and their families. There is no justification for the financial cost of 30 new state law enforcement officers with vested benefits. This will discourage professionals from becoming Medicaid providers by creating more barriers and red tape. This bill further harasses families and caregivers with the uncertain threat of law enforcement demanding cooperation with any vague ancillary criminal investigations. Please VOTE NO on HB1452
Dear Members of the House Courts of Justice Subcommittee #1, Please VOTE NO on HB1452. This bill creates a police force in the Attorney General's office to investigate Medicaid fraud. Protect families and limit any law enforcement investigation to providers, not recipients. As a family member of a recipient, it is hard enough getting approved for long-term care Medicaid services and go through multiple evaluations and continuous monitoring with our local and state agencies. Please do not make our lives and the ones we care for any more difficult. Thank you and please VOTE NO on HB1452. Sincerely, Nicole Miller Chapter Operations Manager Autism Society Tidewater Virginia
HB1506 - Post-conviction relief; previously admitted scientific evidence.
HB1513 - Psilocybin; possession or distribution for certain medical purposes permitted, penalty.
HB1583 - Unmanned aircraft system; peeping or spying into a dwelling or occupied building, etc., penalty.
This bill has a small change from the current legislation, in that it removes the requirement that the person who is unlawfully peeping be on the property of another. This change is important because peeping can take place from adjacent property (particularly with tall buildings next to each other) and in situations between roommates. This change would make prosecution of invasive and offensive behavior unlawful in a broader range of circumstances, and helps victims who have been watched from the street, adjacent buildings or by roommates prosecute their cases.
HB1584 - Biological evidence; storage, preservation, and retention of evidence in felony cases.
HB1590 - Telephone, digital pager, or other device; causing to ring or signal with intent to annoy, penalty.
HB1655 - Fines, costs, forfeitures, etc.; collection fees, assessment against incarcerated defendant.
HB1672 - Resisting detention; Class 3 misdemeanor.
HB1706 - Missing and Exploited Children, National Center for; dissemination of criminal history record info.
HB1718 - Community corrections alternative program; defendants required to enter into and complete program.
HB1943 - Crime victim rights; notification from the attorney for the Commonwealth.
I am a victim of violent sexual crimes that occured in 3 Virginia jurisdictions. The defendant (my ex-husband) received 17 felony charges and we had a jury trial in each jurisdiction. The court proceedings started in 2017 and are ongoing. His current sentence is 23 years and when he gets released I will relocate from the Charlottesville area, and change my name. This is because the last thing he did before being arrested was threaten to come to my workplace and shoot me. Over the last six years I've worked with 14 different Assistant Commonwealth's Attorneys and one Senior Assistant Attorney General. I've been asked to sign the request to be notified only a couple times. It seemed like keeping victims in the loop was standard practice with or without that form via Victim/Witness Advocate programs or by prosecutors themselves. Opponents of this bill argue that it will be a strain on the court system if witnesses can't be located or don't show up to court. Both of these concerns are specifically addressed in the statute. It should be noted that the statute only applies to notifying the victim of the disposition of the case (IE a proposed plea, dismissal, or sentencing hearing) - meaning it won't hold up proceedings prior that. Further, it says that the court may exercise discretion when good cause is shown for not being able to get in contact with the victim. Criminal justice reform advocates have opposed this bill, saying it will cause defendants to be held longer (although currently they have no presumption) or will clog up the system. My estimiation is that this change wouldn't weigh the docket down nearly as much as a change such as the proposed Second Look bill. Opponents also argue that some victims may not want to be contacted. I'd argue that this is likely a moot point as frequently the victim IS the evidence and the Commonwealth wouldn't bring a case to court if they haven't been able to make contact (or a victim has expressed they don't wish to be contacted/move forward). Bottom line is that our Commonwealth's Attorneys are already notifying victims and this change only ensures the integrity of this gesture. It shows we stand behind our values and acknoledge victims, at least to ask for their input at the end. Our court process was rightfully designed to give the accused a fair trial. There's one statute (this one) that gives a framework for victims' rights. I'm 100% for reforming courts and corrections - but we must balance it with reform for the victim experience.
HB1956 - Law-enforcement officer; magistrates to observe during training duties, etc.
HB2016 - Appointment of counsel; Class 1 felony cases, compensation.
HB2017 - Juvenile 16 years of age or older; charges requiring preliminary hearing.
HB2020 - Unmanned aircraft systems; trespass over correctional facilities, penalty.
This bill would only further the patchwork of federal, state, and local laws addressing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The FAA has stated twice that "State and local governments are not permitted to regulate any type of aircraft operations, such as flight paths or altitudes, or the navigable airspace." The restrictions proposed in this bill would also not be shown on the UAS Data Display System, nor many other maps drone flyers may reference. Additionally Code of Virginia Titles 18.2-473 through 18.2-474.1 already address delivery of contraband to prisoners if that is patron's concern. Instead of implementing lateral flight restrictions, the state is empowered to limit the takeoff or landing of an UAS on the specific state or local property in question, however signage should be posted as due notice to the public.
HB2032 - Victims of crime; compensation, awards from Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund.
HB2121 - Juvenile transfer hearing; factors to be considered.
RISE for Youth supports this bill.