Public Comments for 02/14/2023 Commerce and Energy - Subcommittee #1
SB984 - Electric utilities; net metering.
SB1018 - Railroad companies; notice of certain action.
SB1037 - Workers' compensation; notice to employees.
As Chairman, I am available for questions that the Committee may have for the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission.
SB1086 - Living organ donors; unpaid leave, civil penalty.
February 14, 2023 The Honorable Israel O’Quinn, Chair Commerce and Energy Subcommittee #1, Members RE: Virginia Senate Bill 1086, Living Donor Protection, SUPPORT Dear Chair O’Quinn and Members of the Commerce and Energy Subcommittee #1: On behalf of all the people we serve in Virginia, including the 20,942 residents currently living with kidney failure, I am writing to respectfully request your support for S 1086, which required employers the employ 50 or more employees to provide up to 60 days of unpaid leave to employees who want to serve as an organ donor. The American Kidney Fund (AKF), based in Rockville, Maryland is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization working on behalf of the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions more at risk, with an unmatched scope of programs that support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease, from prevention through transplant. With programs that address early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy, no kidney organization impacts more lives than AKF. While most transplanted organs are from deceased donors, patients may also receive organs from living donors. Living donation offers an alternative for individuals awaiting transplantation from a deceased donor and increases the existing organ supply. Over 6,000 living-donor transplants were performed last year in the United States. Kidneys are the most common organ transplanted from living donors, followed by liver and lung. Both living and deceased donation offer hope to nearly 104,000 people waiting for an organ transplant right now—including more than 88,000 who are waiting for a kidney transplant. Unfortunately, not all expenses for living organ donors are covered. Uncovered expenses can include lost wages (including demonstrated lost non-employment income), the economic value of sick or vacation days expended, travel and lodging, child care and elder care expenses, and the cost of medications and care associated with the living donation surgery. This bill could help increase the organs available for transplant by eliminating some of these financial barriers that may preclude someone from becoming a living donor. For these reasons, we are hopeful for your support of this and any future legislation that could help improve the lives of those fighting kidney disease. Thank you again for your consideration of this important issue. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly at any time. Sincerely, Jon Hoffman American Kidney Fund Senior Director, State Policy and Advocacy
SB1087 - Genetic data privacy; civil penalty.
SB1189 - Disability insurance; disability arising out of childbirth.
The American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) opposes Senate Bill 1189. Senate Bill 1189 is inconsistent with Virginia Law. Virginia classifies short-term disability policies as “accident and sickness insurance” defined as “insurance against loss resulting from sickness, or from bodily injury or death by accident or accidental means, or from a combination of any or all of these perils . . .” (Va. Code Ann. § 38.2-109). Arbitrarily extending “disability” in cases where it would not otherwise be medically supported/necessary would directly contradict a bedrock principle of this type of insurance.
SB1217 - Earned wage access services; the Bureau of SCC to conduct stakeholder process.
SB1298 - Liquefied petroleum gas; filling, refilling, or otherwise delivering during qualifying emergency.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this proposed legislation. To be brief, just over a year ago, Virginians experienced an unprecedented ice storm that indeed paralyzed the Central Virginia region, and, per our personal experience, put us in danger; simply because of an existing 'stranglehold' law regarding substitute suppliers being able to deliver propane if a primary supplier, contracted or not, is able, or, unwilling to, during a declared emergency. Our particular experience, while harrowing, was remedied due to the significant resources, financial and otherwise, that enabled us to find a way through the situation. However, the reason we presented this problem to Mr. Deeds was out of concern for the many, many people who did not have resources to keep their homes warm, or fuel generators that might be via propane energy. We believe this is a common sense remedy, that does not impact a propane suppliers day to day, normal operations, only provides remedy to customers during an emergency, and we would appreciate your support.
SB1464 - Virginia Power Innovation Fund and Program; created.
Given the vast promise of battery technology and the poor track record of carbon capture and storage I propose the following amendments: Virginia Power Innovation Fund and Program; created. Creates the Virginia Power Innovation Fund with funding to be used solely for the purposes of research and development of innovative ENERGY STORAGE technologies. The bill also creates the Virginia Power Innovation Program to use moneys from the Fund to (i) establish a Virginia energy innovation hub and (ii) award competitive grants to support ENERGY STORAGE innovation.