Public Comments for 01/18/2021 Appropriations
Item 293#3H The City of Norfolk supports this amendment
Sweet Run State Park, currently known as the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship, should receive at least a portion of the funds requested by Delegate LaRock. It is a beautiful place, becoming a State Park in Northern VA. People from many miles away in VA have been enjoying its trails especially this year during covid! I know funding will be tight, but consider this a firm of covid relief.
I write in support of Item 374 #3h submitted by Delegate LaRock. This is for needed funding for a new state park to serve Virginia and her citizens on the eastern flank of the Blue Ridge in northwestern Loudoun County, This new state park, (working name: Sweet Run) has been in the works for over 8 years and the first land dedication to the Commonwealth was made a few years ago. The second and more importation land dedication is anticipated to take place in May of this year, pending only final OAG approval of conveyancing documents. This modest request for funding will allow funding for initial state park planning and operations and I would respectfully urge that this item be included in the version of HB 1800 that will be reported out from the Appropriations Committee.
I am writing is support of Del. LaRock's budget amendment, HB1800, adding funds for Sweet Run Park. This park is an important addition the the network of parks in the state and is the only state park in Loudoun County. These funds will go a long way in increasing the use of the park by area residents, homeschool families, Boy Scouts, bird watchers and nature lovers in general.
Please SUPPORT: HB1800 Item 321 #2h | Recovery Residences Budget Amendment.
Item 114 #1h Increase Designated Funding for the Port Industrial Revitalization Fund The City of Norfolk supports adoption of this budget amendment
I writing to support the starting salary for any deputy out at $40k. This job is hard enough and to not make anymore than low $30k a year, makes it even harder. This is a very unappreciative job anymore and these deputies put their heart and soul in it. It’s almost not even worth it anymore. Thanks, Hoffman
SUPPORT: HB1800 Item 321 #2h | Recovery Residences Budget Amendment.
Support the School Equity and Staffing Act (HB1929 & SB1257) Fully Fund Virginia’s Standards of Quality Issue State aid for public education is still down from 2009 levels. This means local divisions are struggling to make up this loss, paying $4.2 billion above what is required by localities in the state’s primary funding formula. High poverty divisions and divisions with the most students of color struggle to make up these funds, resulting in vast inequities in educational opportunity across the state. Schools are struggling to provide adequate staffing, resulting in insufficient counselors, social workers, instructional aides, and administrative and custodial staff. The pandemic has only widened these gaps, and students need full and fair school funding more than ever before. Solution In late 2019 and again in the fall of 2020, the Virginia Board of Education issued a set of Standards of Quality (SOQs) which, if funded, would go far to increase educational opportunity for Virginia’s children. The estimated annual cost of funding these SOQs is about $1 billion more annually than what the state currently spends, but this is just the minimum cost the state Board says is necessary to meet the state’s constitutional duty to ensure a high quality education for Virginia’s students. It is now up to the General Assembly to adopt these SOQs by passing the School Equity and Staffing Act, and fully fund it. The School Equity and Staffing Act would: • Add new funds for high-poverty schools through the Equity Fund. • Increase funding for school counselors to ensure there is one counselor for every 250 students. • Increase funding for English Learner students based on proficiency. Why This Matters • According to a report by EdBuild in 2019, high-poverty nonwhite school districts in Virginia have $10,796 per student, whereas low poverty white school districts have $11,001 per student—$205 less. Experts note it can cost as much as 40% more to educate a student in poverty than a student not in poverty. • For students to receive the full benefits of a comprehensive school counseling program, school counselors’ caseloads should not exceed 250 students. The average student caseload for school counselors in Virginia has grown from 300 to 360 students over the past decade, with caseloads in some schools reaching more than 1,000 students per counselor. • Instructional and support staff play vital roles in the safety and success of students. Yet since the 2008- 2009 school year, there has been a profound drop-off in state investment for support staff positions. In 2009, during the Great Recession, lawmakers added language to the budget creating a “cap” on support staff funding, cutting hundreds of millions in state funding for support staff. Between 2009 and 2019, support staff in Virginia schools declined by 2,800 positions while student enrollment increased by more than 57,000 students.
Hi, I run a nonprofit for individuals in active drug addiction and in recovery from substance use disorder. We have provided housing assistance funding for recovery residences for 5 years now. In that time we have helped over 600 people move into a recovery home. However, that is just a drop in the bucket of the number of worthy applications we get from individuals who are looking to start a fresh but have no resources to do so. Drug overdose has increased 77% in Virginia from 2019-2020. It is still rising. It is nearly impossible for individuals to attain and maintain long term recovery without a safe, substance free place to live. I urge you to please vote in favor of this budget amendment to provide critically needed - and life-saving - housing support. Best, Ginny
I am writing to expressing support for the following amendments: Del Delaney: Item 354 #1h, to extend support to young adults in the Fostering Futures program through the course of the pandemic; 354 #2h, to provide for a statewide kinship navigator program for relatives caring for children who might otherwise be in foster care; 354 #4h, to support relatives and fictive kin taking care of children who would otherwise be in foster care; Del Reid: Item 354 #3h, to support relatives caring for children in, or diverted from, the custody of the Department of Social Services Del Kory: Item 356 # to facilitate communication and connection between children in foster care and incarcerated parents thank you Valerie L’Herrou Staff Attorney – Center for Family Advocacy Virginia Poverty Law Center firstname.lastname@example.org 434.996.1803
The Humanization Project would like to express our support of Delegate Kory's budget amendments 356 #14, 400#1, 400 #2h, and 400 #3h. Regarding the first two, video visitation–while it should never replace in-person visitation–is an important way for people behind bars and their families to stay in contact. Research shows that seeing faces allows for better bonding than just speaking on the phone. Better bonds between people behind bars and their families and friends increases rehabilitation and decreases recidivism, so the more we can do to encourage visitation, the better off we all are. Most people do not realize how costly it is to have someone behind bars. These amendments would help ensure video visitation remain reasonable. Regarding 400#2H and 400 #3h, we believe that no one should profit off of someone being incarcerated. The shift of LVCC into DOC control would be a very small step towards that end. Thank you for considering and supporting these budget amendments.
Item 374 #1h Friends of Accotink Creek SUPPORTS Delegate Bulova's/Senator Marsden's joint resolution to mandate a study to explore options for phasing out the sale and propagation of invasive plants in Va. Invasive plants are taking over much of our parklands, some are killing trees. English ivy, Chinese wisteria, wintercreeper, clematiis terniflora, and other invasives are still available for sale. Pure madness! Why should stores be permitted to sell items that tax payers are paying to remove? A study on the problem would be a good start.
I suppport Delegate Helmer's s amendment Item 446 #3h, DENYING FUNDING for the proposed Old Lee Road/Braddock Road 'Jughandle' until and after a full environmental study is performed. Cub Run watershed is a major feeder to Fairfax County's Occoquan Reservoir - the County's water supply deserves protection. It is also an important wildlife corridor. I have only found out about this amendment. Otherwise I would write a more eloquent support of Delegate Helmer's Amendment. Thank you Del. Helmer for protecting our environment, our watersupply, and open public process. Sincerely Jehanne Arslan Co-Founder, ACT4Fairfax Member, Sierra Club of Virginia
On behalf of the Jillians Forest Board of Trustees I would like to offer our support to Delegate Helmer’s amendment Item 446 #3h to deny funding for the proposed Old Lee Road/Braddock Road “jug handle” until after an environmental study is performed and a full impact analysis is completed to include all alternatives.
Please support the Sheriffs Association proposed pay scales for deputy sheriffs. We are in desperate need of our pay being addressed and supported. Thank you.
I am signing up to speak to the amendment I have proposed. Thank you
We SUPPORT Delegate Helmer’s amendment Item 446 #3h to deny funding for the proposed Old Lee Road/Braddock Road "jug handle" until after an environmental study is performed. The proposal's impact on the Resource Protection Area of Upper Cub Run 2 needs to be clearly understood before there is more investment in the project. Floodplains are increasingly under pressure due to more frequent storms, erosion and other climate change related impacts. The extent and cost of flooding and damage to stream valleys is rising. Water quality in the county and in the Chesapeake Bay depends on the health and protection of these streams. Fairfax County has not permitted the construction of housing near Cub Run and the state should not now allow the construction of a road in floodplains. Homes are sited away from the floodplain, as should a "jug handle." Understanding how to ensure the protection of our increasingly threatened natural resources should occur at the beginning of the design process, not at the end.
We are dying to hear from you! Literally. We provide the most cost effective? quickest means of addressing this difficult population. The best means to effect a rapid response to a person asking for help is through the recovery house community of providers. Can we do a better job along the way. Yes, we currently are providing as much as 30% of our services by way of scholarship and charity funding. Having a consistent source of funding would go a long way toward serving this community more effectively . We have been actively involved serving substance abuse victims for over 16 years. We are familiar with the process and successful in our outcome. Our commitment has been made without funding as frankly something had to be done. Your commitment to these efforts will provide the means to save these victims and their families from further loss of life and the devastating consequences of this disease. Thank you for considering this bill. Jim Walker Board Chairman McShin Foundation
I would like to offer support to Delegate Helmer’s amendment Item 446 #3h to deny funding for the proposed Old Lee Road/Braddock Road “jug handle” until after an environmental study is performed and a full impact analysis is completed to include all alternatives. In fact, I would prefer this funding for the jug handle be denied. I live nearby and there are other alternative road improvements that are a better fit for this environmentally sensitive area. Thank you very much for the opportunity to comment. Chris Terpak-Malm 5145 Pleasamt Forest Drive Centreville VA
HB 1800 | Item 391 #1h As a community member with over 29 years of sustained Substance Use Disorder (SUD) recovery, I know first hand the need and effectiveness of non-governmental organizations providing drug treatment and rehabilitation services. If taxpayers can currently afford expenditures on incarceration, prosecution or other public safety activities, for the possession of controlled substances, other than marijuana, it makes sense that future cost savings from the reduction or elimination of these penalties should go to SUD recovery service providers to save more lives and sustain the ongoing improvement Virginia’s overall quality of life.
In reference to item 144#3h submitted by Delegate Wampler, I respectfully ask the committee to support increased funding for the expansion of the VanGogh Outreach program into additional grade levels and school districts. VanGogh Outreach is a well established, award winning arts education program that has proven to enrich the education and lives of children across Southwest Virginia, as well as provide critical support to teachers for over twenty years. The children and teachers of Southwest Virginia have set a standard for excellence across the state and beyond and I believe that enrichment and support programs such as VanGogh Outreach have played a critical role in their successes. This additional funding would provide further access to a subject that is pivotal to educational success as well as a student's quality of life, but is overlooked in importance far too often.
Louisa county supports the proposed legislation formalizing a coordinated approach to study and plan mitigation efforts related to harmful algae blooms.
Please record that I support Delegate Helmer’s amendment Item 446 #3h to deny funding for the proposed Old Lee Road/Braddock Road “jug handle” until after an environmental study is performed and a full impact analysis is completed to include all alternatives. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved Option 3 for the “jug handle” which does not follow the adopted Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan. Their approval of Option 3 will result in a change to the rural road character of Braddock Road including increasing the volumes of commuter traffic from Loudoun County and other points west. In addition, there have been limited studies in the Club Run floodplain including the negative impacts on the local habitat. Therefore, as a resident of Fairfax County, I join with your constituents, and ask that you proceed with your amendment to deny funding for the proposed Old Lee Road/Braddock Road “jug handle.” Thank you, Jody Bennett
A raise for the Sheriffs office’s that is run like a police department is a must. They are way more involved in the community answering calls from A-Z compared to our lateral law enforcement ( State Police ) Example : A normal day for a trooper is to go write two to three tickets on the interstate ,occasionally working a wreck and their day is complete. A Deputy Sheriff in my area ( Grayson County ) are answering calls from Breaking & Entering, writing tickets, working a (doa ) , trespassing calls, wrecks, larcenies, serving arrest warrants , 4th amendment searches, guarding and protecting our children ( SRO ) , and many many other calls that go so unnoticed. The payroll is actually reversed!!!!! The Deputy Sheriffs actually should be the ones making a substantial amount more than than the lateral other branch ( VSP ). I’m a FTO for our department and it’s heart breaking to see me train up new deputies only to see them leave to do a lateral transfer to other agencies that pay more . WE NEED HELP !!!! Please please find it in your self , open your eyes , and fact check what I’m expressing to y’all. We are drowning and it won’t improve until someone takes a stand. The minimum Deputy salary should be 40,000 with a experience officer making quite a bit more. If you’ve read this then, I greatly appreciate it. Please hear our cry , my lively hood is in your hands.
I am preparing for retirement soon as I have served 25 years in Law Enforcement and would really appreciate the passing of this amendment for the career progression plan for deputy sheriff's. The closer I get to retirement the more I see the need for encouraging young men and women to consider a career in law enforcement. I see more and more people getting out of law enforcement due to the major changes in our country the past year or so and it is really concerning to me to see the difference in how law enforcement officers are perceived. I feel like anything that can be done to help increase interest in this career path is a step in the right direction. Thank you so much for your strong consideration.
Please vote yes to the the budget amendment proposal by Delegate Campbell. Deputy Sheriffs in rural southwest Virginia need your help. My office provides full law enforcement services to the citizens of Carroll County. My deputies receive no supplemental salary funding by the county. I sincerely ask for your support of this amendment to help the many Deputies across the commonwealth, who risk their lives every day to protect the citizens of Virginia. Thank you! Kevin A. Kemp Sheriff of Carroll County
Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy supports Delegate Guzman's budget amendment to bill H.B. 2137 to create a paid sick days standard for essential workers in Virginia. Approximately 41 percent of private sector workers, 1.2 million workers in Virginia, have no paid sick days or any paid time off (PTO). This creates a crisis for low-wage workers who must choose between taking a sick day for themselves or their children and getting paid. Workers who go to work sick endanger their coworkers, the public and the ability of the business to remain open. This bill creates a needed standard in the Commonwealth. Employees will be eligible for paid sick leave under the bill if the employee is an essential worker and works on average at least 20 hours per week or 90 hours per month. The bill provides for an employee to earn at least one hour of paid sick leave benefit for every 30 hours worked. Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy supports this budget amendment. A recent poll showed that 83 percent of Virginia registered voters support a policy proposal to provide paid sick days. Strong majorities of Democrats (96 percent), Independents (78 percent) and Republicans (72 percent) support a paid sick day standard. Although we know that many essential services are thriving during the pandemic, the bill does provide a hardship waiver to businesses that have evidence paid sick days would impact the financial viability or sustainability of the business. Fifteen states have already passed paid sick day standards and most of them rank higher than Virginia in overall health. Virginia Interfaith Center supports H.B. 2137.
My name is Nathan Mitchell and I am a person in recovery from a Substance Use Disorder. I comment in support of HB1800 Item 321 #2h | Recovery Residences Budget Amendment, and I ask that you pass this amendment. This amendment will save lives and demonstrate Virginia's commitment to evidence-based solutions to the addiction epidemic. It is through an authentic, peer-led, non-governmental recovery community organization where I was first introduced to a program of recovery. And my experience in a recovery residence gave me the tools and skills to become a productive, engaged citizen. Now, I am able to share my experience, strength, and hope with the next person through these authentic peer connections. When we invest in recovery we build stronger families, create safer communities, and produce healthier citizens.
VLES supports Budget Item 68 #2h: Virginia Law Enforcement Sheriffs ("VLES") was formed solely to advocate for a livable wage for the 4,000+ deputy sheriffs providing primary law enforcement services in their communities. Unfortunately, the state-supported starting salary for deputy sheriffs is less than $34,000.00/year. Consequently, I am sad to report that we have deputy sheriffs risking their lives daily to protect their community, yet still qualify for public assistance. Moreover, turnover for law enforcement sheriffs exceeds 27% percent, which is largely attributable to uncompetitive wages. We hold our law enforcement community to an increasingly high standard, and our law enforcement ought to be compensated accordingly. Please support Budget Item 68 #2h.
WE support Del. Kory's 477 #1h for FY 2022 for $39,500,670 to Provide a 10% Salary Increase for Correctional Officers. The inability of the department to retain security staff is very costly, and if the Commonwealth could improve turnover rates, it would net major budgetary savings. The present pandemic further highlights the challenges of hiring new employees to work in confined environments with residents housed in large groupings. Kirk Jones CWA-NCPSO (804) 266-2201 email@example.com
This comment is in reference to HB 1800 item 391 #1h- I am asking the state appropriations committee to support this budget amendment which reallocates funds to drug treatment and rehabilitation. Changing the language of this bill and reallocating funds to assist those struggling with Substance Use Disorder is of the upmost importance. The state must get creative in funding direct care services at the point of desperation for those Virginians struggling with Substance Use Disorder.
This comment is in support of HB1800 Item 321#2h. The funding requested will go directly to support people with substance use disorders and ensure that equitable access into a safe , supportive, certified recovery residence exists for all Virginians. The Virginia Association of Recovery Residences (VARR) is a credentialing entity for the Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services (DBHDS) state certification for recovery residences. All recovery residences certified by VARR uphold the national standards and ensure timely access to recovery support services. As 2020 came to a close we saw the deadliest overdose year in history for Virginia come to a close as well. Now in January of 2021 we have to look at what can we do. This funding will go directly towards impacting the lives of people with substance use disorders. Funding is huge barrier for people who have a desire to start their recovery journey but don't have safe, supportive housing in which to do so. We have a responsibility to make recovery supports available to everyone, not just those who can afford it. We are in a critical time given everything we have experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the way it has negatively impacted those with substance use disorders as the 2020 overdose death rate reflects this impact. Recovery residences continue to keep the doors open to make safe housing and recovery support services available during these trying times. I implore you to act now as critical times call for immediate action and allocate this funding so that every Virginian has timely access into recovery residences.
I am writing to share support for budget amendment Item 313 #4h submitted by Del. Lopez and budget amendments Item 312 #1h/Item 313 #16h submitted by Del. Guzman on behalf of The Commonwealth Institute and the Healthcare for All Virginians Coalition. The Healthcare for All Virginians (HAV) Coalition consists of nearly 100 organizations dedicated to making Virginia a leader in offering affordable, accessible, and quality health coverage options to everyone who lives in the Commonwealth. The COVID-19 pandemic has put into sharp focus long-standing inequities in health care coverage and access in Virginia and across the country, which has contributed to the higher incidence of the virus in Black and Latinx individuals, as well as in immigrant communities. As we navigate the public health crisis, every policy and funding decision made should move Virginia closer to becoming a place where everyone has the opportunity to survive and thrive. Virginia can support wider access to COVID-19 testing and treatment by clarifying that emergency Medicaid specifically covers COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccination. The emergency Medicaid program is offered to people that would qualify for regular Medicaid but are ineligible due to immigration status. Services are traditionally limited to medical treatment required after the sudden onset of a medical emergency that places the individual’s health and bodily function in severe jeopardy, such as a heart attack or a broken bone. Twelve states are already offering COVID-19 services through this program and doing so may encourage all individuals regardless of status to seek the services they need without fear of how they will pay for it. This clarification would allow a singular statewide message to be shared widely and leave no doubt as to health care costs related to COVID-19 for all families with low incomes. Providing COVID-19 care to our neighbors with low-incomes will help reduce the spread of the virus throughout the community. We also ask committee members to please extend Medicaid/FAMIS MOMS pre-natal coverage to women regardless of immigration status. This federal option is already in use in 17 other states and would require a CHIP state plan amendment. Extending pre-natal coverage would result in net savings for the state ($2.3m in FY22) due to drawing down a higher federal match rate compared to emergency only services that might otherwise be utilized. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Please support HB1800,Item 321
My name is Gary Hash, I am a Lieutenant with the Grayson County Sheriff's office. I have worked at the sheriff's office for 31 years. During this time I have seen many employees working second jobs just to provide for their families. Many deputies have left seeking higher paying jobs. I would like to take this opportunity to ask that delegate Campbell's BA be approved. This approval will enable deputies to maintain local employment without being forced to uproot their families or work a second job to provide adequately support. In addition, reducing turnover within the sheriff's office also decreases operating cost incurred due to excessive turnover. Providing adequate pay enables deputies to a good repore and working relationship with the community.
The Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) supports Item 97 #2h (Farmland Preservation Fund). We believe the Commonwealth must demonstrate its support for local PDR programs by fully funding this grant program. The PEC has witnessed what matching funding from this vitally important program can do in both encouraging localities to commit funds to their existing local PDR programs, as well as prompting new localities to move forward with enacting PDR programs for themselves. Preservation of farmland helps meet multiple goals of the Commonwealth, including support of local food systems, preservation of agricultural soils, and building a more resilient Commonwealth in order to combat climate change. The PEC also supports Item 124 #1h (Study of Gold and Hard Rock Mineral Mining), which would support the study of the health and environmental impacts of the mining of gold in the Commonwealth. HB 2213 (Study; gold mining; prohibition on mining; report), for which this amendment is a placeholder until a final fiscal impact statement for the bill is produced, ensures that the impacts of commercial gold mining to air, water, and public health are studied before permits are issued. Exploratory drilling for gold is taking place in Buckingham County and the same ore body runs through PEC's 9-county service region as well in the Virginia Piedmont. Gold mining carries some of the same threats as uranium mining, as gold mining tailings often contain elevated concentrations of toxic heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, and others. PEC believes this study is necessary due to the potentially negative impacts from gold mining on the health, safety, and welfare of the communities in and around where such mining takes place. PEC supports both HB 2213 and Budget Item 124 #1h, and while we are hopeful that the fiscal impact statement for this bill once completed will demonstrate a lower cost to the Commonwealth, regardless we support the state putting forward the funding necessary for this study to be completed.
Good morning, Please support Item 68 # 2H - Fund Career Progression Plan for Deputy Sheriffs. As you know, Deputy Sheriffs in 86 counties across the state provide primary law enforcement services to the citizens we serve. These Deputies complete 90 to 95% of the criminal enforcement outside of municipalities that have their own police departments. Currently, an entry level Deputy position starts at $33,200 per year. This is well below the livable wage, and in some circumstances will qualify the Deputy with a family of four with public assistance. In addition, the turnover rate for Deputies who provide primary law enforcement services is 20%. We are struggling to recruit & retain qualified officers. The Grayson County Sheriff's Office has 25 sworn officers. During 2020, we lost three to the Virginia State Police, one to Carroll County, two to Galax Police Dept, and one to Hillsville PD. All of these Deputies left for better pay and benefits. Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated! Richard A. Vaughan Grayson County Sheriff President, Virginia Law Enforcement Sheriffs
The increase to deputy pay is a necessity. Many young men and women have chosen to serve their community as a Deputy Sheriff. With that being said we as Deputies have a challenging career with being on call, having to work long shifts and deal with stress from the job. Deputies are asked to serve warrants, answer house calls as well work traffic including accidents. Deputies are also tasked with investigation as well. This all being done on little pay and less respect from the public everyday. As many of us work in rural communities and at times patrolling areas of around 500 sq miles knowing your closest back up could be an hour away. Lots of the these deputies do this on small salaries having to make decisions on whether to eat dinner during their shift or not just to insure they have enough money to make it to the end of the month. Thank you for your time Cpl. Jeremy Moss Grayson County Sheriff’s Office
Item 210 #1h UVA Wise/UVA MSN-Nurse Practitioner Proposal Delegate Sam Rasoul • Rural Virginia, specifically southwest Virginia is experiencing a critical health care need. A shortage exists in all levels of skilled care providers. • UVA Wise has been working to address a component of this through our Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) certified Nursing Program which offers the BSN, and an on-line RN to BSN degree. • The success of the program is demonstrated in the high demand for the graduates with an average board pass rate in excess of ninety percent over the past eight years. • However, the region was highlighted by Governor Northam in his COVID-19 address on December 2, 2020 that staffing shortages being a critical need. • Rural Virginia and southwest Virginia as shown by statistics from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute possess the worst healthcare statistics in the Commonwealth. • Access to strong affordable health care is vital to a region’s citizens and enables growth and development. Thus, rural Virginia, and especially the southwest region. contains among the highest levels of poverty in the Commonwealth, along with the lowest access to health care. • To continue to build upon the success of the UVA Wise Nursing Program, and provide expedited access to additional highly skilled health care providers, UVA Wise is proposing to partner with the University of Virginia’s School of Nursing to bring their Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program to Wise. • Delivering this program jointly it will expedite quicker program implementation, and bring a nationally renowned program in a “hands-on” rural setting at a less expensive cost than developing this needed program independently. • The program will combine face to face instruction along with real time tele-instruction and facilitated clinical study. The tele-instruction will be aided by on-site faculty who will enable enhanced learning. • The additional opportunity to do a set of clinicals at the University’s major research hospital will provide added insight that the new FNP’s would not be able to obtain in a rural setting thus, enhancing the level of medical care and knowledge of outside resources being brought to the citizens of rural and southwest Virginia. • The first year of the program would include establishment of the program, hiring of faculty and support staff, developing laboratory space and recruiting the initial class. • Allowing instruction to begin in the second year thus, significantly reducing the time for enrollment and initial instruction of the first class by doing this venture jointly. Thus, saving the Commonwealth initial costs and providing quicker access to needed enhanced health care. • In order to make this program viable, the UVA Wise FNP program will require operational funding from the Commonwealth. • This base level of graduate funding will allow the start-up of the program, and then as the program develops, this state funding along with tuition and fees will fund the continued operational cost of the program. • It is anticipated that by year 5, the program would be maintaining 42 students. • Beginning with the first instructional year of the program (Year 2), Commonwealth graduate financial aid would be required. • Start up funding for this program is requested at $810,912 from the Commonwealth in FY 22.
In reference to House Bill 1800 item 321 #2h: I'm writing to ask the appropriations committee to pass this bill. In my experience working with addicts in recovery housing, the number one problem with getting those struggling with substance abuse disorder into recovery housing and treatment is funding. Many of this suffering and seeking recovery are often destitute and have no means to pay for bed fees and treatment. It's a heartbreaking thing to watch a person with substance abuse disorder,who is ready for help, be forced back into the same destructive cycle of addiction simply because the help they desperately need is beyond their financial means. This bill could work miracles for so many lives that would otherwise have little for which to hope. Having the funds under VARR's supervision is the best way to make sure the help is provided to those most in need and that they will be sent to services that are reputable and accredited.
This comment is in reference to House Bill 1800 item 321 #2h I am asking the appropriations committee support the suggested amendment placed on behalf of Virginians by Delgate Kory. As a person in recovery who struggled for a long time to find safe housing and recovery support services I strongly recommend this amendment. I personally didn’t find recovery until access was created through a grant for recovery support services.
Deputy Sheriff’s perform way more day to day tasks than troopers, who primarily enforce traffic code and work motor vehicle crashes. Deputy pay should be comparable for this reason.
We want to commend and support Delegate Helmer’s amendment Item 446 #3h to deny funding for the proposed Old Lee Road/Braddock Road “jug handle” until after an environmental study is performed and a full impact analysis is completed to include all alternatives. Thank you, John Litzenberger WFCCA Land use Chair
On behalf of the Virginia Run Board of Trustees, in support of our neighbors along Old Lee and Braddock Roads, I would like to offer our support to Delegate Helmer’s amendment Item 446 #3h to deny funding for the proposed Old Lee Road/Braddock Road “jug handle” until after an environmental study is performed and a full impact analysis is completed to include all alternatives. A recommendation was made at the Fairfax Board of Supervisor’s meeting to approve Option 3 for the “jug handle” at Old Lee Road and modifications to the existing “S” curve on Braddock Road, which does not follow the adopted Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan. The plan was altered initially to prevent Braddock Road east of the “S” curve from becoming the main thoroughfare from the Loudoun County to the I66/Route 28. Construction of "Option 3" will change the character of this rural road forever and negatively impacts those individual residents along Braddock Road, due to increased volumes of commuter traffic from Loudoun County and points west. We would support citizen and neighborhood engagement in local governmental decisions, including land use and transportation, with the benefit of complete and accurate technical and environmental studies, to maximize transparency and accountability of the BOS decisions. There has yet to be a public meeting in the affected areas of Western Fairfax County on this matter, where the citizenry is able to express its concerns over this change. A local committee meeting held regarding the jug handle proposal and was attended broadly in opposition of the jug handle. It would appear, that the process has allowed an endorsement of a request for $16m in “smart scale” funding for Option 3, and the “jug handle” configuration. There have been limited if any, environmental studies in the Cub Run floodplain or an evaluation of the environmental impact of a disturbance in this floodplain. They plan to take private land in favor of this option, raising the road above the flood plan. Most alarming is the fact that there have been no public hearings recently on the matter that would give affected residents an opportunity to speak out about the destruction of habitat, insurmountable traffic conditions, and destruction of our rural life. Again, we highly support Delegate Helmers amendment and object highly to the proposed jug handle. Joseph W. Johnston President Virginia Run Board of Trustees
I have been in and around Law Enforcement since 1989. We have been left behind economically and the gap has particularly widened with Rural Deputy Sheriffs. As someone who has advanced my career to a supervisory and mentorship role, it is imperative that you act to close that pay gap to allow us to recruit the right candidates for the future, particularly with the desired increase in professionalism that is being asked for at this time.
I support Delegate Helmer's amendment, Item 446 #3h, to deny funding for the proposed Old Lee Road/Braddock Road jughandle, until after an environmental study is performed. I live in the Virginia Run community, near the proposed jughandle. The jughandle project is located within the downzoned Occoquan Watershed in Fairfax County's residential-conservation (R-C) zoning district. The proposed jughandle is the worst of several options. The jughandle requires significant disturbance of an environmentally sensitive floodplain of Cub Run with potential for threatened species, including the state threatened wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta), slightly downhill from the largest stand in Virginia of a globally rare oak-hickory forest on diabase soil, not far from documented occurrence of at least two rare plant species, including flat stemmed spikerush (Eleocharis compressa) and purple milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens). No environmental study has yet been performed, and even VDOT acknowledges there are environmental issues. The proposed jughandle also is inconsistent with the realigned Braddock Road alternate depicted in the adopted Fairfax County comprehensive plan. The jughandle encourages additional commuter traffic congestion on a rural 2 lane road through environmentally sensitive areas, and aggravates conflicts between commuters and residents at unsignalized intersections exiting residential neighborhoods. The approval process also was flawed. Citizen opposition was not considered until after the controversial jughandle option was selected. The environmental constraints affecting this floodplain and protected watershed are too important to be an afterthought. Environmental studies should be performed before a transportation project route is selected through an environmentally sensitive floodplain. Selecting the route first is backwards. Please support Delegate Helmer's amendment. Thank you for considering these comments, and for your service. James Hart
This incentive would help morale for officers in struggling agencies. They should be compensated appropriately for the job they do to protect the community.
I strongly support HB1800 Item 321 #2h | Recovery Residences Budget Amendment. As the Director of Journey House, which works with folks with substance use disorder and those coming out of incarceration and homelessness. The need for recovery housing right now is greater than ever. Since COVID, we have increased our bed capacity by 400% However, funding for such is tough and the number of beds is never enough By investing into VARR and thus it's members who are certified (such as Journey House), proactive steps are being taken, thus saving lives, as well as money in the long run from ER visits, incarceration, and associated factors. Being proactive in addressing substance use disorder, people are given an opportunity to recover through certified housing and it's associated programming, which is much more cost effective than alternative means, such as incarceation that does not act as future prevention or intervention. And of even greater importance, it saves lives and rebuilds families.k
I SUPPORT Delegate Helmer’s amendment Item 446 #3h to deny funding for the proposed Old Lee Road/Braddock Road jughandle until after an environmental study is performed. Environmental Impacts must be avoided. We know better, and our legislators should know better than to move ahead without this
I strongly support HB1800 Item 321 #2h | Recovery Residences Budget Amendment. As the Director of Journey House, which works with folks with substance use disorder and those coming out of incarceration and homelessness. The need for recovery housing right now is greater than ever. Since COVID, we have increased our bed capacity by 400% However, funding for such is tough and the number of beds is never enough By investing into VARR and thus it's members who are certified (such as Journey House), proactive steps are being taken, thus saving lives, as well as money in the long run from ER visits, incarceration, and associated factors. Being proactive in addressing substance use disorder, people are given an opportunity to recover through certified housing and it's associated programming, which is much more cost effective than alternative means, such as incarceation that does not act as future prevention or intervention. And of even greater importance, it saves lives and rebuilds families.k
I write in support of the Budget Amendments submitted by Delegate Tyler and Delegate Wright (Items 68, 69, and 75) to provide funding for staff positions at Piedmont Regional Jail (PRJ) for two buildings at the facility that are included in the official capacity rating for the facility. PRJ added two buildings—one in 2002 and one in 2005. Those buildings were built to house U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees. Because of this, the expansion was not vetted through the normal construction approval process through the Board of Local and Regional Jails. Those buildings continued to house ICE detainees until 2009 when the Immigration Center of America—a private business that contracts with the federal government—opened in Farmville. All ICE detainees were then moved from PRJ to the Immigration Center. Since the ICE detainees were no longer housed at PRJ, those two buildings have been used to house state inmates and the Board of Local and Regional Jails has approved the beds in those buildings to be included in the official capacity rating for the overall facility. Despite this, additional funding was never approved by the legislature to staff the additional beds. The reason for this is that adjustments to capacity at the Commonwealth's regional jails that could impact staffing are typically driven by a renovation or expansion that is handled through the normal construction approval process through the Board of Local and Regional Jails, and new staffing needs are then funded through the state's budget development/legislative process. In this case, the extra capacity was never staffed by the Commonwealth because the additional facility building were constructed outside the normal approval process. In fact, there is language in the Appropriation Act that precludes the Compensation for providing staffing for these beds due because they are in buildings that were built outside the normal process. The Amendments that have been introduced seek to remedy this. The lack of funding has hampered PRJ for over a decade by not having a significant portion of its capacity funded and placed undue burden on the participating localities. If the Amendments are passed it will allow PRJ to free up additional funding for inmate medical and mental health care as well as other upgrades.
To the appropriations committee My name is Carl kelty . I currently work for true recovery rva . I support this bill greatly . This bill will allow for many Virginians to acquire services that are otherwise unavailable to them . As a community we struggle to provide services for people in need of treatment and or housing and service’opp We greatly appreciate any and all support afforded to us by your support of bill. Sincerely Carl kelty Maintenance director True recovery rva
I am very much in support of this action. I have been in Law Enforcement for over 25 years . During that time I have seen us as Deputies get further and further behind other Law Enforcement such as VSP and jobs in the private sector. We very much need this to continue to be able to hire and keep qualified people.
Please think about this situation and the hardship law enforcement is in at this time. Sure would give some incentive to keep pushing forward. Thank you.
This comment is in reference to HB 1800, item 321 #2h. The proposed budget amendment is for 10 million to got to increasing access to recovery folks seeking residency state certified recovery residences. Racial inequity coupled with the pandemic and a higher overdose death toll than Virginia has ever seen, this amendment will ensure that those in need have immediate access to a recovery oriented system of care. VARR will be able to offer assistance to the over 1000 certified beds in Virginia making recovery possible for those that usually are left in jail or homeless and committing criminal offenses to access recovery.
This comment is in reference to HB 1800 (Budget Amendment) Item 321 #2h, I am asking the appropriations committee to support and approve this budget amendment as Covid19 has ravaged the recovery support community and those struggling with substance use disorder this amendment would give equitable access to anyone in need and help us further our mission to provide services to the underserved community at the point those services are needed. Individuals seeking help are struggling with a disease that requires immediate access to services. This amendment would ensure that all Virginians in need would have access to recovery support services.
As a Deputy SRO who serves the citizens of Grayson County VA. I strongly support this amendment to House Bill 1800. I have been employed by the Grayson County Sheriff's Department as the High School resource officer for just over a year and, before that I served the citizens of the City of Galax for 16 years. Since I have become a deputy my wife and I have began the expensive task of paying for my daughters college education. This expense is in addition to providing for a 16 year old in high school, as well as every day life expenses. I realize that the Sheriff's Department is compensating me to the best of it's ability. However, I know first hand the dangers and sacrifices that these young men and women selflessly face on a daily basis. Their love for God, Country and, the citizens they serve, drives them! And they provide this service on very minimal pay when compared to the simply unbelievable sacrifices that they make. There for I believe that what is being asked for in this amendment is greatly deserved. It would make a huge difference in the lives of so many. I have seen a great number of young men and women who had potential to change lives, leave the job that they love as Deputies to seek other employment in order to take care of their families. These men and women loved the citizens that they served but had to make a tough decision and go elsewhere based solely on pay. So please do what is right, and give these men and women what they need and so deserve. Citizens of counties all over Virginia are depending on it. Sincerely, J.K.Poole
In addition to providing funding for recovery residences, the Commonwealth should better control and supervise entities that designate themselves as “Recovery Residences” or “Sober Houses.” No person or business should be allowed to operate or designate itself as a sober house or as a recovery residence unless it has been been so certified by the Commonwealth and placed on the Commonwealth’s (DBHDS’s) list of certified recovery houses.
Please support Budget Item 307 #2h, a budget amendment offered by Delegate Guzman that will provide $60,000 each year to the Virginia Department of Health for the two-year study of PFAS contamination within Virginia drinking water required by 2020 legislation. This funding will ensure that the agency can test for more types of PFAS contaminants and assess seasonal changes in PFAS levels. PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are man-made chemicals common in firefighting foam and non-stick coatings that persist in the environment and in the human body. The use of these chemicals is so prolific that a CDC survey found PFAS in the blood of 97% of the participants. They have been linked to many troubling health impacts including thyroid disease, cancer, high blood pressure, low fertility and low birth weight. Recent studies suggest PFAS exposure may reduce antibody response to vaccines. Last year, the General Assembly passed legislation requiring VDH to protect Virginia's drinking water from PFAS contamination by studying the occurrence of these chemicals at up to 50 waterworks across the state. Unfortunately, no additional funding was made available. Given this mandate and growing concerns about the public health impacts of PFAS, VDH has pushed forward using very limited federal resources. This funding allows for only one sample round at each of the 50 water sources and no ability to observe seasonal changes or investigate positive or anomalous results with additional samples. A budget amendment for $60,000 in the first year and $60,000 in the second would allow VDH to conduct multiple sample rounds at each location with room to use a new, EPA-validated test that detects 11 additional types of PFAS contamination.
Regarding Delegate Aird’s bill, HB1929, the School Equity and Staffing Act: Students have the right to a high-quality education. At current levels of school funding, our Commonwealth simply doesn’t give them an opportunity to achieve their full potential. Our underinvestment of our students today will have damaging implications for their future. Please Fund the School Equity and Staffing Act. Please Fund Our Schools. Thanks, Josh Irby
Item 462 #1h (Simonds) The City of Newport News supports Delegate Simonds request to amend budget language to reflect that the name of Langley Air Force Base is Joint Base Langley Eustis. The Department of Defense merged LAFB with Fort Eustis in 2010, making it one installation under Air Force control.
The Audubon Naturalist Society SUPPORTS Delegate Helmer’s amendment (Item 446 #3h) to require an Environmental Study prior to proposed Braddock Road & Old Lee Road "jughandle" transportation project. This project directly threatens Cub Run’s Resource Protection Area (RPA) and in turn the drinking water supply of Northern Virginia. As we continue to develop our road systems, we must do so in a way that acknowledges and respects the important benefits of floodplains and RPAs and with an eye towards preserving and repairing the health of our local ecology, which directly supports human life. Renee Grebe Northern Virginia Conservation Advocate Audubon Naturalist Society anshome.org
Sierra Club Virginia Chapter supports Del. Helmer's budget amendment Item 446 #3h.
I am writing the House Appropriations Committee to please support the Budget Amendment put forth by Delegate Campbell to raise the starting pay for entry level grade 7 Deputy Sheriff's and entry level regional jail officers up to $40,000.00 a year. Additionally please support a career progression program for a annual step increase of $800.00 each year for twenty five years. Our men and women of law enforcement deserve this raise and career progression program for the services and commitment that they give to not only the jurisdiction that they live but also for the commitment that they give to the Commonwealth of Virginia as a whole. The men and women of law enforcement are a significant reason why our Commonwealth is such a great and safe place to live and raise a family. Pease consider this raise and progression program so that they can take care of their families. Thank you for your consideration in this matter. Sheriff Lloyd T.N. Craddock Craig County, Virginia.
Honorable members of this committee, I come before you virtually to ask that you support the budget amendment presented today that would raise the beginning salary of deputy sheriffs. I also come to you not only as Chairman of the Wythe Co. Board of Supervisors, but as a 18 year veteran of the Wythe County Sheriffs Office. As many of you know deputy sheriffs provide the primary law enforcement in many rural counties as well as provide courtroom security, civil process, and other services mandated by the code. Two years ago, our Board was able to create a salary stipend based on years of service. We did this to retain well trained, veteran deputies. While this has helped some we continue to lose deputies to better paying private industries as well as struggle to hire well rounded, qualified deputies. As the push for better trained law enforcement comes from the state and National level we must be able to attract these men and women with a salary that is consummate with being a professional. While I understand that sometimes throwing money, especially tax payer dollars, at a problem is not always the solution in this instance I believe this is the correct first step. As an example, after 18 years my salary is $41,925. I have a Bachelors Degree and a total of 24 years experience in the criminal justice field. For a comparison we have a local manufacturing facility hiring forklift operators starting at $19.50 an hour. It is hard to convince a 21 year old to start a career where they may be shot at anytime for less than a forklift operator makes. I certainly understand the work that you have in front of you and I would ask that you give this budget amendment your support. Thank You for your service to the Commonwealth and stay safe. Brian W. Vaught Chairman Wythe County Board of Supervisors
Dear Honorable Committee Members, On behalf of my staff and all the men and women of brown, I humbly request your support of increasing deputy salaries. The starting salaries of most jurisdictions, mine especially, is much less than that of our local and state police counterparts. In order to hire quality candidates, starting pay must increase. In the midst of all that law enforcement is facing, the sheer love of the job and ability to serve others is no longer enough for these men and women to sacrifice their lives and the time with their families. The dangers of the job have become so treacherous that many tenured LEO’s are leaving the profession in droves. Increasing the minimum starting pay from our Compensation Board will allow our localities a fighting chance to increase locality pay as well. Without that reimbursement most areas are not financially able to sustain increases. Please give us a fighting chance to increase the pay for our men and women in brown. They are most deserving and it is past time we recognize their service. Thank you for your time and consideration on this matter and all other matters before you. Sheriff April Staton Salem Sheriff’s Office
The Virginia Sheriffs’ Association supports Del. Campbell’s budget amendment 68#2h, which increases the salaries of deputy sheriffs in Virginia. The current starting salary provided by the Compensation Board is $33,475.900 and the turnover rate for deputy sheriffs is 35%, 21% and 27% respectively for corrections, court services, and law enforcement deputy sheriffs. John Jones Executive Director Virginia Sheriffs’ Association
Major Anthony Cline I have been a Deputy Sheriff for 20 years at the Wythe County Sheriff's Office. It is difficult for Sheriff's offices across the state to hire and retain valuable employees. Police Departments across the state are using Sheriff's Offices to pick their certified police officers because they pay more. The funding gap is causing a burden on localities due to the expense of training police officers to lose them to other agencies. When a citizen calls 911 they want help now. Sheriff's offices are having to work short-handed because it's hard to recruit and keep deputies. This is dangerous for the deputy and the citizens we are sworn to protect. So I humbly ask for your support to address this matter in the pay disparities seen across the Commonwealth. Major Anthony Cline Wythe County Sheriff's Office
I am a woman in long term recovery from addiction/Substance Use Disorder. I personally used drugs/alcohol for fourteen years of my life starting at age twelve. It was a struggle for years after I overdosed at the age of seventeen to find "treatment" for me that I felt would work. Then I found The McShin Foundation and since I did I have not used drugs/alcohol for over thirteen years. McShin gave me another chance to listen, learn, and develop life skills through peer to peer recovery support services. I now have a life that I never dreamed of while I was using. After moving out of the housing I was employed by McShin and currently am the CEO. I get to help humans like me every day by delivering peer to peer recovery support services. The lived experience of addiction and recovery is what helped to save my life and thousands of others I have had the honor to meet throughout these years. PLEASE fund peer to peer, evidence based, lived experienced organizations to help even more humans in our community. THANK YOU!
Item 313 #31h (Webert) - Modify Capital Reimbursement for Certain Nursing Facilities Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, Delegate Webert submitted a budget amendment for Item 313, #31h to address an issue impacting Valley Health System’s Warren Memorial Hospital. The General Assembly previously approved and included this budget amendment in its budget during the 2020 General Assembly session, but it was unallotted by the Governor due to COVID-19. Warren Memorial Hospital operates a 120-bed nursing home on its existing campus. The Hospital has received approval to construct a new, modern replacement hospital at a different location, which is great for our community. The nursing home is not relocating and will remain on the current hospital campus. As a distinct part unit of the hospital, the nursing home currently is included in the hospital’s cost report and its capital costs include the physical plant of the hospital. Once the hospital relocates, the nursing home will no longer be able to include the capital costs associated with maintaining and operating the hospital’s physical plant for its Medicaid reimbursement, even though it will continue to maintain, operate and invest in the hospital building because the nursing home utilizes hospital building’s the dietary department for meals, laundry services, etc. Without this budget amendment, the nursing home would see a significant reduction in its capital reimbursement. The proposed budget amendment would allow DMAS to treat the nursing home as a new nursing home when calculating its Fair Rental Value and incorporating its capital cost. In effect, the nursing home will be a new nursing home because it will need to obtain a COPN, a new nursing home license and Medicaid certification to operate separate from the hospital. This budget amendment will allow the nursing home to maintain its current capital payment rate in the short term because those costs will be included in the Fair Rental Value calculation. Over time, its capital payment rate will decline as depreciation has its effect on it, but it would maintain the status quo for the short term to give the nursing home time to adjust financially to no longer being a distinct part unit of a hospital. Thank you for your consideration.
I've devoted my life to helping the citizens of my community and country. It would be nice to know that I can give my family something for the sacrifice they endure for the job that I have done. Too protect the citizens of this country.
I respectfully request that special attention be given to this bill. In my current position as Chief Deputy I have been employed as a member of our agency for 33 years. In this time we have lost numerous deputies to other police agencies as well as the Virginia State Police. It costs localities a great deal of time and money to train, uniform, and equip these officers only to loose them in the short term. It leaves our agency constantly short handed and hurts not only us but our citizens as well. This step would greatly assist us in acquiring and retaining deputy sheriffs. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Please support support Delegate Campbell’s BA for law enforcement pay. Thanks!
Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy SUPPORTS Delegate Mullin's amendment (Item 402 #11h) to allocate $77,736 to repeal the death penalty in the Commonwealth. This figure pales in comparison to the cost savings. The judicial process of capital punishment cases is extremely costly. From the date a person is charged to execution, capital punishment cases tend to take a considerable amount of time and requires a significant amount of resources. According to a comprehensive cost study by the Urban Institute, in Maryland, the estimated extra costs to taxpayers for death penalty cases prosecuted over a period of 21 years was $186 million. Based on the five executions that were carried out in the state, this translates to a cost of $37 million per execution. Capital punishment cases cost the tax payers of the Commonwealth millions of dollars. We believe these resources could be reallocated to provide services to victim families and prevent violence more effectively.
I strongly support HB1800 Item 321 #2h | Recovery Residences Budget Amendment. As the Director of REAL LIFE, which works with folks with substance use disorder and those coming out of incarceration and homelessness. The need for recovery housing right now is greater than ever. Since COVID, we have increased our bed capacity by 400%. However, funding for such is tough and the number of beds is never enough. By investing into VARR and thus it's members who are certified (such as REAL LIFE), proactive steps are being taken, thus saving lives, as well as money in the long run from ER visits, incarceration, and associated factors. Being proactive in addressing substance use disorder, people are given an opportunity to recover through certified housing and it's associated programming, which is much more cost effective than alternative means, such as incarceration that does not act as future prevention or intervention. And of even greater importance, it saves lives and rebuilds families.
Funding indigent beds for certified recovery residences is a good step in the right direction. This will definitely play a part in the reduction of overdoses and keeping individuals with SUD engaged in their recovery. We should also try to find a way to allocate funds to the accredited Recovery Organizations in Virginia, to use for the plethora of services they provide.
Hello and good morning, ITEM 302#1h - SUPPORT - City of Chesapeake Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, most recently the City of Chesapeake and VDH agreed on a one year lease for the City operated facility that VDH operates out of on 748 N Battlefield Blvd, Chesapeake. Most recently, The VDH facility is receiving a new addition that is paid 55% by state, 45% by city. The City and the Commonwealth agreed on a one year lease with no increases for inflation and increased costs for services. When the city discussed this with bringing this to VDH’s attention they said they couldn’t agree to increases in the future due to allocation of funding within the budget. With that being said, the only way we could receive this additional funding would have to be through Appropriations Committee/budget amendment. Originally, VDH wanted to sign a 5 year lease with no automatic escalation that doesn’t account for a 3% increase annually for maintenance and services provided by the City. The City only agreed to sign a 1 year lease with them, with the hopes of receiving additional needed funding from the General Assembly. The City is requesting FY2021 FY2022 $20,865 $21,490
68#4h Fully-fund State Funding for Sheriffs Positions: pro 86#3h Counting of Absentee Votes by Precinct: pro 86#8h Elections Policy: pro 4-0.01#4h Prohibition Against Requiring Vaccination Unless Specific Criteria Are Met: Pro 4-0.01#5h Executive Orders that Last Over 30 Days: Pro 4-0.01#7h Online Training for Concealed Carry: Pro
Please support Delegate Aird’s bill, HB1929, the School Equity and Staffing Act! Our public school children need this now more then ever after a global pandemic has made in equities even greater. Give these children a fighting chance to be resilient and successful!!
I’m writing on behalf of Virginia PTA’s 175,000 members across 950 of Virginia’s public schools to share our strong support for the investments Governor Northam has proposed for education as well as several key budget amendments. It’s critical that our School Boards have a stable source of funding in order to provide safe in person instruction alongside distance learning. We ask that you hold schools harmless for enrollment and sales tax decline, and renew planned funding and programs that expand access to high-speed broadband and early childhood and childcare programs. Many students have lost loved ones to COVID and struggled in the distance learning environment. Our schools must be prepared to support the social emotional needs of our students in order to set them up for academic success. We therefore urge you to not only restore $27M for school counselors but to also increase funding to a ratio of 1 counselor per 250 students. In order to meet the actual staffing practices of our schools we urge you to pass budget amendment Item 145 #18h which would lift the SOQ support cap. Every student and school in the Commonwealth should have the same basic expectation of professional leadership and access to resources. Yet, per the SOQ ,Virginia’s 276 schools with less than 300 students are to be staffed with entirely part-time staff. This is a negligent approach to student safety, academic success and teacher support. Virginia PTA urges you to fund Amendment Item 145 #20h for full-time principals, Amendment Item 145 #21h for full-time librarians and Amendment Item 145 #24 to reduce the technology teacher ratio from 2 teachers per 1,000 students to 2 teachers per 750 students. Addressing the teacher retention problem and the opportunity gap while providing a safe learning environment starts with ensuring and expecting every school to have a principal, a librarian, a technology teacher, a school counselor and a school nurse no matter the enrollment level or school location.
The Activated People urges the House Appropriations Committee to support Budget Amendment Item 425 #4h that would fund the reporting requirements outlined HB 2226. Unfortunately, many Virginia residents are labeled gang members by law enforcement based on highly questionable and potentially discriminatory criteria. Residents can receive this label merely for living in neighborhoods where gang activity takes place or for their style of dress, and without this reporting requirement, they may not even be notified that they were entered into the databases. This funding is critical to ensuring public transparency as it would fund the mandate for departments to collect and report data about the number of individuals entered into police gang databases, and alert those entered of the department's actions. Without this requirement, individuals may not be made aware that they were entered into these databases, and therefore would be unable to challenge the decision in a timely manner if they felt the submission was incorrect.
Please Support Budget Amendment Item 410#1h - Delegate Don Scott • Item 410#1h – provides $2.5 million the second year from the General Fund for the Emergency Shelter Upgrade Assistance Fund, to provide additional aid to local governments in the preparation and upgrade of emergency shelters on an ongoing basis. The additional funding is in addition to the $2.5 million provided in Chapter 1289 of the 2020 Session of the General Assembly. • Item #410 subsection D, in Chapter 1289 of the 2020 Session of the General Assembly provided an appropriation of $2.5 million in the first year (FY21) of the general fund and transferred this funding to the Emergency Shelter Upgrade Assistance Fund. • This fund was created pursuant to Senate Bill 350 of the 2020 General Assembly, to aid local governments in proactively preparing for emergency sheltering situations. • The realization and necessity for this fund is based on the facts that: o Virginia’s local governments are responsible for sheltering its citizens in times of emergency events. o It is a well-known and documented fact that Hampton Roads is subject to severe weather events, yet there is no hurricane rated buildings with adequate safety infrastructures for citizens use in emergency weather or hazardous situations. o Although an emergency shelter can be any building with capacity to shelter people in a safe and secure environment during an emergency event, most local governments use their public-school buildings due to the amenities they possess such as capacity, bathrooms, kitchens, space, etc. o However, many of these school buildings are near the end of their lifespan (50 years old) and are not compliant with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). • The Initial funding request was for $2.5M annually, but the Fund was created with $2.5M only for FY21. • Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the regulations and the grant parameters were not finalized until October of 2020, and the first grant process in currently underway, with March 30, 2021 slated as latest date for award announcement. • This budget amendment continues this Fund into the second year to continue aiding local governments proactively prepare for emergency sheltering situations on a continuing basis. • The intent is to propose ongoing funding of $2.5 million GF per year under the Fund.
Please support Budget Item 144#1h - Delegate Don Scott Item 114#1h - Increases designated funding for the Port Industrial and Revitalization Fund by $1,000,000. This fund was created specifically to provide economic development assistance for the five host cities of the Virginia Port Authority, the town of Front Royal, and the cities of Newport News, Portsmouth, Norfolk, and Richmond. Except for the town of Front Royal, each of the host cities of the Port are ranked by the Virginia Commission on Local Government as having high fiscal stress. The Commission’s ranking ranges from 1 – 133, with 1=highest stress, and 133= lowest stress. The host cities of the Port’s ranks are: o Portsmouth – 11th, o Norfolk – 14th o Newport News – 20th o Richmond - 23rd o Front Royal (Warren County) – 98th This program provides another tool in the toolbox to address "port-related" structures that are non-residential and were built or used for a purpose related to port activities, is located near the port to benefit from port activities or is located on or near a transit route (rail or highway) that served/serves the port. These structures, in their current deteriorated condition, may not be suitable for productive use and may stand as a substantial deterrent for future economic opportunity in the surrounding area and region. This Fund was created by the Virginia Legislature in 2019 and was capitalized with $1,000,00. There were three awards made in the first round of applications in 2020: o The City of Newport News was awarded $250,000 for their Menchville Marina revitalization project. o The City of Norfolk was awarded $250,000 for their Norfolk Railyard at Lambert’s Point project; and o The City of Portsmouth was awarded $500,000 for their Project Power project. Increasing this fund by $100,000,000 increases funding opportunities amongst the five-host cities of the Port and the size of projects they can undertake. These projects are not only an economic boost for these localities, but bringing these properties back on to the tax rolls is also a fiscal boost to the Commonwealth of Virginia.
My name is Meredith Speir and I am the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of The Recovery Connection in Winchester, Virginia. The Recovery Connection provides residential treatment and sober-living for women that struggle with substance use disorder. We are an individualized, person-centered, and strength based program and provide services for 15 women across two locations at a time. More importantly than my role with The Recovery Connection, I am a person in long-term recovery from substance use disorder and I am also the loved one of a person that has battled addiction for many years. By the grace of God and because of amazing people that have helped me along the way, I have been clean from all mood or mind altering substances for 11 years and 10 months. As the Chief Operating Officer and the person that manages admissions to The Recovery Connection's program, the number one barrier for people not seeking treatment or sober living is lack of funding. There is an overwhelming high need for funding for these folks that desire to get better and find a new way to live. Often times we admit ladies to our program who literally have nothing. We must do better in Virginia and provide assistance for people that battle the disease of addiction! Overdoses have increased by 77% in light of the pandemic and this problem is not going anywhere anytime soon. When I got clean in 2009, I was able to do so by living in an Oxford House which is currently one of the options for certified recovery housing in Virginia. I was able to get clean and stay clean because I reaped the benefits of authentic peer to peer recovery in a safe and structured environment. Today, my husband and I own three Oxford Houses in the beautiful city of Winchester. When both my husband and I got our lives together, we wanted to invest in something that would change lives. I am writing this letter to you as a person in recovery, the owner of a treatment and sober living program and an Oxford House landlord. We must stop tossing people in jail that battle substance use disorder. It's not working. Those that battle addiction need options for housing and we need to provide the indigent population with certified recovery housing that they so desperately need. These folks need to be afforded the same opportunity for treatment and recovery that families with financial success are. I am writing in support of the budget amendment in the current legislative session to appropriate $10,000,000.00 annually for evidence based lived experience residential recovery service providers to subsidize “bed fees” at the rate of $30 per day. This would help 1800 fellow Virginians, for six months each, in a certified recovery residence. The Recovery Connection is one of the certified recovery residences in Virginia. My organization worked hard to obtain accreditation and are incredibly grateful for the Virginia Association of Recovery Residences (VARR) which holds us to certain standards for housing. We have accepted indigent clients into our program because we want to help save lives. Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter. Please help provide Virginians that battle addiction and mental health disorders with an opportunity for safe, structured and supportive housing. We cannot arrest our way out of the opioid epidemic. We must start thinking differently and provide indigent Virginians funding to recover from the disease of addiction.
I am writing in support of the budget amendment to HB1929, The School Equity and Staffing Act, to (1) add new funds for high-poverty schools through the Equity Fund; (2) increase funding for school counselors; and (3) Increase funding for English Learner students based on proficiency.
House Appropriations Committee Chair Torian and committee Members: My testimony today as the Public Affairs Coordinator for Social Action Linking Together is to urge you to pass Budget Amendments Item# 356 14h and /or Item #400 1h. The issue: A need to lighten the burden for families struggling to maintain personal contact with their incarcerated members, doing so in a way that is efficient and affordable via video visitation. This is especially critical in the time of a pandemic when in-person visits are not permitted. The Purpose: The Federal Government and various states have already developed or are developing effective programs enabling the incarcerated and their families to remain in contact. Like Virginia, these state programs include prison family video contacts, and address, therefore, a fundamental human need for social contact while providing an effective strategy for facilitating re-entry and preventing recidivism—primary goals that make video visitation a win for the incarcerated, their families, and taxpayers. As U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and eleven of her Senate colleagues noted in a letter dated March 20, 2020, to the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, citing a study entitled The Family and Recidivism: “Studies have demonstrated that family contact is a valuable source of support during incarceration and that those who maintain contact with their family experience lower rates of recidivism after release." Why is this important? Almost every inmate has family ties, and we know almost every inmate returns to their communities, most within three years. To prepare inmates for successful re-entry, Virginia should follow a wise course of action by supporting and offering successful pre-release programs. Recent Experience: AFOI organizes and arranges for prison family video visits with inmates. Family-inmate links are few without AFOI. The AFOI program is made possible with generous volunteers. The problem: The cost of video visits facilitated via Global Tel Link (GTL) for the family of prisoners is prohibitive for many, unjustly impeding family contact with loved ones. Virginia’s public fiscal support is deficient. As a result, staffing and programs are stretched past limits. The volunteers lack resources to meet all the existing needs. Volunteers simply cannot do all that is needed; and families, unfortunately, cannot easily afford the current Family Prison Video Visits facilitated by GTL. The Solution: Subsidize the current GTL system with the $249,000 from the non-general fund (NGF) or give families of the imprisoned an option, similar to Zoom, so costs are not prohibitive and families know exactly what their costs will be, if any, every month, regardless of the number of video visits. Thank you for this opportunity to testify.
I own River Rock Outfitter (RRO), a specialty outdoor store and livery service, operating in Fredericksburg, Virginia. We are in SUPPORT of Amendment Item # Rasoul 382#4h which delays by one fiscal year the authority of DWR to assess fees for access to boat ramps it owns or manages. VA Code 29.1-113 is overly burdensome, has not been fully vetted by those mostly affected, and is ill timed considering the many challenges faced by small businesses, communities relying on tourism for their recovery, and users facing economic hardship from the current global pandemic. RRO is a veteran owned small business committed to building our regional outdoor recreational economy. I am the President of Fredericksburg, VA Main Street, am on the Board of Directors for Friends of the Rappahannock and am a certified paddling guide with the ACA. My company was recently selected as the Small Business Champion of the Chesapeake and we are a leading conservation advocate in our region. We commit business resources each year to multiple river clean-ups, including at our local DWR managed dock. In addition to providing guided services and kayak rentals on the Rappahannock River, we are also the largest kayak dealer in our region. We work with our customers and clients providing them guidance, education, and gear to have a fun and safe experience on the River. Our DWR ramps are the primary access point to the River. We have neither been notified by DWR on the new code nor have we been provided guidance on how to assist our user’s compliance with the new regulations. We are a forward-facing educator and primary advocate for DWR resources. Paddlesport enthusiasts, tourists accessing the river, consumers purchasing kayaks, and even city officials seek guidance from RRO regarding state regulations and mandates on river usage. Implementation of these new regulations will be frustrating at best and a complete barrier to access at worst. During a time when small businesses and communities are fighting for survival this is an unfortunate and undue burden. We are counting on the growth of our outdoor recreational economy to help elevate our community–increased usage of our trails and river has the potential to bring in new tourism dollars to our Downtown and region at large. Removing barriers to access is a key component of strengthening an outdoor recreational economy. Most troubling is that this legislation was hurriedly passed and poorly timed. It was voted on and written into the code during a time when outfitter and livery operators, civic leaders, and the public were focused on pandemic related challenges and had no opportunity to provide feedback or recommendations on implementation strategies. We were not active participants in the process which would have allowed for better planning and education of our clients and customers. By their own admission, DWR’s website is not prepared to handle the increased traffic this new ordinance requires and has not fully determined the work arounds available for outfitter and livery operators. We must work now, together, to rebuild our communities, support our small businesses, and to encourage the respite that the river provides users. This is not the time to push through unvetted, uninformed legislation and the changes it brings to the VA Code. We SUPPORT Amendment Item # Rasoul 382#4h which delays by one fiscal year the authority of the DWR to assess fees for access to boat ramps it owns or manages.
New Virginia Majority supports the budget amendments below. Item 120 #1h (Carter):HB1755 Repeal Va Right to Work Law Item 496 #2h (Gooditis):Adding Domestic Workers to Compensation Act Item 131 #2h HB 2040 (Hudson):Overpayment of Benefits Item 61 #2h: HB 1864 (Price):Protections for Domestic Workers Item 98 #2h (Price):Farm Worker Financial Assistance Program Item 145 #17h (Aird): HB 1929 Standards of Quality Item 145 #18h (Aird): Eliminate Support Cap Item 145 #28h (Bourne):Redirect SRO Funds to Increase At-Risk Add-On Item 406 #2h (Bourne):Redirect SRO / SSO Incentive Grant Funding Item 150 #4h (Lopez):SCHEV Equity in Financial Aid Item 133.10 #1h (Ayala):Paid Sick Leave Item 312 #1h (Guzman):Coverage of Prenatal Care Services Item 307 #4h (Herring):Fiscal Impact of HB2111 Item 317 #1h (Krizek):Workgroup on Health Care Coverage of Undocumented Children Item 313 #4h (Lopez):Emergency Medicaid Services for Certain Immigrants Item 313 #10h (Price):Reproductive Health Care Services Item 291 #1h (Samirah):Study of Universal Health Care Item 312 #2h (Sickles):FAMIS Eligibility for Immigrant Youth Item 313 #28h (Sickles):Medicaid Eligibility for Immigrant Youth Item 313 #16h (Guzman):Shift Coverage of Certain Prenatal Care Services to FAMIS Program Item 4-14 #2h (Aird):Update COVID-19 Evictions Policy Item 113 #3h (Lopez):Increase Support for the Housing Trust Fund Item 113 #4h (Price):Right of Redemption for Evictions Item 380 #2h (Simonds):Air Quality Study Item 124 #1h (Guzman):Study of Gold and Hard Rock Mineral Mining Item 442 #4h (McQuinn):Funding to Study Transit Equity and Modernization in the Commonwealth Item 484 #1h (Jones):Costs for Changing the Triennial Review Process for Publicly Regulated Utilities Item 57 #1h (Bourne):Qualified Immunity for Law Enforcement Item 402 #4h (Carter):Death Penalty Repeal Item 402 #5h (Heretick):Marijuana Legalization Item 39 #5h (Herring):Automatic Expungement Process for Certain Offenses Item 402 #17h (Herring):Automatic Expungement Process for Certain Offenses Item 425 #7h (Herring):Automatic Expungement Process for Certain Offenses Item 394 #3h (Herring):Social Equity Qualified Cannabis Licensees Item 49 #1h (Herring):Crime Commission - VCSC Pre-Trial Reporting Item 39 #3h (Hudson):HB 1895 - Fines and Fees Item 402 #10h (Hudson):Defelonizing Simple Possession of a Controlled Substance Item 406 #5h (Jenkins):Pretrial Data Aggregation Item 400 #5h (Mullin):Repeal of Mandatory Minimum Sentences Item 425 #5h (Rasoul):Release of Police Video Item 41 #1h (Scott):Counsel Provided at First Appearance Item 359 #1h (Sickles):Interagency Workgroup on Local Criminal Justice Diversion Programs Item 86 #2h (Lopez):Preregistration of Voters Item 57 #4h (Price):Virginia Voting Rights Act Item 86 #4h (Price):Curbside Voting in Virginia Item 57 #2h (VanValkenburg):Preclearance of Covered Voting Practices Item 86 #7h (VanValkenburg): Absentee Voting Support for General Registrars Item 52 #4h (Tran):Language Access for State Government Services Item 52 #5h (Tran):Improving Participation of Refugees in Virginia's Workforce Item 355 #1h (Tran):Expand Funding for Immigrant Services Item 410 #7h (Askew):Emergency Preparedness Plans Item 410 #3h (Price):Equity and Inclusion in Disaster Response Item 410 #4h: (Price):Community Outreach Activities
I urge you to approve budget amendment #307 2h providing $60,000 each year to the Virginia Department of Health for the two-year study of PFAS contamination within Virginia drinking water required by 2020 legislation. This funding will ensure that VDH can test for more types of PFAS contaminants and assess seasonal changes in PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) levels. These man-made chemicals are common in firefighting foam and non-stick coatings that persist in the environment and in the body. The use of these chemicals is so prolific that a CDC survey found PFAS in the blood of 97% of participants. PFAS are linked to many troubling health impacts including thyroid disease, cancer, high blood pressure, low fertility and low birth weight. Studies suggest PFAS exposure may reduce antibody response to vaccines. States have begun testing for PFAS contamination within their drinking water. The resounding result has been if you test for it, you will find it. Last year, the General Assembly passed legislation requiring VDH to protect Virginia's drinking water from PFAS contamination by studying the occurrence of these chemicals at up to 50 waterworks across the state. Unfortunately, this work was not funded. Given this mandate and growing concerns about the public health impacts of PFAS, VDH has pushed forward using very limited federal resources. This funding allows for only one sample round at each of the 50 water sources and no ability to observe seasonal changes or investigate positive or anomalous results with additional samples. This budget amendment, for $60,000 in the first year and $60,000 in the second, will help fill this gap in public health information, enabling VDH to conduct multiple sample rounds at each location with the ability to use a new EPA-validated test that detects 11 additional types of PFAS contamination.
Support item 115#1h (Price) • The City of Newport News strongly supports Delegate Price’s budget amendment 115 #1h that restores $250,000 each year to the Enterprise Zone Program for Real Property Improvement Grants. • This program creates an improved climate for private sector investment, development and expansion in targeted areas. • Newport News consistently ranks as one of top Enterprise Zones in the state, regularly placing at or near the top in grant dollars leveraged and total number of qualifying businesses. • In the most recent grant year, Newport News businesses received 14 Real Property Improvement Grants totaling over $1.4 million that generated over $40.1 million in private capital investment in real estate. • When the General Assembly fails to provide sufficient program funding, grants are then pro-rated across the board. • In the most recent grant year, grants were funded at 83.9% of the original commitment. • This proration significantly affects the effectiveness of the program. • The City of Newport News urges the General Assembly to restore funding needed to fully honor grant awards and maintain the effectiveness of this important economic development tool.
House Appropriations Committee Chair Torian & Members On behalf of our 1300 Social Action Linking Together (SALT) members we urge you to pass common sense Budget Amendments Item# 356 14h and /or Item #400 1h. The Virginia Prison Family Video Visitation Program by Assisting Families of the Imprisoned (AFOI) has been made possible on a shoe string budget solely with a few volunteers, primarily generous individuals coming from various faith communities and non-profits. Staffing and program resources are stretched past the limits. The unmet needs are considerable especially in these Covid times. Virginia's public fiscal support is absent. ln short, its past time for Virginia to acknowledge its responsibility to fund the needed program expansion for low income families. The goal is in support of family reintegration and re-entry support. The purpose of these legislative budget amendments is to advance public safety by facilitating an effective and constructive reintegration of ex-offenders with their families and children, to strengthen family and community ties prior to the release of the offender, to diminish the likelihood of recidivism, and to reduce the state’s financial burdens by actively engaging non-custodial parents in the support and parenting of their children. The family communications programs created to strengthen family bonds, like the Kairos Horizon’s program at Tamoca Prison in Florida, is a worthy mode. This program’s manager reported a 33 percent drop in recidivism for those participating in its intensive prison family communications program, compared to those not participating. It is past time for Virginia to acknowledge that churches and charities cannot adequately fill the gap occurring because family bonding has not been adequately facilitated. Additionally, the projected savings from existing Family Video Visiting programs should be re-invested in our expansion proposal. We know from research when prisoners are connected to their families and communities that they have networks of support that enable them to succeed in their reentries and lower the recidivism rates. It's good for families; it's good for business; it's good for communities; it's good for kids; and it's good for tax payers. It's time for Virginia to provide vitally needed state resources/support to provide and expand prison family services; Most other states are doing it; Virginia can do it too! Please do the right thing to help out for a better Virginia. Thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony today.,
I, Richard Dieter (firstname.lastname@example.org) , write in support of Delegate Mullin's amendment (Item 402 #11h) to allocate $77,736 to repeal the death penalty in the Commonwealth. I have earlier submitted written testimony based on my years of experience with this issue concerning the extra costs to a state associated with the death penalty. I support the allocation of these resources because the net result of passing the underlying legislation would be the saving of millions of dollars for the Commonwealth. As outlined in my testimony, retaining the death penalty would mean accepting new capital cases, whose extra costs for pre-trial investigation, experts, trial, appeals, and more secure confinement on death row would cost Virginia as much as $10 million per year, with little to show for it. Even considering just the costs of keeping the two current defendants on Virginia's death row, there would be significant costs solely associated with appealing their death sentences, appeals that do not occur in ordinary cases. Prosecutors in Kern County, California recently agreed not to defend the death sentence of one defendant, Clarence Ray, in part because the appeals would cost at least $100,000, not counting defense costs. Moreover, there is no guarantee when the two defendants on death row would be executed, if ever. This means they would be incarcerated on death row, where the costs would be at least as much as confinement in prison. Curtailing the appeals of death-row inmates would run the risk of executing the innocent. I therefore SUPPORT Del. Mullin's amendment and the repeal of the death penalty for the fiscal reasons stated.
Regarding HB1800, Chief Patron: Kory - School Mental Health Counselors, Item 144 #6h (and Item 406) - Education, Direct Aid to Public Education Page 148, after line 1, insert: "School Mental Health Counselor Grants $0 $4,700,000". Page 157, after line 31, insert: "UU. Out of this appropriation, $4,700,000 the second year from the general fund is provided to support grants to local school divisions establishing new mental health counselor positions. Grants awarded shall require a local match, based on the local composite index. The Department of Education shall establish criteria for the award of these grants, including prioritization of grant awards to schools based on demonstrated need for such positions." This amendment provides $4.7 million the second year from the general fund for grants to school divisions to establish mental health counselor positions. This amendment, along with a companion amendment in Item 406, would eliminate the $4.7 million general fund appropriation in the second year for school resource officer / school security officer incentive grants to fund these mental health counselor incentive grants. Comments: The Virginia State Council of the National Organization for Women (NOW) respectfully asks you to shift funding now used for school policing from School Resource Officers (SR0s) and School Security Officers (SSOs) to school mental health counselors. Initially, SROs were put in many schools as a response to school shootings. However, the data shows an increase in arrests for Black, Latinx, and students with disabilities when SROs are present. With these officers into the school system, issues that would be handled as a behavioral or administrative issue become criminal matters. The organization Justice Forward Virginia, writing about school resource officers and the funneling of children from the school system to the criminal legal system (the “school-to-prison pipeline”), says: "The data suggests …that the presence of police in schools leads to the overcriminalization of youthful behavior. ..The most striking data related to Black girls, who made up 17% of the school population, but made up 43% of the students arrested or referred to law enforcement for prosecution." NOW - which represents issues of concern involving women and girls - is deeply concerned about the impact of armed officers on girls and young women in our schools. A 2008 U.S. Department of Justice study showed that the increased arrest and incarceration of girls over the past 20 years has not been the result of increased criminal activity or violence. Instead, more girls are being arrested and incarcerated because of the aggressive enforcement of non-serious "status" offenses such as truancy, many of which stem from abuse and trauma. Justice Forward Virginia says: "The overreliance of policing in schools has led to victimization and violence against our children, predominantly Black children, and has ultimately led to children being less safe." At this time, mental health counselors could do more to help students than SROs. Thank you for your attention.
VA ENTERPRISE ZONE (EZ) PROGRAM, ITEM 115 #1h - Del Price The 16 member cities of the Virginia First Cities Coalition (VFC) are in strong support budget amendment, Item 115 #1h that deals with an increase of $250,000 in each year to mitigate proration of the Real Property Improvement Grant (RPIG) and to re-allot funding that was eliminated during the 2020 Special Session. • Proration of the RPIG is the single biggest weakness of the EZ program. It creates uncertainty for investors and diminishes the effectiveness of the EZ program, because investors cannot know what portion of the requested grant amount they’ll ultimately receive. VFC member cities can certainly attest to the RPIG bringing the most value to our communities. The JLARC report did not perform or evaluate a Locality-Specific Return on Investment (ROI). Had they done so, they would have clearly noted the value and critical role the RPIG brings to the Enterprise Zone program. • Virginia First Cities would make the case that it is precisely the RPIG program that should be prioritized, not prorated over the JCG program portion of the Enterprise Zone legislation. Most of the success of the Enterprise Zone program comes from the RPIG. Requests for RPIG have been increasing since 2010, and so has the amount disbursed. • Even though RPIG does not play a direct role in recruiting businesses and creating jobs in these sectors, newly constructed or renovated rental spaces attract various tenant businesses into the Enterprise Zones. RPIG has been found to significantly improve local property values. The ripple effect of the impact can be seen up to a quarter mile outside the zone boundaries. (The JCG requirements favor large businesses, primarily in the manufacturing sector.) However, not all Enterprise Zones have the capacity to attract such industries due to the lack of skilled workforce and due to competition with other economically stronger counterparts in the state. • Eligibility for the Real Property Investment Grant (RPIG) is based on qualified investments made to commercial, industrial, and mixed-use buildings or facilities located within the boundaries of an enterprise zone. To be eligible for the RPIG, an individual or entity must invest at least $100,000 for rehabilitation or expansion projects and at least $500,000 for new construction projects. These investments are crucial to our localities. • This has been an excellent program for the businesses in district enterprise zones. • A 2016 Wilder School, Center for Urban and Regional Analysis study concluded that to greatly enhance the effectiveness of the RPIG Program if grant proration continues, the state should look at converting the unpaid remainder after proration into a tax credit that may be redeemed within a specified period (5-10 years in the future).
We are in favor of Item 321 #2h ,(This amendment adds $10.0 million the second year from the general fund to the Virginia Association of Recovery Residences (VARR) for its members to deliver evidence based lived experience peer managed residential services to consumers with substance use disorder (SUD). VARR members provide immediate access to substance use disorder recovery services which significantly increases positive outcomes for their consumers. Current Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) overdose response incident data clearly shows a rising rate of substance use disorders in Virginia, with accompanying social impacts and costs. Expanded evidence based recovery programs that can be accessed immediately by consumers with SUD will save lives and tax dollars.) Clearly everything our state and local agencies are doing is not enough,the science is overwhelmingly clear that same day connection to recovery housing operated by recovering people produces a 40% reduction in recidivism and over all 40% reduction in the impact substance use disorders has on our community. Also increases public saftey upward of 60% . Also this simple funding source would rapidly fill capacity gaps throughout Virginia in our existing shortfalls IE. overdose scenes,emergency room visits , courtroom and jail options. This is a huge step forward in rapidly increasing community's of color capacity gaps. With in one year of distribution of these funds the state will save at minimum 100 million dollars in tax funded spending in other agency and reimbursements to other tax funded providers cleaning up the mess from the impact of substance use disorders.
This amendment would appropriate $10,000,000 each year from the general fund to provide an annual grant to the Virginia Association of Recovery Residences (VARR) for its members to deliver evidence based lived experience peer managed residential services offering immediate access to substance use disorder consumers. Current Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) overdose response incident data (representing 97,289 records from January 1, 2017 to August 31, 2020) clearly shows Virginia’s efforts to stem the tide of addressing SUD, and accompanying social impacts, are ineffective – What is currently being done to address SUD, and/or how it is being implemented, needs to change and/or improve. Here is why funding immediate SUD housing access in a certified VARR residence will improve SUD recovery outcomes and how: Virginia’s General Assembly has legislatively sanctioned VARR as a credentialing agency for certifying recovery residences. All VARR members meet or exceed federally recognized standards which have evolved since initially drafted and implemented in 2011. Housing is a critical foundational component in the proven and sustainable recovery hierarchy illustrated above, and can be provided in a VARR certified recovery centric environment for only $20/day. Food and clothing are readily available through other community and social service providers. Length of engagement is an evidence based lived experience indicator for positive recovery outcomes, and $10 million would support 1800 recovery bed six month stays. Current Virginia data illustrates an average of over 2000 monthly overdose response incidents. Immediate access to these newly funded beds would significantly impact the current relapse pattern the VDH OEMS data displays. Now firmly engaged with others in recovery, an individual strengthens the connections leading to sustained SUD recovery, benefitting, rather than burdening, their community, while regaining relationships to loved ones. This innovative “rubber meets the road” direct approach to immediate SUD recovery services access vs. current methods of prolonged and virtual assessments will also siphon consumers from needing taxpayer funded first responders, hospital emergency departments encounters and criminal justice system engagements. An arrest costs the Commonwealth approximately $10,000.00 administratively, which does not include “correctional” costs, evidence testing laboratory expenditures, etc, etc. An emergency room admission costs taxpayers approximately $5,000.00, which does not include EMS dispatch and first responder expenses. SUD has been recognized for far too long as being of epidemic proportions. It affects all, and what the recovery community firmly believes are common sense solutions have been ignored. Data doesn’t lie, and the time is now to employ a new tactic.
SUPPORT for Del. Guzman's amendment 307 #2h, "Study of Certain Substances in Drinking Water", for $60,000 in FY 2021 and $60,000 in FY 2022 which will allow the Virginia Department of Health to test for PFAS chemicals at up to 50 Virginia water sources. This Legislation was passed in the 2020 General Assembly (HB 586 - Guzman) and this charge can be accomplished by administering several tests at each location allowing for seasonal changes and by using EPA recommended tests that can measure eleven types of PFAS chemicals. PFAS chemicals are harmful to humans, causing diseases to include cancer, high blood pressure, low birth rate, low fertility and may reduce antibody responses to vaccines. The chemicals are widespread, bio-accumulate, and do not break down in the environment, the reason they are called "forever chemicals". Virginia Dept of Health is presently facilitating PFAS committees, one of which is examining in detail what other states are doing to address this important health issue. SUPPORT Del. Guzman's amendment 307 #2h, "Study of Certain Substances in Drinking Water" for $60,000 FY 2021 and $60,000 in FY 2022. Thank you kindly, --Tyla Matteson, Chesterfield County, VA Wastewater Residuals Core Team, Grassroots Network, Sierra Club National. (H) 804-275-6476