Public Comments for 01/26/2021 Labor and Commerce - Subcommittee #1
HB1785 - Employment health and safety standards; heat illness prevention.
Last Name: Vassey Organization: Coalition for a Strong Virginia Economy Locality: Richmond

Dear Members of the Virginia General Assembly: On behalf of the Coalition for a Strong Virginia Economy, our 31 business associations wish to express our position that it is crucial that the General Assembly avoid mandates and increased taxes on small businesses and instead looks for ways to help businesses recover. We respectively ask the committee not to move these bills forward. HB 1785 Ward HB 1977 Askew HB 2037 Tran HB 2040 Hudson HB 2015 Ayala HB 2016 Ayala HB 2103 Reid HB 2137 Guzman HB 2228 Guzman Best Regards, Associated Builders and Contractors of Virginia Associated General Contractors of Virginia Delmarva Chicken Association Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Harrisonburg – Rockingham Chamber of Commerce Heavy Construction Contractors Association National Federation of Independent Business Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce Northern Virginia Transportation Business Coalition Precast Concrete Association of Virginia Richmond Area Municipal Contractors Association Shellfish Growers of Virginia Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy Virginia Agribusiness Council Virginia Association of Roofing Professionals Virginia Association for Home Care and Hospice Virginia Automatic Merchandising Association Virginia Contractor Procurement Alliance Virginia Forestry Association Virginia Forest Products Association Virginia Loggers Association Virginia Manufactured Association and Modular Housing Association Virginia Manufacturers Association Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Virginia Poultry Federation Virginia Retail Federation Virginia Seafood Council Virginia Trucking Association Virginia Veterinary Medical Association Virginia Wholesalers and Distributors Association Virginia Wineries Association

Last Name: Radion Locality: Charlottesville

I support this bill as a mandatory human right. These are humans who are not being treated as so. Justice demands immediate action on behalf of all your constituents

Last Name: Oyola Organization: Legal Aid Justice Center Locality: Charlottesville

I support HB 1785 and HB 1786 because every year farmworkers come to Virginia to work hard to put food on our tables; they pay taxes and contribute to the local economy. So, what is the excuse for not including them in the minimum living wage? Support #Farmworkers in Virginia. We need to leave behind racist policies. Farmworkers deserve a living wage. I also support HB1754 and HB1780 because Virginia is one of the worst states for worker protections and we need to start doing the bare minimum for workers who have gone through hell this pandemic.

Last Name: Melvin Organization: Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association Locality: Richmond

Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, o behalf of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association I would like to share our concerns related to HB1785. Many restaurants are depending on outdoor dining to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. As currently written, we are concerned that HB1785 would create additional burdens for these struggling businesses that are attempting to remain in operation. In addition, a similar bill last year was sent to study. As a result of COVID-19, that study never occurred. We respectfully request that you do not pass this measure and instead send it to be studied so that stakeholders have the opportunity to determine whether it's necessary for additional regulations on this subject.

Last Name: Vassey Organization: Virginia Manufacturers Association Locality: Richmond

VA Safety & Health Codes Board has already provided the VA Secretary of Commerce & Trade with draft regulations over 300 days ago. This bill is a "cause of action" liability bill under the guise of heat illness regulation. VOSH/OSHA can already regulate heat illness in the workplace. The VMA opposes this legislation.

Last Name: Campblin Organization: Green new Deal VA Locality: Fairfax

Outdoor workers such as farmworkers and construction workers are a vulnerable because they are at high risk of facing the health effects from working for prolonged periods in temperature extremes, such as heat stroke. It is important that we provide safeguard by creating regulations to protect against heat stress for outdoor workers. Please vote yes.

Last Name: Driscoll Organization: Virginia Interfaith Power and Light Locality: Fairfax

Climate impacts are around us already. It is important to make sure that we are adapting to these changes as well as mitigating carbon pollution. Virginians are already seeing warmer and more extreme heat with rising daily peak temperatures. Outdoor workers such as farm workers and construction workers are a vulnerable population because they are at high risk of facing the health effects from working for prolonged periods in temperature extremes, such as heat stroke. This is why I support HB1785; it would help protect these vulnerable workers from the negative effects of rising temperatures on their health, safety, and well-being.

Last Name: Bennett Organization: Virginia Trucking Association Locality: Richmond

The Virginia Trucking Association has concerns regarding potential conflicts with federal law that governs driver attendance requirements for certain hazardous materials loading and unloading operations and well as federal preemption of state meal and rest break requirements for truck drivers.

Last Name: Williams Organization: Virginia Ready Mixed Concrete Association Locality: Richmond

The Virginia Ready Mixed Concrete Association respectfully opposes HB 1785. We take the safety of our employees very seriously, and pride ourselves on abiding by the standards set out by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). We feel that additional review and oversight by a state-level board is unnecessary, and could potentially make our work impracticable. Furthermore, during the 2020 General Assembly Session, similar legislation was referred to a study. Given the pandemic, that study never took place. We ask that you again refer this legislation to a study, so that the General Assembly may work with stakeholders to determine whether further regulation is necessary.

Last Name: Jenkins Organization: Virginia Loggers Association Locality: Goochland

Virginia Loggers Association and its members consider employees to be the most important resource and would never advocate for any condition that would harm them. Business owners provide the best care possible for its employees and understand the problems created by excessive heat. We do not support more regulations that create hardships for small business owners. Logging and mills create the backbone for the products industry and both are continually working to improve the work environment. We conduct business in both the indoor and outdoor settings. Our members conduct regular safety training, provide water and breaks, and keep management informed of these basic safety needs. Additional regulations just mean more rules for small business owners to keep up with and are subject to the potential of missing a technical detail that will cost them in penalties and time. It seems that we are trying to regulate common sense. Our industry has always been aware of the need to emphasize safety. Our work places are open to inspection anytime. Our insurance industry keeps a close eye on forest products and provides incentives to safety. There are probably some industries that don't pay attention to employee safety. I can't imagine why! I can say with certainty that forest products is a great example of why we don't need additional regulations. Thank you.

Last Name: De la vega Locality: Henry county

Por favor ayudemos a esos trabajadores ya que son nuestros trabajadores esenciales por ellos tenemos la comida que encontramos en el mercado sin ellos que comeríamos

Last Name: Gago Locality: Richmond

It’s inhumane that workers in Virginia must work non-stop during heat waves that are more extreme each year. OSHA does not have a specific standard that covers working in hot environments, and according to their website, most of the outdoor fatalities, 50% to 70%, occur in the first few days of working in warm or hot environments. Workers are more than a number! It’s time to protect workers' lives.

Last Name: Chavez Locality: Accomack County

Translation: For us [workers] it is very important that they take us into consideration because the work in the fields is very hard and even more so when there is very extreme heat. We want our employers pay more attention to us when we get sick. Original: Para nosotros es muy importante eso que nos tomen en cuenta porque el trabajo del campo es muy pesado y más cuando hay calor muy extremo y que nuestro patrones nos ponga más atención cuando nos enfermamos.

Last Name: Osinkosky Locality: Richmond

I have sat with a grown man, a migrant worker, in the hospital who was in grave danger due to heat exposure. I have seen workers go home to Mexico because they got sick from the heat, had to go to the hospital, and workers comp wouldn't cover it. Thank God that his coworkers called an ambulance. Migrant workers have asked me, "How is it that we have breaks in Mexico, but here, in the United States of America, there is no law saying that we should have breaks in the heat?" I have driven by a billboard on Eastern Shore that says it is illegal to have dogs chained outside in hot weather and there are now fines. And yet, we have no laws to protect people? Please stand for the workers who put food on our tables!

Last Name: Legal Aid Justice Center Organization: workers and community members Locality: Eastern Shore

On behalf of 200 workers farmworkers and community members who signed a petition, Legal Aid Justice Center submits the following comments: The essential farmworkers and migrant workers of Virginia, and the communities that recognize and benefit from their work, write the General Assembly of Virginia in support of: • Including farmworkers and H-2 migrant workers in the Virginia minimum wage; • Comprehensive, enforceable heat stress protections for all workers in Virginia; A hard copy of the petition with names and signatures will be provided to Delegate Ward.

Last Name: Cecilia Hernandez-Pena Organization: Legal AID Justice Center Locality: Eastern Shore VA

I am a community organizer, this has given me the opportunity to see the conditions in which these essential workers live, they work hard in temperatures sometimes over 100 degrees, the consequences that remain in these workers are irreversible,A worker suffered a heart attack in the middle of the field on a hot day, the most unfortunate thing that after weeks in recovery the company fired him because he was no longer useful, the return to his country with irreversible damages and with an account of hospital and no money to pay for her medications, it is time to protect those who They risk their own health to not leave our tables empty, I do not understand why not protect these essential workers, It is shameful that they are not included in the increase in the minimum wage they contribute to the economy of this country, they pay taxes, they support the small businesses of the community, they live here for more than 6 months , It is judged that they are given the value they deserve and the necessary protections for their health on hot days, remember they bring food to our tables, even in the middle of a pandemic they have been in the front line, risking their own health keeping this country fed.

Last Name: Lucia Locality: Herico

Hello

HB1862 - Employee protections; medicinal use of cannabis oil.
Last Name: Netzel Locality: Virginia Beach

I am a registered medical cannabis patient in Virginia. As patients, we need to have protection from losing our jobs when we use our medication within state law. Please vote yes for this bill!

Last Name: Simon Organization: Marijuana Policy Project Locality: Washington, DC

Seventeen states with medical cannabis laws have some form of employment protections for registered patients. My colleagues at the Marijuana Policy Project haven’t heard of these protections creating issues for employers. They simply ensure patients aren’t fired or disciplined for using cannabis during non-work hours, just as they can’t be fired for prescription medications. HB 1862 is clearly written to ensure that employers are not required to permit employees to work while impaired by their use of cannabis oil. It also ensures that employers would not be required “to commit any act that would cause the employer to be in violation of federal law or that would result in the loss of a federal contract or federal funding.” Many patients report that their use of medical cannabis is what enables them to remain productive members of society rather than, for example, being dependent on opioid pain medications that may inhibit their ability to hold a job. It would be tragic for these patients if they are denied employment opportunities as a result of their legal, physician-directed use of cannabis. On behalf of Virginia patients who are benefitting from their use of cannabis oil, and those who will benefit as the program becomes more accessible and affordable, we strongly encourage you to pass HB 1862.

Last Name: Mirabile Organization: Virginia Professional Fire Fighters Locality: Prince William County

The treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) continues to be a major concern for Virginia's fire fighters and EMS personnel. These brave men and women witness horrific scenes that frequently stay with them for years. And the stress of COVID-19 has increased the rates of PTSD within our fire and rescue departments. Last year, the General Assembly passed legislation to provide our first responders workers' compensation benefits for the treatment of PTSD. Across the Commonwealth, many fire fighters have been prescribed Cannabidiol (CBD) oil to aide with sleep and anxiety issues as a result of their profession. However, many fire departments have zero-tolerance drug policies in place forcing many fire fighters to make the difficult call between treating their PTSD or keeping their jobs. The VPFF supports and endorses prohibiting an employer from disciplining or discharging any employee for the lawful use of cannabis oil for medical purposes.

Last Name: Payne Organization: Jushi Inc Locality: Marcellus

In response to questions about operating equipment, all safety-sensitive operations are typically excluded from these types of laws.

Last Name: Abebe Organization: Columbia Care Locality: Richmond, Virginia

Columbia Care is the pharmaceutical processor serving the Hampton Roads region. We write in support of this bill, which will protect patients who rely on medical cannabis to manage their illnesses. These employee protections are an important step in treating medical cannabis the way we treat other medications at a workplace.

Last Name: Mirabile Organization: Virginia Professional Fire Fighters Locality: Manassas, VA

The treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) continues to be a major concern for Virginia's fire fighters and EMS personnel. These brave men and women witness horrific scenes that frequently stay with them for years. And the stress of COVID-19 has increased the rates of PTSD within our fire and rescue departments. Last year, the General Assembly passed legislation to provide our first responders workers' compensation benefits for the treatment of PTSD. Across the Commonwealth, many fire fighters have been prescribed Cannabidiol (CBD) oil to aide with sleep and anxiety issues as a result of their profession. However, many fire departments have zero-tolerance drug policies in place forcing many fire fighters to make the difficult call between treating their PTSD or keeping their jobs. The VPFF supports and endorses prohibiting an employer from disciplining or discharging any employee for the lawful use of cannabis oil for medical purposes.

Last Name: Rice, Erin Organization: Virginia Professional Fire Fighters Locality: Suffolk

On behalf of the nearly 9,000 members of the Virginia Professional Fire Fighters, I ask you to support HB1862. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) continues to be a significant problem for Virginia's first responders. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, PTSD and depression rates among firefighters and police officers are NEARLY FIVE TIMES higher than the civilian population. In 2018, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation to permit the use of cannabis (CBD) oil to treat any diagnosed condition or disease determined by a practitioner. Research suggests that taking CBD oil immediately after a traumatic event might make it more difficult for the brain to form the memories that may later develop and cause PTSD symptoms. As a result, fire fighters have been prescribed CBD oil to aide with sleep, depression, and anxiety issues as a result of their profession. However, their employer have told them not to take it and threaten discipline if they elect to do so. The VPFF supports HB1862 and ask you to vote favorably on this bill. This legislation will help our fire and EMS personnel handle their PTSD symptoms in a responsible way.

HB1977 - Unemployment compensation; overpayments due to administrative error.
Last Name: Vassey Organization: Coalition for a Strong Virginia Economy Locality: Richmond

Dear Members of the Virginia General Assembly: On behalf of the Coalition for a Strong Virginia Economy, our 31 business associations wish to express our position that it is crucial that the General Assembly avoid mandates and increased taxes on small businesses and instead looks for ways to help businesses recover. We respectively ask the committee not to move these bills forward. HB 1785 Ward HB 1977 Askew HB 2037 Tran HB 2040 Hudson HB 2015 Ayala HB 2016 Ayala HB 2103 Reid HB 2137 Guzman HB 2228 Guzman Best Regards, Associated Builders and Contractors of Virginia Associated General Contractors of Virginia Delmarva Chicken Association Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Harrisonburg – Rockingham Chamber of Commerce Heavy Construction Contractors Association National Federation of Independent Business Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce Northern Virginia Transportation Business Coalition Precast Concrete Association of Virginia Richmond Area Municipal Contractors Association Shellfish Growers of Virginia Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy Virginia Agribusiness Council Virginia Association of Roofing Professionals Virginia Association for Home Care and Hospice Virginia Automatic Merchandising Association Virginia Contractor Procurement Alliance Virginia Forestry Association Virginia Forest Products Association Virginia Loggers Association Virginia Manufactured Association and Modular Housing Association Virginia Manufacturers Association Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Virginia Poultry Federation Virginia Retail Federation Virginia Seafood Council Virginia Trucking Association Virginia Veterinary Medical Association Virginia Wholesalers and Distributors Association Virginia Wineries Association

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

HB1977 - If someone gets something they've not earned, it should be returned. HB2037- remove (iii) and I'd support. "Belief" is not fact. HB2040 - support HB2103 - if we had the economy before Virginia's rulers ruined our economy, maybe, but this is NOT something to put in when our economy is trashed, the G A is raising minimum wage. Stop killing small business and making our taxes go sky high with legislation that has failed Commieformia to having 1/2 the homeless USA population, and sent people moving out of the state to live.

Last Name: Jimenez Locality: Virginia Beach

Hello My name is Gail Jimenez. In March 19, 2020 I was furloughed by my job, Dogtopia of TownCenter due to COVID-19. For the following months, I struggled with VEC and receiving “help” from them. I first started filing for claims the week I was furloughed. I got denied at first and the Monetary Determination sent to me stated that I didn’t have wages in two quarters, when in fact I had been employed with W-2s to prove it. I filed an appeal the week I was denied and didn’t get a response until April 12. On April 12, I received another Monetary Determination that stated I was eligible for Unemployment up until July. So I thought to myself if I filed an appeal and the process wasn’t yet finished, why would I receive another determination stating I’m approved for benefits and showing I, in fact had wages in two different quarters. On April 22nd, I started receiving unemployment benefits. A week later I received another letter in the mail about my appeal and how it would have to be investigated by a Deputy Officer. I immediately started calling the VEC on the number(s) they had provided on the website and was never able to through due to “high” call volumes. I tried for hours and days, and I never once was able to get in touch with any one. In June, I received ANOTHER letter in the mail stating that the appeal I had made supported that I had wages sufficient to my weekly benefits and that the appeal was moot. I wasn’t sure what that meant and at that point, I was just receiving letters from the VEC. Every time I called, it was impossible for me to get ahold of anyone UNTIL I reached out to several Legislative Aids. It was then , I was able to get ahold of a representative because a number provided to me. I spoke with a representative named Valerie stated that hearing would be taking place in the near future, and a notice would come letting me know when and where my appeal would happen. For weeks, no notice of the hearing ever came in the mail. I continued to file for UI every Sunday and on May 6th, I received my last UI. I kept thinking to myself was it because of my appeal? I, then had to reach out again to the multiple Legislative Aids again, including Mr. Logan. I spent hours, even days calling the VEC over and over again. When I finally was able to speak to someone from the VEC( after the legislative aids and news reach out on my behalf), they stated I would have to wait 6 to 8 weeks to hear from a Determination Officer. It was then that I found out the Monetary Determination I received back in March was just an “eligible”letter; I was never approved for UI and the only reason I received it was to have “income” during the pandemic. The representative also told me that my “approval” of UI would be determined on whether I left my previous employer on “good” cause, NOT because i was furloughed by my previous job due to COVID. It took until the end of June/beginning of July for me to FINALLY hear from a Determination Officer who then asked me questions about my previous employer before Dogtoia and investigate that I left with “good” cause. A week after that phone call, I received two letters from the VEC. One stating that I was denied because I had not left my previous job on “good” cause and good cause would consider me being employed to my previous employer before leaving and another stating that I would have to pay the VEC back for the UI I had received in April-May, EVEN when the letter states it was VEC at fault.

HB2003 - Consumer Protection Act; prohibited practices, certain advertising related to school quality.
Last Name: McCarty Locality: Vienna

The school ratings provided by Great Schools and other similar organization are simply racist and classist in nature. Though the public elementary school my son attends has a low rating, what’s not captured are the highly trained, motivated, and caring teachers, staff, and administrators who work to help each child achieve their potential. Many programs, services, and extracurricular activities that can’t be quantified by a rating are provided to children, including the Fairfax County Public Schools Advanced Academic Program, Battle of the Books, after school mentoring, and more. Children who attend his school come from a broad spectrum of backgrounds including the children of government officials, white collar professionals, trades people, and children who literally walked hundred of miles to find asylum in this country. Great Schools does not recognize this diverse and colorful background and the benefits it brings; it simply negates all of that with a low score. Great Schools subjective ratings are not an accurate reflection of a school’s performance. Third parties should not be providing subjective scores of our schools and should only be directing the public back to official government/education sites for verified school data.

Last Name: Adams Organization: Virginia Education Association/Fairfax Education Association Locality: Fairfax

Residents deserve to have a clear understanding of the schools in their neighborhood. This should not be based on some arbitrary scale set by those who do not work in, serve, or support our schools. Teachers and school staff are in support of this bill. We thank the Delegate for helping others to recognize the bias and racism that continues to drive real estate in this nation.

Last Name: Abutaa Organization: Emgage VA Locality: Oakton, VA

Emgage Virginia supports HB2003 because it is a bill that will effectively eliminate the unfair and unjust policy that creates inequalities within our school system simply based on the color of a student's skin, and that is unacceptable. It is unacceptable that my neices, nephews, and mentees standard of education is determined by a unequitable system of measurement.

Last Name: Barton Organization: Virginia REALTORS Locality: Richmond

Absent a line amendment to line 165-166 stating that: "The provisions of subsection F of § 59.1-199 SHALL apply to this subdivision." The REALTORS will oppose this bill. If the line amendment is accepted the REALTORS will support the bill. We have discussed this with the patron.

Last Name: Meren Organization: Fairfax County Public Schools Locality: Fairfax County

The Fairfax County School Board (FCSB) supports SB2003. The bill aligns with FCSB’s published Legislative Program pertaining to federal policy: “The FCSB urges the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to partner with state education agencies and local school divisions to provide school performance data based on each state’s own system of school quality rather than relying on oversimplified results from unaccountable nongovernmental aggregators of such data; and specifically requests that HUD end its partnership with GreatSchools.org.” This language is found under item #30 on numbered p. 26, here: https://www.fcps.edu/sites/default/files/media/pdf/2021%20FCSB%20Legislative%20Program%20Approved.pdf HB2003 would prevent false advertising about Virginia’s public schools. The bill would ensure that it is the case that the only entities in Virginia that can publish and post data about public schools are the schools themselves, local school divisions, and the state government. Virginia’s quality profiles already transparently show school data – ratings sites can point users to that accurate information. When school ratings sites repackage data as currently able, the sites provide disparaging and inaccurate information about Virginia’s public schools. These sites do reputational damage to our schools, housing markets, and communities. Thank you. Melanie Meren School Board Member, Fairfax County Public Schools

HB2015 - Essential workers; hazard pay, employer to provide personal protective equipment, civil penalty.
Last Name: Vassey Organization: Coalition for a Strong Virginia Economy Locality: Richmond

Dear Members of the Virginia General Assembly: On behalf of the Coalition for a Strong Virginia Economy, our 31 business associations wish to express our position that it is crucial that the General Assembly avoid mandates and increased taxes on small businesses and instead looks for ways to help businesses recover. We respectively ask the committee not to move these bills forward. HB 1785 Ward HB 1977 Askew HB 2037 Tran HB 2040 Hudson HB 2015 Ayala HB 2016 Ayala HB 2103 Reid HB 2137 Guzman HB 2228 Guzman Best Regards, Associated Builders and Contractors of Virginia Associated General Contractors of Virginia Delmarva Chicken Association Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Harrisonburg – Rockingham Chamber of Commerce Heavy Construction Contractors Association National Federation of Independent Business Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce Northern Virginia Transportation Business Coalition Precast Concrete Association of Virginia Richmond Area Municipal Contractors Association Shellfish Growers of Virginia Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy Virginia Agribusiness Council Virginia Association of Roofing Professionals Virginia Association for Home Care and Hospice Virginia Automatic Merchandising Association Virginia Contractor Procurement Alliance Virginia Forestry Association Virginia Forest Products Association Virginia Loggers Association Virginia Manufactured Association and Modular Housing Association Virginia Manufacturers Association Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Virginia Poultry Federation Virginia Retail Federation Virginia Seafood Council Virginia Trucking Association Virginia Veterinary Medical Association Virginia Wholesalers and Distributors Association Virginia Wineries Association

Last Name: Phillips Organization: Virginia Association of Free and Charitable Clinics Locality: Henrico

The Virginia Association of Free and Charitable Clinics respectfully opposes HB 2015. Free and charitable clinics cannot afford an unbudgeted increase of 50% in the wages of their health care providers. As 501c3 non-profit organizations, these clinics rely chiefly on donations to fund their operations. Moreover, they are already burdened with additional unbudgeted costs due to the pandemic, such as the purchase of PPE, sanitation expenses, and the hiring of additional paid providers to make up for a shortage of volunteer providers. This bill would only serve to compound this rising cost burden and lead free clinics to curtail their operations and potentially furlough or layoff health care providers at a time when access to quality health care, including COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, has never been more critical for the 60,000 vulnerable Virginians the clinics serve.

Last Name: Holt Organization: Virginia Airport Operators Council (VAOC) Locality: Montgomery

I am writing on behalf of the Virginia Airport Operators Council (VAOC), to ask for your consideration of an amendment to HB2015 related to hazard pay for airport workers. The VAOC represents the interest of Virginia’s 66 public-use airports. These airports are critical economic gateways to our state, provide convenient, safe, secure, and beneficial access to the largest of our cities and the smallest of our communities. As airport operators, we recognize the front-line essential role our workers contribute in keeping Virginia’s air transportation system operating and the public safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. We value our workforce who possess highly specialized training and skills that are unique to our industry. Many roles at an airport require on-the-job training and a long-term commitment to continued education to be able to perform the job effectively. The reward for the employees is typically higher pay, job security, and accelerated career advancement. Most airports in the Commonwealth are operated by local government entities or Boards and Commissions that have no direct taxing authority. Therefore, we strive to operate within our budgets and to limit the financial burden on our local governments that would be ultimately responsible through taxpayer support to pay for cost overruns. Sadly, Virginia airports have seen a 66% decrease in airline passenger traffic and a commensurate reduction in revenues this past year due to the continued impacts of COVID-19. The on-going financial difficulties airports face are difficult to overcome, yet maintaining our highly training workforce has been a continued priority for our airport operators. Considering the financial challenges airports already face during the pandemic, our continued commitment to maintaining our highly skilled and appropriately compensated staff, as well as our inability to generate additional revenue to offset increased costs, we ask that lines 121 through lines 126 of HB2015 be removed and to remove the term “airport worker” from line 137. Virginia’s Airport Operators eagerly await the widespread distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and we are committed to our continued essential mission of keeping air transportation operational in the Commonwealth and assisting in the economic recovery through sensible and cost-efficient ways. We thank you for your consideration of our amendment request

Last Name: Roth Organization: Virginia Retail Federation Locality: Glen Allen

oppose all marked bills

Last Name: Gordon Organization: Department of Medical Assistance Services Locality: Hopewell

chris.gordon@dmas.virginia.gov

Last Name: Mirabile Organization: Virginia Professional Fire Fighters Locality: Prince William County

Virginia's fire fighters and paramedics have been on the front lines of fighting the COVID 19 pandemic, our members have continuously been getting exposed and sick while caring for our residents. For many of our fire fighters and paramedics, the only reward for our public servants has been pay freezes. Many of our jurisdictions received millions in federal aid, and while much of those funds were dedicated to very important fields our first responders in many jurisdictions have not received any form of hazard pay. Praise for our front line workers is hollow without some sort of physical reward for their hard work during these unprecedented time.

Last Name: Broder Organization: SEIU Virginia 512 Locality: Fairfax

On behalf of the frontline, essential Home Care and Public Service workers of SEIU Virginia 512, I write in support of HB 2015 and HB 2016. Working people -- home care providers, grocery employees, nurses, trash collectors, and more -- have been on the front lines of the pandemic, keeping our communites healthy, safe and moving forward. In order to serve the community while keeping themselves and their families safe, all working people need a living wage, paid leave, PPE and more. Delegate Ayala's bills are critical to protecting working families, building a resilient economy, and ensuring that Virginia can come out of the pandemic stronger than before. Thank you.

Last Name: Gordon Organization: Department of Medical Assistance Services Locality: Hopewell

Speak on behalf of DMAS

Last Name: TANYEA DARRISAW Organization: DMAS Locality: Richmond

The official fiscal impact has yet to be published by the Department of Planning and Budget.

Last Name: SNELL-COOK Locality: NORFOLK

In this time of Covid, essential workers are daily putting themselves on the line providing their fellow citizens essential goods and services. These brave essential workers deserve hazard pay and access to PPE for the extreme and unequal sacrifices they are shouldering. Hazard pay is one way to immediately correct the financial injustice for frontline essential workers who risk their lives without the dignity of wages that can support them. According to Brookings Institute, nearly half (47%) of all frontline essential workers earned less than a living wage despite the fact that they are routinely putting themselves into harm’s way during the pandemic. This legislation addresses these matters of concern to many across the Commonwealth. Thank you for supporting this legislation!

Last Name: Durkin Organization: Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce Locality: Roanoke

The Roanoke Regional Chamber opposes this legislation. Compelling a broad selection of employers to increase their payroll by 50% during a time of emergency without guarantee that a.) demand for their goods/services remain the same or elevated and b.) without assurances that businesses will be receiving PPP/CARES Act or similar assistance may make a tenuous economic situation worse. Please oppose this bill.

Last Name: Julie Dime Organization: Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association Locality: Glen Allen

We are writing to inform you that VHHA is opposed to provisions of your legislation HB 2015 requiring hazard pay for health care providers in a state of emergency. While we strongly support our frontline health care workers who serve as the first line of defense in public health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic, HB 2015 is far too broad in application and scope and may have unintended consequences. Throughout this pandemic, hospitals enhanced access to mental health and childcare services for staff. Some have provided housing and transportation for staff members exposed to the virus who must self-quarantine to protect their loved ones. Many provide overtime pay (as distinguished from hazard pay) due to staffing shortages, a measure which increases hospital staffing costs amid a period of significant financial stress for health care organizations. We are concerned that HB 2015 will eliminate this flexibility and impose an unbearable financial burden in this and future pandemics. As we have seen from this pandemic, stay at home orders can endure for months. Executive Order 55, Temporary Stay at Home Order Due to Novel Coronavirus went into effect March 30, 2020 and continued in effect until June 10, 2020. Aspects of this order regarding stay at home have remained in place along with other restrictions. HB 2015 is far too broad in its application as it relates to health care providers. Health care providers are certainly essential, but they are not analogous to workers in “essential retail businesses.” Hospital operations include extensive infection control practices and health care providers are trained in standard precautions and appropriate use of personal protective equipment. Unlike retail workers, health care provider compensation takes into account and accommodates for the hazards faced from exposure to communicable or infectious disease and the necessary qualifications required to follow strong infection control practices. In addition, health care providers work in a variety of settings, including some that do not involve direct contact with patients. As we have seen in this pandemic response, many health care providers were able to continue to treat patients from home or other locations outside health care facilities. These caregivers are no less essential under these circumstances, but they are not necessarily exposed to risks that may be faced by those interacting with a patient population or the general public. We are also concerned that HB 2015 will have unintended consequences for health care providers and other essential workers. Recruiting and retaining a high-quality workforce requires offering a flexible and comprehensive set of benefits. Mandating time-and-a-half hourly compensation eliminates this flexibility and causes employers to budget for the possibility of mandated pay increases in determining benefit packages. Furthermore, the requirement to pay time-and-a-half will be accounted for in decisions about whether to shutter operations or reduce operating hours for the duration of the stay at home or shelter in place order, exposing health care providers and other essential workers to furloughs where they would receive no pay at all. For these and other reasons, we cannot support HB 2015.

Last Name: Tetterton Organization: VAHC Locality: Henrico

The Virginia Association for Home Care and Hospice respectfully opposes the bill. Simply put an increase of 50% (225% for hours greater than 40 in a week) in wages for health care providers serving individuals in the Medicaid program is not possible under the current reimbursement mechanism.

Last Name: Fidura Organization: Virginia Network of Private Providers, Inc Locality: Statewide

On behalf of the private providers of Developmental Disability Waiver Services, we oppose this bill. While the intent is admirable, an increase of 50% (225% for hours greater than 40 in a week) in wages for health care providers in services which are “Medicaid dependent” would be unmanageable. Especially in the circumstances described in lines 145-149 when it can be assumed that staffing requirements may be greater to meet safety protocols and more individuals will be working extra hours to “cover” for individuals who are unable to work, the costs would far exceed the reimbursement for services which is paid be Medicaid and is determined as a matter of policy by the General Assembly. Language which requires a sufficient increase in Medicaid payment in the event of the circumstance described (lines 145-149) should be added in an enactment clause. Jennifer Fidura, Executive Director VNPP, Inc

HB2016 - Paid family and medical leave program; Virginia Employment Commission required to establish.
Last Name: Wilson Organization: UFCW Local 400 Locality: Washington

Good morning Chair Bulova and members of the Appropriations Commerce, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Subcommittee. I am here today on behalf of the members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), Local 400. We represent over 10,000 members in Virginia who work in retail food, food service, food processing and healthcare. Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you this afternoon. UFCW Local 400 strongly supports HB 2016, which would protect the safety and health of Virginia workers and consumers. Paid family and medical leave policies are not only good for working families, but for the customers they serve. I served on a work group on this issue over the summer that took an in depth look at other states and jurisdictions that have adopted similar programs and their impact on budgets, employers, and employees. We also represent thousands of workers in the District of Columbia, which has a Paid Family Medical Leave Program in place. These programs work. They increase retention for employers, allow employees to take care of themselves and their families when needed, and have minimal or no long term impact on budgets because costs are covered by a tax on employers and employees. The study we did over the summer was comprehensive, and we thank Delegate Ayala for putting a bill together that reflects that work. Virginia's working families should not have to wait any longer for Paid Family and Medical Leave, something that is already the law in most of the rest of the world, and a growing majority of the country. We strongly support this bill and urge you to pass it and support it on the floor. Thank you.

Last Name: Satterlund Organization: McGuireWoods Consulting on behalf of American Airlines Locality: Richmond

American Airlines is opposed to the bill. Air carriers, given the unique nature of their workforce, as well as the FAA rules to which they must comply, negotiate CBAs on a national, 50-state basis. We seek, in all state benefits legislation and exemption for air carriers covered by the Railway Labor Act. Without that exemption, we are opposed to the bill.

Last Name: Williams Organization: Green New Deal Virginia Locality: Richmond

Mr Chair and members of the Subcommittee, a paycheck is essential, but time to care for yourself and your family is irreplaceable. Paid Family and Medical Leave would mean Virginian's won’t have to choose between the two, and employers won’t have to lose workers when life happens. On behalf of our diverse coalition’s 80 grassroots partner organizations, and their members from across the commonwealth we ask that you SUPPORT HB 2016.

Last Name: Jacobs Locality: Herndon

HB2016 is critical to the health and safety of Virginian and their children. As the child of a broken home, I know first hand what it’s like to be left at an activity without a ride and walk across town the few miles because my mother was to frazzled, working through illness, just to make ends meet.

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

HB2016 - Businesses will sink under this. Stop screwing up the economy because of your political agenda. HB2330 - The PIPP never ever should have been created. I am asked to pay tons of taxes after working a couple of decades, and then told there will be no money left for me in the system that is supposed to take care of me. That does not build up a nation.

Last Name: Melvin Organization: Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association Locality: Richmond

Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, on behalf of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association I want to share our thoughts and concerns related to HB2016. At VRLTA we maintain that it is in the best interest of every business to provide the best benefits to their employees that they can afford. This flexibility allows our members to offer benefits that they are financially able to provide. For example: • Almost 98 percent of hotels offer full time employees medical, dental, and vision insurance • Approximately 70 percent of hotels offer tuition reimbursement • Restaurants provide flexible work arrangements that allows individuals to set their own hours, and pick up additional time when they need it • Restaurants provide opportunity—8 in 10 restaurant owners say their first job in the restaurant industry was an entry level position • According to the USDOL Bureau of Labor Statistics, 94 percent of full-time civilian workers in the U.S. have access to some form of paid time off from work whether it's through vacation days, personal leave, sick leave, or family leave. It just isn’t specifically categorized as a “family leave” benefit. Imposing a new payroll tax or mandates on small businesses and those in the hospitality and tourism industries will cause these employers to reduce benefits and wages to offset the costs of this new mandatory paid leave program. It will stifle employment growth and it creates a disincentive to expand as a business. Many hotels and restaurants are small businesses, and according to Pew Research a majority of Americans recognize that forcing small businesses to provide paid leave would be harmful to these employers. According to Pew Research, when asked which benefit or work arrangement is or would be most helpful to them personally, respondents indicated flexibility with scheduling their work hours as the most preferred option. In addition, according to a survey conducted by the Cato Institute: • A majority of Americans (52%) oppose paid leave if it increases their taxes $450 or more a year. • 68% of Americans are opposed to paid leave if employers reduce other benefits (such as reduced health care benefits or fewer vacation days) • 60% of American’s oppose paid leave if they get smaller pay raises. • 62% of Americans oppose paid leave if workers who don’t use it still must pay for it. The Cato Institute survey also found that new mothers say flexible work schedules (22%) are more important than paid parental leave (12%). For these reasons, we are asking you to oppose HB2016 and other proposals mandating employers provide paid leave to employees.

Last Name: SNELL-COOK Locality: Virginia Beach

Nearly all workers will need to take time away to deal with a serious personal or family illness, or to care for a new child or an aging parent. These life stages shouldn’t mean economic insecurity for Virginia’s workforce. Providing access to paid medical and family leave for Virginia’s workers would allow them to maintain economic security and ensure a healthier, more productive workforce in the Commonwealth. Just 44.7% of working adults in Virginia are estimated to be eligible for and able to afford to take unpaid leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). HB 2016 addresses this issue. The number of available family caregivers are projected to decline dramatically – which makes paid leave for those who can provide care an even more important priority. Paid family and medical leave would help keep family caregivers from having to make impossible choices between their families’ financial security and their health. Providing benefits though a state-administered fund for Virginia’s entire workforce would protect hard working families and level the playing field for small companies. What HB 2016 does: • Requires VEC to establish a paid family and medical leave program with benefits beginning Jan. 1, 2024 • Funding for the program is provided through premiums assessed to employers and employees beginning in 2023. • Cover 80% of a worker’s average weekly wages with an annually adjusted cap • Provide up to 12 weeks of funded benefits • Allows self-employed individuals to participate in the program Thank you for supporting HB 2016

Last Name: Vassey Organization: Coalition for a Strong Virginia Economy Locality: Richmond

Dear Members of the Virginia General Assembly: On behalf of the Coalition for a Strong Virginia Economy, our 31 business associations wish to express our position that it is crucial that the General Assembly avoid mandates and increased taxes on small businesses and instead looks for ways to help businesses recover. We respectively ask the committee not to move these bills forward. HB 1785 Ward HB 1977 Askew HB 2037 Tran HB 2040 Hudson HB 2015 Ayala HB 2016 Ayala HB 2103 Reid HB 2137 Guzman HB 2228 Guzman Best Regards, Associated Builders and Contractors of Virginia Associated General Contractors of Virginia Delmarva Chicken Association Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Harrisonburg – Rockingham Chamber of Commerce Heavy Construction Contractors Association National Federation of Independent Business Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce Northern Virginia Transportation Business Coalition Precast Concrete Association of Virginia Richmond Area Municipal Contractors Association Shellfish Growers of Virginia Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy Virginia Agribusiness Council Virginia Association of Roofing Professionals Virginia Association for Home Care and Hospice Virginia Automatic Merchandising Association Virginia Contractor Procurement Alliance Virginia Forestry Association Virginia Forest Products Association Virginia Loggers Association Virginia Manufactured Association and Modular Housing Association Virginia Manufacturers Association Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Virginia Poultry Federation Virginia Retail Federation Virginia Seafood Council Virginia Trucking Association Virginia Veterinary Medical Association Virginia Wholesalers and Distributors Association Virginia Wineries Association

Last Name: Wunder Organization: Herndon-Reston Indivisible Locality: Herndon

I am in support of bill HB 2016 Paid Family and Medical Leave. There are many benefits for both employers and families. In addition to economic security to families during life changing events; it helps increases employee morale, productivity, and labor force attachment. Studies show there are positive effects on infant and maternal health, reducing rates of infant mortality and stress and depression for mothers. Paid family leave can also promote gender equality if takes into account the importance of both parents’ time with children. Please pass HB 2016!

Last Name: Millar Organization: The Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation Locality: Richmond

The Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation supports HB2016 to create a paid family and medical leave program in Virginia so that workers do not have to struggle with financial stability when receiving treatment for cancer or other serious illnesses. Without access to paid medical leave, patients are faced with impossible choices during a time when they are at their most stressed and vulnerable. Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation Board member, Renu Brennan is Bar Counsel at the Virginia State Bar. As a state employee, Renu was fortunate to have paid medical leave and the support of her employer during the almost 9 months of her treatment for breast cancer in 2019. Her employer was flexible and compassionate. She knew she had sick days she could use as necessary during the more punishing chemotherapy when she felt too sick to work: “I have no idea how someone going through breast cancer could function without the ability to take paid time off from work. Managing everything in your life during treatment is a precarious balancing act. The mental stress can be overwhelming. If I were faced with the additional stress of possibly losing my job or not getting paid, I’m not sure how I would have coped. All Virginians should be able to take the time off from their job when facing a disease like breast cancer or other serious illness and not have to worry about their financial situation.”

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

Businesses can't afford it. The Gov. bankrupted them, they can't afford it and you'll only put more folks out of work. Pity the ones in power have zero clue on how things affect the regular working folks.

Last Name: Pannabecker Locality: Montgomery County, Blacksburg

I am writing to urge you to support the passing of House Bill 2016 Paid family and medical leave program; Virginia Employment Commission required to establish. As a community member and as a health sciences librarian, I see this bill as extremely important to our communities' health and well being. HB2016 would require the Virginia Employment Commission to establish and administer a paid family and medical leave program with benefits beginning January 1, 2024. Under the program, benefits are paid to eligible employees for family and medical leave, having a significant impact on Virginia families. The Virginia NAACP stands firm in our long-held belief that paid family medical leave should be the rule and not the exception for Virginia’s working families. Especially during this global pandemic, Virginia workers should not be faced with the choice of keeping their jobs or quarantining at home to keep themselves and their communities safe. Virginians shouldn’t have to decide whether to adhere to public health guidelines or prioritize their job, which is why I’m joining the Virginia State Conference NAACP in asking you to support this crucial legislation. Thank you for considering my views.

Last Name: Hendricks Organization: NAACP Locality: Blacksburg

I represent the NAACP, which supports HB 2016 because of its beneficial impact on workers without private paid medical leave, mothers after childbirth, and persons who come to work ill with potential spread to others because they cannot afford to stay home without paid medical leave.

Last Name: Roth Organization: Virginia Retail Federation Locality: Glen Allen

oppose all marked bills

Last Name: Coleman-Brown Organization: NAACP Locality: Scottsburg

I am writing in support of this bill because the economic well being of families is at stake. I know of several families who have lost half or all of their income due to the loss of personal days due to their having covid-19. One family lost both jobs because it was contracted at different times. The mother contracted it first, then the Dad, then a child and finally the mother again. No provisions were made for leave the second time around and the Dad lost his job also as a result. That family has no income, no public assistance and community organizations are their only hope. Please help your constituents during this trying time.

Last Name: Melvin Organization: Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association Locality: Richmond

Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, on behalf of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association I would like to take a moment to impart our concerns with HB2016, HB2103, and HB2137 that would require businesses provide paid sick leave, and family and medical leave. We believe the mandates in these measures and payroll tax requirements would create significant hardship for the hospitality and tourism industry. Rather, we are supportive of SB1219 from Senator Favola which would not mandate small businesses like restaurants, campgrounds, and hotels provide paid sick leave and family and medical leave. Instead, it would examine how to create a private market for the sale of family and medical leave insurance plans.

Last Name: Sales Organization: Fairfax County Commission for Women Locality: Fairfax County

As a survivor of violent sexual assault, I was fortunate enough to have paid family and medical leave through my private employer. Not only did I require counseling but I needed 3 surgeries over time (with more to come in the future), and lots of physical therapy. It has been trying to say the least just to maintain my job, but were it not for these benefits, I would have been physically disabled and lost my home and my job. This was long before COVID-19, a virus which is only underscoring inequities and the need and demand for paid family and medical leave. One way we can thank our frontline and essential workers is to make certain they and every family in Virginia has access to paid family and medical leave. There has been a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about this bill with regard to small business, retailers, restaurant association, and by the Chamber of Commerce as to expense. And there needs to be much more education and knowledge sharing. E.g., for those making $70,000 annually, employees and employers would pay into a fund at a rate of $3 each/month. This is a negligible amount well worth the investment in Virginia families. Please think of the long-term costs associated with the negative consequences of NOT having such a program and let this bill go forward! I highly recommend this committee and all lawmakers view the documentary "Zero Weeks" which highlights the experiences of small business owners and citizens alike. This is the right thing to do and an act of humanity. Please, please vote yes on Delegate Ayala's HB 2016. We need paid family and medical leave now more than ever! Thank you for your consideration! -Lisa

Last Name: Broder Organization: SEIU Virginia 512 Locality: Fairfax

On behalf of the frontline, essential Home Care and Public Service workers of SEIU Virginia 512, I write in support of HB 2015 and HB 2016. Working people -- home care providers, grocery employees, nurses, trash collectors, and more -- have been on the front lines of the pandemic, keeping our communites healthy, safe and moving forward. In order to serve the community while keeping themselves and their families safe, all working people need a living wage, paid leave, PPE and more. Delegate Ayala's bills are critical to protecting working families, building a resilient economy, and ensuring that Virginia can come out of the pandemic stronger than before. Thank you.

Last Name: Pannabecker Organization: Virginia Organizing Locality: Montgomery County, Blacksburg

Regarding HB 2016 - I stand with the VA NAACP in urging your fully support for this bill HB2016 would require the Virginia Employment Commission to establish and administer a paid family and medical leave program with benefits beginning January 1, 2024. Under the program, benefits are paid to eligible employees for family and medical leave, having a significant impact on Virginia families. Virginians shouldn't have to decide whether to adhere to public health guidelines or prioritize their job. The current pandemic has exacerbated the need for paid sick days and paid family leave, which is why we support this crucial legislation.

Last Name: Knotts Organization: Americans for Prosperity Virginia Locality: Henrico

HB2016 / HB 2137: We appreciate the generous intent of the patrons, but the question here is not "Is this intent noble?" Rather, it's this: "Do we think Virginians should lose their decision rights on what they can afford to offer employees? Our problem with this legislation, and others like it, is that it assumes that businesses who don't offer paid-sick leave do so because they haven't been told to. In many cases, it's because they can't afford to, especially during the pandemic. For a business who is barely making ends meet, this unfunded mandate on them could literally put them out of business. I know countless business owners who didn't take a paycheck during the pandemic and barely kept their employees jobs alive. And many have told me personally that they pay their employees with the revenue from the day - and sometimes it's not even enough to cover the rate they agreed to and the business loses money trying to save these jobs. Our elected officials should trust Virginians. Virginians are doing the best they can with the best they have. Instead of empathizing with them, this legislation would rob them of their decision rights. For businesses like Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target with millions in daily profit margins, they won't notice the mandate because they can afford to do it or they can afford the political levers to get exempted. Small-businesses are struggling even more to compete with these major online retailers. This doesn't help them. It puts the weight of government mandates on their shoulder while many are already collapsing under the weight of the pandemic. And I urge you to consider whose opportunity to save their business will be taken away? These mandates disproportionately harm businesses with lower profit margins, lower revenue streams, and lower amounts of customers in lower income areas. In short, business owners who earn the least will be the first victims of trying to comply with a mandate that they can't afford. Small business owners who have survived thus far have completely repackaged their stores to comply with COVID-19 mandates, sought out new ways of getting their services to their customers, and suffered unprecedented lockdowns and managed to keep their business alive and their employees with a job. But wealthier businesses in suburbs have been proven to be doing better than businesses and restaurants in more impoverished areas that have managed to make it - in spite of the odds. So instead of trusting them to do what they can and think is best for the business to survive and protect their employees' jobs, this legislation would say "If you can't afford to do everything we have asked and now this - you should not be in business." You won't be telling this to wealthy businesses. You will be telling that to small businesses trying to serve communities where there are the least services and foot traffic. This is not the way. Lawmakers should find a way to work with the decision rights of small business owners - not take them. While the outcome is noble, the means will hurt poor business owners the most. We encourage you to rethink this approach. Thank you.

Last Name: Vassey Organization: Virginia Manufacturers Association Locality: Richmond

The economic challenges on small businesses are immense. Adding another financial obligation, no matter how well intended, is not sustainable today. Further, why are the dependents of employees an employers' responsibility? How do employers verify their employees' dependents' conditions? Why aren't employees asked to use all their other PTO before creating a new benefit?

Last Name: Cushing Organization: American Council of Life Insurers Locality: Midlothian

I am writing to you on behalf of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI). We support sustainable PFML proposals that allow employers to provide benefits through self-funding, private disability income insurance or other insurance plans, or through other private means. We believe that the financial security of working Americans will be enhanced through the expansion of private-market paid leave to cover individuals during periods of short-term leave. Short-term Disability Provides Affordable and Effective Income Replacement The short-term disability industry provides employers and employees with an affordable and effective way to replace employees’ income if they are unable to work due to a serious medical condition and for a period following childbirth to enable new mothers to care for and bond with newborn children. Additionally, the disability industry currently manages other family and medical leave, such as non-birth parental leave. We believe that expanding coverage via incentives to enable more employers to offer paid leave or to expand the scope of existing paid leave is a better approach than a mandatory, state-run program that would significantly increase taxes, increase administrative costs and reduce tax revenues. We also believe that private market solutions – whether via insurance coverage, self-funded benefits by employers or some combination of the two, would protect more working Virginians, and would leverage the existing system that is already working well for many Virginia employers and employees. An Incentive-based Private Market Works An incentive-based, private market approach would also avoid the additional cost of creating new agencies to tax Virginians and to administer and pay covered leave. In two states that have recently considered state-run programs, Minnesota and Colorado, they estimated these costs would approach $900 million annually. Additionally, a state-run program would likely undermine the current private short-term disability marketplace in Virginia – resulting in a loss of premium tax revenue to the state, not to mention the adverse impact on several significant Virginia employers and other carriers who are national leaders in the disability industry. The ACLI and its members are committed to working with lawmakers and employers to expand private market solutions to provide more working Virginians with paid family and medical leave. We believe that policymaker action to enhance the availability of PFML is best done via proposals that strengthen employers’ ability to voluntarily implement a private a program by offering appropriate incentives rather than seeking the imposition of a state-run, employer-mandated proposal that does not allow employers to meet those coverage mandates with a private benefit plan. This will leverage the benefits already being provided by many Virginia employers through insurance and self-funded benefits and will expand that coverage to efficiently and effectively expand financial protection to working Virginians. For the foregoing reasons we oppose HB 2016 as it is currently drafted, but look forward to working with you on sustainable, private-market options to expand paid family and medical leave benefits to working Virginians.

Last Name: Vassey Organization: Virginia Manufacturers Association Locality: Richmond

The economic challenges on small businesses are immense. Adding another financial obligation, no matter how well intended, is not sustainable today. Studying the costs and benefits of this proposal is more appropriate. As such, the VMA opposes this legislation.

Last Name: Berry Locality: Roanoke County

The reason this a needed & overdue provision to Virginia families is to secure the Virginia economy & welfare of its citizens. Working families are one $400 - $1000 sudden moment away from ruin. That can certainly look like a child with a disability that has to suddenly have crisis intervention services & be admitted into care. An adolescent that has an eating disorder then attempted suicide that now requires someone to be with them 24/7. Your grandchild that was in an auto accident that now requires hours of physical, occupational, & speech therapy to regain skills & needs a parent present, your child. Is it personal yet? It only seems to matter when it becomes personal. I am thrilled most of you have the resources to not need this. Real people, working families NEED this. Real-life happens to us & we need flexibility & security! I do not wish any of this upon any of you. I have seen parents lose jobs, make the choice to have to go to section 8 housing because they had to chose full-time caregiving over a career. Some have a misconception we chose to be in certain circumstances. We chose our children & their well being & mental health & safety above ourselves. I left a career personally as a pharmacy technician to care for my children full time. I would have just been fired otherwise for the amount of care they required & FMLA would have left us homeless. When you are on assistance you are assumed to be less than everyone. I can't tell you how condescending professionals & office staff are to Medicaid recipients. I've seen staff scream at ESL patients. Increased volume does not equal understanding. My point, This is necessary. We shouldn't have to continue to beg & justify. It is necessary, human decency that should be common sense. Stop making Virginians chose to afford, to live or die, or care for a loved one.

Last Name: Procopio Organization: Main Street Alliance of Virginia Locality: Washington

Universal paid family and medical leave is a business-boosting, but more importantly a small business boosting policy. A universal paid leave program is a tool that we can provide to help small businesses navigate the certain but sometimes unpredictable occasions when employees or business owners themselves need to take time away from work. If 2020 has shown us anything, it is: number one: we all—all of us—will need to take time away from work, whether that’s to recover from illness or care for a loved one, and this time is essential to our health and wellbeing; and number two: we are all best served—business owners, frontline workers, and the public at large—when we have a plan in place that allows people to step away from work without compounding the challenges that have called us away in the first place. Small businesses support this policy by a wide margin across party lines. When is the last time you could say that about a policy? 70% percent of Virginia small business owners—Republican and Democrat—think this bill should be a priority for lawmakers. Virginia will only keep its number one business-friendly ranking by listening to its business owners and creating smart policies that help small businesses compete with large ones, and helps all Virginia businesses compete with those in other localities, some of whom, like Washington, DC, have enacted paid leave programs already, while others, like Maryland, are considering doing so in this legislative session. Small businesses across the Commonwealth are desperate for lawmakers to show bold leadership to build our economy back stronger than before. Main Street Alliance members from across Virginia, from Roanoke to Alexandria, were eager to testify before the Committee today. But because of time limits on public comment, they will instead submit written testimony sharing how a paid leave program will help their businesses. Virginia small businesses need your support. And there is not a more small business-boosting bill this Committee will debate in 2021. Thank you.

Last Name: Crosby Locality: Richmond

My name is Natasha Crosby. I am a Richmond resident, a licensed realtor in the Commonwealth of Virginia, a small business owner and President of the Richmond LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce. I am a sole proprietor. One of over 350,000 self-employed Virginians. Small businesses like mine drive the Virginia economy and we do it with no net below us, constantly at risk of a devastating freefall. Because of the lack of paid leave, my real estate business is one medical emergency from extinction, one sick spouse or sick parent away from losing revenue that could set me back years. I may be a sole-proprietor now, but like many others I am working tirelessly to grow my business, to expand, to hire, and to become a job-creator for more than just myself. I know that when my business has grown, attracting and keeping a talented staff of agents will be absolutely crucial to my success. Real estate is a person-to-person business, so I’ll be looking for the best people I can find. When I do hire staff, I want to make sure they are well-compensated, with access to a competitive benefits package. As a small business starting to grow, I won’t have the revenue to offer paid leave to my staff, giving larger competitors a leg up on me from the start. Private plans on the market like supplemental disability insurance, if they’re available at all—and they’re not available in all areas—are prohibitively costly and don’t provide the necessary benefits for the broad range of paid leave needs people can face. Simply put, they’re a poor substitute for a universal program, which is what Virginia needs if we truly want to level the playing field for business owners like me. A strong paid leave program will benefit my business. It will also benefit the 200+ members of the Richmond LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce. Chamber members include businesses operating in all sectors of the Richmond economy, from law firms to retail shops to restaurants. Our members are devoted spouses, children and grandchildren, parents and grandparents, with caregiving responsibilities like those of all working Virginians. We need a strong paid leave program that allows our members to take the time they need to care for themselves and their loved ones. The Chamber is first and foremost a business organization that supports ideas that are good for business. Paid family and medical leave will help our members meet the leave challenges they face every day, challenges they are currently facing without the necessary support. The Chamber is also an organization that values the strength of community, one whose members have worked hard to build unity and support one another. Paid family and medical leave builds on that work and speaks to the importance that community plays in our organization, our businesses and our lives. I urge the Committee to support HB 2016 and help Virginia small businesses continue to thrive.

Last Name: Hamlar Locality: Roanoke

My name is Mike Hamlar and I own Hamlar-Curtis Funeral Home in Roanoke. For three generations, my family’s business has served our neighbors in Roanoke during some of the most difficult times in their lives. We’re motivated every day to provide the care and comfort each one of us deserves during these trying moments. We’ve also done our best to extend that care to those who have chosen to work at our business. My uncle Lawrence was fond of saying, “Take care of your people and they’ll take care of you.” In the fifteen years since I’ve run our family business, I’ve tried to live by his advice every day. Which is why we strive to provide the best benefits we can for our employees, including medical, dental and vision insurance, and, importantly, paid leave for family and medical needs. If someone needs to take time away from work to recover or care for a loved one, we want them to take that time. We also want them to keep their bills paid and their families fed, so they earn their salary even while they’re out. We couldn’t ask our staff to care for our neighbors in their times of need and then abandon them when they themselves need support. Providing paid leave to our staff speaks to the values we’ve grown up with. But it’s also an investment in our business. Finding the right people to work in funeral services can be difficult. We need employees with strong interpersonal and emotional intelligence, staff members who can relate to people from all walks of life during some of the most trying moments in their lives. It’s not easy work, and it can be draining. Providing paid leave is one way we make sure we keep our great staff intact. We have employees who have been with us since just about the beginning. One has more than 50 years with the company, another more than 30. A third recently celebrated their 25th anniversary with us. And while I’m glad to provide paid leave to my employees, it’s a significant cost for us to bear as a small business. That's why I support House Bill 2016, a paid leave policy that would cover all working Virginians, those at small businesses and large ones. It would help lower costs for businesses like mine, allowing us to expand our services, hire more employees and increase wages and benefits. And while our family has made it a priority to provide paid leave, for many businesses, especially new and smaller ones, offering paid leave isn’t financially viable. As things stand, many businesses are forced to scramble when an employee needs to take time away from work. Most can’t afford to find thousands of dollars unexpectedly when an employee needs leave. A universal system puts this important benefit in reach for these businesses and their employees.

Last Name: McCarthy Locality: Richmond

My name is Kay McCarthy and I own the Phoenix and Ruby, two retail clothing stores in the Carytown neighborhood of Richmond. I’ve been in the retail business for over 40 years and currently have four employees. After forty-two years in the retail clothing business, I know that my employees give 110% to our store. Having staff that shows that dedication, it’s important to me to support them in return. Giving my employees the chance to take time away from work and still be paid lets me show them that their hard work is appreciated. I wouldn’t run my business any other way. Over the years I’ve run my two stores, I’ve had a handful of employees need time away—for family reasons or to take care of their own health issues. I’ve always done everything I can to make sure they take the time they need without sacrificing their income. Not long ago, one employee needed to take two weeks to recover from a potentially serious health issue. They’d been with me for over five years and I knew that it wasn’t that they didn’t want to work—they couldn’t, with good reason. I didn’t think twice about giving them the time off with pay. Of course, it makes things more challenging. It’s difficult to juggle staffing and it’s a considerable cost to cover someone’s absence, even for two weeks. But I try to put myself in their position. If I’d been working for a business for several years and needed time off to recover from an illness, I hope I’d be able to do so without losing my income. As a small business, there are limits to what I can provide. Not long ago, another longtime employee underwent surgery. Complications from the procedure meant they were forced to miss three months of work. Of course I wanted to be able to provide their pay for the duration of their absence, but I simply couldn’t afford three months. In the end, I could provide a month of paid leave and two months of unpaid leave, making sure they had their position back when they were ready to return. It’s situations like these that make it so important we put a system in place to help small business owners and our employees meet these challenges. An affordable paid leave program would mean I could offer the leave my staff needs from time to time, rather than the partial leave I can afford on my own.

Last Name: Welch Locality: Alexandria

My name is Donna Welch and I own Let’s Meat on the Avenue, a butcher shop and specialty foods store in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria. I’ve owned the business for over five years and we have three employees. Part of treating my employees right is making sure they f can take the time off they need—for vacation or to recover from illness. We offer employees with a year’s experience one week of paid time off they can use how they see fit. After two years, employees earn two weeks of paid time off. It’s what we can make work at our size, and I know it’s more than some of our competitors provide. But there have been times where it hasn’t been enough. Recently, an experienced staff member required surgery for a chronic neck condition that was causing him pain and limiting his ability to work. Doctors replaced several vertebrae in his neck, and, after a successful surgery, they ordered him to rest completely to fully recuperate. He’d been responsible and saved his paid time off—about two or three weeks—and was able to follow his doctors’ orders for that time. But when the time he’d saved had been used, he returned to work, not wanting to lose out on income. I’m sure he’d have taken more time if he’d had it, and I’m equally sure he wouldn’t disobey his doctors’ advice without a strong reason. But reality meant he was back at work only a short time after this major surgery, doing the type of intensive, physical work that I imagine his doctors would have preferred that he avoided for a while longer. We’re a small enough shop that when someone takes time off it affects all of us. When a key staff member takes time away, it can be a challenge to keep the business running smoothly, but we all pitch in to make it work. That said, the solutions we’ve come up with have their drawbacks. Other staff members pick up shifts, which I’m very thankful for. But that can mean paying overtime on top of the salary being paid to the employee on leave. At a business the size of mine, that can be an uncomfortably large increase in payroll expenses When it comes to paid leave, what we have now is an imperfect system cobbled together by individual businesses that doesn’t provide people sufficient leave, costs too much and leaves us small business owners working ourselves to the bone when an employee has a family obligation or health situation—common life events that everyone experiences. For businesses the size of mine, the math only adds up when we use the power of numbers that a universal system provides. Right now, the lack of a paid leave system holds small businesses back and leaves people choosing between their well being and their paycheck. An affordable, universal paid leave system will let employers like me give our employees the benefits we want to be able to provide and free us to keep looking for new opportunities to create jobs and serve our communities.

Last Name: Seyedian Locality: Takoma

My name is Aaron Seyedian and I am the owner of Well-Paid Maids, a home cleaning company that operates in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia. All of our employees earn at least $17 per hour and receive a full benefits package on their first day of employment. Until recently, we offered paid leave through 100% employer-paid short-term disability insurance and the benefits to our business are obvious. Our employees are happy, hardworking, and dependable in part because by offering paid leave we acknowledge the reality of everyday life – people fall ill, get injured, and have babies. By accommodating these facts of life with a benefit that recognizes them, our employees know that we have their backs. In turn, they offer better service to our customers and stay with the firm longer than I believe they otherwise would. This is not surprising - multiple studies of corporate and state paid leave programs show benefits such as increased employee retention, satisfaction, and productivity , as well as higher profits. In July 2019 I was able to cancel our private short-term disability insurance policy – I was really excited about that. These public programs offer broader coverage than what can be obtained in the private market but at nearly one-third of the cost of what I am paying now. It’s obvious why; by running this type of insurance as a public good, without profits to extract, the costs of providing it go down. In addition to the reduced cost, these state and local programs provide for family leave, something that I am unable to obtain for my employees through private insurance. At .5% of payroll, the cost of paid family and medical leave in Virginia is negligible compared to its enormous benefits and I would be skeptical of any business or business group that claims this is unduly burdensome on employers. What’s burdensome, not just for employers, but employees and the community, is not having a state program. The sky is not going to fall on small business owners if Virginia passes paid family and medical leave. In fact, as a business owner who pays $17 per hour, offers 22 paid days off per year, and provides paid leave I can tell you that the sky will not fall if Virginia is bold enough to not only pass paid family and medical leave but paid sick days and a higher minimum wage as well.

Last Name: Harris Organization: NAACP Locality: Culpeper

I support HB2016 on behalf of the NAACP, VSC and Branch 7058 in Culpeper.VA because: HB2016 would require the Virginia Employment Commission to establish and administer a paid family and medical leave program with benefits beginning January 1, 2024. Under the program, benefits are paid to eligible employees for family and medical leave, having a significant impact on Virginia families. Virginians shouldn't have to decide whether to adhere to public health guidelines or prioritize their job. The current pandemic has exacerbated the need for paid sick days and paid family leave, which is why we support this crucial legislation.

Last Name: Fortune Organization: NAACP Locality: Caroline

Virginians shouldn't have to decide whether to adhere to public health guidelines or prioritize their job. The current pandemic has exacerbated the need for paid sick days and paid family leave, which is why we support this crucial legislation.

Last Name: HIndman Locality: James City County

Paid sick leave is good for business and the larger community. It incentivizes workers to remain with a business in loyalty to a business that cares about employee well-being. it can be more important than a raise. Indirectly, it is good for teachers who know first hand that parents with no sick leave often send a sick child to school after loading them with aspirin or other drug to lower their temperature temporarily and then manifest their fever at school where the school has to tend to them. Parents do this because they can't afford the luxury of staying home with the child while being unpaid at their job. My son is a teacher; I know this is true. Finally, my spouse worked i health care for more than 30 years. For many years, she worked at a local hospital that did not provide sick leave for the first three days; missing three days of pay was potentially devastating financially for our family, and we were both professionals. How much more so for someone on the lower rungs of salary. Paid sick leave supports not only the marginalized; it protects and supports the larger community when such workers don't have to make such terrible decisions. I hope you will support this bill; it is good for all of us.

Last Name: Campblin Organization: VIrginia State Conference NAACP Locality: Fairfax

Virginians should not have to decide between a pay check/not losing job and staying home while sick. The current pandemic has overwhelmingly proven the need for paid sick days and paid family leave, which is why we support this crucial legislation. Please vote yes!

Last Name: HUFF-SUITE Locality: Arlington

• HB2016 would require the Virginia Employment Commission to establish and administer a paid family and medical leave program with benefits beginning January 1, 2024. Under the program, benefits are paid to eligible employees for family and medical leave, having a significant impact on Virginia families. • Virginians shouldn't have to decide whether to adhere to public health guidelines or prioritize their job. The current pandemic has exacerbated the need for paid sick days and paid family leave, which is why we support this crucial legislation

Last Name: Kissel Organization: NAACP Locality: Arlington

Virginians shouldn't have to decide whether to adhere to public health guidelines or prioritize their job. The current pandemic has exacerbated the need for paid sick days and paid family leave, which is why we support this crucial legislation.

Last Name: moore Locality: Oakton

There has never been a more important moment to support each other than right now. This is our moment to do the right thing in supporting families and each other. I know that there is valid concern about the cost and it will have a substantial price tag. We are hesitant to pay an upfront cost that sounds daunting without considering the hidden costs that costs all of much more over time. We pay for sick people going to work sick and missing work in real hard costs - higher costs in emergency room visits and unnecessary unemployment, not to mention those mire subtle indirect costs like lost productivity, lost and/or delayed employmement opportunities and advancement, people falling out of the employment market. All are happening right now and we have a collective responsibility to act. Please act and support HB2016,

Last Name: Franklin Organization: NAACP Locality: Alexandria

Virginians shouldn't have to decide whether to adhere to public health guidelines or prioritize their job. The current pandemic has exacerbated the need for paid sick days and paid family leave, which is why we support this crucial legislation.

Last Name: Rayford Organization: Virginia. NAACP Locality: Haymarket

Why we are supporting HB2016 - Paid Family & Medical Leave HB2016 would require the Virginia Employment Commission to establish and administer a paid family and medical leave program with benefits beginning January 1, 2024. Under the program, benefits are paid to eligible employees for family and medical leave, having a significant impact on Virginia families. Virginians shouldn't have to decide whether to adhere to public health guidelines or prioritize their job. The current pandemic has exacerbated the need for paid sick days and paid family leave, which is why we support this crucial legislation.

Last Name: bock Organization: Nansemond-Suffolk Branch of the NAACP Locality: suffolk

Vir.jginia State Conference of NAACP as you to support HB2016 Why we are supporting HB2016 - Paid Family & Medical Leave HB2016 would require the Virginia Employment Commission to establish and administer a paid family and medical leave program with benefits beginning January 1, 2024. Under the program, benefits are paid to eligible employees for family and medical leave, having a significant impact on Virginia families. Virginians shouldn't have to decide whether to adhere to public health guidelines or prioritize their job. The current pandemic has exacerbated the need for paid sick days and paid family leave, which is why we support this crucial legislation.

Last Name: Akers Organization: MRF NAACP Locality: Christiansburg

Virginians shouldn’t have to adhere to public health guidelines or prioritize their job. There is a dire need for paid sick days and paid family leave. This is crucial legislation that if passed can significantly impact Virginia families in a positive manner.

Last Name: Signer Organization: National Organization for Women (NOW), Virginia Chapter Locality: Arlington

Virginia NOW - a 50+ year old organization in Virginia, with 3,000 women and men members throughout the Commonwealth - supports both a sick leave program (HB2137) and a paid family and medical leave program (HB2016). The COVID-19 pandemic has made it very clear that families and individuals must have the short-term sick leave and long-term medical leave they need to return to work safely when they are healthy. We harm entire communities by making it difficult for persons who are ill to recover before returning to a job. The program proposed in HB2016 is not a giveaway; funding for the program is provided through premiums assessed to employers and employees beginning in 2023. The amount of a benefit is 80 percent of the employee's average weekly wage, not to exceed 80 percent of the state weekly wage, which amount is required to be adjusted annually to reflect changes in the statewide average weekly wage. The measure caps the duration of paid leave at 12 weeks in any application year. The bill provides self-employed individuals the option of participating in the program. This is the right thing to d o and now is the right time to do it!

Last Name: Misitzis Locality: Mclean

I support this bill to make our lives better!

Last Name: Miller Organization: Dr. (Ms.) Locality: Richmond

Paid medical and family leave is the single most important thing that can be done for gender equity in this country. The US is the only advanced economy that does not value families enough to provide for time to care for newborns and ill family members. As a physician, I took off 6 weeks without pay for each of my 3 newborns to establish my milk supply and recover from pregnancy before seeing patients again. I was privileged enough to still be able to pay my mortgage and my practice overhead. Repeatedly I saw my patients have to make difficult decisions about whether to nurse their newborns, to quit a job they enjoyed to stay home, or to go back too soon to pay their rent and feed their kids. US policy is an embarrassment amongst nations. It is wrong for parents, it is wrong for our children and families. Support HB 2016.

Last Name: Durkin Organization: Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce Locality: Roanoke

The Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce opposes this bill. A 12 week paid medical leave program would be extraordinarily difficult for many employers to plan for and deal with. Many employers already offer paid time off benefits that work for employees and employers, and this proposed framework will drastically change those existing programs.

Last Name: Burk Organization: AAUW-VA Locality: Annandale

We are writing on behalf of the more than 1,000 members of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) of Virginia in 24 branches in the Commonwealth of Virginia, to urge your support for HB 2016 that will provide for the establishment of a paid family and medical leave program in Virginia. Unlike most developed countries worldwide, the U.S. does not guarantee extended paid time off (weeks, not days) for illness, family care, or parental leave. The situation has become more acute for people in the “sandwich” generation, i.e., caring for aging parents and for children. Without these policies, balancing the responsibilities of work and family can be difficult for employees, negatively impacting productivity, making recovery from major illnesses or injuries difficult, and in some cases, inhibiting the healthy development of children. The 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) made it possible for some, but not all, employees to take time away from work, up to 12 weeks, without pay to deal with serious personal or family illness or to care for a new child, with protection for their position. Many workers cannot afford to take unpaid leave, however, without endangering their economic security. As women already face a real pay gap, many are forced to return to work before they are ready. At some point, most workers will need time away from work to deal with a serious personal or family illness of to care for a new child. This is not a situation that affects only women. The situation becomes more acute for those individuals in the “sandwich” generation, i.e., caring for aging parents and for children. Why HB 2016 is Important for All Virginians: • A paid family and medical leave program will make it possible for women to stay home with newborns and young children, increasing parents’ ability to attend medical visits and decrease infant and post-neonatal mortality rates. • It allows ill or injured adults time to recover and gives family members (men and women) time to care for sick relatives, including older family members with health problems. • This, in turn, helps those individuals recover from illness and avoid complications, reducing hospital readmissions and health costs. • Racial health and economic disparities are compounded by the lack of access to paid family and medical leave. Women of color suffer most from the continuation of these disparities and challenges. • A well-designed paid family and medical leave program provided through public policies has the potential to strengthen economic security for Virginia’s families, especially its families of color We hope we can count on the Committee’s support for HB 2016. It is good for Virginia’s workers and families, and it will help businesses retain their workers. Susan Burk Denise Murden Co-Vice Presidents for Public Policy AAUW-VA

Last Name: Griffey Organization: Voices for Virginia's Children Locality: Henrico

Voices for Virginia's Children supports HB2016 offering paid family medical leave. Parents and caregivers deserve to have a choice between caring for their family and earning a paycheck. Parents and caregivers who need to care for sick children, new mothers without maternity leave coverage and parents experiencing their own health emergencies need to have access to paid time off to ensure their families don't experience additional economic hardship when they experience illness or health emergencies. Please help families in Virginia balance their health and economic security by offering paid leave programs for parents and caregivers.

Last Name: Wiley Organization: Virginia Grassroots Coalition Locality: Alexandria

As a mother and grandmother who worked from age 16 to 71, supporting two children, caring for an aging mother, I know from personal experience that paid family and medical leave is essential for the health and well-being of women and children, and it is absolutely critical for low-income families during this pandemic! Parents must work to support their families and many do not get paid if they stay home when they or their family members are sick. Being forced by economic necessity to work while sick exposes others to infection at a time when a deadly virus is rapidly infecting our communities. Urgency has recently increased with the need to protect against an even more infectious variant of the original COVID19 virus. Please pass this essential help for essential workers and their families in the Commonwealth. Let's make Virginia the shining beacon of the South, saving lives, providing basic human rights and dignity for all, and lifting families up out of poverty.

Last Name: Burk Organization: AAUW-VA Locality: Annandale

On behalf of the more than 1,000 members of the American Association of University Women of Virginia in 24 branches around the Commonwealth, we urge the Committee on Labor and Commerce to support HB 2016 that will provide for the establishment of a paid family and medical leave program in Virginia. AAUW of Virginia is committed to achieving equity for women and girls and creating a secure economic future for all Virginians. At some point, most workers will need time away from work to deal with a serious personal or family illness or to care for a new child. The situation becomes more acute for those individuals in the “sandwich” generation, i.e., those caring for aging parents and children simultaneously. The 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act was an important step to protect an employee’s position during an extended leave without pay. Many workers, especially women who are already disadvantaged by the gender pay gap, cannot afford to lose pay while caring for a new baby or an aging parent and are forced to return to work prematurely. Racial and economic disparities in health are compounded by the lack of access to paid family and medical leave. Women of color suffer most from the continuation of these disparities and challenges. A well-designed paid family and medical leave program provided through public policies has the potential to strengthen economic security for Virginia’s families, especially families of color. Strong, economically secure families strengthen our communities and our economy • Mothers and fathers can stay home with newborns and young children, increasing parents’ ability to attend medical visits and thus decreasing infant and post-neonatal mortality rates. • Injured adults have time to recuperate and successfully return to their jobs, helping businesses to retain valued employees and maintain peak productivity. • Family members have time to care for sick relatives of all ages, helping them recover from illness and avoid complications, thus reducing hospital readmissions and health costs. We urge the House of Delegates to support this important bill. Susan Burk and Denise Murden Co-Vice Presidents for Public Policy AAUW-VA

HB2032 - Employees providing domestic service; application of laws applicable to employee safety.
Last Name: Snell_Cook Locality: Virginia Beach

In 2020, Virginia passed a minimum wage increase after not having an increase since 2009. Though it was a win for workers, the newly passed law does not provide the same protections for domestic workers. In Virginia, when it comes to the minimum wage, our domestic workers deserve more. No one who works full time should have to live in poverty. A consumer-based economy simply doesn’t work if people have no disposable income. Therefore, an increase in the minimum wage is needed in order to assist in disposable income promotion and to fuel our consumer-based economy. Virginia must remove the most obviously racist domestic workers exemption from the minimum wage law. Including domestic workers in the minimum wage increase would go a long way towards empowering working people, protecting the dignity of work for Virginians, boosting economic growth, and more importantly securing job safety and security for the workers. HB 2032 addresses and includes domestic workers with essential worker protections and benefits.

Last Name: Lalor Locality: Richmond

I’m writing in strong support of HB2032, which would include domestic workers in laws regarding OSHA and the Virginia Workers Compensation Act. I employ house cleaners in my home. This policy is needed for the dignity of domestic workers who provide such important care to so many Virginians. I know that this bill will benefit everyone in our state. My wife and I are not supremely neat people. We have a dog who sheds his own body weight once a week. We like to spend time outside, and often the outside follows us inside. Thanks to COVID-19 our fairly small house has become the place where both of us work, sleep, eat, and try to relax; work has come home, and home has become our getaway. We've employed house cleaners for several years: the women that clean our home currently have worked for us for nearly three years; they come every two weeks and in the span of 90 minutes restore order and cleanliness, doing a job that neither of us wants to or enjoys doing. For us it's a time saver, and honestly a huge quality of life improvement, not to mention a reducer of marital friction. As we've done in the past, we hired our cleaners on the recommendation of a friend. We prefer to work with individuals rather than a company as we like interacting with the person responsible for the work and scheduling directly. Bringing someone into your home and giving them complete, unsupervised access is an exercise in trust; having a direct relationship with the people doing the work, and knowing the same person is going to be in charge and present every time helps build that trust. And trust goes both ways: I hope by now that the women (and they are almost always and only women) who come into our home feel safe and comfortable, that their work is valued, and that they are respected as people, regardless of where they are from or what they look like. We take pride in being kind and fair in how we deal and interact with the people who work for us, in and around our home. We believe that we provide a working environment that respects the people and their cultures, is safe from physical harm, and is devoid of emotional, physical, and sexual harassment. Although this is our home, we believe that the people who work for us should be afforded the same dignity, safety, and protections that we enjoy as traditional employees. Before learning about this bill and the fact that domestic workers do not enjoy the same basic rights and protections that most Americans are afforded, we hadn't considered ourselves as employers: every two weeks our cleaners arrive, and we pay them for the work performed. But that doesn't make them or the work they do any less valuable than the people that clean your offices regularly, and who have protections codified in state law. The same workplace safety standards and protections against discrimination should be considered basic rights that are afforded to all workers, regardless of their relationship with their employer or their immigration status. These basic benefits are absolutely crucial to every worker. I've greatly relied on benefits from my own employer, especially since the pandemic began. And the workers who make many parts of my life possible deserve no less. Domestic workers should not have to rely on the good intentions of their employers in order to have their work respected and their rights protected. We must make this the law in Virginia, so that all workers are guaranteed access to these basic rights and benefits.

Last Name: Sklar Organization: Hand in Hand: the Domestic Employers Network Locality: Richmond

Hand in Hand: the Domestic Employers Network is a national network representing employers of nannies, home attendants, and house cleaners working for dignified and respectful working conditions. We support HB 2032 in favor of workers compensation and health and safety standards including domestic workers. Across the country and here in Virginia, employers of nannies, home attendants, and house cleaners support these policies and know that increased clarity benefits worker and employer alike. Hundreds have signed Hand in Hand’s “Pledge to Pay” throughout the COVID-19 crisis, continuing to pay domestic employees even while ensuring, for everyone’s safety, that their employee stay home. Many employers pay medical bills out of pocket for nannies or caregivers, both because they understand the financial implications of the loss of work and because they care about their employees. Others are nervous about liability; still others don’t pay at all—part of the reason that many thousands of domestic workers have been out of work for nearly eleven months now. Without adequate policy, the livelihoods and safety of domestic workers is up to chance. It’s time to change that in Virginia, and make sure that all workers in the Commonwealth have safe and dignified employment. Thanks for supporting HB 2032

Last Name: Hudgins Organization: Independent Insurance Agents of Virginia Locality: Midlothian, Va.

HB 1754 Our opinion is that this bill, if passed as written, would make it illegal for an employer to ever discharge an employee who had submitted a workers compensation claim. How could an employer EVER prove that the reason for the discharge wasn't the sole reason. It is impossible to prove a negative. HB 2032 First, domestic workers in Virginia may be covered by a workers compensation policy. If they are a sole proprietor, an LLC, or a corporation they may buy a workers compensation policy and opt to cover themselves. If they are full time employees of another, their employer can purchase a workers compensation policy to cover them. This can be accomplished in both by adding the WC 00 03 14 A. (Ed. 07-11). WORKERS COMPENSATION AND EMPLOYERS LIABILITY COVERAGE FOR RESIDENCE EMPLOYEES endorsement to the policy. Requiring multiple employers to buy a workers compensation policy for one domestic employee (if they work for more than one employer, which is often the case) could be VERY problematic as there could be a question as to which policy would apply if there is an injury where the time and place of the injury is not obvious. This could cause a serious delay in payments to the domestic employee while the insurance companies decide which one has the coverage. There could also be other issues if there are multiple policies. Please, let's discuss this further so that we can avoid any confusion and unintended consequences.

HB2037 - Unemployment compensation; benefits, suitable work, benefits charges.
Last Name: Vassey Organization: Coalition for a Strong Virginia Economy Locality: Richmond

Dear Members of the Virginia General Assembly: On behalf of the Coalition for a Strong Virginia Economy, our 31 business associations wish to express our position that it is crucial that the General Assembly avoid mandates and increased taxes on small businesses and instead looks for ways to help businesses recover. We respectively ask the committee not to move these bills forward. HB 1785 Ward HB 1977 Askew HB 2037 Tran HB 2040 Hudson HB 2015 Ayala HB 2016 Ayala HB 2103 Reid HB 2137 Guzman HB 2228 Guzman Best Regards, Associated Builders and Contractors of Virginia Associated General Contractors of Virginia Delmarva Chicken Association Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Harrisonburg – Rockingham Chamber of Commerce Heavy Construction Contractors Association National Federation of Independent Business Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce Northern Virginia Transportation Business Coalition Precast Concrete Association of Virginia Richmond Area Municipal Contractors Association Shellfish Growers of Virginia Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy Virginia Agribusiness Council Virginia Association of Roofing Professionals Virginia Association for Home Care and Hospice Virginia Automatic Merchandising Association Virginia Contractor Procurement Alliance Virginia Forestry Association Virginia Forest Products Association Virginia Loggers Association Virginia Manufactured Association and Modular Housing Association Virginia Manufacturers Association Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Virginia Poultry Federation Virginia Retail Federation Virginia Seafood Council Virginia Trucking Association Virginia Veterinary Medical Association Virginia Wholesalers and Distributors Association Virginia Wineries Association

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

Businesses can't afford it. The Gov. bankrupted them, they can't afford it and you'll only put more folks out of work. Pity the ones in power have zero clue on how things affect the regular working folks.

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

HB1977 - If someone gets something they've not earned, it should be returned. HB2037- remove (iii) and I'd support. "Belief" is not fact. HB2040 - support HB2103 - if we had the economy before Virginia's rulers ruined our economy, maybe, but this is NOT something to put in when our economy is trashed, the G A is raising minimum wage. Stop killing small business and making our taxes go sky high with legislation that has failed Commieformia to having 1/2 the homeless USA population, and sent people moving out of the state to live.

HB2040 - Unemployment compensation; failure to respond, continuation of benefits, repayment of overpayments.
Last Name: Levy-Lavelle Organization: Legal Aid Justice Center Locality: Richmond City

Legal Aid Justice Center supports this bill, because each of its four provisions makes Virginia’s unemployment insurance system work better for workers. Codifying that Virginia won’t stop benefits to people when a question of eligibility comes up just makes sense. That’s what the VEC recently implemented, and what the constitution and federal law requires. Virginia should also join the 42 jurisdictions that already allow waiver of overpayments in some circumstances. When folks are facing crushing debts, they should have a chance at relief. In the current pandemic, this is more important than ever. Also, we should strengthen the incentives for employers who want to participate in unemployment claims, to do that timely and adequately. Nebraska tells employers that if they delay on a claim, without a good reason for that delay, they lose the opportunity to appeal it. That’s fair and reasonable. And we should make sure that Virginians actually owe an overpayment, before they are told they do. Telling Virginians that they owe overpayments, even if an underlying issue is under appeal or within the appeal period, is premature. It causes confusion for claimants, violates due process, and creates additional work for the VEC. We hope the committee will support this bill, because it makes important steps forward. Thank you for your consideration.

Last Name: Vassey Organization: Coalition for a Strong Virginia Economy Locality: Richmond

Dear Members of the Virginia General Assembly: On behalf of the Coalition for a Strong Virginia Economy, our 31 business associations wish to express our position that it is crucial that the General Assembly avoid mandates and increased taxes on small businesses and instead looks for ways to help businesses recover. We respectively ask the committee not to move these bills forward. HB 1785 Ward HB 1977 Askew HB 2037 Tran HB 2040 Hudson HB 2015 Ayala HB 2016 Ayala HB 2103 Reid HB 2137 Guzman HB 2228 Guzman Best Regards, Associated Builders and Contractors of Virginia Associated General Contractors of Virginia Delmarva Chicken Association Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Harrisonburg – Rockingham Chamber of Commerce Heavy Construction Contractors Association National Federation of Independent Business Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce Northern Virginia Transportation Business Coalition Precast Concrete Association of Virginia Richmond Area Municipal Contractors Association Shellfish Growers of Virginia Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy Virginia Agribusiness Council Virginia Association of Roofing Professionals Virginia Association for Home Care and Hospice Virginia Automatic Merchandising Association Virginia Contractor Procurement Alliance Virginia Forestry Association Virginia Forest Products Association Virginia Loggers Association Virginia Manufactured Association and Modular Housing Association Virginia Manufacturers Association Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Virginia Poultry Federation Virginia Retail Federation Virginia Seafood Council Virginia Trucking Association Virginia Veterinary Medical Association Virginia Wholesalers and Distributors Association Virginia Wineries Association

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

HB1977 - If someone gets something they've not earned, it should be returned. HB2037- remove (iii) and I'd support. "Belief" is not fact. HB2040 - support HB2103 - if we had the economy before Virginia's rulers ruined our economy, maybe, but this is NOT something to put in when our economy is trashed, the G A is raising minimum wage. Stop killing small business and making our taxes go sky high with legislation that has failed Commieformia to having 1/2 the homeless USA population, and sent people moving out of the state to live.

HB2063 - Virginia Overtime Wage Act; overtime compensation employees, definitions, penalties.
Last Name: Russell Organization: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Locality: Hampton

I am asking that you consider voting for HB 2063, the overtime wage act. The lack of Virginia’s overtime law reflects poorly on the values we hold as a Commonwealth. People should be paid for the work performed

Last Name: Jackson Organization: Service Employees International Union Locality: Alexandria

Madame Chairwoman, members of the Committee, Charlie Jackson on behalf of the Service Employees International Union. I want to offer our thanks to Del. Mullin for his and his staffs good work in past 48 hours to find peace in the valley to ensure that his good bill includes Union airport workers like baggage handlers and wheelchair pushers. With the amendments made today, SEIU supports this legislation. Charlie Jackson

Last Name: Shane Riddle Organization: Virginia Education Association Locality: Richmond

The Virginia Education Association (VEA) is in support of HB2063. Thanks.

Last Name: Allwine Organization: Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce Locality: Fredericksburg

The Fredericksburg Regional Chamber is concerned that the language in this legislation is contradictory to federal legislation governing exempt and non-exempt positions.

Last Name: Mendoza Gomez Locality: Roanoke

I’ve worked in the construction industry in Virginia for many years. A lot of us construction workers have to work long hours but don’t get paid any overtime. If we had a Virginia overtime law, workers could go to their local state court to be protected. It is right for Virginia to have a overtime state law to protect workers. I support this bill to allow us workers to pursue overtime claims in state court.

Last Name: Pannabecker Organization: Virginia Organizing Locality: Blacksburg

Please approve HB2063 - Mullin, the Virginia Overtime Wage Act, to go forward, and I also urge you so co-patron and/or support this bill as it goes forward to a vote as well. Virginia is one of the *worst* states for Workers, which makes it undesirable for : Most people, who are workers, including families, single adults, students, from all demographics. COVID 19 has shined a light on the inequities of workers, especially frontline and essential workers - most of whom work in wage positions that would be effected by this bill. When businesses require employees to work overtime and then do not pay them accordingly, that is *wage theft* pure and simple. You may say, well, this is already covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act; however, when federal law is the only coverage and the burden is on the employee to file suit to get what they are owed from their hard work, it is even more difficult for people in wage employee positions to have the time and resources to do this. By passing the Virginia Overtime Wage Act, Virginians can file suit in their local state court, which will increase their access to important labor protections. Please side with workers and report this bill out so it can move forward for a vote.

Last Name: Jason Ascher Organization: Mid-Atlantic Pipe Trades/United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters Locality: Baltimore

Chairman and Members of the Committee: On behalf of the Mid-Atlantic Pipe Trades Association and our over 8600 members and families across Virginia, I ask you to support HB 2063 – Virginia Overtime Wage Act. One of the biggest problems facing the works, whether they work in construction or other industries, is Wage Theft. One of the most common forms of Wage Theft is non-payment of overtime. Last year the Virginia Legislature gave workers in the construction industry a Private Right of Action to use if they have wage issues or get misclassified. Unfortunately, without a commonwealth overtime law, workers still must go to federal court if their wage theft issues involved overtime. Typically, the federal courts are more expensive, and unlike cases covered by Virginia's private right of action law, legal fees are not one of the benefits of winning your case. Without the help of legal fees, a low wage worker likely will not have the means to take their employer to court are slim. Under HB 2063, workers would use the Commonwealth's private right of action for overtime cases. Access to the Private Right of Action would allow workers to recoup legal fees when they win and more significant damages against their employer, which would hopefully discourage them from committing this crime again. For the reasons named above, I ask you to support HB 2063.

Last Name: Yoleisy Mansfarrol Cadena Locality: Newport News

My name is Yoleisy Mansfarrol Cadena, I live in 509 Logan Pl. apartment 4 Newport News, Virginia 23601 I am a US Citizen. I have been working in the construction Industry during the last 13 years and during that time I have been denied overtime pay for any hours worked after 40 in a work week. Not to long ago I was informed that I was entitled to workers benefits and protections such as overtime. That led me and other coworkers to attempt to recuperate the money we were owed but it has been very difficult, because Virginia has no overtime laws. At times I get discouraged but I know that there are thousands of workers that are going through the same thing as I did, here in Virginia and we need to continue on our quest to get our money back. For that very reason I support Virginia House Bill 2063.

Last Name: Hager Organization: Atlantic Construction Services Locality: Midlothian

Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, my name is Jeff Hager and I run Atlantic Construction Services, a construction company with expertise in Commercial and Industrial Drywall, Metal Stud Framing, Acoustical Ceilings, and Structural Metal Framing. In the past five years, my business has suffered significantly because of the prevalence of wage theft in the construction industry. It has been my mission to ensure that all my workers are paid properly in accordance with the law and that I pay them the legally-required overtime premium. However, I have seen firsthand how my business has suffered as I attempt to compete with unscrupulous contractors that fail to classify their workers properly and fail to pay their workers overtime. It has become increasingly difficult to compete with companies that use lower-tier subcontractors that fail to pay their workers any overtime. These unseemly practices hurt law-abiding businesses such as mine and have directly led to a decline in my business. By creating a Virginia Overtime Law, we can weed out the bad actors in the industry and make sure that companies like mine are competing on a level playing field. Currently, the threat of a federal FLSA suit is not a significant deterrent to the unscrupulous practices that are common in our industry. I kindly ask you to support HB2063.

Last Name: Mainwaring Organization: All L.E. Officers in Virginia Locality: Greensville County

My name is Frank Mainwaring and I am a retired law enforcement officer in Emporia, Virginia. I support enactment of the Virginia Overtime law. Fortunately, I never had to sue my employer for wage theft when I worked for the force, but a Virginia overtime law is a good protection to have on the books for workers throughout Virginia. A Virginia law will allow working people in small towns and rural counties to bring a claim in their local circuit courts instead of having to find a federal court lawyer in one of the big cities. I know because unfortunately I did have to sue my employer for discrimination and retaliation in federal court in Richmond because there was no comparable state law which would have allowed me to file suit in Greensville Circuit Court. This Virginia Overtime law will allow folks to bring a claim against their local employer in their local court in any case where overtime wages are not paid. I hope, like me, no one will ever have to sue their employer for unpaid overtime, but the protection is good for workers throughout the Commonwealth, so I support this bill.

Last Name: Durkin Organization: Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce Locality: Roanoke

The Roanoke Regional Chamber is concerned that this proposal may further burden business owners, especially those who employ salaried employees and may have to calculate and budget for a new payroll structure.

Last Name: Akerman Organization: DC-Metro Building Trades Council Locality: Richmond City

Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, for allowing me to testify in support of HB2063. My name is Greg Akerman, and I am the Northern Virginia Director for the Baltimore/DC-Metro Building Trades, a Council of 16 construction trades unions representing over 24,000 working families. We strongly support this legislation to create a Virginia Overtime Law. Nonpayment of overtime is a rampant issue in the construction industry. Oftentimes, through the use of unscrupulous, multiple-tiered subcontractors, workers will work more than 40 hours a week and not be paid an overtime premium. This is particularly an issue on public works projects, where federal overtime lawsuits have been filed against contractors performing work on the new General Assembly Building and nearly every university in the Commonwealth, and hundreds of workers have signed onto these lawsuits. Yet, workers continue to struggle to recoup their wages through federal overtime lawsuits because of the challenges of the federal court system, the lack of sufficient damages in the FLSA, and a sometimes non-responsive US Department of Labor. Workers should be able to have state court remedies available to them if they are not paid overtime and they should be able to go to the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry to file a claim. In addition, we work closely with our contractor's associations that pay workers a fair wage and ensure all workers get paid overtime. However, the contractors that make up these associations are hurt by the unscrupulous actors in the construction industry that fail to pay workers overtime. Without a state remedy, responsible contractors in the Commonwealth are being driven out by unscrupulous actors that gain a competitive advantage by not paying overtime. In order to support working families and protect responsible businesses, please support HB2063.

HB2103 - Certain public & private employers to provide earned paid sick time.
Last Name: Robert Melvin Organization: Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association Locality: Richmond

Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, on behalf of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association I want to share our thoughts and concerns related to HB2103 and HB2137. At VRLTA we maintain that it is in the best interest of every business to provide the best benefits to their employees that they can afford. This flexibility allows our members to offer benefits that they are financially able to provide. For example: • Almost 98 percent of hotels offer full time employees medical, dental, and vision insurance • Approximately 70 percent of hotels offer tuition reimbursement • Restaurants provide flexible work arrangements that allows individuals to set their own hours, and pick up additional time when they need it • Restaurants provide opportunity—8 in 10 restaurant owners say their first job in the restaurant industry was an entry level position • According to the USDOL Bureau of Labor Statistics, 94 percent of full-time civilian workers in the U.S. have access to some form of paid time off from work whether it's through vacation days, personal leave, sick leave, or family leave. It just isn’t specifically categorized as a “family leave” benefit. Imposing a new payroll tax or mandates on small businesses and those in the hospitality and tourism industries will cause these employers to reduce benefits and wages to offset the costs of this new mandatory paid leave program. It will stifle employment growth and it creates a disincentive to expand as a business. Many hotels and restaurants are small businesses, and according to Pew Research a majority of Americans recognize that forcing small businesses to provide paid leave would be harmful to these employers. According to Pew Research, when asked which benefit or work arrangement is or would be most helpful to them personally, respondents indicated flexibility with scheduling their work hours as the most preferred option. In addition, according to a survey conducted by the Cato Institute: • A majority of Americans (52%) oppose paid leave if it increases their taxes $450 or more a year. • 68% of Americans are opposed to paid leave if employers reduce other benefits (such as reduced health care benefits or fewer vacation days) • 60% of American’s oppose paid leave if they get smaller pay raises. • 62% of Americans oppose paid leave if workers who don’t use it still must pay for it. The Cato Institute survey also found that new mothers say flexible work schedules (22%) are more important than paid parental leave (12%). For these reasons, we are asking you to oppose HB2103 and HB2137 and other proposals mandating employers provide paid leave to employees.

Last Name: Jones Organization: CWA-NCPSO Locality: Henrico

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) is very concerned with is bill, HB 2103. The bill unnecessarily references the Railway Labor Act. The workers covered by this federal act are generally covered by their own agreed upon mutually negotiated labor contracts with their employers. The bill's attempt to exclusion of these workers is not acceptable. Therefore, we oppose HB 2103 in its current format. Kirk C. Jones

Last Name: Ross Organization: Central Virginia Labor Federation Locality: Richmond

We support this bill

Last Name: Ross Organization: Central Virginia Labor Federation Locality: Richmond

We are against this bill

Last Name: Ross Organization: CWA VA State Council Locality: Richmond

We are against this bill

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

Businesses can't afford more $$$ breaking laws.

Last Name: SNELL-COOK Organization: APWU Norfolk Local 262 Locality: VIRGINIA BEACH

In addressing the need for paid sick leave, shown to be needed in the Covid-19 pandemic, HB 2103, as written, has three flaws. 1. Paid sick days would not be available until 2023. If this is a good idea, why delay the start for two years? 2. The bill applies to employers with thirty-five (35) or more employees. Smaller company employees have the same need and would be denied the same legal status. 3. The specific exemption of airline and rail workers is specious, arbitrary and discriminatory. Thank you for your opposition to HB 2103.

Last Name: Jones Organization: CWA Locality: Sandston

I write today on behalf of Communications Workers of America. Included within CWA represents flight attendants, gate agents and customer service representatives located in many of the airports in the Commonwealth. We are opposed to HB 2103 because it excludes workers covered under the Railway Labor Act. We see no reason to exclude these essential workers from benefits that others deserve. Our members deserve the same benefits as every other worker. In fact many of our members have been impacted by COVID-19 due to the close face to face environment that they work in. Now more than ever ALL workers need protection including airline workers. We have worked as a part of the broader coalition for paid sick days that is more encompassed in HB 2137 & HB 2016 Delgates Guzman and Ayala's bills. Our members are not excluded in those bills and should not be excluded by HB 2103. We would ask that the committee oppose this bill as currently written.

Last Name: Jackson Organization: Service Employees International Union Locality: Alexandria

Madame Chairwoman and members of the committee, Charlie Jackson on behalf of the Service Employees International Union. First we want to thank Del. Reid for his work over the past months to try and find a path forward to pass meaningful legislation bringing paid sick days to more Virginians. As the legislation currently stands after the substitute, SEIU gently opposes the legislation due to the inclusion of Railway Labor Act Language, which we believe would remove airport workers like baggage handlers and wheelchair pushers from this important legislation. We’ve communicated with Del. Reid about a desire to continue working with him on language and while we can’t encourage you to vote in favor of the bill in its current form, we do look forward to working with Del. Reid should the committee advance this legislation. Charlie Jackson

Last Name: Vassey Organization: Coalition for a Strong Virginia Economy Locality: Richmond

Dear Members of the Virginia General Assembly: On behalf of the Coalition for a Strong Virginia Economy, our 31 business associations wish to express our position that it is crucial that the General Assembly avoid mandates and increased taxes on small businesses and instead looks for ways to help businesses recover. We respectively ask the committee not to move these bills forward. HB 1785 Ward HB 1977 Askew HB 2037 Tran HB 2040 Hudson HB 2015 Ayala HB 2016 Ayala HB 2103 Reid HB 2137 Guzman HB 2228 Guzman Best Regards, Associated Builders and Contractors of Virginia Associated General Contractors of Virginia Delmarva Chicken Association Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Harrisonburg – Rockingham Chamber of Commerce Heavy Construction Contractors Association National Federation of Independent Business Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce Northern Virginia Transportation Business Coalition Precast Concrete Association of Virginia Richmond Area Municipal Contractors Association Shellfish Growers of Virginia Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy Virginia Agribusiness Council Virginia Association of Roofing Professionals Virginia Association for Home Care and Hospice Virginia Automatic Merchandising Association Virginia Contractor Procurement Alliance Virginia Forestry Association Virginia Forest Products Association Virginia Loggers Association Virginia Manufactured Association and Modular Housing Association Virginia Manufacturers Association Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Virginia Poultry Federation Virginia Retail Federation Virginia Seafood Council Virginia Trucking Association Virginia Veterinary Medical Association Virginia Wholesalers and Distributors Association Virginia Wineries Association

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

Businesses can't afford it. The Gov. bankrupted them, they can't afford it and you'll only put more folks out of work. Pity the ones in power have zero clue on how things affect the regular working folks.

Last Name: Agyeman Organization: 32BJ SEIU Locality: Alexandria

Hello, my name is Kwaku Agyeman. I live in Alexandria and work at National Airport as a wheelchair agent. I am a member of 32BJ SEIU. I oppose this bill. As a wheelchair agent, I have to guide mostly elderly and disabled travelers all over the airport and even into the planes themselves. I manage their carry-on bags, help them in and out of their seats and am always in close proximity with others. Today I have no paid sick days and I desperately need them. While working at the airport, I once had to delay my cataracts surgery for over a year because I could not afford to take any unpaid days off. There was another day when I wasn’t feeling well enough to go to work, but had to go in anyway in order to pay the bills. I am an essential worker and deserve paid sick days. Please make sure that I am included in paid sick days legislation. Please oppose this bill.

Last Name: Melvin Organization: Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association Locality: Richmond

Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, on behalf of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association I would like to take a moment to impart our concerns with HB2016, HB2103, and HB2137 that would require businesses provide paid sick leave, and family and medical leave. We believe the mandates in these measures and payroll tax requirements would create significant hardship for the hospitality and tourism industry. Rather, we are supportive of SB1219 from Senator Favola which would not mandate small businesses like restaurants, campgrounds, and hotels provide paid sick leave and family and medical leave. Instead, it would examine how to create a private market for the sale of family and medical leave insurance plans.

Last Name: Vassey Organization: Virginia Manufacturers Association Locality: Richmond

The economic challenges on small businesses are immense. Adding another financial obligation, no matter how well intended, is not sustainable today. Further, why are the dependents of employees an employers' responsibility? How do employers verify their employees' dependents' conditions? Why aren't employees asked to use all their other PTO before creating a new benefit?

Last Name: Parker Organization: Airlines for America Locality: WDC

On behalf of A4A and our member carriers, I am writing to oppose HB 2137 because it fails to account for federal preemption of state paid sick leave laws as applied to airlines, as HB 2103 properly does. In order to bring HB 2137 into compliance with federal law, the proposed bill needs to exempt: • Employees working for air carriers covered by the Railway Labor Act (“RLA”), which governs labor relations in the airline and railroad industry. The U.S. airline industry is one of the most heavily unionized private industries in the nation. As a result of our nationwide Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) under the Railway Labor Act, as well as the personnel policies of our non-union carriers, airlines already provide substantial paid sick leave benefits to their employees. Without increasing employees’ substantive paid sick leave benefits, the proposed bill would: • Make it difficult for airlines to ensure the attendance of employees who are vital to providing the regular operations required by our passengers, and • Interfere with airlines’ multi-state operations, our CBAs and reliability programs, and impose complicated and unnecessary compliance challenges given the unique cross-jurisdictional nature of our operations and workforce. Further information has been sent via email.

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

HB1977 - If someone gets something they've not earned, it should be returned. HB2037- remove (iii) and I'd support. "Belief" is not fact. HB2040 - support HB2103 - if we had the economy before Virginia's rulers ruined our economy, maybe, but this is NOT something to put in when our economy is trashed, the G A is raising minimum wage. Stop killing small business and making our taxes go sky high with legislation that has failed Commieformia to having 1/2 the homeless USA population, and sent people moving out of the state to live.

Last Name: Tetterton Organization: VAHC Locality: Henrico

The Virginia Association for Home Care and Hospice opposes the bill as current Medicaid reimbursement rates would not cover the increased cost of providing paid sick leave.

Last Name: Codding Organization: Alliance for Construction Excellence (ACE) and Iron Workers Employers Association (IWEA) Locality: Fairfax

I am Fred Codding of 10382 Main Street, Fairfax, Virginia 22030. I represent the Iron Workers Employers Association as well as the organizations which are part of the Alliance for Construction Excellence (ACE). Those organizations include Chapters of the National Electrical Contractors, Mechanical Contractors, Sheetmetal Contractors, the American Subcontractors Association and the Iron Workers Employers Association. Those organizations and their members have offices and projects throughout the Commonwealth. Their contractor members, which include minority contractors, work on small and large projects and include many small businesses. Members of the Iron Workers Employers Association itself supply and install reinforcing steel, structural steel, window wall, curtainwall and related products on projects throughout the Commonwealth. Our Members and their construction employees are working on jobs throughout Virginia and the Region. They may be on a job here in Virginia, but tomorrow may be in West Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Tennessee, Kentucky or Delaware. They travel extensively. In addition, their employees move from one contractor to another in relatively short periods of time. This is an integral part of the construction industry. As a result, their pay levels reflect mobility. In addition, construction contractors frequently provide costly pensions, health care, workers compensation insurance and premium time on a number of holidays as well as weekends. In addition, they provide disability insurance. Our contractors also contribute sums per manhour worked for continuing training of apprentice and upgrading programs. The burdens the Bills place on construction contractors increases those they are already having to endure. The Bills substantially increase record-keeping requirements. Numerous other jurisdictions have recognized these concerns. (Maryland is an example.) If the Bills pass, we ask that the concerns of construction be accommodated. We request an exemption for construction. Absent a full exemption, we request an exemption for those with collective bargaining agreements. As noted, this has been done in many other major jurisdictions.

HB2137 - Paid sick leave; employers to provide to certain employees.
Last Name: Shane Riddle Organization: Virginia Education Association Locality: Richmond

The Virginia Education Association (VEA) supports HB2137.

Last Name: Robert Melvin Organization: Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association Locality: Richmond

Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, on behalf of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association I want to share our thoughts and concerns related to HB2103 and HB2137. At VRLTA we maintain that it is in the best interest of every business to provide the best benefits to their employees that they can afford. This flexibility allows our members to offer benefits that they are financially able to provide. For example: • Almost 98 percent of hotels offer full time employees medical, dental, and vision insurance • Approximately 70 percent of hotels offer tuition reimbursement • Restaurants provide flexible work arrangements that allows individuals to set their own hours, and pick up additional time when they need it • Restaurants provide opportunity—8 in 10 restaurant owners say their first job in the restaurant industry was an entry level position • According to the USDOL Bureau of Labor Statistics, 94 percent of full-time civilian workers in the U.S. have access to some form of paid time off from work whether it's through vacation days, personal leave, sick leave, or family leave. It just isn’t specifically categorized as a “family leave” benefit. Imposing a new payroll tax or mandates on small businesses and those in the hospitality and tourism industries will cause these employers to reduce benefits and wages to offset the costs of this new mandatory paid leave program. It will stifle employment growth and it creates a disincentive to expand as a business. Many hotels and restaurants are small businesses, and according to Pew Research a majority of Americans recognize that forcing small businesses to provide paid leave would be harmful to these employers. According to Pew Research, when asked which benefit or work arrangement is or would be most helpful to them personally, respondents indicated flexibility with scheduling their work hours as the most preferred option. In addition, according to a survey conducted by the Cato Institute: • A majority of Americans (52%) oppose paid leave if it increases their taxes $450 or more a year. • 68% of Americans are opposed to paid leave if employers reduce other benefits (such as reduced health care benefits or fewer vacation days) • 60% of American’s oppose paid leave if they get smaller pay raises. • 62% of Americans oppose paid leave if workers who don’t use it still must pay for it. The Cato Institute survey also found that new mothers say flexible work schedules (22%) are more important than paid parental leave (12%). For these reasons, we are asking you to oppose HB2103 and HB2137 and other proposals mandating employers provide paid leave to employees.

Last Name: Wilson Organization: United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 Locality: Washington

Testimony of Michael Wilson, Executive Assistant to the President, United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 400 before the Virginia House Appropriations Compensation and General Government Subcommittee, February 1, 2021 regarding HB 2137 Paid sick leave; employers to provide to certain employees Good morning Chair Tyler and members of the Appropriations Compensation and General Government Subcommittee. I am here today on behalf of the members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), Local 400. We represent over 10,000 members in Virginia who work in retail food, food service, food processing and healthcare. Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you this afternoon. UFCW Local 400 strongly supports this bill, which would protect the safety and health of Virginia workers and consumers through the current pandemic and beyond. Earned sick leave policies are not only good for working families, but for the customers they serve. This pandemic has exposed many issues that need to be addressed in the way we treat employees who keep us fed and cared for. Our members, on the front lines of this pandemic keeping grocery stores running, processing plants operating, and health care facilities caring for patients have been better off than their non-union colleagues in their industries. Because of gaps in the federal CARES Act and the failure of this legislature to pass an earned sick days law last session, unless you are lucky enough to work for an employer with between 50 and 500 employees, your employer was generous, or have a union that was able to negotiate it, you have not had access to any paid sick leave during this pandemic. Just within our membership in Virginia we have had 1117 people confirmed positive with COVID-19 since this pandemic started. When you add in non-union front-line workers, the number is likely astronomical. It is bad enough during normal times, especially for workers in the food industry, to have to make the choice between coming to work sick, potentially infecting others, or stay home and miss out on badly needed pay. Whether it is to care for yourself or a sick child or loved one, workers should never have to make that choice. It is time for Virginia to join the many other states and jurisdictions that have passed earned sick leave legislation to help secure the health and safety of our work force and our food supply. We strongly support this bill and urge you to pass it without further loopholes, restrictions, or other limiting amendments. Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

Last Name: Ross Organization: Central Virginia Labor Federation Locality: Richmond

We support this bill

Last Name: Ross Organization: CWA VA State Council Locality: Richmond

We support this bill

Last Name: Pannabecker Organization: Green New Deal VA and Virginia Organizing Locality: Montgomery County, Blacksburg

Regarding HB2137 - Guzman - Paid Sick Days for Essential Workers bill: I urge you to support funds in the budget for HB 2137. To make Paid Sick Days a standard for essential workers in Virginia, we need money for homecare workers and enforcement included in the budget. The bill needs money for two things - enforcement by the Department of Labor and Industries (DOLI) and funds for state-funded homecare workers. If there isn't money in the budget for the homecare workers, they cannot get needed paid sick days. Both Delegate Guzman and Delegate Sickles have put in budget amendments to provide the additional funds.  Virginia is low in the U.S. in terms of workers' rights and quality of life, and not having sick time increases workers' fatigue, stress level, and overall health when they can't take the time they need to rest and recover. Also, as we've all seen recently with COVID-19, when our working community members don't have basic worker rights like sick time, they are faced with staying home to get better if they get sick, or going in to work to keep food on the table and a roof over their family's head and to keep their job, which risks spread of disease in our community.  Please do what is right and support funds in the budget for HB2137 - Delegate Guzman's Paid Sick Days for Essential Workers bill. Thank you for your time, consideration, and work on behalf of all Virginians.

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

Businesses can't afford more $$$ breaking laws.

Last Name: SNELL-COOK Locality: Virginia Beach

Even before the coronavirus crisis, an estimated 41% or 1.2 working adults in Virginia had no paid sick days or paid time off. Paid sick leave would help keep family caregivers from having to make impossible choices between their families’ financial security and their health. More than 80 percent of food industry workers and 75 percent of childcare workers have no paid sick days. More than half of all Norovirus outbreaks can be traced back to sick food service workers who were forced to choose between working sick and losing pay or their job. With a surge in covid-19 cases and threats of an even more transmissible variant, state and local health officials believe by providing paid sick time to workers “we would see a drastic reduction in exposure.” When sick workers are able to stay home, the spread of disease slows and workplaces are both healthier and more productive. Plus, workers recover faster from illness and obtain timely medical care –enabling them to get back to work sooner and holding down health care costs. Providing paid sick days would protect hard working families and level the playing field for small companies. It is no surprise that 83% of Virginia voters say employers should offer paid sick days, including the Virginians for Paid Sick Days Coalition: an alliance of 25 statewide organizations: www.vapaidsickdays.org By establishing a paid sick leave standard for essential workers, it will allow them to maintain economic security and ensure a healthier, more productive workforce in the Commonwealth. Thank you for supporting HB 2137

Last Name: Vassey Organization: Coalition for a Strong Virginia Economy Locality: Richmond

Dear Members of the Virginia General Assembly: On behalf of the Coalition for a Strong Virginia Economy, our 31 business associations wish to express our position that it is crucial that the General Assembly avoid mandates and increased taxes on small businesses and instead looks for ways to help businesses recover. We respectively ask the committee not to move these bills forward. HB 1785 Ward HB 1977 Askew HB 2037 Tran HB 2040 Hudson HB 2015 Ayala HB 2016 Ayala HB 2103 Reid HB 2137 Guzman HB 2228 Guzman Best Regards, Associated Builders and Contractors of Virginia Associated General Contractors of Virginia Delmarva Chicken Association Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Harrisonburg – Rockingham Chamber of Commerce Heavy Construction Contractors Association National Federation of Independent Business Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce Northern Virginia Transportation Business Coalition Precast Concrete Association of Virginia Richmond Area Municipal Contractors Association Shellfish Growers of Virginia Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy Virginia Agribusiness Council Virginia Association of Roofing Professionals Virginia Association for Home Care and Hospice Virginia Automatic Merchandising Association Virginia Contractor Procurement Alliance Virginia Forestry Association Virginia Forest Products Association Virginia Loggers Association Virginia Manufactured Association and Modular Housing Association Virginia Manufacturers Association Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Virginia Poultry Federation Virginia Retail Federation Virginia Seafood Council Virginia Trucking Association Virginia Veterinary Medical Association Virginia Wholesalers and Distributors Association Virginia Wineries Association

Last Name: Wunder Organization: Herndon-Reston Indivisible Locality: Herndon

I am in support of bill HB 2137 Paid Sick Leave. There are many benefits for both employers and families. In addition to economic security to families during life changing events; it helps increases employee morale, productivity, and labor force attachment. Studies show there are positive effects on infant and maternal health, reducing rates of infant mortality and stress and depression for mothers. Paid family leave can also promote gender equality if takes into account the importance of both parents’ time with children. Please pass HB 2137!

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

Businesses can't afford it. The Gov. bankrupted them, they can't afford it and you'll only put more folks out of work. Pity the ones in power have zero clue on how things affect the regular working folks.

Last Name: Fox Organization: VA Grassroots Coalition Locality: Alexandria

For the past few months every time I walk or drive anywhere I see signs saying "Heroes work here" or "we thank our essential workers." The gratitude is sincere, nevertheless, words without action are empty gestures. This legislation is not only about the economic welfare of the our neighbors, it's also a public health issue - if residents cannot receive paid sick leave and stay home when they're ill, we're helping COVID-19 (and other viruses and germs) spread more rapidly among the population (which doesn't make sense, in a pandemic.)

Last Name: Wilson Organization: UFCW Local 400 Locality: Washington

I am here today on behalf of the members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), Local 400. We represent over 10,000 members in Virginia who work in retail food, food service, food processing and healthcare. Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you this afternoon. UFCW Local 400 strongly supports this bill, which would protect the safety and health of Virginia workers and consumers through the current pandemic and beyond. Earned sick leave policies are not only good for working families, but for the customers they serve. This pandemic has exposed many issues that need to be addressed in the way we treat employees who keep us fed and cared for. Our members, on the front lines of this pandemic keeping grocery stores running, processing plants operating, and health care facilities caring for patients have been better off than their non-union colleagues in their industries. Because of gaps in the federal CARES Act and the failure of this legislature to an earned sick days law last session, unless you are lucky enough to work for an employer with between 50 and 500 employees, or your employer was generous, you have not had access to any paid sick leave during this pandemic. It is bad enough during normal times, especially for workers in the food industry, to have to make the choice between coming to work sick, potentially infecting others, or stay home and miss out on badly needed pay. Whether it is to care for yourself or a sick child or loved one, workers should never have to make that choice. It is time for Virginia to join the many other states and jurisdictions that have passed earned sick leave legislation to help secure the health and safety of our work force and our food supply. We strongly support this bill and urge you to pass it without further loop holes or amendments. Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

Last Name: Agyeman Organization: 32BJ SEIU Locality: Alexandria

Hello, my name is Kwaku Agyeman. I live in Alexandria and work at National Airport as a wheelchair agent. I am a member of 32BJ SEIU. I support this bill. As a wheelchair agent, I have to guide mostly elderly and disabled travelers all over the airport and even into the planes themselves. I manage their carry-on bags, help them in and out of their seats and am always in close proximity with others. Today I have no paid sick days and I desperately need them. While working at the airport, I once had to delay my cataracts surgery for over a year because I could not afford to take any unpaid days off. There was another day when I wasn’t feeling well enough to go to work, but had to go in anyway in order to pay the bills. I am an essential worker and deserve paid sick days. Please make sure that I am included in paid sick days legislation. Please support this bill.

Last Name: Melvin Organization: Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association Locality: Richmond

Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, on behalf of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association I would like to take a moment to impart our concerns with HB2016, HB2103, and HB2137 that would require businesses provide paid sick leave, and family and medical leave. We believe the mandates in these measures and payroll tax requirements would create significant hardship for the hospitality and tourism industry. Rather, we are supportive of SB1219 from Senator Favola which would not mandate small businesses like restaurants, campgrounds, and hotels provide paid sick leave and family and medical leave. Instead, it would examine how to create a private market for the sale of family and medical leave insurance plans.

Last Name: Pannabecker Organization: Virginia Organizing Locality: Montgomery County, Blacksburg

Regarding HB2137 - I urge you to fully support this bill. It is essential to expand sick leave to essential workers who often are not provided with this important benefit. Sick leave is not only a benefit to workers, it's also important for public health. Even in times when we are not in the midst of a pandemic, providing workers with sick leave allows them to stay home when feeling ill, preventing spread of a number of infectious diseases, including during more common high spread periods of seasonal flu. This prevents illnesses from spreading at a workplace and from spreading to others outside the workplace during work in service industries, during travel to work, and other circumstances. Sick leave is a core worker right that we need to further support in Virginia.

Last Name: Knotts Organization: Americans for Prosperity Virginia Locality: Henrico

HB2016 / HB 2137: We appreciate the generous intent of the patrons, but the question here is not "Is this intent noble?" Rather, it's this: "Do we think Virginians should lose their decision rights on what they can afford to offer employees? Our problem with this legislation, and others like it, is that it assumes that businesses who don't offer paid-sick leave do so because they haven't been told to. In many cases, it's because they can't afford to, especially during the pandemic. For a business who is barely making ends meet, this unfunded mandate on them could literally put them out of business. I know countless business owners who didn't take a paycheck during the pandemic and barely kept their employees jobs alive. And many have told me personally that they pay their employees with the revenue from the day - and sometimes it's not even enough to cover the rate they agreed to and the business loses money trying to save these jobs. Our elected officials should trust Virginians. Virginians are doing the best they can with the best they have. Instead of empathizing with them, this legislation would rob them of their decision rights. For businesses like Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target with millions in daily profit margins, they won't notice the mandate because they can afford to do it or they can afford the political levers to get exempted. Small-businesses are struggling even more to compete with these major online retailers. This doesn't help them. It puts the weight of government mandates on their shoulder while many are already collapsing under the weight of the pandemic. And I urge you to consider whose opportunity to save their business will be taken away? These mandates disproportionately harm businesses with lower profit margins, lower revenue streams, and lower amounts of customers in lower income areas. In short, business owners who earn the least will be the first victims of trying to comply with a mandate that they can't afford. Small business owners who have survived thus far have completely repackaged their stores to comply with COVID-19 mandates, sought out new ways of getting their services to their customers, and suffered unprecedented lockdowns and managed to keep their business alive and their employees with a job. But wealthier businesses in suburbs have been proven to be doing better than businesses and restaurants in more impoverished areas that have managed to make it - in spite of the odds. So instead of trusting them to do what they can and think is best for the business to survive and protect their employees' jobs, this legislation would say "If you can't afford to do everything we have asked and now this - you should not be in business." You won't be telling this to wealthy businesses. You will be telling that to small businesses trying to serve communities where there are the least services and foot traffic. This is not the way. Lawmakers should find a way to work with the decision rights of small business owners - not take them. While the outcome is noble, the means will hurt poor business owners the most. We encourage you to rethink this approach. Thank you.

Last Name: Vassey Organization: Virginia Manufacturers Association Locality: Richmond

The economic challenges on small businesses are immense. Adding another financial obligation, no matter how well intended, is not sustainable today. Further, why are the dependents of employees an employers' responsibility? How do employers verify their employees' dependents' conditions? Why aren't employees asked to use all their other PTO before creating a new benefit?

Last Name: Ciliento Organization: AFSCME Locality: Fairfax

American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) supports HB 2137 introduced by Delegate Guzman. Over the course of the pandemic, essential workers across Virginia, our law-enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, health care providers, educators, domestic workers, childcare providers and more have been working hard to keep our communities safe and running. Essential workers deserve paid sick days to care for their own health needs or those of a family member, including going to the doctor, getting tested for COVID-19 or getting vaccinated. As a Union representing public employees with a dedication to making our communities stronger, healthier, and safer, we urge you to support HB 2137, paid sick days for essential workers.

Last Name: Campblin Organization: Green New Deal VA Coalition Locality: Fairfax

It is essential for us to support families during times of need and this includes allowing them to provide relief and care when a family member is ill. Everyone should be able to do so - extending access only makes sense. Which is why I support this bill. Please vote yes

Last Name: Signer Organization: National Organization for Women (NOW), Virginia Chapter Locality: Arlington

Virginia NOW - a 50+ year old organization in Virginia, with 3,000 women and men members throughout the Commonwealth - supports both a sick leave program (HB2137) and a paid family and medical leave program (HB2016). The COVID-19 pandemic has made it very clear that families and individuals must have the short-term sick leave and long-term medical leave they need to return to work safely when they are healthy. We harm entire communities by making it difficult for persons who are ill to recover before returning to a job. The program proposed in HB2016 is not a giveaway; funding for the program is provided through premiums assessed to employers and employees beginning in 2023. The amount of a benefit is 80 percent of the employee's average weekly wage, not to exceed 80 percent of the state weekly wage, which amount is required to be adjusted annually to reflect changes in the statewide average weekly wage. The measure caps the duration of paid leave at 12 weeks in any application year. The bill provides self-employed individuals the option of participating in the program. This is the right thing to d o and now is the right time to do it!

Last Name: Durkin Organization: Roanoke Regional Chamber Locality: Roanoke

The Roanoke Regional Chamber is concerned with the one-size fits all approach that this legislation takes and would respectfully ask the committee to oppose this bill. Allow businesses to enact sick leave programs that work best for the business and its employees.

Last Name: Burk Organization: AAUW-VA Locality: Annandale

We are writing on behalf of the more than 1,000 members of the American Association of University Women in 24 branches in the Commonwealth of Virginia to urge your support for Delegate Guzman’s bill, HB 2137, providing paid sick leave for essential workers. AAUW of Virginia is committed to achieving equity for women and girls and creating a secure economic future for all Virginians. We have joined with the Coalition of Virginians for Paid Sick Days to urge you to expand access to paid sick days as a public health imperative. Paid sick days will allow workers to care for their short-term health needs or those of a family member, including going to the doctor or getting tested for COVID-19. The lack of paid sick days creates a crisis for low-wage workers, including women and people of color, who must choose between working while sick or getting paid. If they bring COVID into the workplace, they risk the health of many others. Healthier workers will lead to healthier workplaces and more economically secure families. An overwhelming majority of Virginians support paid sick days. We are aware of the business arguments against such a standard, but paid sick days will actually allow businesses to remain open and will protect the public against COVID-19. It’s time for Virginia to pass a paid sick leave bill. It is good for Virginia’s workers and its businesses. Susan Burk and Denise Murden Co-Vice Presidents for Public Policy AAUW-VA

Last Name: Parker Organization: Airlines for America Locality: WDC

On behalf of A4A and our member carriers, I am writing to oppose HB 2137 because it fails to account for federal preemption of state paid sick leave laws as applied to airlines, as HB 2103 properly does. In order to bring HB 2137 into compliance with federal law, the proposed bill needs to exempt: • Employees working for air carriers covered by the Railway Labor Act (“RLA”), which governs labor relations in the airline and railroad industry. The U.S. airline industry is one of the most heavily unionized private industries in the nation. As a result of our nationwide Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) under the Railway Labor Act, as well as the personnel policies of our non-union carriers, airlines already provide substantial paid sick leave benefits to their employees. Without increasing employees’ substantive paid sick leave benefits, the proposed bill would: • Make it difficult for airlines to ensure the attendance of employees who are vital to providing the regular operations required by our passengers, and • Interfere with airlines’ multi-state operations, our CBAs and reliability programs, and impose complicated and unnecessary compliance challenges given the unique cross-jurisdictional nature of our operations and workforce. Further information has been sent via email.

Last Name: Griffey Organization: Voices for Virginia's Children Locality: Henrico

Voices for Virginia's Children supports HB2137 to provide paid sick days for essential workers. Paid sick leave is critical for parents and caregivers to be able to stay home and care for sick children and not worry about choosing between losing their income and caring for their children. During the COVID-19 pandemic parents that we surveyed expressed a preference for paid time off to care for children. Many workers in the essential workforce are women and disproportionately women of color. Extending paid sick days to these essential workers provides equitable care for all children.

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

HB1977 - If someone gets something they've not earned, it should be returned. HB2037- remove (iii) and I'd support. "Belief" is not fact. HB2040 - support HB2103 - if we had the economy before Virginia's rulers ruined our economy, maybe, but this is NOT something to put in when our economy is trashed, the G A is raising minimum wage. Stop killing small business and making our taxes go sky high with legislation that has failed Commieformia to having 1/2 the homeless USA population, and sent people moving out of the state to live.

Last Name: Tetterton Organization: VAHC Locality: Henrico

The Virginia Association for Home Care and Hospice opposes the bill as current Medicaid reimbursement rates would not cover the increased cost of providing paid sick leave.

Last Name: Codding Organization: Alliance for Construction Excellence (ACE) and Iron Workers Employers Association (IWEA) Locality: Fairfax

I am Fred Codding of 10382 Main Street, Fairfax, Virginia 22030. I represent the Iron Workers Employers Association as well as the organizations which are part of the Alliance for Construction Excellence (ACE). Those organizations include Chapters of the National Electrical Contractors, Mechanical Contractors, Sheetmetal Contractors, the American Subcontractors Association and the Iron Workers Employers Association. Those organizations and their members have offices and projects throughout the Commonwealth. Their contractor members, which include minority contractors, work on small and large projects and include many small businesses. Members of the Iron Workers Employers Association itself supply and install reinforcing steel, structural steel, window wall, curtainwall and related products on projects throughout the Commonwealth. Our Members and their construction employees are working on jobs throughout Virginia and the Region. They may be on a job here in Virginia, but tomorrow may be in West Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Tennessee, Kentucky or Delaware. They travel extensively. In addition, their employees move from one contractor to another in relatively short periods of time. This is an integral part of the construction industry. As a result, their pay levels reflect mobility. In addition, construction contractors frequently provide costly pensions, health care, workers compensation insurance and premium time on a number of holidays as well as weekends. In addition, they provide disability insurance. Our contractors also contribute sums per manhour worked for continuing training of apprentice and upgrading programs. The burdens the Bills place on construction contractors increases those they are already having to endure. The Bills substantially increase record-keeping requirements. Numerous other jurisdictions have recognized these concerns. (Maryland is an example.) If the Bills pass, we ask that the concerns of construction be accommodated. We request an exemption for construction. Absent a full exemption, we request an exemption for those with collective bargaining agreements. As noted, this has been done in many other major jurisdictions.

Last Name: Johnson Locality: Richmond City

I often hear concerns about the unintended consequences of a bill, and we often see bills filed to "clean up" or "fix" problems or loopholes of previous bills. But there are unintended consequences for inaction as well. 1.2 million workers in Virginia have no paid sick days, and so they must choose between getting paid or taking care of themselves or their families. Workers who go to work sick endanger their coworkers, the public, and the ability of the business to remain open. Children who go to school sick because there is not a caregiver available to stay home with them endanger fellow students, teachers, and staff. We will not get our economy going again until we get this pandemic under control, and we will not get this pandemic under control if sick essential workers are being forced to choose between getting paid and taking care of themselves or others. 83 percent of Virginia registered voters support a policy proposal to provide paid sick days. Please stand with us and support HB2137. Thank you.

HB2228 - Workers' compensation; injuries caused by repetitive and sustained physical stressors.
Last Name: Robert Melvin Organization: Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association Locality: Richmond

Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, on behalf of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association I would like to share with you our concerns regarding HB2228. Our organization and members are concerned with how broadly it’s written and we believe it would be burdensome for hospitality and tourism businesses and lead to increased premiums for workers compensation. Moreover, we have concerns that it would be difficult to determine to differentiate which injuries were work related and which are related to activities outside the workplace that involve repetitive motions and stresses.

Last Name: Tetterton Organization: VAHC Locality: Henrico

The Virginia Association for Home Care and Hospice opposes any bill that would increase labor cost. Virginia's Medicaid Personal Care program is near collapse and these types of mandates increase the cost of services. Unchecked these government mandates will make in home care for those in need of care too costly.

Last Name: Ross Organization: Central Virginia Labor Federation Locality: Richmond

We support this bill

Last Name: Ross Organization: Central Virginia Labor Federation Locality: Richmond

We support this bill

Last Name: Ross Organization: Central Virginia Labor Federation Locality: Richmond

We support this bill

Last Name: Vassey Organization: Coalition for a Strong Virginia Economy Locality: Richmond

Dear Members of the Virginia General Assembly: On behalf of the Coalition for a Strong Virginia Economy, our 31 business associations wish to express our position that it is crucial that the General Assembly avoid mandates and increased taxes on small businesses and instead looks for ways to help businesses recover. We respectively ask the committee not to move these bills forward. HB 1785 Ward HB 1977 Askew HB 2037 Tran HB 2040 Hudson HB 2015 Ayala HB 2016 Ayala HB 2103 Reid HB 2137 Guzman HB 2228 Guzman Best Regards, Associated Builders and Contractors of Virginia Associated General Contractors of Virginia Delmarva Chicken Association Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Harrisonburg – Rockingham Chamber of Commerce Heavy Construction Contractors Association National Federation of Independent Business Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce Northern Virginia Transportation Business Coalition Precast Concrete Association of Virginia Richmond Area Municipal Contractors Association Shellfish Growers of Virginia Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy Virginia Agribusiness Council Virginia Association of Roofing Professionals Virginia Association for Home Care and Hospice Virginia Automatic Merchandising Association Virginia Contractor Procurement Alliance Virginia Forestry Association Virginia Forest Products Association Virginia Loggers Association Virginia Manufactured Association and Modular Housing Association Virginia Manufacturers Association Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Virginia Poultry Federation Virginia Retail Federation Virginia Seafood Council Virginia Trucking Association Virginia Veterinary Medical Association Virginia Wholesalers and Distributors Association Virginia Wineries Association

Last Name: Roth Organization: Virginia Retail Federation Locality: Glen Allen

oppose all marked bills

Last Name: Melvin Organization: Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association Locality: Richmond

Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, on behalf of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association I would like to share with you our concerns regarding HB2228. Our organization and members are concerned with how broadly it’s written and we believe it would be burdensome for hospitality and tourism businesses and lead to increased premiums for workers compensation. Moreover, we have concerns that it would be difficult to determine to differentiate which injuries were work related and which are related to activities outside the workplace that involve repetitive motions and stresses.

Last Name: Mirabile Organization: Virginia Professional Fire Fighters Locality: Prince William County

Virginia Professional Fire Fighters supports the bill as written. Virginia is the only state that does not allow for repetitive motion claims, such as carpal tunnel and spinal disc problems, in workers compensation. As many know fire fighting along with other manual labor trades can wreck havoc on a workers back. Please support HB 2228 and bring Virginia in line with every other states workers compensation practices.

Last Name: Chigwada Organization: DHRM Locality: Richmond

Here to answer any questions for DHRM on the Bill

Last Name: Ciliento Organization: AFSCME Locality: Fairfax

American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) supports HB 2228 introduced by Delegate Guzman. Currently, Virginia does not provide a remedy through the workers’ compensation system for injuries due to repetitive work activities known as “repetitive stress injuries” meaning that Virginia workers are required to bear the costs associated with this, even when they arise out of and in the course of employment. In 2020, The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission (VWC) conducted an analysis and study of the issue of covering repetitive motion and HB 2228 would implement the finding of that study. As a Union representing public employees with a dedication to making our communities stronger, healthier, and safer, we urge you to support HB 2228 to allow workers to be covered by repetitive stress injuries under Virginia Worker’s Compensation Act.

Last Name: Snare Organization: Prince William Chamber of Commerce Locality: Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park

On behalf of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and our 1200+ members, we are concerned that covering injuries from repetitive motions and stresses under workers’ compensation will make it difficult to differentiate which injuries were work related and which were because of age and participation in activities outside the workplace that involve repetitive motions and stresses. Based on our conversation with employers , they believe they will see an increase in their workers compensation insurance premiums, due to the increased number of claims under this policy. Given the pandemic and other issues that businesses are facing, we cannot support the legislation and urge you to oppose the bill.

Last Name: SNELL-COOK Locality: NORFOLK

It is hard to imagine a rationale to justify making the Commonwealth of Virginia the lone exception to the standard of the rest of the country in relation to workman's compensation and repetitive injury coverage. According to JLARCs own report in 2019. "In contrast to the 49 other states, Virginia does not provide a remedy through the workers’ compensation system for injuries due to repetitive work activities, such as lifting boxes over several weeks (also known as “cumulative trauma injuries”). As a result, Virginia workers are required to bear the costs associated with cumulative trauma injuries, even when they arise out of and in the course of employment." Virginia’s Workers’ Compensation system could benefit from this much-needed improvement, making the workers compensation system less complicated and fairer. House Bill 2228 would especially benefit workers employed in plants and other workplaces where repetitive activities are a normal part of the work day. Virginia’s workers’ compensation system does not cover cumulative trauma injuries. This Legislation addresses these inequities. Thank you for supporting this legislation!

Last Name: Camden Locality: Virginia Beach

My name is Gregory Camden and I have been representing injured workers in Virginia for more than 25 years. I would like to speak remotely. I can be reached at 757-818-3193 or gcamden@montagnalaw.com. Below are my comments concerning House Bill Number 2228 relating to workers' compensation; injuries caused by repetitive and sustained physical stressors. My comments address a large group of workers in Virginia who perform repetitive tasks for their employer, day in and day out. This would involve workers at Smithfield Foods in Smithfield, Virginia. However, this is just one example of employees who are affected by repetitive injuries on a daily basis in Virginia. Last year when Covid hit the nation, our government labeled workers at meat processing plants "ESSENTIAL WORKERS". This included the workers at Smithfield Foods. The workers at Smithfield Foods are largely impacted by repetitive injuries. The work performed there is fast paced with the meat products moving by conveyor belts and the employer keeping track of quotas. If the meat product is not packaged quick enough, it will spoil. The workers use many types of knives and cutting tools including "Wizard Knives" which are oscillating knives used to trim the fat from the hogs. The workers also pack the edible meat, including loins, into boxes and/or plastic bags and return them to the conveyor belt system. After removing the edible meat, workers have to lift the remaining carcasses to dispose of them. Over time these repetitive activities led to rotator cuff tears, cubital tunnel syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome and other injuries to the body. As I said at the beginning of this submission, when Covid hit we needed these food processing workers to continue putting food on our tables so we labeled them "ESENTIAL WORKERS". Now it is our turn to help these "ESSENTIAL WORKERS" and provide them with the protection they deserve under our workers' compensation laws as they continue to put food on our tables. In 2018 the Joint Legislative Audit Review Commission (JLARC) directed a review of the Virginia Workers' Compensation system. We have that 2019 report. It states that "Virginia is the only state in which employers are not obligated to compensate workers for work-related cumulative trauma injuries." Page ii, see also page 34. The report recommended that the General Assembly take legislative action to, "[e]xpand coverage to allow cumulative trauma injuries to be compensable." Page iv, see also page 37. Last week we celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. day. One of his well known quotes was, "The time is always right, to do what is right." Now is the time to do what is right, and protect Virginia's "ESSENTIAL WORKERS". Gregory Camden 757-818-3193 gcamden@montagnalaw.com

Last Name: Allen Organization: VADA Group Self-Insurance Association Locality: Mechanicsville

As an insurer I would ask for a delayed enactment clause. The loss costs (base rates) for the coming year have already been published by the Bureau of Insurance and they do not factor in coverage for these types of injuries. New rates take effect April 1, so delaying the enactment of this legislation until July 1, 2022 would allow the rate setting calculations to factor in these injury types. Unlike commercial carriers, self-insureds and group self-insureds (to include The Commonwealth and municipalities) do not have offsetting revenue sources from other insurance lines. The impact of passing this legislation without providing time for insurers to collect premiums to cover these injuries could be catastrophic. Thank you for your consideration.

Last Name: Aubrey Chigwada Organization: DHRM Locality: Richmond

Here to answer any questions on behalf of DHRM.

Last Name: Aubrey Chigwada Organization: DHRM Locality: Richmond

Answering questions related to Workers' Compensation Bills

Last Name: Hudgins Organization: Independent Insurance Agents of Virginia Locality: Midlothain, Va.

If passed, this bill will cause a serious increase in worker’s compensation insurance premiums once the losses work there way thru the system. In my opinion it would also cause an availability issue.

Last Name: Jenkins Organization: Virginia Loggers Association Locality: Goochland

Virginia Loggers Association opposes this bill because it expands the definition of “occupational disease” to include injuries which arise out of repetitive and sustained motions. This legislation would rebut the case law which has previously held that impairments resulting from the cumulative trauma from repetitive motion are not “diseases.” Such impairments have previously been classified as “injuries,” requiring a claimant to demonstrate a sudden mechanical change in order for the injuries to be considered compensable. The case law as it stands has previously left a gap in which “wear and tear” injuries were generally not compensable as they are not diseases and a claimant cannot prove a sudden mechanical change if the injury develops over time. The rules have become broader in recent years and the window of “sudden mechanical change” had been widening. THIS BILL HAS THE POTENTIAL TO SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE COMP CLAIMS VS EMPLOYERS. THE END RESULT OF THIS IF PASSED WILL BE SIGNIFICANTLY MORE COMP CLAIMS AND SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER PREMIUMS AS A RESULT.

HB2250 - Humane Cosmetics Act; civil penalties.
Last Name: Engebretson Organization: Cruelty Free International Locality: Carmichael

House Labor and Commerce Committee Chair: Ward, Jeion A. RE: Support for HB 2250 Humane Cosmetics Act. [Kory] Dear Delegate Ward and Committee; On behalf of Cruelty Free International, I am pleased to support HB 2250 [as amended] – the state Humane Cosmetics Act. Current law prohibits performing animal tests on products in Virginia when there is an appropriate validated alternative test method. HB2250 would strengthen this prohibition with respect to cosmetics products, barring the sale of all cosmetics that were tested on animals, even if those tests were performed outside the State. The legislation makes exceptions for special safety concerns, drugs used in cosmetics, foreign testing requirements, and allows companies to rely on existing data from testing that was done to address regulatory requirements for non-cosmetic purposes under specific conditions. We worked very hard with industry stakeholders to reach an agreement on these points that consider the complexities of the industry while achieving a primary and shared goal of ensuring that cosmetics are not the cause of new animal testing. Animal tests for cosmetics are frequently painful and harmful to the animal. Furthermore, alternative testing methods, such as the use of engineered human tissue and the use of computer models, are often cheaper and more accurate than animal testing, in addition to being cruelty-free. Hundreds of successful cosmetics companies of all sizes now rely on non-animal testing methods and support globally consistent rules on this issue. Passage of HB 2250 would bring Virginia in line with nearly 40 countries and three US states [California, Illinois and Nevada] that already prohibit the sale of new animal-tested cosmetics. Moreover, ending animal testing for cosmetics is an is an issue that unites Americans across generations and political affiliations. A 2019 SurveyUSA poll revealed that nearly 8 out of 10 of poll respondents said that they would support a law that would prohibit animal testing for cosmetics. When broken down by self-reported party affiliation 83% of Democrats, 72% of Republicans, and 80% of Independents support or strongly support a law. Likewise, the poll revealed that there is no generational divide: 76% of those aged 50-64 said they are against animal testing for cosmetics, followed by 75% of those 65 and over, 72% of 34 to 49-year olds and 65% of those aged 18-34. HB 2250 reflects the interests of industry, consumers and animal protection organizations and would make Virginia one of the first states to create a cruelty free cosmetics market and help to move the rest of the nation in the right direction. Sincerely Monica Engebretson Head of Public Affairs -North America Cruelty Free International

Last Name: Tretiak Organization: Personal Care Products Council Locality: Richmond

As previously stated, the Personal Care Products Council supports this measure. These comments are regarding distribution and availability of cosmetics and personal care products upon enactment of the legislation. Basically, these areas would not be affected. It is important to understand that only animal testing conducted after January 1, 2022 is affected by the proposed legislation. Animal testing that took place prior to enactment of the law, would not be considered a violation. This means that all cosmetic and personal care products currently available on the shelves in Virginia will continue to be available after the bill goes into effect. Animal testing in the cosmetics sector has typically taken place in the formulation of brand-new ingredients. New cosmetics and personal care products will still be available to Virginia residents. Many companies have consistently produced high quality and innovative products without relying on animal testing for many years and now support setting consistent laws on the issue. Since 2013, cosmetic manufacturers have had to comply with a no-new-animal testing requirement to sell products in one of the world’s largest cosmetics markets – the European Union - and should have no problem doing the same for US consumers. Concerning distribution and availability, it would be fiscally imprudent for a national manufacturer to formulate a cosmetic or personal care product specifically for VA or any of the other three states – CA*, NV, IL – where similar bans have been in place since the start of 2020. Manufacturers will ensure that their products meet all existing criteria before distribution begins. To our knowledge there have been no issues with product distribution or availability as a result of these bans. A simple Google search of personal care products in any major retail outlet in CA, NV, or IL will confirm product availability. Like the laws in CA, NV, and IL and under consideration in other states, the proposed VA legislation does not apply to retailers and was carefully crafted to limit the impact to cosmetic manufacturers. The nation’s largest cosmetic manufacturers’ association, (Personal Care Products Council) supports the legislation. *. It is worth noting that the final bill in California was supported by the California Retailers Association, The California Grocers Association, and the California Manufactures and Technology Association and the Household and Commercial Products Association.

Last Name: Young Locality: Fredericksburg

To remain a forward, progressive leader within the nation, Virginia should not allow the cruel and outdated practice of testing cosmetics on animals. Ending the production & sale of cosmetics that have been newly tested on animals is the right action to take. I support HB2250.

Last Name: Tretiak Organization: Personal Care Products Council Locality: Richmond

Stan Tretiak with Hefty Wiley and Gore, P.C. representing the Personal Care Products Council. PCPC is a national trade association representing global cosmetic and personal care products companies. Its 600 member companies manufacture, distribute and supply the vast majority of finished personal care products marketed in the U.S. and around the world. Our member companies are global leaders committed to product safety, quality and innovation. PCPC supports the substitute which is based on model language worked on by PCPC and Cruelty Free International to forge a model which represents a shared commitment to address the safety of humans and animals, while preserving access to so many products that consumers trust and rely on every day. The cosmetics industry has long worked toward eliminating the use of animal testing, and the model provides effective measures that balance our common goal to make cosmetics animal testing obsolete globally. As more and more states embrace this legislation, having language which closely mirrors the model with similar definitions and timelines is very important to the industry. We thank Del Kory for her passion to this issue and for working with all of the stakeholders on this substitute. Again, we support the substitute, we thank the delegate, and we ask for your support.

Last Name: Roth Organization: Virginia Retail Federation Locality: Glen Allen

oppose all marked bills

Last Name: Engebretson Organization: Cruelty Free International Locality: Carmichael

On behalf of Cruelty Free International, I am pleased to support HB 2250 [as amended] – the state Humane Cosmetics Act. Current law prohibits performing animal tests on products in Virginia when there is an appropriate validated alternative test method. SB1379 would strengthen this prohibition with respect to cosmetics products, barring the sale of all cosmetics that were tested on animals, even if those tests were performed outside the State. The legislation makes exceptions for special safety concerns, drugs used in cosmetics, foreign testing requirements, and allows companies to rely on existing data from testing that was done to address regulatory requirements for non-cosmetic purposes under specific conditions. We worked very hard with industry stakeholders to reach an agreement on these points that consider the complexities of the industry while achieving a primary and shared goal of ensuring that cosmetics are not the cause of new animal testing. Animal tests for cosmetics are frequently painful and harmful to the animal. Furthermore, alternative testing methods, such as the use of engineered human tissue and the use of computer models, are often cheaper and more accurate than animal testing, in addition to being cruelty-free. Hundreds of successful cosmetics companies of all sizes now rely on non-animal testing methods and support globally consistent rules on this issue. Passage of HB 2250 would bring Virginia in line with nearly 40 countries and three US states [California, Illinois and Nevada] that already prohibit the sale of new animal-tested cosmetics. Moreover, ending animal testing for cosmetics is an is an issue that unites Americans across generations and political affiliations. A 2019 SurveyUSA poll revealed that nearly 8 out of 10 of poll respondents said that they would support a law that would prohibit animal testing for cosmetics. When broken down by self-reported party affiliation 83% of Democrats, 72% of Republicans, and 80% of Independents support or strongly support a law. Likewise, the poll revealed that there is no generational divide: 76% of those aged 50-64 said they are against animal testing for cosmetics, followed by 75% of those 65 and over, 72% of 34 to 49-year olds and 65% of those aged 18-34. HB 2250 reflects the interests of industry, consumers and animal protection organizations and would make Virginia one of the first states to create a cruelty free cosmetics market and help to move the rest of the nation in the right direction. Sincerely Monica Engebretson Head of Public Affairs -North America Cruelty Free International

Last Name: Lynch Organization: Northern Virginia Coalition for Animals Locality: Fairfax

Please support this bill - testing on animals is not only ineffective, but cruel and barbaric. Companies already use non-animal alternative test methods to test products. Results using animals can be variable and most times difficult to interpret. We are a compassionate and caring society, we can do better than this - we don't need to cause harm and suffering unnecessarily. Thank you for your support.

Last Name: Laume Organization: Virginia Dog Army Locality: Fairfax County

Virginia Dog Army, a Northern VA companion animal advocacy group, supports this bill to protect animals from needless testing methods since there are a catalog of previously tested materials available to manufacturers and no required mandate for testing. Consumer desire for cosmetic products should not legitimately take priority over preventing the use of animals in experimentation.

Last Name: Meinzer Organization: Virginia Federation of Humane Societies Locality: Alexandria City

The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies proudly supports HB2250, and we kindly ask you to vote yes on this bill.

Last Name: Armus Organization: The Humane Society of the United States Locality: Richmond

On behalf of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and our members and supporters in Virginia, I am writing to express support for HB 2250, introduced by Delegate Kaye Kory. In traditional animal tests, rabbits, guinea pigs, mice and rats have substances forced down their throats, dripped into their eyes, or smeared onto their skin before they are killed. These test methods are unreliable predictors of human safety. Different species can respond differently when exposed to the same chemicals. Consequently, animal tests may under- or over-estimate real-world hazards to people. In addition, results from animal tests can be quite variable and difficult to interpret. Fortunately, animal testing for cosmetics is completely unnecessary. There are no animal testing requirements for cosmetic safety substantiation in the United States. Companies can already create great products using thousands of available ingredients that have a history of safe use and do not require new testing. For new ingredients where animal testing may currently be used, many non-animal methods have been, and continue to be, developed. Non-animal methods can combine human cell-based tests and sophisticated computer models to deliver human-relevant results at less cost and in less time than the animal tests. There is strong corporate support for ending cosmetic animal testing. Last Congress, the Humane Cosmetics Act was introduced into the U.S. Congress with bipartisan support in the Senate and the House of Representatives including from lead sponsor, Rep. Don Beyer (D, VA). This legislation also had the support of the cosmetic industry trade group, the Personal Care Products Council, which represents approximately 600 companies, as well as more than 325 individual companies. HB 2250 was drafted to mirror the provisions of the Humane Cosmetics Act. Virginia has already taken a lead on ending unnecessary animal testing. In 2018, the state passed a law requiring manufacturers to use available non-animal alternative test methods for safety assessments of household products and industrial chemicals, as well as cosmetics. There has been a global trend toward eliminating cosmetic animal testing. In 2018, California became the first state in the country to ban the sale of cosmetics newly tested on animals followed by Nevada and Illinois in 2019. In 2013, the European Union (EU) finalized a ban on the sale of cosmetics tested on animals, creating the world’s largest cruelty-free cosmetics marketplace. This ban compelled cosmetic companies around the world to end animal testing and invest in the development of non-animal alternatives instead. Similar bans have also been enacted in Israel, Norway, India, Switzerland, and Australia and are under consideration in several other countries. In order to sell their products in any of these countries or states, cosmetic companies must already comply with bans on animal testing. There is no reason for the continued use of inhumane and outdated animal test methods in the United States. The HSUS urges your strong support of HB 2250.

Last Name: Glover Organization: Ojima Nails Locality: Hampton

My name is Niambi Glover and I am the owner of Ojima Nails located in Hampton, Virginia. As a company that produces cruelty-free nail products, I am writing to express support for HB2250 and SB1379, legislation that will prohibit the sale of cosmetic products that have been tested on animals. Animal testing for cosmetics is unnecessary. We can create innovative, high-quality products using thousands of ingredients that have already been proven to be safe. For new ingredients, there are many non-animal test methods available that can be used for safety evaluations. These alternatives provide data that is more relevant to humans and offer savings in time and cost from traditional animal tests. We would love to see our state lead the way in establishing a cruelty-free cosmetics market in the United States. We urge your support for these bills. Thank you.

Last Name: Stevens Organization: Lush Cosmetics LLC Locality: Vancouver, BC

On behalf of Lush Cosmetics LLC, I am writing to you to express our support of HB 2250 and SB 1379, legislation that will prohibit the sale of cosmetic products that have been tested on animals. As a North American business with over 270 shops and four based in Virginia, Lush has been manufacturing and selling cruelty free cosmetics with transparency into our supply chain for over 20 years. Cruelty-free has been a core-value of our business since our inception and these values have allowed us to grow our business exponentially over the last two decades. We strongly believe that creating cruelty-free products has contributed greatly to our growth and will continue to do so into the future and we are sure this is also true for more than 1,500 North American cosmetic brands who are certified as “cruelty-free”. We have always believed that animal testing for cosmetics is a crude model that is not fit for modern times. Sections of the cosmetics industry, and the scientists that service them, are wedded to this outdated practice despite overwhelming public opinion and consumer desire for cruelty-free products. The only way to change this business-as-usual section of our industry is for forward looking governments to legislate and thereby create the incentive to switch to modern non-animal alternatives. The public can apply pressure, but it is government that provide the pace. An insistence on relying on old animal testing models and a misunderstanding that the consumer is only attracted by the scientific claims of newly developed chemicals is holding back not just the progress of the new science of non-animal test methods but is also not meeting the public’s desire for cruelty free products nor meeting the future environmental needs of our planet. Lush strongly supports Virginia’s HB 2250 and SB 1379, and highly commend you for your leadership on this issue as you contemplate ratification. Regards, Tricia Stevens Charitable Giving Manager

Last Name: Dysard Organization: MOM's Organic Market Locality: Rockville, MD

On behalf of MOM’s Organic Market I’d like to express our support for HB 2250 and SB 1379, legislation that will prohibit the sale of cosmetic products that have been tested on animals. As a local company based in Maryland and operating 5 stores in Virginia, we have been committed to selling cruelty-free cosmetics for the past 33 years. Animal testing for cosmetics is unnecessary and outdated. Innovative products can be created using thousands of ingredients that have already been proven to be safe. For new ingredients, there are many non-animal test methods available that can be used for safety evaluations. These alternatives provide data that is more relevant to humans and offer savings in time and cost from traditional animal tests. More than 30 countries including the European Union, India, Israel, Norway and Switzerland have already banned production and sale of animal-tested cosmetics, and international companies must already be in compliance with bans in those countries. Laws to end the sale of animal-tested cosmetics have also passed in California, Nevada and Illinois. Passage of HB 2250 and SB 1379 would help push for harmonization of U.S. cosmetic policy with these states and countries and facilitate the trade of safe and humane cosmetic products worldwide. Now is the time for Virginia to lead the way in establishing a cruelty-free cosmetics market in the United States. We urge your strong support for HB 2250 and SB 1379. Thank you. Sincerely, Alexandra DySard Environmental & Partnership Manager MOM's Organic Market

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