Public Comments for 01/26/2021 Labor and Commerce
HB1822 - Health insurance; cost-sharing payments for prescription asthma inhalers.
Last Name: Bayer Organization: Muhlenberg Lutheran Church Locality: Harriosnburg

As a person of Faith it is my calling to support these areas of concern and I ask you to consider how important these issues are and to vote to approve them!

Last Name: Gary Johnston Organization: Commonwealth of Virginia Locality: Mechanicsville

I was asked to be available for the meeting.

Last Name: Gretz Organization: Middlesex County Public Schools Locality: Irvington

Thanks very much for allowing me to speak with you. As a Virginia educator for the past 30 years, all of which have been spent in small, rural localities across the state, I have seen clear disparity in how our school divisions are able to access resources. I have never seen a disparity as glaring, or harmful, as the current inequality in access to broadband. As more and more essential services are made accessible via the internet, this inequity across the commonwealth is being highlighted. Today, almost 40% of the families in the community I serve do not have internet capability due to a lack of broadband. Aside from the impact given that so many healthcare and government services are being delivered online, student learning is suffering dramatically. Rural localities have suffered for years because of the lack of broadband. For decades divisions with broadband capability have employed learning management systems to streamline delivery of instruction, communication with families, and reduce consumption of paper. Many of us who lack broadband have been unable to justify the cost when so many families wouldn't be able to access it, so we’ve been stuck in dated systems that don’t serve our communities as well as suburban and urban localities with broadband can. The disparity became even more pronounced when schools were forced to close last March, and have continued to operate with significant remote, at-home learning. Imagine your doctor trying to assess your blood cholesterol level remotely, without the ability to connect with you online. Impossible. Similarly, our teachers aren’t able to assess the impact of regressed literacy and numeracy, developments that are absolutely essential building blocks to the learning Virginia will need students to have accomplished to contribute to the future economy, let alone lead productive and rewarding lives. The academic gaps that concerned us before the pandemic are growing at an alarming rate. Hotspots have enabled some to connect, but in localities where cell service is sparse, even those solutions come very short of providing the necessary access. My own home is located in an area without access to broadband. The estimate to bring cable internet to my home was just under $7,000. Our families cannot bear this burden. The impact of students’ inability to access learning because of inadequate access to broadband will be astounding. Addressing this disparity will have direct and lasting impact on the inequity among Virginia’s families. We simply cannot continue to allow it to be unresolved. Thank you for your consideration. Peter M. Gretz, Division Superintendent, Middlesex County Public Schools.

Last Name: Winders Organization: Allergy & Asthma Network Locality: Vienna

RE: Support for HB1822 – Cost-sharing payments for prescription asthma inhalers Dear Members of the Virginia House Labor and Commerce Subcommittee, Allergy & Asthma Network, a leading national nonprofit dedicated to protecting and improving the health of people with allergies, asthma and related conditions, supports bill HB1822, which aims to limit patient cost sharing for asthma medications to $50. With more than 22 million Americans living with asthma, including 6 million children, asthma remains one of the most serious chronic diseases, especially among low-income populations and certain racial and ethnic groups. Approximately 3,600 Americans die each year from asthma and this chronic condition costs the U.S. healthcare system $80 billion annually in direct healthcare expenditures (emergency department visits and hospitalizations) and indirect costs from lost productivity (missed school days and work days). We appreciate your consideration, and we hope you will support HB1822. Please contact me or our Director of Advocacy Charmayne Anderson at 703-641-9595 if you have any questions. To learn more about Allergy & Asthma Network, visit AllergyAsthmaNetwork.org. Thank you. Sincerely, Tonya A. Winders President and CEO

Last Name: Winders Organization: Allergy & Asthma Network Locality: Vienna

RE: Support for HB1822 – Cost-sharing payments for prescription asthma inhalers Dear Members of the Virginia House Labor and Commerce Subcommittee, Allergy & Asthma Network, a leading national nonprofit dedicated to protecting and improving the health of people with allergies, asthma and related conditions, supports bill HB1822, which aims to limit patient cost sharing for asthma medications to $50. With more than 22 million Americans living with asthma, including 6 million children, asthma remains one of the most serious chronic diseases, especially among low-income populations and certain racial and ethnic groups. Approximately 3,600 Americans die each year from asthma and this chronic condition costs the U.S. healthcare system $80 billion annually in direct healthcare expenditures (emergency department visits and hospitalizations) and indirect costs from lost productivity (missed school days and work days). We appreciate your consideration, and we hope you will support HB 342. Please contact me or our Director of Advocacy Charmayne Anderson at 703-641-9595 if you have any questions. To learn more about Allergy & Asthma Network, visit AllergyAsthmaNetwork.org. Thank you. Sincerely, Tonya A. Winders President and CEO

Last Name: Seibert Organization: VA College of Emergency Physicians Locality: Richmond

The VA College of Emergency Physicians supports Delegate Askew's HB 1822 that limits cost sharing payments for asthma inhalers. Our ER physicians across the Commonwealth see patients who return often to the emergency department because they cannot afford to regularly fill their asthma inhalers. The more we can do on the front end to get patients the medications they need, the less likely they are to end up in our emergency departments and able to lead healthy lives. We hope you will pass this bill.

Last Name: Wright Locality: Glen Allen

I am for nurse practitioner to be able to practice without a doctor being there

Last Name: Loving Organization: Midwifes Locality: Chesterfield

Addressing topics for perspective is a form of growth.

HB1834 - Electric generating facility closures; public disclosure, integrated resource plans.
Last Name: Vassey Organization: Virginia Manufacturers Association Locality: Richmond

HB1834 should be amended to clarify that it only applies to electric utilities.

Last Name: Leyen Organization: Virginia League of Conservation Voters Locality: Richmond

The League of Conservation Voters encourages you to SUPPORT HB1834. The Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) prohibits carbon emissions from any in-state power plants larger than 25 megawatts beginning in 2050. Power plants are significant sources of tax revenue and jobs for the localities in which they are located. For example, the Virginia Cities Hybrid Energy Center (VCHEC) accounts for 20% of Wise County’s tax revenue. Power plants are likely to close before the dates required by the VCEA in order to meet carbon reduction requirements and/or due to market forces. For example, the Chesterfield coal power plant will close in 2021 (the VCEA requires it to close by 2024), and VCHEC may close within 3-5 years (the VCEA requires it to close by 2045). The public is only aware of the early closure of the VCHEC plant because of financial information revealed by the Attorney General in a State Corporation Commission case. This information should be public for all power plants.

Last Name: Griffin Organization: New Virginia Majority Locality: Richmond

At New Virginia Majority, we support HB1834. We see this legislation as critical for those fossil-fuel fired facilities that have been located in environmental justice and fenceline communities across Virginia, especially given that this legislation ensures that the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice receives a written notice of impending closures and facility retirement studies conducted by utilities for their IRPs. This legislation provides deserved transparency to the over forty communities who will be in transition as the state increasingly adopts valuable renewable energy resources; the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) prohibits carbon emissions from any in-state power plants larger than 25 megawatts beginning in 2050. And as these fossil-fuel fired facilities come to close, these people, many of which are Black, Brown, low-income, and/or rural, should be able to have their questions answered and be directly informed about about how and when these plants will close, what will happen to the sites, and how it will impact their local area and their own quality of life, especially economically and environmentally, being that many of these facilities have been direct sources of employment and local air pollution. We thank the Delegate for bringing this legislation forward and encourage the committee to vote in support. Thank you. Tyneshia Griffin, the Environmental Policy Research Analyst at New Virginia Majority.

Last Name: Turner Organization: Virginia Conservation Network Locality: Richmond

On behalf of the Virginia Conservations Network I urge the committee to support HB1834. As we make the transition to a clean energy economy it is important now more than ever that we prepare and notify impacted communities and relevant state agencies, and increase the transparency around imminent power plant closures. This is just a crucial first step in preparing these communities for the new clean energy based economy .

Last Name: Clewett Organization: Lewinsville Faith in Action Locality: Fairfax County

Under the Virginia Clean Economy Act, carbon-emitting power plants in Virginia must cease operations no later than 2050. However, a number of these plants may close sooner than they are required to, due to market forces and carbon reduction requirements. For example, the last three coal-fired power plants in Virginia will all be closing soon. The Chesterfield Power Station will close in 2021 (ahead of the required date of 2024), the Clover Power Station in Halifax will close by 2025, and the Virginia Cities Hybrid Energy Center (VCHEC) may close within three to five years (well ahead of the requirement of 2045). These closures can cause disruption in their localities, since power plants provide jobs and significant tax revenue. For example, VCHEC accounts for 20% of Wise County’s tax revenue. To ensure a smooth transition from fossil-fuels to clean electricity generation, communities must have as much information about plant closures as possible, so that no one is caught by surprise. Currently, communities must glean information from disparate sources, such as proceedings before the State Corporation Commission (as happened with VCHEC). However, the public deserves to have reliable information about closure plans for every fossil-fuel plant. HB 1834 would require power plants owners to conduct power plant retirement studies at least every 18 months, to determine if the plant should close before the end of its expected useful life, and to notify impacted communities and relevant state agencies of a decision to close a power plant within 14 days of the decision. This transparency is needed to assist communities in smoothly transitioning to a clean energy economy. I urge you to support HB 1834.

HB1877 - Legal service plans; seller registration.
Last Name: Jordan Organization: LegalShield Locality: Richmond

HB 1877 substitute – Prepaid Legal Services Delegate Jenkins Recommended from L &C Subcommittee #2 UNANIMOUSLY • HB 1877 simply clarifies language in legislation enacted at the 2020 regular session regarding the registration of agents selling pre-paid legal services plans. • That legislation (HB 1240 - 2020 regular session) was intended to streamline the regulatory process for pre-paid legal services plans. One part of that bill authorizes legal services organizations to provide to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) any registration information or fees on behalf of their legal services plan sellers or the sellers can continue to register directly. As VDACS went about implementing the legislation, the agency’s counsel from the AG’s office advised that the language in the 2020 legislation was insufficient to accomplish this purpose. • This bill fixes that issue. The amendment in the nature of a substitute differs from the bill as introduced by further clarifying the intent and lowering the time period for filing the registration with VDACS from 45 to 30 days.

Last Name: Jordan Organization: LegalShield Locality: Richmond

HB 1877 substitute – Prepaid Legal Services Delegate Jenkins • HB 1877 simply clarifies language in legislation enacted at the 2020 regular session regarding the registration of agents selling pre-paid legal services plans. • That legislation (HB 1240 - 2020 regular session) was intended to streamline the regulatory process for pre-paid legal services plans. One part of that bill authorizes legal services organizations to provide to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) any registration information or fees on behalf of their legal services plan sellers or the sellers can continue to register directly. As VDACS went about implementing the legislation, the agency’s counsel from the AG’s office advised that the language in the 2020 legislation was insufficient to accomplish this purpose. • This bill fixes that issue. The amendment in the nature of a substitute differs from the bill as introduced by further clarifying the intent and changing the time period for filing the registration with VDACS from 45 to 30 days.

HB1907 - Electric utilities; advanced renewable energy buyers.
No Comments Available
HB2008 - Health insurance; authorization of drug prescribed for the treatment of a mental disorder.
Last Name: Hickman Organization: Psychiatric Society of Virginia Locality: Richmond

The Psychiatric Society of Virginia (PSV) strongly supports HB 2008 (Heretick), which helps reform prior authorization for mental health treatment medication in order to prevent disruptions to patient mental health care. We thank the patron and stakeholders for coming together on reaching the compromise substitute. In addition to PSV, I have been authorized to share that the Medical Society of Virginia, Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Virginia College of Emergency Physicians, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Virginia, and Mental Health America-Virginia support the bill. Please vote yes on HB 2008. Thank you.

HB2036 - Virginia Employment Commission; communications with parties, use of electronic means, report.
No Comments Available
HB2282 - State Corporation Commission; transportation electrification, utility recovery of certain costs.
Last Name: Lewis Organization: The Nature Conservancy Locality: Charlottesville

The Nature Conservancy supports Sullivan HB 2282. Electrifying the transportation sector is vital to avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. This bill takes a proactive approach to preparing for the increased demand that vehicle electrification will place on the power sector. The SCC and the Commonwealth need a comprehensive understanding of how to best utilize all available tools – smart grid technology, smart growth policies, private investments, and more – to facilitate this increased electricity load in a way that best supports all stakeholders, especially ratepayers.

Last Name: Gordon Organization: Virginia Conservation Network Locality: Richmond

HB 2282 will ensure we facilitate decarbonization of Virginia’s single-largest source of carbon (passenger vehicles), in a way that also displaces electric utility co-option of this crucial climate action wedge. It does so by establishing a multi-agency study of how Virginia can electrifies its transportation fleet in time to address climate change and in a way that protects ratepayers, by enhancing Virginia’s expected EV infrastructure needs through targeted, cost-effective utility investment in the kind of charging programs that are already underway in most American states, including in neighboring DC, MD, and NC.

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

HB2282 further captures consumers within monopoly electric utility markets for transportation energy essential to global competitiveness. This bill does not effectively incorporate an analysis of the potential ramifications for national security, costs to consumers, technical limits for the grid, and technical limits of automotive technology for specific users (e.g., residential, large families, commercial business, industrial business, maritime/port infrastructure, etc.).

Last Name: Leyen Organization: Virginia League of Conservation Voters Locality: Richmond

The League of Conservation Voters encourages you to SUPPORT HB 2282: This bill directs the SCC to study and recommend policy proposals that could govern public electric utility programs to accelerate widespread transportation electrification. Elements of this study include provisions to focus charging infrastructure developments on low income, minority, and rural communities, consider smart growth policies, public transit & fleet electrification, energy storage, and explore ways to reduce total ratepayer costs. This bill will recommend strategies for enhancing Virginia’s expected EV infrastructure needs through targeted, cost-effective utility investment in the kind of charging programs that are already underway in most American states, including in neighboring DC, MD, and NC.

Last Name: Wiggins Organization: Virginia Poverty Law Center Locality: Richmond

HB2282 brought by Del. Sullivan, is a bill that directs the SCC to review and report on policy proposals that will accelerate the electrification of transportation throughout Virginia. This bill allows for thorough vetting of potential policy proposals Virginia could take in pursuit of electrifying our transportation systems. This will allow consideration to be given to the needs of all the citizens of the Commonwealth, an alignment of the goals and policies of Virginia’s energy plan, and ensure equity in the development of policies and programs that do not underserve or overburden segments of the Commonwealth’s citizenry in pursuit of our Commonwealth’s transportation and energy goals. VPLC supports this legislation and thanks the General Assembly members for their support.

Last Name: Guthrie Organization: Virginia Transit Association Locality: Richmond

The Virginia Transit Association supports HB 2282 (Sullivan) - SCC report on policy proposals to expand transportation electrification across the Commonwealth. This will establish a solid framework for future infrastructure investments for public transit providers. Thank you for your favorable consideration. Lisa Guthrie VTA Executive Director

Last Name: Kish Organization: Sierra Club Virginia Chapter Locality: Richmond

Sierra Club Virginia Chapter supports HB 2282. With transportation the leading source of carbon in Virginia, we need a thorough plan to address these emissions through electrification. The plan laid out in HB 2282 will help us gather the necessary information to make smart decisions about how we electrify the transportation sector so that we end up with cleaner air for all. HB 2282 is worthy of your support.

Last Name: Lewis Organization: The Nature Conservancy Locality: Charlottesville

The Nature Conservancy supports Sullivan HB 2282. Electrifying the transportation sector is vital to avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. This bill takes a proactive approach to preparing for the increased demand that vehicle electrification will place on the power sector. The SCC and the Commonwealth need a comprehensive understanding of how to best utilize all available tools – smart grid technology, smart growth policies, private investments, and more – to facilitate this increased electricity load in a way that best supports all stakeholders, especially ratepayers.

Last Name: St. Ledger-Olson Organization: Generation180 Locality: Charlottesville

On behalf of clean energy nonprofit Generation180 and our network of electric vehicle owners and ambassadors across Virginia, we ask for your support for House Bill 2282. We work with EV owners across the state every day, from Fairfax to Danville, Virginia Beach to Blacksburg, and everywhere in between. While going electric is a fantastic option for so many Virginians right now, their experiences make it clear that our charging infrastructure is a work in progress. We applaud the work being done by DEQ and EVgo to expand Virginia’s charging infrastructure, but further contributions are necessary in order to accelerate transportation electrification in a manner that supports the Commonwealth’s carbon reduction goals. Electric ratepayers can benefit immensely from the additional revenue generated from transportation electrification, and therefore utilities should play a well-designed role in supporting this transition. Delegate Sullivan’s bill provides a mechanism for examining our charging infrastructure in a methodical manner - beyond what the SCC reviewed in 2020 during their request for public comments on this subject - and would include a particular focus on low-income, minority, and rural communities. Our transition to electric mobility must be done in a manner that does not create further disparities for disadvantaged communities, and this bill is an excellent step in that direction. Furthermore, Generation180 has surveyed Virginians multiple years in a row now and the results are clear: proximity to a public charging station makes Virginians almost 60% more likely to consider an EV for their next car. DEQ and EVgo should not be alone in addressing this critical component to combating climate change, and I urge the General Assembly to support House Bill 2282. Thank you.

Last Name: Gordon Organization: Virginia Conservation Network Locality: Richmond

VCN is in full support of HB 2282. This bill will ensure we facilitate decarbonization of Virginia’s single-largest source of carbon (passenger vehicles), in a way that also displaces electric utility co-option of this crucial climate action wedge. It does so by establishing a multi-agency study of how Virginia can electrifies its transportation fleet in time to address climate change and in a way that protects ratepayers, by enhancing Virginia’s expected EV infrastructure needs through targeted, cost-effective utility investment in the kind of charging programs that are already underway in most American states, including in neighboring DC, MD, and NC.

HB2304 - Phase I or Phase II electric utilities; petitions to provide broadband capacity.
Last Name: Riddle Organization: Virginia Education Association Locality: Richmond City

The Virginia Education Association (VEA) takes a position of support for HB2304.

Last Name: Straley Organization: Louisa County Public Schools (Small/Rural Schools Coalition) Locality: Louisa County

HB- 2304: Great for Our Schools and Our Future! Good evening members of the House Labor and Commerce Committee. Thank you for reading my comments as we look to make sure all students attending Louisa County Public Schools are afforded with the opportunities to reach their maximum potential. In today’s society, our students need access to the internet that is fast, reliable, and affordable, i.e., broadband, in order to be competitive in the developing job markets, college, and life. Today’s jobs require our students to at least have the skill set to successfully navigate on the internet, to evaluate accurate information critically, and to be informed citizens. In the last two years, where 2.5 quintillion bytes of data were produced every day, it falls upon local communities to support the infrastructure for broadband. The following are some of the challenges presented in our rural community: -Students with broadband access are more easily able to participate in synchronous sessions, allowing them to continue to learn with immediate guidance and feedback from a teacher. Those without access have found themselves learning in a more asynchronous manner, without the ability to ask immediate questions and get timely feedback. For students who struggle, this could serve to cause them further challenges as they may find themselves having to learn more on their own. Specifically, in many areas of Louisa where our students reside, MiFis do not provide sufficient signals to access the internet, regardless of the company or the carrier. Families have shared with us that these services provide internet speed that are slow, and it becomes increasingly difficult for students to download certain assignments and to access supplementary resources to support learning.  -Students without broadband access may not be able to access supplementary resources to support learning. This has been one of the frustrations of some families in Louisa County. A lack of broadband access can deny students the ability to use these resources. Teachers have supplemented the learning with videos or summaries for students to access if they are unable to participate in their synchronous sessions.  -A lack of broadband access has caused our students to develop a sense of isolation. While those with access participate in synchronous sessions, interact with teachers and peers, and continue to develop those relationships, students without access may find themselves disconnected from their teacher, class, and/or school. In many ways, schools serve as a place to help provide resources to students who may not be able to access them through other avenues. The lack of affordable and accessible broadband only serves to solidify the digital divide, which in turn only serves to increase the gaps that already exist between our students. In today’s society in which access to the internet is an essential component for preparing our students to be competitive in this world market, we cannot afford to have such a divide of the “have’s” and the “have not’s.” Our children in our rural communities need and deserve the opportunity for a high-quality education which includes equal access to broadband that is affordable for families. HB-2304 is a definite step in the right direction to make this a reality. Thank you for your time and service to the Commonwealth. It is appreciated! J. Douglas Straley Division Superintendent

End of Comments