Public Comments for 01/27/2021 Appropriations
HB1820 - SNAP benefits program; eligibility for benefits, postsecondary education.
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: Horejsi Organization: -Social Action Linking Together (SALT) Locality: Vienna

Chairman & Committee Members: On behalf of SALT's 1300 members I urge you to vote for HB 1820 to increase Access to SNAP: Implement Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility by (Delegate Helmer). The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program (SNAP) is a federal food assistance program that helps low-income families put food on the table. Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE) streamlines SNAP enrollment for all individuals receiving a TANF funded service. 43 states have implemented BBCE. Virginia is one of the seven who have not. As a result, Virginia is missing out on: • Helping over 25,000 families put food on the table and • Millions of federal dollars entering our economy. Federal regulations allow for states to set SNAP eligibility levels between 130% and 200% of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL). Virginia is at the bare minimum of 130%. Currently, to qualify for SNAP in Virginia, an applicant must: • Have a gross income that must fall within 130% of the FPL, • Have net income fall within 100% of FPL, and • Pass an asset test. The Solution: Increase the gross income eligibility level to 200% of the FPL and remove the asset test. The Wins: This will increase access to SNAP for more children. • Children who are eligible for SNAP are then also eligible for free school meals. • This will help reduce school meal debt, which is a growing issue in VA schools. Increasing the number of SNAP recipients in Virginia will pump more money into local economies, helping smaller grocery stores. • Every SNAP dollar will generate ~$1.50 in economic activity. The state’s investment in BBCE will result in an e $10.5 million of economic activity. Budget Request • General Fund: $281,292 / Non-General Fund: $342,558 If funded, this budget amendment will help over 25,000 more families . SALT urges you to Vote for HB 1820.

Last Name: Edwards Organization: Voices for Virginia's Children Locality: Richmond

Voices for Virginia's children is supportive of HB1820. Families are witnessing the closing of nearby community centers they may have relied on, unemployment, choosing between going to work, staying home sick, or putting food on the table. Economic Trauma occurs when financial stress and/or economic shocks impact a person’s feelings of safety, their ability to remain calm, manage healthy relationships with others, and maintain the belief that their situation can improve, which can lead to an impaired ability to function in daily life. Currently, families are facing financial stress, economic shock, and financial health. The temporary assistance for needly families would further put families in a position where they can experience the supports to achieve financial independence, which means children are able to be resilient and live, long, health, and successful lives without trauma.

Last Name: Feldstein Organization: n/a Locality: Springfield

Hunger for the very poor is an ongoing problem. It has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Many Virginia families are suffering. I, along with many others, have been contributing to charitable food sources. It is not enough. Virginia can help alleviate this problem by, among other things, expanding SNAP benefits. This is not only a good thing to do, it is the right thing to do. I respectfully urge you to act favorably on HB1820.

Last Name: Lowsen Locality: City of Alexandria

Our families drive our economy. We are leaving them behind. It is long past time for us to join the other 43 states making it easier for families to get enough to eat. We have to give the families of Virginia every opportunity to succeed. As long as food is a luxury we can't do that. Please ensure we can feed Virginia's most vulnerable families.

Last Name: Davenport Organization: Virginia Community College System Locality: Hanover County

The Virginia Community College System supports HB 1820 provided that the language changes that VDSS requested are made so that the bill aligns to Federal regulations.

Last Name: Amanda Winters Locality: Arlington

I am writing today in support of HB1820- which has the potential to help more than 25,000 more families feed their families. I was born in Virginia, while my father was stationed in Norfolk as a submariner. In adulthood, I found my way back to the state and now live in NOVA and work for the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices. I am submitting these comments as a private citizen and not on behalf of my employer, but the work that I have been able to do with state leaders has certainly informed my perspective on supporting students and families. 43 states have already implemented Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE) which streamlines SNAP enrollment for all individuals receiving a TANF funded service. I hope that, through this bill, Virginia will join that large group of states to streamline access to these programs to support their families. This type of effort is a perfect example of the ways that state can leverage federal programs to maximize the impact of every dollar to support Virginia families. I approach this issue from a postsecondary education perspective, which is my policy area. I am so proud that Virginia is so proactive and strategic in it's efforts to build a future workforce and provide economic opportunity to it's residents. HB1820 is yet another opportunity to move towards these goals. Providing accessible basic supports for Virginia families while they work to obtain quality education and employment opportunities can break cycles of poverty. Postsecondary attainment and workforce participation are not just numbers, they represent people. People who have pathways to support their families and children who have their needs taken care of and can focus on their future opportunities. My policy work has taught me that when federal and state support programs can be better connected and made more accessible for families- positive impacts can be maximized. HB1820 is a relatively small step that will make huge impacts in the lives of families in need in Virginia. I hope that delegates will vote to pass this bill and continue to double down on state efforts to provide support for Virginia residents as they work towards a brighter economic future.

Last Name: Hertzberg Locality: Fallc Church

Delegate Helmer, I am writing in support of HB1820. I was made aware of this by a friend and must say it is embarrassing to see that Virginia is one of a handful of states that has such restrictive requirements to qualify for the most basic of human needs - food. The dollar amount to support increasing the gross income eligibility to 200% of the FPL and remove the asset test is minimal, and should absolutely be passed to ensure that Virginians so desperately in need of support receive it. There are so many positive things that would result in the passing of HB 1820, and it is critical to increase the eligibility so that children and families can benefit and ensure they are not presented with yet another obstacle to being food insecure. Thank you.

Last Name: Oliver Organization: Federation of Virginia Food Banks Locality: Richmond City

On behalf of Virginia's seven regional food banks, I am requesting your support for HB1820. The bill will significantly improve food security in our Commonwealth at a time when we are seeing unprecedented levels of demand for emergency food service. First, it is long past time for Virginia to implement Broad Based Categorical Eligibility - a policy option which 43 other states have already adopted. Increasing the gross income limit to 200% of the federal poverty level and removing the asset test will help 25,000 families put food on the table and generate much-needed economic activity in local communities. Second, HB1820 will expand SNAP access for college students, who often fall through the gaps of the nutrition safety net. Two surveys conducted at James Madison University in 2019 found that 30% of JMU students suffered from food insecurity, which is comparable to national estimates. Despite high levels of need, college students face restrictive eligibility criteria in order to qualify for SNAP. With the passage of this bill, we can take important steps to increase SNAP participation among college students, which will allow them to focus on their studies instead of worrying where their next meal will come from. The Federation of Virginia Food Banks strongly urges the passage of HB1820.

Last Name: Connole Organization: James Madison University Student Government Association Locality: Harrisonburg, Virginia

As the Legislative Affairs Chair for the Student Government Association of James Madison University, I support this legislation’s recognition of the laborious demands of postsecondary education. This bill needs your support in order to help students receive the VIEW assistance and SNAP benefits that will support them as they earn their degree. Food insecurity on college campuses has only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic and this legislation would help alleviate a lot of the burden on students who are balancing a full course load and also trying to find income to cover food costs.

Last Name: Rhodes Organization: Self Locality: Fairfax County

I urge passage of HB1820, which would relax the eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). By increasing the gross income eligibility level to 200% of the Federal Poverty Line, many more families would receive federal assistance for food. Additionally, this law would also pump more money into local economies. I also urge others to support this legislation. Andrew Rhodes

Last Name: Knutson Organization: Beth El Hebrew Congregation Locality: Alexandria

To whom it may concern, I am writing to voice my support for HB1820 and to encourage Delegates to support this important legislation that will extend SNAP benefits to more Virginians and address food insecurity. In doing so, Virginia will join 43 states that have already implemented Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE) to streamline the enrollment of individuals receiving a TANF funded service for SNAP benefits. By funding HB1820, Virginia would extend benefits to an estimated 25,000 residents. Children of these families would also receive access to free school meals. And, Virginia’s estimated investment in BBCE would generate an estimated $10.5 million in economic activity. This is a win-win for the Commonwealth. Thank you in advance for your support of HB1820. Best, Harmony Knutson Alexandria

Last Name: Welton Organization: The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice Locality: Fairfax

I respectfully submit the following comments on behalf of the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice in support of HB1820. HB 1820 accomplishes two goals; it will expand access to food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP) to an estimated 25,000 Virginia families. The children in these families will then be newly eligible for free school meals. It will also improve access to SNAP and the VIEW program for college students, many of whom are struggling to complete college credentials during COVID-19. SNAP, the nation’s largest and most effective food assistance program, provides a monthly supplement for purchasing nutritious food. HB 1820 improves access to SNAP by allowing Virginians living at up to 200% of the federal poverty level to access nutrition assistance. This policy change is critical because it allows a household’s SNAP benefit to decrease slowly as their income rises, providing a smoothing effect as people transition off assistance programs. Virginia’s current policy of cutting families off at 130% of the federal poverty level means that a very small raise could leave someone worse off than they were before the raise due to the total loss of SNAP benefit, essentially penalizing a household for getting a raise. Evidence from our latest #RealCollege During the Pandemic survey, completed in the spring by more than 38,000 students, revealed that 44% of students at two-year institutions and 38% at four-year institutions experienced food insecurity due to the pandemic. Students were also impacted by record unemployment. The survey showed that two-thirds of students were experiencing job insecurity, with one-third having recently lost a job. As this crisis rages on, these challenges will likely grow. HB1820 recognizes the reality of the job market during the COVID-19 emergency -- and the importance of an educated workforce to Virginia’s future – by improving access to critical basic needs supports for college students. This bill maximizes federal rules in student eligibility and eases the restrictions that force students to choose between continuing their education or subsisting in a low-wage, limited-growth job. College completion is critical for individuals, their families, and for the national economic recovery. People without college degrees were harmed most by the Great Recession. They did not experience the same recovery that college degree holders did and in many cases, they are now worse off. In an economy in which the vast majority of new jobs require some form of postsecondary credential, improving college student success will improve the likelihood that our nation can recover economically and do so faster. Given the extensive research that shows college improves a vast array of social and economic outcomes, improving student access to support programs that bolster their educational success should be a priority for all policymakers. Thank you, Carrie R. Welton Director of Policy & Advocacy The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice

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.

HB1953 - Licensed certified midwives; clarifies definition, licensure, etc.
Last Name: Munson Organization: BirthCare & Women's Health Locality: Fairfax

The professional organizations preparing Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and Certified Midwives unwaveringly teach consultation and collaboration with MD's and other professionals as a standard of client care. NP, CNM, and CM's are all certified professionals who take an oath to do no harm. Malpractice insurance for a physician is steep and coverage of an additional provider (said professional currently required to have a written agreement with) is care-prohibitive.

Last Name: Matthews, PhD, RN, CNS, FAAN Locality: Hayes

I am in favor of licensed certified nurse midwives to have full scope of practice. I am a Professor Emerita from Shenandoah University in Winchester. I was a graduate faculty member who taught foundation courses to the student nurse midwives and found each of them to be exceptionally smart and genuinely caring nurses seeking to aid women and their families through this course of study and calling. The breadth and depth of their education and certification and licensure process is among the highest for the professionals - they are capable and competent to practice without supervision and collaboration. Please support this bill. We need every licensed health professional practicing at the top of their education to meet the needs of Virginians during this healthcare crisis.

Last Name: Scipio Locality: Orange County,, Locust Grove

In favor of programs to better facilitate the development and progress of my community.

Last Name: Seliquini Locality: Cornwall on Hudson, NY

I write in full support of HB 1953. I was born and raised in Manassas, Virginia, and many of my family members continue to live in the Northern Virginia area. I currently live in New York, where I am employed as a Certified Midwife by a large federally qualified health center. I am not able to work in Virginia. I submit this letter in support of HB 1953 to license Certified Midwives in Virginia. As a Certified Midwife, I provide the full scope midwifery care that was my education and training, including routine gynecological care, primary care, and care during pregnancy through the postpartum period. I perform diagnostic biopsy procedures and refer patients for imaging and specialist care. I have full prescriptive authority, in keeping with my scope of practice, which allows me to provide timely, appropriate care for my patients. I have had privileges at 4 hospitals in the Hudson Valley region. My hospital privileges allow me to independently manage the care of low-risk women during labor, birth, and postpartum; I collaborate with a physician to co-manage high-risk patients, and I am a surgical first assist for cesarean deliveries. The high quality of my care has been recognized and awarded in the past by my employer. There is growing awareness and alarm over the poor maternal health outcomes and pronounced racial health disparities in the United States. Virginia’s maternal health record reflects these same outcomes and disparities. Virginia’s women need solutions. Increasing access to midwifery care, as noted by the March of Dimes, is an essential aspect of eliminating maternal health care deserts while providing high-quality care that is shown to reduce costly interventions and improve outcomes for mothers and babies (https://www.marchofdimes.org/materials/2020-Maternity-Care-Report.pdf). Thank you for your attention to the needs of women and their families in Virginia. Respectfully, Marian Seliquini, CM, MS President, NY Midwives, ACNM Affiliate

Last Name: Perlman Locality: Jenkintown

I write in full support of HB1953/SB1320 to authorize licensure of Certified Midwives (CM). At the Midwifery Institute at Thomas Jefferson University, we have been educating midwives since 1996. Beginning in 2010, we expanded our admission process to include all qualified applicants rather than limiting application to Registered Nurses. I am an author on a retrospective study demonstrating that prior work and educational experience are not associated with successful completion of a master's-level, distance education midwifery program. All graduate students completing education leading to board eligibility for the Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) or Certified Midwife (CM) credential demonstrate health, social, and basic science pre-requisites prior to beginning graduate studies in midwifery. Students are educated side-by-side using the same curriculum, standards, and outcome measures. Our program provides didactic courses using robust online teaching methods, on-campus simulation for skill acquisition and clinical reasoning, and clinical education under the supervision of qualified and licensed preceptors. Prior to graduation and board-eligibility, all students demonstrate the Core Competencies for Basic Midwifery Practice published by the American College of Nurse-Midwives and pass a comprehensive exam for the degree. In 2020, our program had a 100% board pass rate. Our graduates are successful and work in all settings where midwives practice. CM graduates go on to work in community hospitals, academic medical centers, internationally, in birth centers, and in communities, including Federally Qualified Community Health Centers. Our graduates have successfully worked with insurance companies to ensure equitable reimbursement with their CNM colleagues. One of my graduates lives in Lorton, Virginia. She is unable to be licensed despite having accredited graduate education in midwifery and national certification because she is not a Registered Nurse. I hope that the legislature will grant licensure to Certified Midwives consistent with the Core Competencies, Standards of Practice, Code of Ethics, and joint statement of practice relations between Certified Nurse-Midwives and Certified Midwives and Obstetrician-Gynecologists. By ensuring multiple pathways to accredited, graduate education in the full-scope of midwifery, more aspiring midwives can afford to attend school, take out fewer loans, and enter the workforce. Decades of research support midwifery as a key component of quality maternal-child and preventative healthcare. However, midwives are underutilized in the United States. I urge you to license Certified Midwives to help alleviate the provider shortage in over 50% of Virginia counties with no maternity care. Dana B. Perlman, DNP, CNM, FACNM Director, Midwifery Institute Associate Professor

Last Name: Kessler Organization: Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies Locality: Westtown

Dear Chairman and Members of the Committee: The requirement of a nursing degree prior to formal midwifery education is not only unnecessary in terms of wasteful student expense and time; overall, it weakens the nursing workforce. Students who pursue nursing education as a stepping-stone to midwifery (when there is no other choice in the state) take up a seat in the classroom and clinical placement for another student that truly wants to be a bedside nurse. I am Certified Midwife (CM) that lives in New York State and works in Washington, DC at Georgetown University. I am the former Program Director of the Georgetown Nurse Midwifery/WHNP and the WHNP programs as well the former director for the NYU Midwifery Program. Currently, we have 239 midwifery students in the program. They are all nurses. I could double that number if I could accept applicants that were not nurses. We could educate the midwives that we need to provide midwifery and primary care in many of the places that need health providers. Nationally, at the American College of Nurse-Midwives, I have served in numerous leadership positions and my background is in birth, both out of the hospital and in the hospital setting which prepared me to understand the needs of the women I have served. I was the first CM in two hospital settings and worked alongside my CNM colleagues like every other midwife. In the hospital setting at both Bon Secours Hospital (Port Jervis, NY) and Nyack Hospital, I attended hundreds of births in a full scope capacity and I served as First Assist for any of my patients that needed a cesarean section in Nyack. Additionally, in Nyack, I was on call for and managed complicated gynecological cases in the Emergency Room. CMs have the same midwifery education and the same scope of practice as their CNM colleagues. CMs not only practice midwifery, but they can also excel in health leadership and systems management. I also practiced for many years without a written practice agreement (WPA). The studies show that midwifery care is just as safe with or without a WPA which often has to signed by someone who is in direct competition with you. The WPA actually discourages midwifery practice!!! As a private practice owner for five years, my flourishing practice had to close when my MD colleague who did sign my WPA moved out of state! The same happened in NYC when almost 20 midwifery practices had to close when St. Vincent’s Hospital went under, prior to the passage of full practice authority for CNMs and CMs. This left hundreds of pregnant patients without a provider! I whole-heartedly and without reservation support HB 1953 and trust that you will consider your constituents who deserve have a midwife, if they so desire. Thank you for your consideration. Feel free to contact me should you have any questions. Julia Lange Kessler  CM, DNP, FACNM Program Faculty: Nurse Midwifery/WHNP Program Course Coordinator: Primary Care Assistant Professor Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies

Last Name: Ward Organization: Virginia Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists Locality: Altavista

I am the current president of the Virginia Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists. I am writing in support of HB1953 to license certified midwives in Virginia. The addition of certified midwives will improve access to primary and maternal health care for Virginia residents.

Last Name: Kohl Organization: American College of Nurse-Midwives Locality: Alexandria

On behalf of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), I appreciate the opportunity to provide comments in strong support of H.B. 1953, legislation to license and regulate the practice of certified midwives (CM) in VA. If enacted, H.B. 1953 would increase access to evidence-based, high-value maternal health care and improve maternal and newborn health outcomes during a time in which the Commonwealth faces a shortage of high-quality maternal health providers and significant race-based disparities in maternal and infant outcomes. While there are many different types of midwives, each holding different certifications based on their education and/or experience, a majority of midwives in the US have a master’s degree and many are doctorally-prepared. Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) & CMs attend approximately 93% of all midwife-attended births in the US and are required to have a master’s degree to practice. CMs and CNMs differ in how they entered their master’s level midwifery educational program, but they do not differ in how they leave their programs, and how they leave is what is important for their practice. Like CNMs, a CM is an individual educated in the discipline of midwifery. CMs earn graduate degrees, meet health and science education requirements, and complete a midwifery education program accredited by Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education. CMs pass the same national certification examination given by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) as CNMs, who are already licensed to practice in Virginia and receive the professional designation of CNM. Both CNMs and CMs demonstrate the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviors Prerequisite to Midwifery Clinical Education prior to commencing midwifery clinical training. Both CNMs and CMs demonstrate the identical Core Competencies for Basic Midwifery Practice of the ACNM upon completion of their midwifery education programs. Both CNMs and CMs must practice in accordance with ACNM Standards for the Practice of Midwifery. ACNM competencies and standards are consistent with, or exceed, the global competencies and standards for the practice of midwifery as defined by the International Confederation of Midwives. To maintain the designation of CNM or CM, midwives must be recertified every 5 years through AMCB and must meet specific continuing education requirements. Licensed to practice in DE, HI, ME, NY, NJ, OK & RI, individuals choosing this career path are pioneers in the profession, much like the early CNMs who practiced in the U.S. 50 – 70 years ago. CNMs and CMs have the identical ACNM defined scope of practice and follow ACNMs standards and code of ethics for midwifery. Like CNMs, CMs provide a full range of primary health care services in all stages of life, from the teenage years through menopause, including general health check-ups, screenings and vaccinations; pregnancy, birth, and postpartum care; gynecologic care; treatment of sexually transmitted infections; and prescribing medications, including all forms of pain control medications and contraception. While a majority of CNM/CM attended births occur in the hospital setting, CMs work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, health clinics, OB/GYN practices. Recognition of the CM credential in VA will cultivate increased access to a wide range of primary and maternal health care services and will help combat the ever-growing maternity care provider shortage plaguing many regions throughout the Commonwealth.

Last Name: Wright Locality: Glen Allen

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

Last Name: McCoull Locality: Arlington

I support the bill to license Certified Midwives (CMs) in Virginia, HB1953. Born and raised in Virginia, I am a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) in a home birth and birth center practice based in Alexandria. CNMs have been licensed in VA since the 1970s. Though the CM credential, an equally academically rigorous pathway to becoming an advanced practice midwife, emerged in the 1990s, VA has yet to update our legislative language to welcome these qualified practitioners into our workforce. To become a CM, one must complete the same graduate level midwifery coursework as a CNM and take the same national certification exam from the American Midwifery Certification Board. The difference between the two credentials is simply that CNMs are also registered nurses, usually with a bachelor’s in nursing, whereas CMs can have any undergraduate major. Just like CNMs, CMs graduate from midwifery programs equipped with the core competencies that make them ready to practice safely and autonomously from day one. Our Commonwealth faces a shortage of women’s health and primary care providers, and CMs could be part of the solution. According to March of Dimes, 47% of counties in Virginia are either maternity care deserts or have low access to maternity care (https://www.marchofdimes.org/materials/2020-Maternity-Care-Report.pdf). Recognizing the CM credential will help us respond to our maternal health provider shortage in three key ways i) the talented CMs already living in VA will be able to provide care to our citizens; ii) CMs for whom our restrictive practice laws were once a deterrent will now be able to live and work here; and iii) VA universities will be able to attract midwifery students with diverse non-nursing backgrounds. Shenandoah University, for example, is poised to start a CM program as soon as this legislation is adopted. In addition to increasing our workforce, this could also generate revenue in VA. This bill has personal significance to me, as I heard my calling to become a midwife after having already earned an undergraduate degree in a field other than nursing. I am eager to remove unnecessary barriers and pave the way for others like me to answer the call to take care of women and families in our community. For this and the many reasons above, I support this bill without reservation. Thank you for your time and consideration. Sincerely, Tana K. McCoull, MSN, CNM, FNP-C

Last Name: Schnetzler Organization: Virginia ACNM Locality: Fairfax, Falls Church

My name is Elle Schnetzler, I am a Certified Midwife (CM), a Fellow of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, a Board member of the American Midwifery Certification Board, and a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army living in Virginia. I hold a Master of Science in Midwifery, from Philadelphia University, which I attended alongside student nurse-midwives and a doctorate in Midwifery from Thomas Jefferson University. I completed my clinical training at Womack Army Medical Center at Ft Bragg, North Carolina while living in Virginia. I would drive to Womack monthly to complete my clinical requirements. After graduation and becoming an AMCB board-certified midwife, I would fly to NY, where I am licensed, monthly to practice as a midwife. I chose the CM pathway because I needed to take the most direct path to accomplishing my goal of becoming a midwife due to military and family constraints. Though the travel was taxing it was important to stay the course because I believe in the vital impact of the profession and I wanted to maintain my valuable skills. More American women are dying of pregnancy-related complications than any other developed country and the rate continues to increase. This increase is greatest among African American women, who are 2 to 3 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than Caucasian women. A recent study mapping integration of midwifery in the US demonstrated a correlation between high density in midwives/higher proportion of midwife-attended births and significantly higher rates of spontaneous vaginal delivery, VBAC, and breastfeeding at birth to six months. As important as full integration of midwives in the health care system is developing a means to produce more midwives overall and more specifically midwives of color. Licensing CMs provide this means. Many nursing schools have a waitlist for those who want to become a nurse. Requiring those who want to become midwives to become nurses first further compounds the waitlist when they have no intentions to practice as a nurse. Further, the nursing and midwifery professions have failed to keep pace with changing demographics in the US. Research has shown that quality of, and access to, health care for people of color has been improved by increasing racial diversity in the healthcare workforce. Licensing CMs provides a pathway to directly increase midwives without burdening the pathway to nursing, where a shortage already exists. Further, increasing pathways to midwifery can increase diversity thereby increasing access and decreasing disparities. Race-concordant care produces longer visits, increased provider participation, and communication, and produced higher ratings of client satisfaction and trust compared with race-discordant visits. Provider-client communication has been associated with commitment to care plans/medical instructions, client satisfaction, and health outcomes resulting in greater quality of care. As a multi-ethnic midwife of color, I understand the importance of race concordant care first-hand. I strongly urge you to support HB 1953 Licensure of CMs in Virginia not only because CMs are equivalent to CNMs in their midwifery preparation and national board certification but because women in Virginia deserve the benefits that expanding the midwifery workforce can offer.

Last Name: McCoull Locality: Colonial Heights

Nurse practitioners are more qualified and more caring than most of the medical practitioners you deal with. They have the skills, the education and take time to hear their patients .

Last Name: Long Locality: Charlottesville

I appreciate the opportunity to submit testimony on this bill. My name is Maryann Long, and I am a midwife, now retired, with over 30 years of experience as a midwifery clinician and educator. I completed my midwifery education at Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY in 1981, I hold a master's degree in public health and a PhD in midwifery. I am a Fellow of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Maternity care in this country is in a sorry state. Maternal mortality is higher here than in any other high-income country and higher than in quite a few middle-income countries, especially among mothers of color. Some mothers are over-treated, subjected to unnecessary and non-evidence based birth interventions, while others, many in rural areas, cannot even access basic prenatal care for lack of nearby providers, and have to travel for miles to a hospital that offers maternity care. Costs associated with US maternity care continue to increase. Increased utilization of midwives has been recommended as part of the solution to these problems. Virginia has licensed Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) for practice since 1975. Virginia's CNMs have a record of excellent outcomes using fewer interventions, which lowers the cost of care. Ideally, there would be a midwife for every childbearing person. Virginia is failing so far to take advantage of another source of midwives to bring needed care to our population. I refer to Certified Midwives (CMs), who are equivalent in all ways to CNMs, but currently able to practice in only 6 states: Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. I would like to see Virginia added to this list. Two university midwifery programs in the US educate midwives from both nursing and non-nursing backgrounds. Their students all take the same courses and are held to the same standards for success. Coming from a background other than nursing is not a disadvantage. Indeed, those students perform as well or better in their course and clinical work than their peers who are nurses. They all must demonstrate the same competencies, and upon graduation, they all must pass the same certification examination to be entitled to call themselves either CNMs or CMs. The only difference is whether or not they were nurses before their midwifery education. The bill before you would extend the same licensure that CNMs now enjoy to CMs. Given that their education, competencies, and professional standards are identical, and given the need to expand our maternity care workforce to improve our outcomes, I strongly urge you to support this bill. Thank you.

HB1975 - Higher educational institutions, public; tuition and mandatory fee waivers, survivors of sex crimes.
Last Name: Walker Locality: Lynchburg

While the intention of this bill is laudatory, the prospect of a free college education might be enough of an enticement to motivate some to make false accusations. While we might take some comfort in that law enforcement and the courts might ferret out false accusations, it must be recognized that the mere accusation of a sex crime is enough to destroy lives and ruin reputations. Might there be a better way to assist victims? Maybe funding for counseling or mental health services. Something that would still assist victims without attracting scammers.

Last Name: Marx Locality: Chesterfield

Wow. Falsely accuse someone of a sex offense against your child, get them convicted; free college and counseling! I recognize the intent of this bill, it is often very hard for victims to get their lives going, and they deserve help, but this bill would certainly be abused.

Last Name: Welch Locality: Roanoke

The bill is discriminatory. It favors a victim who wants to attend college, disregarding those who find that choice neither wise financially nor a benefit in their career field. The bill incorrectly exacts restitution from universities and taxpayers, neither of whom committed the offense.

Last Name: McKenna Organization: Virginia Coalition Against Human Trafficking Locality: Chesapeake

My name is Patrick McKenna and I am an Attorney and the President of the Virginia Coalition Against Human Trafficking (VCAHT), an alliance of service providers, attorneys, survivor-advocates, and community members on a mission to remove barriers preventing survivors from achieving a full and healthy life through public awareness campaigns, policy reform and enacting survivor-centered human trafficking legislation. The member organizations represented within VCAHT are working with 100's of survivors throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. First VCAHT wishes to thank the members of the Subcommittee for this opportunity to present its position on House Bill HB1975 and it also wishes to thank Del. Rush for his concern for those victimized by the criminal activity outlined in the bill and his efforts to address these abuses and provide critical tools for the healing journey of those who have been victimized by these crimes through the mechanisms provided in the proposed legislation. The bill does this in a two fold manner. First, it provides for free counseling to help survivors address the affects of the severe trauma that they have experienced, which in the case of a sex trafficking survivors would include hundreds of incidents of rape and sexual abuse leading to multiple mental health issues such as complex PTSD, severe anxiety, depression and other maladies. Without this counseling, successfully navigating the rigors of academic challenges would make success in these academic and vocational pursuits extremely challenging at best and prone to failure at worst. With the academic performance called for to continue to maintain eligibility under the proposed legislation, it is all the more important that such counseling be made available to the survivor in order to help insure the survivor's success in completing their program. Second, but also very important, is that it provides financial help to those who have been victimized through the waiving of tuition and mandatory fees thereby allowing the survivors to focus on education rather than the stressors of paying for it and thereby helping to minimize impact on previous traumatic experiences and promoting their success in completing the education so necessary to their continued healing and future goals. Both provisions signal to the survivor that we believe in them and wish to do what we can to help and support them in their healing process and obtain success in the future. VCAHT would like to see the number of survivors who might be helped by this legislation expanded to include those who are up to age 21 to account for those being victimized who may have aged out of foster care and are and were still extremely vulnerable to being abused through sex trafficking and the other abuses listed. However, because the bill will help some of those survivors who have been victimized, VCAHT strongly supports this legislation and is asking the Committee to vote in favor of passing the bill to the full Committee for consideration. Thank you for your time and consideration of VCAHT's position.

Last Name: Jesse Organization: Safer Virginia Locality: Richmond

I am president of Safer Virginia, a criminal reform advocacy group. I had intended to speak on HB1930 and HB1975, but was stymied by this new remote participation process. I was unable to register to speak--I did not realize you had to register beforehand--therefore, I leave my comments and concerns here in hopes that they will be considered as these bills progress. HB1930: A criminal conviction should not be a societal death sentence, but too often organizations and employers shy away from admitting or hiring those with convictions out of fear of public vilification. Scholastic institutions are no different. But people with criminal convictions are very likely some of the greatest beneficiaries of additional education as they struggle to return to being productive in society. For that reason, we strongly support the aims of this bill, but highlight two points of concern we feel ought to be addressed. First, there's no definition for what a "threat to the institution's community" entails. Arguably any criminal conviction could be a "threat to the institution's community." This gives no ease of mind to an applicant with conviction because it is impossible for him or her to determine whether or not their admission will be rescinded. This problem also exacerbates the underlying issue because, by rejecting a person after they have been admitted, that person is now no longer able to pursue other academic opportunities from other institutions that they forewent. As a consequence, there's nothing stopping an institution from rescinding an acceptance to literally every student that it would have denied prior to this bill. How, then, does this bill actually address the issue if it can be essentially circumvented? Simply put, subsection (c) undoes any teeth this bill might have. We ask that the last sentence of subsection (c) be stricken ("Any public institution of higher education may withdraw an offer of admission to any individual whom the institution subsequently determines to have a criminal history that poses a threat to the institution's community") or that "threat to the institution's community" be more precisely defined. HB1975: While we support the aims of this bill and feel compassions for those who have survived sexual assault, we have a grave concern about potential unintended consequences HB1975 may promote. By providing free tuition to those who are the victim of past sexual assault, it incentivizes unscrupulous individuals looking for a "free ride" to fabricate allegations. There is now a substantial monetary gain for victimhood--in some cases hundreds of thousands of dollars--that may prove enticing. While rare, false allegations already exist; it is worrisome how some may accuse a parent, a friend, a teacher, or literally innocent person of egregious conduct in order to benefit themselves. We urge the General Assembly to table this bill without a proper plan on how to address this problem. Thank you Zachary Jesse President, Safer Virginia 804-512-1239

Last Name: Comer Organization: Student Government Association at James Madison University Locality: Harrisonburg

On behalf of the Student Government Association at James Madison University, I Sara Comer would like to personally express why we believe this legislation is so important. My freshman year of college I was sexually assaulted by a dear friend of mine. I ran all the way home about a mile to get myself safe. Passing many police officers no one stopped to ask me if I was ok. As days passed I debated with myself on if I should file for a Title IX case, but from my experience with others I knew I would not have the ability to win. I cut my hair as I had huge gaps missing from my attacker pulling me back, I had bruises that stayed for months as a constant reminder of what had happened to me. I battled with my self worth, with my will to live, and also with my social anxiety. All things I still battle with today. I stayed silent out of fear that I would be blamed for my assault. I also was influenced by the high cost of court fees and hiring a lawyer. It would have drained any money I had for school and personal bills. This legislation is a great step to support survivors that are looking to continue with their lives and move toward successes in life such as attending university. As someone who struggled with mental health while also living with the fear of not having enough money to pay personal bills and tuition at the same time, this bill would help women and men who would be eligible for no cost counseling and tuition waivers. That is a huge weight that could be off so many peoples shoulders and could allow those to battle through their trauma and be the best students they can be. We should always help and protect those whom are victims of not only sexual assault crimes but also sex trafficking crimes. I hope that with my personal statement you will address this issue and see the major purpose of the benefits of this bill and how many lives that will be changed. I am going to shout from the rooftops until this piece of legislation is obtained. Please allow those who struggle financially to have the benefits of justice and of being able to move on with their lives and better themselves with an education. While I support this bill for all survivors under 18, I also implore you to consider a raise in the age requirement as many survivors of sexual violence, like myself, are students on college campuses and face these same burdens at an older age. Take this legislation a step further and provide financial relief to those of an older age carrying massive burdens many can’t even imagine. We also request that the pronouns are made more inclusive to include any gender and not just “he.”

HB1978 - Legislative Staff Development Fund; created, effective date.
Last Name: Cox Locality: Virginia Beach

Please don't ruin our lives and State ! Thank You

Last Name: Lynn Locality: Gloucester point

I tried to check off as many as I could understand 🙃why not just get to work for the money we pay

Last Name: Bryant Locality: Henrico I would

I would like to know what the bills have in them. Don't want anything in them hidden like they do in Washington.

Last Name: Besa Organization: Sierra Club Virginia Chapter Locality: North Chesterfield

Sierra Club wishes to express its support for HB1978 Legislative staff development fund , and HJ525 placing a statue of Barbara Johns in the National Statuary Hall of a nation's Capitol

Last Name: Haines Locality: Vienna

Learning that ALL OTHER Virginia State Employees already have this benefit makes it common sense to expand to the staff who make our legislature work. Consider increasing the lobby fee above the $400 is my only other comment.

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

Regarding HB 1978 - Reid - Legislative Staff Development Fund; established: I urge you to fully support this bill to support the education and professional development of the legislative staff our government relies on to function. A better educated staff means better policy outcomes for all of us. Only 12 states charge less in lobbyist fees, and bringing Virginia in-line with the rest of the country on lobbying fees has the further benefit of restoring trust in government and signaling that Virginia's General Assembly represents the people first, not corporations. It is important to me that our Virginia legislative staff have the funding they need to conduct research, maintain up to date training, devote time to ethics reviews and considerations, and more. This bill will help to accomplish this.

HB1990 - Criminal justice legislation; racial and ethnic impact statements.
Last Name: Green Locality: Covington

Chairperson and Members of the Committee, I support HB1990, however I believe the racial and ethnic impact statement should be inclusive of poor persons who are white. History has resoundingly shown us that “We The People” did not include slaves and although slavery was abolished, a criminal justice system was developed to unjustly enslave them in a different way. The Thirteenth Amendment’s exception gave former slave owners (who became legislators who enacted criminal laws) that right if a former slave committed a crime that they were duly convicted of. Over time, this exception has extended its arms and grabbed poor whites, also.

Last Name: Thompson Locality: Bitetourt

I do believe we need to have a convention of the states to get a rain in on the federal gov. They have gotten out of hand we need to give the rights back to the people instead of trying to take them all away. The constiution starts out as We the people of the united states of America That used to mean something we used to put American first and the United states was a proud nation. We now put other country beforw the health and well being of our on peopkw3and our own country what has happen to the Unites States of America. Other countrys laugh at us and they control elections we need to take our country back. We need to get back to taking care of our own first , before we send million and millions to other countrys because we want to be on there good side or for political favors. We need to make America a country that stands on her own 2 feet not forty other countrys feet. If we can no longer take care of our one then what is to stop another country from taking what they want the English did it to the Indians so what is to stop china Russia from just taking what thwy want because we do not take care of our own. I beg of you to pkease vote yea on this and savw our country before it is to late for owe grandchildren great grandchildren we have a duty to our children to keep this the home of the free and not the home of the sacred and shamless because we have nothing left for We the People. Thank you and god bless you allno matter what god you pray too.

Last Name: Thompson Locality: Bitetourt

I grew up in Fairfax va and let me tell therw was no equal between races, i will not lie but let me tell you my family was poor and i had holes in my clothes had to get free lunches . Let me tell you i only seen a couple of black kids that holes in there clothes we where best friends because neither black nor white that had nice clothes would play with us i can tell you that my parents got less support to help take care of my and my sister than most black kids my mother applied for food stamps for herself my sister and me they told my mom she qualified for 6 dollars doe food stamps and shw had no job and my father had left her and my sister and me. Thank God for my granddad becausw he took us in and he took care of us and had a house redone for us. We gotno help from any agency. So please don't ever tell me whites get more or they are treated they treated better than blacks because we sure was not any part of the equation . I have had some very dear black people that i am honored to call my friends and even family. So please don't tell me all whites are racists , when i went into the military i had to give racial discrimination classes not because i was racial , but because i wasbeing discriminated against. So again please stop saying there is only on side of this because there is 2 side and all men make there own life as long as they live on the rught side of the law and yes i was discriminated against by the police because as they said i was white trash. I make plenty of money and i made a life for myself and my children and they had the best of everything and they went to there friends houses and there friends came to our and yea some where black i raised my kids that color doesn't make a person a person makes there color. That is all i will say. God bless American and please quit trying to tear it down we the people are who this country is and what happened almost 200 yrs ago can not be changed but what happened 150 yrs ago can happen again if you keep saying that all whites discriminate because that is a lie. Please people open your eyes because our history is not our future unless you make it that way. So please I beg of you quit making this one sided there are 2 sides and most of it depends on who has the money and how they represent themselves not the way other force them too. Please look at the big picture is all i say there is racism everywhere if you keep bringing it up and running everyones nose in it. Thank you

Last Name: Cox Locality: Virginia Beach

Please don't ruin our lives and State ! Thank You

Last Name: Jones Organization: Central Virginia Chapter APRI Locality: Henrico

HB 1990 is a long overdue bill. So many times the well intended legislation passed by the Virginia General Assembly has produced certain unintended consequences in communities of color and diversity. This bill is a good start in helping the members to see the other affects their proposed laws can have on the Commonwealth's citizens. The Central Virginia Chapter A. Philip Randolph Institute asks for your support and funding of HB 1990. Thank-you, Kirk Jones

Last Name: Emineth Organization: Year Locality: Williamsburg

These young kids are being taught things already that should be no part of any ciriculam. All this transgender crap and how America is a terrible racist world should be gone along with the ither nonsense. Please treat our children like the innocent children they are and should be. Just remember your days of going to school, remember how it was so simple and innocent and how we said the plesge of allegiance and we were taught just simple things like Math, Science, History and English. I understand the world is more complicated than back then, but cant we just leave all the other bullcrap for adults to figure out and stop putting pressure on our children.

Last Name: Emineth Organization: Year Locality: Williamsburg

So we just remove something because the "character" of someome. Well I guess MLK with his plagiarism and infidelity should never be explained or even looked at. I understand that the two are not in no means the same but there are things that people in this countrys past that are not admirable but do we just erase everything. It wouldn't be as bad if it were examined and only the worst of the worst be taken down but when you start with one it has done nothing but get every persons feelings involved and then we have chaos and the true meaning is lost. Whats next, the Lincoln Memorial ,let's just get rid of all of it because sooner or later you guys will destroy what this country was built on, and if you guys would stop shouting from the rooftops how racist and terrible this country is maybe we can move on and go to school and get a job and follow the rules....simple. Everyone has the same opportunity, so stop telling them they don't and maybe they will start getting back to the basics of hard work and taking care of their families.

Last Name: Emineth Organization: Year Locality: Williamsburg

This country is not racist and just because people say this does not make it true. I have an extensive history with the courts, jails and prisons and my experience has been just the opposite. I went to prison for one year for driving without a license. There were black people who were given less time for felonies that are way more extensive and harsh. When you get to prison you clearly see where the racism should be targeted, and that is not where you think it is. Black people run the jails and prisons and that goes for staff and inmates, and black people are given way more privledge because of the color of their skin. I am so sick of people saying the police and everybody in America is racist because the black race has far more ways to advance than white people. Being a minority has many advantages but none for white people, so where is the racism???? Because some people may not like black people, well I have been many many many places where black people hate white people. It's on both sides so let's stop pretending that all white people are racist. Where I work is also a great example, when we have to call the police for a disturbance, white people are taken to jail and the black people are "talked to." If you guys would spend all that time you do on this crazy notion that America is racist, and stop telling everyone every second of the day, maybe people wouldn't have a problem with it. You guys shout it from the rooftops without living in the real world, because I do live in the real world and both sides there is racism. Do you really think that black people don't use this to their advantage, every black person that I am friends with laugh at you guys and say what else can they give us. You guys are gullible in their eyes and they are alot tougher than what you think so stop all this poor black people bullcrap.

Last Name: Sharkey Locality: Petersburg

Vote "yes" on HB1990! It is PAST TIME for VIRGINIA to be critically investigate the potential impacts, intended and unintended, that criminal justice legislation may have on racially marginalized populations. Thank you Delegate Aird for carrying this important legislation!

Last Name: Kent Organization: ACLU People Power Fairfax Locality: Great Falls

Support HB1990 Racial & Ethnic Impact Statements Who we are: ACLU People Power Fairfax is an independent grassroots organization that advocates for equal justice for all members of the community, including undocumented immigrants, regardless of race or ethnicity. Our primary goals are to end local and state government’s voluntary cooperation with ICE and to correct practices and policies that support systemic racism in our law enforcement. There are over 4,000 People Power volunteers in Fairfax. Our efforts reflect the views of our members, not necessarily those of the ACLU Virginia affiliate. Advancing Racial Justice through Public Policy HB 1990 allows the Chair of the House Committee for Courts of Justice and the Chair of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary to request that the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) prepare racial and ethnic impact statements for up to 5 criminal justice related bills each legislative session. A racial and ethnic impact statement will use available data to outline the potential effects a bill will have on racial and ethnic disparities within the Commonwealth. An Unequal System Black Americans experience more frequent stops, searches, and arrests by police, while also facing higher rates of pre-trial detention, and ultimately harsher sentences than similarly situated white people. Black Virginians comprise about 19% of the population, but they accounted for more than 40% of all arrests in 2019. More than half – 55% – of all people in Virginia’s prisons are Black. Inequitable policies lead to unbalanced outcomes. It will take deliberate anti-racist actions to halt and reverse the trends and create a more equitable justice system in Virginia. An Opportunity to Advance Equity A racial and ethnic impact statement will be a critical tool for Virginia legislators to evaluate and consider the potential disparate impact of proposed criminal justice legislation. Similar to a fiscal impact statement or fiscal impact reviews for the impact of legislation on state and local budgets, a racial and ethnic impact statement will provide background analysis about how a proposed bill will impact various populations in order to inform lawmakers and assist with enacting legislation that will not worsen discrimination and inequity. It is easier to modify legislation than it is to reverse a law once it is enacted. Evaluating potential disparities prior to a bill being enacted and implemented will create a proactive opportunity to advance racial equity rather than waiting to try to reverse effects. Support HB 1990 Progress in Other States • At least seven states have implemented mechanisms for the preparation of similar assessments for legislation with bipartisan support. And several more states have recently considered legislation. • Legislation with impact statements that determined neutral effects or reductions in disparate outcomes were more likely to pass than legislation that was predicted to increase disparate outcomes. The state can help prevent seemingly neutral criminal justice policy from having harmful outcomes. Adopting racial and ethnic impact statements proactively promotes the well-being of people in Virginia and is a strong step in advancing equity in the state.

Last Name: Lynn Locality: Gloucester point

I tried to check off as many as I could understand 🙃why not just get to work for the money we pay

Last Name: Bell Locality: Roanoke

HB1789 I support political audits HB 1990 I support Criminal Justice HB 2208 I DO NOT support statue removal, you have too many mixed feelings on this issue and by continuing removal of said statues, you isolate a percentage of the populations beliefs which is MUCH larger than you think..The ideal solution is simple...If you want to remove ANY statue, You either remove ALL or none... HJ 516 Yes I do 100% support becoming a part of the convention of states, I am well aware of this bill... HJ 530 I fully support decriminalization of certain substances hence marijuana and any other low level form of narcotic substance, I support this on both state and FEDERAL level... HJ549 I do not support this, we need to open the doors of truth to the people first, I have a panel of 36 worldwide doctors condemning WHO for dishonesty about Covid, and the fact it has a temperate design of Dec through April ... HJ573 At this point I 100% support that any vaccine be voluntary only....It is injustice to require immunization Wheres too much static as to whether this is a truly harmful pandemic or just a politically motivated stunt to incite fear.... HR237 I will support holding anyone responsible who is guilty of this Covid Conspiracy and to where it began and by who it originated even if it was a Harvard shipped virus, keep it open to hold only those accountable that truly are the guilty HR 238 I do NOT support The American People decide who gets appointed and where and THIS needs to be changed....

Last Name: Bryant Locality: Henrico I would

I would like to know what the bills have in them. Don't want anything in them hidden like they do in Washington.

Last Name: Huertas Organization: Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy Locality: Richmond City

The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy supports HB1990 as a positive step toward advancing racial equity in our criminal justice system.

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

New Virginia Majority Supports HB1990 (Aird). A fair and just criminal justice system reduces the harms and violence experienced by people-of-color and working-class communities and creates more opportunities for practices of public accountability and community-based alternatives to incarceration. This legislation provides a valuable tool for ensuring that as criminal justice legislation comes before the Virginia General Assembly, efforts are taken to decrease and avoid perpetuating racial and ethnic disparities in how the criminal justice system differently impacts the livelihoods of Virginians. We thank the Delegate and we encourage the committee to vote in support of this legislation. Thank you. Dominique Martin, Policy Research Analyst at New Virginia Majority.

Last Name: Porter Organization: The Sentencing Project Locality: Washington

Established in 1986, The Sentencing Project works for a fair and effective U.S. criminal justice system by promoting reforms in sentencing policy and addressing racial injustice in the criminal legal system. . We thank Delegate Aird for her leadership on HB 1990. CHANGING POLICIES TO ADDRESS DISPARITIES HB 1990 would improve policymaking for proposed sentencing laws and other laws impacting criminal justice law and policy by informing law makers of the potential impact on racial justice and racial disparities in a system known to perpetuate and expand such disparities. Six states – Iowa, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Oregon, and New Jersey – have implemented mechanisms for the preparation and consideration of racial impact statements; in addition, the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission develops racial impact statements without statutory guidance. DATE OFFERS CLEAR EVIDENCE OF RACIAL DISPARITIES Virginia is among 12 states found by The Sentencing Project to have prison population that is more than fifty percent Black. Also, in Virginia, 1 in 27 men is in prison. IMPLEMENTATION OF RACIAL IMPACT STATEMENTS Racial impact statement policies are key to acknowledge the persistence of racial disparity in sentencing law and policymaking and to identify clear actions to minimize and eventually remove those disparities. Following the adoption of racial impact statements three steps are important to challenge racial disparities in criminal legal policies. First, a commitment by lawmakers to request the statements as outline in HB 1990. Second, reviewing the statements to inform policymaking and the consideration of proposed sentencing laws. Third, a commitment by lawmakers to leverage racial impact statements in law and policy discussions with justice stakeholders ranging from formerly incarcerated advocates and their family, criminal justice practitioners, victim’s groups, faith leaders, and others on public safety policy proposals and their impact on Virginia’s justice system. Racial impact statements should be viewed as a mechanism to help guide the development of sound and fair law and policy, but they are not an impediment to enacting changes in the law. That is, they represent one component of the discussion regarding sentencing policy, but only in conjunction with other relevant considerations. In some cases, lawmakers might receive analyses indicating that white residents or other racial/ethnic groups would be disproportionately impacted by a proposed sentencing change, but conclude that public safety concerns override these considerations. While proposed changes in sentencing policies are the most obvious decision-making point at which unwarranted racial disparities might emerge, a host of policy decisions at other stages of the criminal justice system can affect the racial/ethnic demographics of the prison population as well. These include adjustments to sentencing guidelines, discretionary safety valves applied to mandatory time served requirements, “truth in sentencing” and other policies that affect length of stay in prison, parole release and revocation policies. Conceivably, a racial impact statement policy could cover one or more of these decision-making points. The Sentencing Project applauds HB 1990 and is eager to see it advance in this Committee.

Last Name: Silcox Organization: RISE for Youth Locality: Richmond

RISE for Youth supports this bill.

Last Name: Royster Locality: Midlothian

Over 150 local governments across the country have made declarations to address racism. However, only five states have declared racism a public health crisis and none are located in the South. In contrast to Virginia’s role as the state that housed the capital of the Confederacy, the commonwealth now has the opportunity to lead the country into a new era in which everyone is valued equally and has equitable opportunity to live a long, healthy life. Virginia must declare racism as a public health crisis.

HB2098 - Southwestern Va. Mental Health Institute; Governor to lease a portion of property to Smyth County.
Last Name: Scipio Locality: Orange County,, Locust Grove

In favor of programs to better facilitate the development and progress of my community.

HB2123 - Students; eligibility for in-state tuition.
Last Name: Griffin Organization: Office of the Attorney General Locality: Richmond

The Attorney General supports this bill. I will be available to respond to any questions of a legal nature from the subcommittee. M. Elizabeth Griffin Senior Assistant Attorney General - Education Section megriffin@vcu.edu 804-335-8405

Last Name: Monica Sarmiento Organization: Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights Locality: Alexandria, VA

The Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights and it's 39 member organization fully endorse HB2123. Granting scholarship to undocumented students is the best way to provide a bright future for deserving students, and continue the pathway of retaining the innovation and talent in Virginia. We urge all members to support this HB2123.

Last Name: Jared Calfee Organization: Virginia21 Action Locality: Henrico

We strongly support this legislation and we thank the patron for carrying it. To put it simply, we believe that people who are living, working, and seeking an education in Virginia are Virginians, regardless of their immigration status. This body saw fit to rightly grant these students in-state tuition eligibility last year, and if the law considers them in-state students then they should be eligible for Virginia's financial aid programs as well. Thank you.

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

Why should illegal immigrants get anything before our own minorities? They have needs, we should be looking at them first. Next, I've been privileged to have many legal immigrants who studied, paid, and worked very very hard to be an asset to this country. Out of respect for what they've done to us, they would come first before those who violate the law.

Last Name: Figueredo Organization: Edu-Futuro Locality: Falls Church

Edu-Futuro supports HB 2123 January 26, 2021 Contact: Jorge E. Figueredo, MPP, Executive Director jorge@edu-futuro.org • 703-472-3838 • Good afternoon, Chair and members of the Appropriations - Higher Education Subcommittee, my name is Jorge Figueredo, Executive Director of Edu-Futuro a nonprofit organization that for the past 23 years has delivered after-school programs from pre-k to 12th grade and a two-generation approach to assist low income, and immigrant families to break the cycle of poverty in one generation. We have education, leadership, case management, workforce development, and parent engagement after-school programs in Fairfax and Arlington counties, the City of Alexandria, and the City of Roanoke from pre-K to post-secondary, to assist low income, immigrant, and minority students to stay in school, graduate on time, go to college, and find their first professional jobs. • HB 2123, if approved by the legislators, will extend the same educational benefits to all Virginia students who are currently eligible for in-state tuition, including access to state financial aid programs and resources. This proposal builds upon HB 1547/SB935 that passed in the 2020 legislative session. • Education enables the integration of immigrants into society. JLARC found that immigrants need additional information on how to operate within the “American system.” Education provides the means to remedy this. Thus, access to state financial aid programs and resources to all Virginia students who are currently eligible for in-state tuition should be granted. • Educating young people benefits Virginia. College opportunities reduce dropout rates and quickly pays for itself. It is a benefit to society. Providing access to state financial aid programs to all high school students who qualify for in-state tuition allows them to stay focused on getting better grades during their college years. Based on our experience, attaining a college degree with the lowest possible amount of debt significantly impacts the stability of low-income families. • HB 2123 is an investment in Virginia’s future. A report by VCU found that more than 27,000 job vacancies in Virginia require at least an Associate’s degree (including 18,000 requiring a Bachelor’s degree). Odds of educational & economic success improve for the American-born citizen offspring of immigrants when parents are more highly educated. Equity in financial aid is about strengthening our workforce. It’s not about immigration status. It’s about enabling all of Virginia’s in-state tuition eligible students to access state financial aid programs and resources. Thank you, Jorge E. Figueredo, MPP Executive Director Edu-Futuro www.edu-futuro.org

Last Name: Bradford Organization: Governor's Office Locality: Richmond

The Administration supports this legislation. I am available to be online for any questions as necessary.

Last Name: Silvera Organization: CASA Virginia Locality: Woodbridge

Dear subcommittee members and chair, My name is Caroline Silvera, and I’m with CASA Virginia. On behalf of CASA, a community-based organization that fights for equity and justice, our 10,000 members strongly support the passing of HB 2123. With some of the best public universities and school systems in the country, Virginia provides a quality education for its students. However, there are still steps we need to take to ensure that all Virginians, regardless of their citizenship status, receive every educational opportunity they need to succeed. Out of 494,000 undocumented Virginians, there is a large number of students who will not be eligible for in-state tuition under the current law. By 2060, Latinos will comprise 30% of the school-aged population in the United States. Therefore, the success of Latino immigrants is critical to the economic and social future of Virginia and this country. Although citizenship status is no longer a barrier for Virginians seeking in-state tuition, they are still not eligible for most forms of financial aid. With no financial aid, many non-citizens are deterred from pursuing higher education. As a resident of Prince William County where the largest student group is Hispanic, I have heard countless stories of those deterred by higher education costs due to their citizenship status. My former classmate worked hard for four years, taking Dual Enrollment classes, just to give up her spot at a state university because her citizenship status made her ineligible for financial aid. The more education someone obtains, the greater their salary becomes. Removing barriers to higher education and allowing more Virginians to pursue it thus contributes to the economy, as payroll tax revenue will become greater. At CASA, we believe this bill is necessary in providing educational equity to all and ensuring a strong future economy. HB 2123 will make our workforce more skilled, and our education system stronger. Supporting this bill is supporting our economy and all students of Virginia. Thank you.

Last Name: Arias Organization: Dream Project Locality: Alexandria

Thank you for continuing the work of helping dreamers afford a college education and stay here in Virginia. The impact of passage of this bill will help so many Virginian's plan to stay in Virginia colleges and universities. We need their talent here.

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

The Virginia Education Association (VEA) supports HB 2123. We ask the committee to favorably report HB 2123. Thank you.

Last Name: Hernandez Estrada Organization: WMFIRE Locality: Stafford

My name is Ashley Hernandez Estrada, a senior at the College of WIlliam & Mary representing WMFIRE, a student advocacy organization that supports all students, regardless of immigration status. Every day when speaking to students, the main concern we hear about is students’ ability to receive financial aid. House Bill 2123, in making financial aid accessible to all students eligible for in state tuition, would be an enormous step in opening the Commonwealth to countless more brilliant minds and alleviating a tremendous amount of stress on students that call Virginia home. Please vote yes on moving Bill 2123 forward.

Last Name: Sepulveda Locality: Newport News

Dear members of the Virginia General Assembly, I write to you today regarding VA HB 2123 to support the bill. I am currently a student at the College of William and Mary. I have always been told that hard work and persistence are key to attaining higher education. However, for many students this is not the case. Undocumented students may work as hard as they can but may never have the opportunity to pursue higher education because they are financially unable to. Therefore, it is crucial for all students to have access to Virginia educational benefits. The ability to achieve higher education can provide these students with better futures and end the racial/ethnic divide in higher education. If these students attend college, it can bring communities above the poverty line if they have access to the same financial assistance that other Virginian students receive. When these students graduate from college, they will not only have a better future, but will strengthen our workforce and economy. For these reasons, I urge you to approve this proposal. Thank you, Alayna Sepulveda

Last Name: Connole Organization: James Madison University Student Government Association Locality: Harrisonburg, Virginia

The Student Government Association at James Madison University was proud to advocate against the former requirement of having documented citizenship status to be eligible for in-state tuition in the Commonwealth. We did so because DACA students and all our peers that are immigrants to the United States are deserving of fair access to higher education institutions at a more affordable price. We should always be fighting to make higher education more affordable and while this is an ongoing effort, this legislation would afford students, who are currently being slighted, educational benefits that other in-state students already receive. This legislation needs to be passed to open doors to proper financial aid opportunities and allow an easier pathway to greater job opportunities in the future. Supporting this bill is supporting equitable access to education.

Last Name: Silvera Organization: CASA Virginia Locality: Prince William County

Dear subcommittee members and chair, My name is Caroline Silvera, and I’m with CASA Virginia. On behalf of CASA, a community-based organization that fights for equity and justice, our 10,000 members strongly support the passing of HB 2123. With some of the best public universities and school systems in the country, Virginia provides a quality education for its students. However, there are still steps we need to take to ensure that all Virginians, regardless of their citizenship status, receive every educational opportunity they need to succeed. Out of 494,000 undocumented Virginians, there is a large number of students who will not be eligible for in-state tuition under the current law. By 2060, Latinos will comprise 30% of the school-aged population in the United States. Therefore, the success of Latino immigrants is critical to the economic and social future of Virginia and this country. Although citizenship status is no longer a barrier for Virginians seeking in-state tuition, they are still not eligible for most forms of financial aid. With no financial aid, many non-citizens are deterred from pursuing higher education. As a resident of Prince William County where the largest student group is Hispanic, I have heard countless stories of those deterred by higher education costs due to their citizenship status. My former classmate worked hard for four years, taking Dual Enrollment classes, just to give up her spot at a state university because her citizenship status made her ineligible for financial aid. The more education someone obtains, the greater their salary becomes. Removing barriers to higher education and allowing more Virginians to pursue it thus contributes to the economy, as payroll tax revenue will become greater. At CASA, we believe this bill is necessary in providing educational equity to all and ensuring a strong future economy. HB 2123 will make our workforce more skilled, and our education system stronger. Supporting this bill is supporting our economy and all students of Virginia. Thank you.

HB2124 - COVID-19; DMAS shall deem testing, treatment, and vaccination to be emergency services.
Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

Why are we paying for illegal people here when we need to take care of African American, Hispanic and Asian Americans concerns FIRST? Some of our own need food.

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

As a lead Community organizer for the latinx population in Richmond Va I have seen that many people did not go to the hospital with COVID-19 or with symptoms of the pandemic because just thinking about the bills that these people could face, they put their lives in danger and that of others, it is not fair that because they do not have legal status they cannot access to a health care. I ask please consider this bill, there are thousands of people who would benefit

Last Name: Dianat Organization: Virginia Organizing Locality: Richmond, zip code 23223

As a family physician in Richmond, VA, I am acutely aware of devastating and disruptive consequences of COVID-19 on our communities. Access to testing, treatment, and vaccination, is essential to get us functional as soon as possible. With an illness that has disproportionately affected our Black and Brown community members, we must level the access to care and provide free testing, treament, and vaccination, regardless of insurance or immigration status. This is the only way that we, together, can move forward. Thank you.

Last Name: Fishman Organization: JCRC of Greater Washington Locality: Fairfax County

The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington (JCRC) submits this testimony in support of HB 2124, because the public health crisis we are facing is a clear emergency, and ensuring widespread testing for, treatment of, and vaccination against COVID-19 is a necessity for individuals and the community at large. Access to COVID-19 related treatment and services will improve individual health outcomes, as well as curb the spread of this virus throughout the Commonwealth and beyond. Enabling all individuals to get treatment – both preventative and therapeutic – ultimately will reduce the burdens on our medical facilities and on society. JCRC is honored to present this testimony on behalf of over 100 local synagogues, schools and institutions, including a network of agencies that provide excellent cost-effective social services to the community at-large on a non-sectarian basis. We are guided by Jewish law, history and tradition, which insists that we assist in the caretaking of all immigrants.

Last Name: Twyman Locality: Virginia Beach

Please consider putting these bills into effect.

Last Name: Scipio Locality: Orange County,, Locust Grove

In favor of programs to better facilitate the development and progress of my community.

Last Name: Grammer Locality: Roanoke

My name is Stephen Grammer, from Roanoke. I encourage you to pass HB1987 and HB2124. HB1987 would allow people who without transportation easier access to being able to communicate with their primary doctors. This also would be cost-effective, due to the fact that people will not have to get ambulances going to hospitals over non-emergency situations. HB2124 would allow people with disabilities to get treatment for COVID. We are on a very low-budget, and can not afford to pay out of pocket for treatment. Again, I encourage you to support HB2124 and HB1987. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Last Name: Aquino Organization: NAKASEC VAHB 2124 Testimony (2 minutes) Hello Mr. Chair and members of the committee. I am Zowee Aquino, Community Health Manager at NAKASEC VA. During the special session, the General Assembly made a monumental fix that gave legal permanent residents greater access to Medicaid in Virginia. I worked with Asian American youth and impacted families to support this effort, and was so glad to be part of this legislative victory. In this session, as COVID-19 continues to decimate working class communities, we have another opportunity to support access to health care for immigrants in HB 2124. I speak with undocumented, uninsured Asian American residents of Virginia about accessing healthcare and there is considerable confusion. They think COVID-19 vaccination is only for citizens, and won’t sign up for the vaccine. In some cases, they don’t even get tested - they instead stay at home, isolate, and deal with it themselves - because they think it is their only option. This is one of their stories: [community member experience] My name is Mi-Kyung, I live in Burke, and I am an undocumented person. I have rheumatoid arthritis and my husband has been laid off due to COVID-19. We’ve been surviving off of our two college aged children’s part-time jobs. Because we cannot afford to go to the hospital if I get COVID-19, I fear even going to the grocery store. I have heard of many people like me, who immigrated to the U.S. only to go bankrupt due to hospital bills through no fault of their own. These stories feel even closer to me now with the COVID-19 pandemic and make me fear for my safety. I hope this bill, HB 2124, passes for low income, undocumented people so that I can feel some security for doing necessary things, like going grocery shopping or picking up my medication, right now. People like Mi-Kyung are why we need HB 2124. Passage of HB 2124 could make it very clear that anyone in Virginia can receive COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccination without concern over affordability or fear for everyday tasks - so that everyone can help protect their communities and themselves. Without access to treatment for all Virginians, we cannot effectively stop or slow the spread. Thank you Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. Locality: Centreville

Hello Mr. Chair and members of the committee. I am Zowee Aquino, Community Health Manager at NAKASEC VA. During the special session, the General Assembly made a monumental fix that gave legal permanent residents greater access to Medicaid in Virginia. I worked with Asian American youth and impacted families to support this effort, and was so glad to be part of this legislative victory. In this session, as COVID-19 continues to decimate working class communities, we have another opportunity to support access to health care for immigrants in HB 2124. I speak with undocumented, uninsured Asian American residents of Virginia about accessing healthcare and there is considerable confusion. They think COVID-19 vaccination is only for citizens, and won’t sign up for the vaccine. In some cases, they don’t even get tested - they instead stay at home, isolate, and deal with it themselves - because they think it is their only option. This is one of their stories: My name is Mi-Kyung, I live in Burke, and I am an undocumented person. I have rheumatoid arthritis and my husband has been laid off due to COVID-19. We’ve been surviving off of our two college aged children’s part-time jobs. Because we cannot afford to go to the hospital if I get COVID-19, I fear even going to the grocery store. I have heard of many people like me, who immigrated to the U.S. only to go bankrupt due to hospital bills through no fault of their own. These stories feel even closer to me now with the COVID-19 pandemic and make me fear for my safety. I hope this bill, HB 2124, passes for low income, undocumented people so that I can feel some security for doing necessary things, like going grocery shopping or picking up my medication, right now. People like Mi-Kyung are why we need HB 2124. Passage of HB 2124 could make it very clear that anyone in Virginia can receive COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccination without concern over affordability or fear for everyday tasks - so that everyone can help protect their communities and themselves. Without access to treatment for all Virginians, we cannot effectively stop or slow the spread. Thank you Mr. Chairman and members of the committee.

Last Name: Aquino Organization: NAKASEC VA Locality: Centreville

I am Zowee Aquino, Community Health Manager at NAKASEC VA. I work with undocumented, uninsured Asian American residents of Virginia about accessing healthcare and there is considerable confusion around COVID-19 treatment and services: They think COVID-19 vaccination is only for citizens, and won't sign up for the vaccine. Sometimes, they don’t get tested - they instead stay at home, isolate, and deal with it themselves. This is one of their stories: "My name is Mi-Kyung, I live in Burke, and I am an undocumented person. I have rheumatoid arthritis and my husband has been laid off due to COVID-19. We’ve been surviving off of our two college aged children’s part-time jobs. Because we cannot afford to go to the hospital if I get COVID-19, I fear even going to the grocery store. I have heard of many people like me, who immigrated to the U.S. only to go bankrupt due to hospital bills through no fault of their own. These stories feel even closer to me now with the COVID-19 pandemic and make me fear for my safety. I hope this bill, HB 2124, passes for low income, undocumented people so that I can feel some security for doing necessary things, like going grocery shopping or picking up my medication, right now." People like Mi-Kyung are why we need HB 2124. Passage of HB 2124 could make it very clear that anyone in Virginia can receive COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccination without concern over affordability or fear for everyday tasks - so that everyone can help protect their communities and themselves. Without access to treatment for all Virginians, we cannot effectively stop or slow the spread.

Last Name: Hanken Organization: Virginia Poverty Law Center Locality: Richmond City

VIRGINIA POVERTY LAW CENTER SUPPORT HB 2124 & BUDGET AMENDMENT 313 #4H Cover COVID-19 Services as “Emergency Only” Medicaid Services Medicaid is required by federal law to provide “Emergency Only” services to any immigrant who (1) resides in the state and (2) is financially eligible for Medicaid, but does not meet the specific requirements for non-citizens. [For example most LPRs with a Green Card must be in the U.S. for 5 years before qualifying for full Medicaid.] Medicaid’s Emergency-Only services are now available for urgent health needs generally provided by hospital emergency departments (e.g. accidents, heart attacks, labor/delivery). As allowed by federal law, HB 2124 appropriately broadens such services to COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccines. • The disparate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on black, brown and immigrant communities is well established. If low-income individuals in those communities are not encouraged to get tested, treated and vaccinated (through free, and broadly available services), ALL OF US suffer because of community spread. The Medicaid Emergency Only mechanism is in place to ensure access to this essential care for needy Virginians. • At least 12 states have administratively declared this policy for their Medicaid programs. Those states are able to ensure and market free services and timely treatment to all low-income individuals, regardless of immigration status. • This bill is desperately needed NOW! Virginia must reach out to encourage all low income immigrants to come forward to get COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccines. This helps all Virginians by reducing the spread of the virus, long-term health issues and death. This is truly a matter of life or death – not just for immigrants, but for all of us. For More Information Contact: Jill Hanken, Health Attorney, jill@vplc.org. (804) 351-5258

Last Name: Casper Organization: American Lung Association Locality: Newark

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments on HB 2124 by Delegate Lopez. The American Lung Association in Virginia strongly supports this proposed legislation and asks members of the committee to vote yes. The American Lung Association is the oldest voluntary public health association in the United States, representing the millions of Americans living with lung diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, asthma, cystic fibrosis and pulmonary fibrosis. The Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through research, education and advocacy. We are especially concerned with COVID-19 as it is a respiratory disease. The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to highlight long-standing inequities in health care coverage and access in Virginia and across the country, which has contributed to the higher incidence of the virus in Black, Latinx, and immigrant communities. Unfortunately, some low-income Virginians who are excluded from most Medicaid coverage due to their immigration status fear that seeking treatment for COVID could result in unaffordable medical bills. As more therapies are approved that can reduce the likelihood that COVID will progress to more serious stages access to these treatments and care is even more critical. Virginia can support wider access to COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccination by clarifying that emergency Medicaid specifically covers COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccination. The emergency Medicaid program is offered to people that would qualify for regular Medicaid but are ineligible due to immigration status. Services are traditionally limited to medical treatment required after the sudden onset of a medical emergency that places the individual’s health and bodily function in severe jeopardy. The Lung Association believes all individuals should receive vaccination at the appropriate phase of the framework regardless of immigration status. Undocumented workers are disproportionally employed in many essential industries where they have a higher risk of exposure to COVID-19, such as agriculture and home health.1 Migrant workers also have high rates of lung diseases, such as asthma, and other health conditions that may put them at greater risk for severe illness from COVID-19. If large proportions of certain communities do not receive vaccinations, the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks increases for everyone. 2 Twelve states are already offering COVID-19 services through this program and doing so may encourage all individuals regardless of status to seek the services they need without fear of how they will pay for it. Providing COVID-19 care to individuals with low-incomes will help reduce the spread of the virus. The Lung Association urges the Committee to support HB 2124 and include COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccination for all Virginians regardless of immigration status. 1Tracy Jan, “Undocumented workers among those hit first – and worst – by the coronavirus shutdown. The Washington Post. April 4, 2020. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/04/05/undocumented-immigrants-coronavirus/ 2 Holguin, Fernando et al. “Respiratory Health in Migrant Populations: A Crisis Overlooked.” Annals of the American Thoracic Society vol. 14,2 (2017): 153-159. doi:10.1513/AnnalsATS.201608-592PS

Last Name: Chavez Organization: NAKASEC VA Locality: Fairfax County

My name is Austin Chavez. I am with NAKASEC Virginia. I live in Springfield, Virginia. I support HB 2124 because I think it will help uplift all different types of families during this unprecedented pandemic. Many families are already burdened with rising unemployment and decreased wages. To offset COVID testing and treatment costs from families will be a huge benefit for the community at large. It will empower folks to get tested and seek treatment, and create a unified culture in stopping the pandemic.

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

Voices for Virginia’s Children is a member of the Healthcare for All Virginians coalition and supportive of this bill. As of January 17th, VDH reported 19,982 Hospitalizations. While the Black community accounts for about 27 percent of that group, they represent just 20 percent of the commonwealth’s population. Likewise, the Latinx population makes up roughly 20 percent of Virginia’s COVID-19 hospitalizations, but only 10 percent of the population. Meanwhile, the white community accounts for 42 percent of the commonwealth’s coronavirus hospitalizations, but nearly 61 percent of the population. Communities of color are experiencing much higher hospitalization rates. Black communities have almost a 7% hospitalization rate compared to the 4% average. In order to increase equitable access to healthcare, especially during this time, Virginia should follow the patterns of 12 other states that have elected to cover COVID-19 screening, testing, and all related treatment for any immigrant who meets the financial requirements for Medicaid. This clarification would allow a singular statewide message to be shared widely. Providing COVID-19 care to our neighbors with low-incomes will help reduce the spread of the virus throughout the community. Thank you, Delegate Lopez, for championing this bill.

Last Name: Hanken Organization: Virginia Poverty Law Center Locality: Richmond City

VIRGINIA POVERTY LAW CENTER SUPPORT HB 2124 & BUDGET AMENDMENT 313 #4H Cover COVID-19 Services as “Emergency Only” Medicaid Services Medicaid is required by federal law to provide “Emergency Only” services to any immigrant who (1) resides in the state and (2) is financially eligible for Medicaid, but does not meet the specific requirements for non-citizens. [For example most LPRs with a Green Card must be in the U.S. for 5 years before qualifying for full Medicaid.] Medicaid’s Emergency-Only services are now available for urgent health needs generally provided by hospital emergency departments (e.g. accidents, heart attacks, labor/delivery). As allowed by federal law, HB 2124 appropriately broadens such services to COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccines. • The disparate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on black, brown and immigrant communities is well established. If low-income individuals in those communities are not encouraged to get tested, treated and vaccinated (through free, and broadly available services), ALL OF US suffer because of community spread. The Medicaid Emergency Only mechanism is in place to ensure access to this essential care for needy Virginians. • At least 12 states have administratively declared this policy for their Medicaid programs. Those states are able to ensure and market free services and timely treatment to all low-income individuals, regardless of immigration status. • This bill is desperately needed NOW! Virginia must reach out to encourage all low income immigrants to come forward to get COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccines. This helps all Virginians by reducing the spread of the virus, long-term health issues and death. This is truly a matter of life or death – not just for immigrants, but for all of us. For More Information Contact: Jill Hanken, Health Attorney, jill@vplc.org. (804) 351-5258

Last Name: Mejia Organization: The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis Locality: Richmond

I am writing in support of HB2124 on behalf of The Commonwealth Institute and the Healthcare for All Virginians Coalition. The COVID-19 pandemic has put into sharp focus long-standing inequities in health care coverage and access and working conditions in Virginia and across the country, which has contributed to the higher incidence of the virus in Black, Latinx, and immigrant communities. And, unfortunately, some low-income Virginians who are excluded from most Medicaid coverage due to their immigration status fear that seeking treatment for COVID could result in unaffordable medical bills. This is particularly tragic as more therapies are approved that can reduce the likelihood that COVID will progress to more serious stages. Virginia can support wider access to COVID-19 testing and treatment by clarifying that emergency Medicaid specifically covers COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccination. The emergency Medicaid program is offered to people that would qualify for regular Medicaid but are ineligible due to immigration status. Services are traditionally limited to medical treatment required after the sudden onset of a medical emergency that places the individual’s health and bodily function in severe jeopardy, such as a heart attack or a broken bone. Twelve states are already offering COVID-19 services through this program and doing so may encourage all individuals regardless of status to seek the services they need without fear of how they will pay for it. Legislation (HB2124, Del. Lopez) to make this change has been introduced during Virginia’s 2021 legislative session. This clarification would allow a singular statewide message to be shared widely and leave no doubt as to health care costs related to COVID-19 for all families with low incomes. Providing COVID-19 care to our neighbors with low-incomes will help reduce the spread of the virus throughout the community.

HB2212 - Children's Services Act; effective monitoring and implementation.
Last Name: Reiner Organization: Office of Children's Services Locality: Henrico

This is Scott Reiner, Executive Director of the Office of Children's Services. The administration has no position on this bill. I can be available to respond to questions at the request of the Chair r members of the committee.

Last Name: Gilbreath Organization: Voices for Virginia's Child Locality: North Chesterfield

Voices for Virginia's Children and the Foster Care Policy Network comprised of 25 organizations is in support of this bill.

HJ522 - Staffing levels, employment conditions, and compensation at DOC; continued study, appropriations.
No Comments Available
HJ526 - Comprehensive campaign finance reform; joint subcommittee to study.
No Comments Available
End of Comments