Public Comments for 01/28/2021 Health, Welfare and Institutions
HB1795 - Counseling, Board of; licensure of professional counselors without examination.
Last Name: Nadwodny Locality: Gainesville

Why would you force a vaccine when hyrdroechloraquin and other drugs heal people. CDC says 99.9% of people recover. Why are you using the tool of fear. What is in it for you. It’s being said that covid is just the first part of this bio weapon. The next part will kill those who were diagnosed with it. If you keep this up there won’t be any one to vote. Oh that’s right. Depopulation is part of the plan. You reap what you sow.

Last Name: Lawson Locality: North Chesterfield

Chairman Sickle, Vice-Chair Rasoul, and Distinguished Committee Members - Thank you for taking time to consider these comments on HB 1795. I am Licensed Professional Counselor, a Professor of Counselor Education at Virginia Tech, and a past-president of both the American Counseling Association and the Virginia Counselors Association. I am very concerned about HB 1795, for three reasons: 1) HB 1795 would remove the examination requirement for independent practice as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Every jurisdiction in the United States requires a examination for the LPC, because it is a critical step in determining whether an individual has the requisite knowledge and ability to apply that knowledge. Virginia uses the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination, which presents applicants with a series of vignettes, designed to assess clinical judgement. The vignettes measure an applicant’s ability to gather clinical information, conceptualize that data accurately, develop a diagnosis, and design a treatment intervention. There is no other mechanism in the process of the licensure application that can assess these issues comprehensively. Applicants are required to work under the supervision of a licensed practitioner, but that process is focused on clinical practice, and does not allow such a thorough assessment of clinical judgement and ethical decision making. Allowing applicants to simply opt out of the examination process could endanger clients and harm Virginians. 2) LPCs in Virginia are allowed to serve beneficiaries of TRICARE, the VA, and other military related mental health services. In recommending that LPCs be able to serve this population, the Institute of Medicine recommended, and TRICARE accepted that LPCs must be graduates of a CACREP accredited program and pass the NCMHCE in order to serve TRICARE beneficiaries. As I noted, the NCMHCE is the licensure exam in Virginia. Removing the exam requirement would create a barrier for service members trying to find a qualified TRICARE provider for their family, because there is no way to discern which LPC did or did not pass the exam if this bill were to pass. 3) Finally, on a procedural note, the proper process for addressing regulatory changes should be through a Petition for Rulemaking addressed to the Board of Counseling. Board members are well versed in the challenges that this sort of change would present, and could address any need for change without the unintended consequences outlined above. Thank you again for your consideration, I remain available to you if I can be of assistance. Gerard Lawson, Ph.D., LPC, LSATP glawson@vt.edu

Last Name: Strong Organization: Angelo Recovery and Counseling Services Inc. Locality: Fredericksburg

The importance of this bill is to address the mostly culturally biased exam for Licensed Professional Counselors in Virginia. African Americans share the same mental health issues as the rest of the population, with arguably even greater stressors due to racism, prejudice, and economic disparities. Meanwhile, many wonder why African Americans shy away from psychotherapy as a potential solution to challenges such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, marriage problems, and parenting issues. As a black substance abuse counselor, it is troublesome that so many African Americans are reluctant to make use of psychology's solutions to emotional hurdles. Over 115 million people in the United States live in designated Health Professional Shortage Areas. These are areas in which the ratio of mental health professionals to residents is smaller than 1 per 30,000 people. Unfortunately, Virginia (South Atlantic Area) is one of them. Those counselors with years of experience should be considered without the exam to address this shortfall. Apart from culturally biased exams, the barriers to accessing mental health services could be lowered when the therapists look like me. Lastly, an exam doesn't determine a good counselor. But good counseling strategies do.

Last Name: Pronk Locality: Fredericksburg

I work in a counseling office in which the lead couselor has to work under the umbrella of an LCP who, after 2 years, I have yet to meet. The LCP is in Richmond and we are in Fredericksburg, and during my tenure he has yet to visit our office. This is ridiculous. We have to pay a fee to him to serve as our LCP even though our counselor has years of experience and has a degree in counseling. The only thing she has not accomplished is this test. Again, ridiculous and a waste of talent and resources. Please remove this foolish restriction.

HB1932 - Child-placing agencies; conscience clause.
Last Name: Gay Organization: Virginia Catholic adoption agencies Locality: Yorktown

To whom it may concern, Catholic adoption agencies through the decades have done more for adoptions than any others. To try and shut them down by labeling their advocacy for the nuclear family — which research tells us is best for the child — as hate speech is beyond despicable. These agencies like Catholic schools have the Catholic faith as a core value at the center of all they do. So their mission to live out their faith through adoption is protected under the 1st Amendment to the Constitution. You do this and we will see you in court even if we have to take you all the way to the SCOTUS. I pray for your conversion and that you reject this egregiously misguided legislation.

Last Name: O’Shaughnessy Locality: Centreville

To limit the ability to place a child in a loving home because the state doesn’t agree with the organization’s written religious beliefs is wrong. The law is correct as written and should NOT be changed. More placement agencies are needed, not less.

Last Name: Nelson Locality: Stafford

In REBUTTAL to "American Atheists", please DO KEEP the CONSCIENCE CLAUSE, because: ALL values arise ONLY from the breast of each Individual. That being the case, each person's religious belief is either theistic or A-theistic. It is nonetheless a religious belief about God. Given this unique, individual-breast origin of every human Value, it stands to reason that each person is the SOLE OWNER of THEIR OWNED Values, including their inevitably religious ones, since all people have the knowledge of God (They either believe in God or they don't, but this knowledge is, evidently, uniquely human - We've never seen a squirrel or a flea build a church.) American Atheists wrote: "Religious liberty is guaranteed by the First Amendment to protect individual beliefs; it does not create special rights for religious individuals and organizations to violate neutral laws or discriminate against groups they disfavor." - Rebuttal #1: The First Amendment protects those Individual Values (including their OWN(ed) Beliefs. A person or organization of like-Valuing people does not have to be religious to be against certain forms of adoption. They simply have to hold different Values than other potential adoption organizations. It's the individually owned Values that are being protected, not the secondary characteristic of theistic or a-theistic Values chosen. -REBUTTAL #2: As to "these troubling numbers by repealing the so-called “conscience clause,” which allows adoption and foster placement services to discriminate against ...", this statement misleads: (1) Discriminating is done EVERY time a person makes a decision. The ability to ensure multitudes of different individuals, each having their own values, is the most peace-FULL and fair manner of law. If you or your organization doesn't believe in two males or two females adopting children, then fine. Pursue your own Values, for they are Your OWN(ed). If you or your organization want to pursue otherwise, then you're free to do so. It would be preferable for the State to remain neutral - not supporting or denying either with emolument, which would be the least of all evils, but certainly the State should NOT interfere with Individual Owners of their own Values for the kind of adoption agency they prefer to support with their Own Life. -REBUTTAL #3: "Nearly 40 states do not have such exemptions" This is a well-known logical fallacy, appealing to a mass or majority opinion as though that makes it Right. -REBUTTAL #4: ", and faith-based foster care and adoption agencies function well in these states, continuing to provide their services without discrimination." This is also an arrogating logical fallacy, claiming that "agencies function well" presumes that the Values of "American Atheists" can define for everyone else what "function well" means when clearly not everyone agrees with their estimation. -REBUTTAL #5: "Without this repeal, child placement agencies that receive state funding will continue to be permitted to freely discriminate based on their religious beliefs. ..." Again, every Individual Discriminates EVERY time they make a decision. The "American Atheists" argument is on-it-face discriminating too, which is why adoption agencies of many kinds should be encouraged, not discouraged. CONCLUSION: The State should leave the CONSCIENC CLAUSE intact, because it permits the greatest latitude for exercise of Conscience among competing Individual Values.

Last Name: Patch Locality: Chesapeake

Please don't exclude faith based foster care programs to provide families for children. This would be damaging to the growing number of children who need this service. Why would you even consider it? Do you really want to punish children by refusing them Christian homes because people of faith hold to their beliefs in the sanctity of marriage being between a man and a woman? Do you think that families with a mom and a dad who believe in the God of the Bible are unfit to care for children who need a family? Why would you discriminate against people of faith this way? Are you saying that Christian families and ministries are only allowed to help children in need if they ditch their faith or moral Christian worldview? When our government decides its decisions are better for children in a culture than the long-standing beliefs of the majority of the culture, then we need to speak up! People of faith have just as much to offer children who need foster care services as any other people. It would be a poor choice to exclude them. Please don't.

Last Name: Kerns Locality: Midlothian

"With 5,400 children in Virginia's foster care system, more than 700 of whom are ready for adoption right now, we need as many agencies as possible serving foster children in Virginia, not less." (FamilyFoundation) Please do not deny orphans & unsupported children the opportunity to find love in a nurturing & healthy. They are the future of our America. How Christian programs & Faith-based outreaches have been the backbone to America's heart for those in need. Even if we don't always agree with the religion, the services provided are invaluable & undeniably provide a much needed service for the children in need in Virginia. Please do not turn your back on them. Do not deny them the help because the adoption agencies have a faith in a certain God. Furthermore that is a violation of our first amendment rights & will not win you any future votes. So, I plead with you to protect the rights of those who want to help the children in their community grow in safety & love. Thank you.

Last Name: Mathis Organization: Area Pastors Locality: James City

Today, we have over two thousand kids that are in foster care and we need every foster agency possible to be viable and ready to care for them until they can be fostered. Also, I don't believe anyone has the right to force a private, Christian company to have to foster children to a homosexual couple. That is egregious and unconscionable to say the least. I hope you make the right decision and not approve of this bill. Thank you for listening to me and God bless and lead you.

Last Name: Leach Locality: Williamsburg

There are so very many children needing safe homes. Why would barring homes where there is a female and male parent make any sense given the outcry of so many children needing homes? That just makes so rational sense at all!

Last Name: Higley Organization: Family Foundation Locality: Midlothian

We need all of the agencies working to provide homes for foster children here in Virginia Do not repeal statutory conscience protections for faith-based adoption and foster care agencies.

Last Name: Woodward Organization: Self Locality: YORKTOWN

At a time when children need as much community love and support as possible and a shortage of open homes, we need as many safe places to place the children of our state as possible. In a prefect world, there would never be a need for organizations to step up and care for children that don't have a safe and loving home, but we shouldn't exclude them from offering love and care if they are willing and able to provide temporary placement. Thank you. Teresa Woodward

Last Name: Christopher Dangerfield Locality: Newport News

This bill needs to be stopped. Religious agencies, including those for adoption, should be allowed to perform their services in accordance with their religious beliefs. If the government enacts this bill, then they will be determining what they believe should be someone else's religious beliefs with their own sense of right and wrong. There are plenty of other public agencies that hold to the standards that this bill is trying to enforce, so there should not be any issue or problem with others being able to exercise their religious beliefs. To force others to do this will only hurt the agencies, the children that they are trying to help, and the state agencies that their work will help to relieve.

Last Name: Vance Locality: Blacksburg

All Roman Catholic and orthodox Protestant adoption and foster agencies have permanently closed or ceased services wherever this kind of law has passed [see e.g. https://www.usccb.org/committees/religious-liberty/discrimination-against-catholic-adoption-services and https://www.opc.org/nh.html?article_id=882]. We Christians cannot forfeit those very beliefs that motivate us to care for vulnerable children. Neither should we be made to give up this essential part of our religion and the free exercise of it: "RELIGION that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" (James 1:27). Indeed, from the earliest days of the Christian era when Christians routinely collected the unwanted children left to die of exposure outside the city, we have considered it an essential part of our religion to care for unwanted children and place them in godly, loving homes. If Virginia continues to have religious adoption/foster service providers through which we exercise our religious duties according to our religious principles, this in no way hinders non-religious service providers from providing their services without regard to religious principles. But this raises a greater issue: How can ANY human dignity, rights, and liberty be either philosophically grounded or practically maintained in our Commonwealth apart from Christian principles, which are infringed upon by this bill? Oliver Wendell Holmes, the atheistic former U.S. Supreme Court justice (1902-1932) wrote, “I see no reason for attributing to a man a significance different in kind from that which belongs to a baboon or to a grain of sand” [https://www.jstor.org/stable/25717199]. Societies that have put such godless principles into practice have historically devolved into statism, to the loss of liberty, rights, and dignity. And those jurisdictions that are recently entering upon the same experiment are standing on a tin roof wearing roller skates. There is only one direction for them to go. Even Thomas Jefferson recognized the problem and asked, "And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure, when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?" [https://www.jstor.org/stable/1051380, see https://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper/JEFFERSON/ch18.html]. Sincerely, David Vance, Ph.D. Minister, Redeemer ARP Church Blacksburg, Virginia

Last Name: Woyak Locality: Christiansburg

It is in everyone's interest to allow conscience provisions for organizations doing such essential work. To deny organizations the right to operate within their consciences is to establish a State Orthodoxy and to punish those whom the State deems "heterodox." There is no consistent way to maintain freedom of speech while simultaneously establishing a State Orthodoxy. On behalf of every Virginian who values freedom of speech, I respectfully ask our legislators to retain the conscience provisions.

Last Name: Nadwodny Locality: Gainesville

Why would you force a vaccine when hyrdroechloraquin and other drugs heal people. CDC says 99.9% of people recover. Why are you using the tool of fear. What is in it for you. It’s being said that covid is just the first part of this bio weapon. The next part will kill those who were diagnosed with it. If you keep this up there won’t be any one to vote. Oh that’s right. Depopulation is part of the plan. You reap what you sow.

Last Name: DeGrave Organization: American Atheists Locality: Newport News

As a Virginia resident and an Assistant State Director for American Atheists, which has over 1,600 constituents in Virginia, I testify in support of HB1932, a bill that would end state-sanctioned discrimination in foster care and adoption based on religious beliefs. This legislation would increase the number of available foster and adoption families, leading to more availability for children in foster care to have a loving, permanent home. We strongly urge you to support this bill. American Atheists is a national civil rights organization that works to achieve religious equality for all Americans. We strive to create an environment where atheism and atheists are accepted as members of our nation’s communities and where casual bigotry against our community is seen as abhorrent and unacceptable. We promote understanding of atheists through education, outreach, and community-building and work to end the stigma associated with being an atheist in America. Religious liberty is guaranteed by the First Amendment to protect individual beliefs; it does not create special rights for religious individuals and organizations to violate neutral laws or discriminate against groups they disfavor. Nationwide, there are over 423,997 children in the foster care system.1 There are 5,231 children in foster care in Virginia and just over 2,000 of these children are in either long term foster care or awaiting adoption.1 Nationally, nearly 24,000 youth age out of foster care each year, finding themselves with no support at age 18. Furthermore, 20% of these youth which age out of foster care become homeless.2 HB 1932 addresses these troubling numbers by repealing the so-called “conscience clause,” which allows adoption and foster placement services to discriminate against potential families for these children. Nearly 40 states do not have such exemptions, and faith-based foster care and adoption agencies function well in these states, continuing to provide their services without discrimination. Without this repeal, child placement agencies that receive state funding will continue to be permitted to freely discriminate based on their religious beliefs. For example, these agencies could discriminate against would-be parents because they are (or are assumed to be) religious minorities or atheists, unmarried, LGBTQ, or have some other characteristic that the placement agency disfavors. Instead, placement decisions must be based on the best interest of the child, regardless of the agency’s religious beliefs. Currently, about 24% of adults are religiously unaffiliated, and atheists and agnostics make up about 7% of the total population.3 Therefore, even without considering the other categories of people affected, allowing foster placement agencies to discriminate on the basis of their religion will potentially exclude about a quarter of adults from providing a home for foster children, inevitably reducing the number of youth placed in loving, permanent homes. Moreover, repealing this harmful language will directly affect a significant number of religiously unaffiliated youth. Studies show that approximately 13% of youth ages 13-18 identify as atheists, with more than a third being nonreligious. Youth in Virginia’s child welfare systems are already at risk – their ability to find a permanent home should not be endangered just to create special privileges for religious organizations. We strongly urge you to support HB1932.

Last Name: Ratke Organization: enCircle Locality: Hanover

I am writing to express enCircle’s support for HB 1932. At enCircle (formerly Lutheran Family Services of Virginia), we are a Licensed Child Placing Agency (LCPA) that actively recruits and supports all kinds of qualified families, including LGBTQ families, to provide loving homes for children and youth in care. We believe it is wrong to discriminate against parents who are otherwise qualified to provide loving foster homes because of their identity. The child welfare system is a public system that uses taxpayer funds to support children in foster care and should not be used to discriminate against those who are LGBTQ. While we hope that passing this legislation does not cause any other LCPAs to cease serving children and families, we believe there is adequate capacity in the system to step in to maintain placements for the children who would be affected if that occurred. Agencies like ours have a history of working together in many ways to recruit foster families from all regions of the state and to best serve the children and youth with whom we work. Virginia still struggles to find loving homes for all the children and youth in care, and hundreds “age out” of the system every year without having permanent family connections. We should be working together to do all we can to find loving, supportive homes for ALL children.

Last Name: Ratke Organization: enCircle Locality: Hanover

I am writing to express enCircle’s support for HB 1932. At enCircle (formerly Lutheran Family Services of Virginia), we are a Licensed Child Placing Agency (LCPA) that actively recruits and supports all kinds of qualified families, including LGBTQ families, to provide loving homes for children and youth in care. We believe it is wrong to discriminate against parents who are otherwise qualified to provide loving foster homes because of their identity. The child welfare system is a public system that uses taxpayer funds to support children in foster care and should not be used to discriminate against those who are LGBTQ. While we hope that passing this legislation does not cause any other LCPAs to cease serving children and families, we believe there is adequate capacity in the system to step in to maintain placements for the children who would be affected if that occurred. Agencies like ours have a history of working together in many ways to recruit foster families from all regions of the state and to best serve the children and youth with whom we work. Virginia still struggles to find loving homes for all the children and youth in care, and hundreds “age out” of the system every year without having permanent family connections. We should be working together to do all we can to find loving, supportive homes for ALL children.

Last Name: Wilkinson Locality: Danville

Protect Faith Based Christian adoption in our land.

Last Name: Slater Organization: The Activated People Locality: Richmond

My name is Valerie Slater, Esq. and I submit testimony on behalf of RISE for Youth and The Activated People. We are in strong support of HB1932. Congregate care settings are not ideal placements for children in care. Those who grow up in congregate care are more likely to have lower graduation rates, greater risk of physical abuse, separation from siblings and communities of origin, and higher rates of aging out without reunification or adoption. Virginia’s law sends a message to LGBTQ kids that the State views them as less worthy of being parents – that the state would rather see youth age out of care than be placed with an LGBTQ-headed household. Kids do not get to choose which agency they are placed with and have diverse needs that are best served by a diverse pool of prospective parents. If a child is placed with an agency that turns away LGBTQ families, or other families not aligned with their faith, this is tantamount to the State allowing an agency to discriminate and potentially rob that child of the loving support of a family. Therefore we strongly support HB1932 to repeal the conscientious clause.

Last Name: Lee Organization: Chris Lee Locality: Woodbridge

You need to rescind HB1932. Stop being a tyrant.

Last Name: Dean Locality: Sutherland, Virginia, United States

Repealing this bill would greatly affect the speed with which children can be placed in adoptive homes. It also is unfair to faith-based agencies many of whom operate through donations and therefore can perform adoption services below the cost of for-profit agencies. In effect, you are punishing not only the agency but the potential family they are trying to help. Putting faith-based agencies out of business helps no one.

Last Name: Konyndyk Organization: America World Adoption Association Locality: Arlington

The reason often cited for passing this bill is that doing so would lead to be more families fostering or adopting. Currently, no one who wants to adopt or provide a foster home is prohibited from doing so in the Commonwealth of Virginia. There are agencies that serve families from ALL backgrounds and beliefs through the state, so this bill would not increase the number of foster and adoptive families, it would decrease the number of families and ultimately cause further harm to children by disrupting placements causing further trauma to many children. Please consider the wider damage you would do by enacting this bill, I ask that you oppose HB 1932.

Last Name: Winston Organization: GLSEN Richmond Locality: Henrico

Good Morning Madam Chairwoman and members of the Committee. I represent GLSEN Richmond Talking points on the issue of a Conscience clause primarily revolve around an organizations rights and a religious applicants rights. What about the rights of the child. The idea that a religious institution could force placement of a child identifying as LGBTQ+ in a religious focused home that would be unsupportive of that child's identity is really more reprehensible than the license to discriminate against LGBTQ+ potential parents argument. Conscience clauses do not really intend to free religious people but rather they are intended to box in or control others. GLSEN works to ensure that LGBTQ+ students are able to learn and grow in a school environment free from bullying and harassment. How said that people claiming religion as their mantel fight to maintain control of youth that might identify as LGBTQ+ by bullying. GLSEN Richmond endorses HB 1932.

Last Name: Caywood Organization: PFLAG Norfolk/South Hampton Roads, Equality Virgina Locality: Virginia Beach

I ask your support of HB1932 "Child-placing agencies; conscience clause" because an agency that chooses to discriminate against a category of people should not receive government funding. It is unjust that my tax dollars should fund an agency that would refuse to place a child in the loving home my friends can offer. Children need families. Since the “conscience clause” went into effect in 2012, adoptions have steadily decreased. And no wonder when qualified loving LGBTQ and religious-minority families fear being rejected. HB1932 will increase the available homes where children can grow up with loving families of all backgrounds.

Last Name: Reams Organization: The Up Center Locality: Norfolk

The Up Center is a licensed child-placing agency in Virginia providing foster and adoptive services. We envision a world where society and its systems (e.g. education, criminal justice, healthcare, housing, and the economy) are just, fair, and inclusive, enabling all people to participate and reach their full potential. We believe in the dignity and humanity of all people. We strive for a healthy and prosperous society that promotes all people having equitable access and opportunity. We recognize that to achieve our vision, we must lead our social sector in making the changes we want to see in society. Virginia needs more families who can provide homes from children in care, not more agencies to take state funds while refusing to place children in qualified homes. Kids in care have diverse needs, and to meet their best interests, the pool of parents should reflect that diversity. It is time to put an end to state-sponsored discrimination in child welfare. We also understand that some agencies may make the choice to end their foster-adoptive programs in Virginia. Our agency would be ready and willing to help move existing foster families to our agency to prevent any disruptions to the placements of youth in foster care. Agencies in Virginia close offices for a variety of reasons, and private child placing agencies frequently coordinate with one another to assure continuity of placements for youth who are currently placed with a foster family. We would do the same if needed for this reason. We are in support of HB 1932 and the repeal of the conscience clause.

Last Name: Merriman Locality: Patrick County

I would like to ask that you do not remove the conscience clause. I have adopted through the foster care system. While going through training there was a same sex couple there. They were given a placement. After going to other trainings later on, we found out that the couple had split up and the child was living with one of the men. I know that anyone can split up and even Christian couples can split up, however, I think that the child in this situation is going to suffer. If both original "dads" get new same sex partners, the child could end up with at least four dads. I think that children in this situation will face a hard life. Regardless of love in the home, the problems that happen outside of the home because of the lifestyle, I feel will assist in taking the child down the wrong path. There is just so much confusion. I work in early childhood education. We are being trained on numerous areas concerning social, emotional, and behavioral health. This is because of the rise in homes that are abusive and neglectful. As a bible believing Christian, I can't help but believe that going against God and his teachings are harmful. Many Christians would agree. There are organizations including the state social services that support non-natural marriages and families, so why attempt to shut down organizations because they believe that a two parent, mother and father home would be the best in helping a child to overcome the already difficult life of abuse and neglect and abandonment. Mentally, they are already extremely vulnerable. The people going to a faith based agency would be like minded people. If they didn't feel the way that organization felt, they are free to go through other organizations. Choice should be allowed. What I am saying is that the state should not force belief. People should get to choose.

Last Name: Blakeney Locality: Henrico

Please oppose HB 1932. Firstly, organizations ought to be able to freely operate within the realm of conscious. The existing law ensures that adoption and foster care agencies are not forced simply for remaining true and following deeply held beliefs. By removing the existing laws, organizations that serve many of the children in the Virginia foster care system will be at risk having to lose their license and shut their doors. Subsequently, prospective parents will lose the opportunity to partner with these organizations in providing homes for the nearly 5400 children that are in the Virginia foster care system. Secondly, the Supreme Court of the United States is expected to reach a decision soon regarding Fulton vs the City of Philadelphia. The court heard oral arguments in November of last year regarding a case in which the city of Philadelphia which refused to renew its contract with Catholic Social Services, after over 100 years of service in caring for children, over their stance on the traditional view marriage. Please oppose HB 1932 these organizations are a vital part of the Virginia adoption and foster care system and the well being of our children.

Last Name: Akers Locality: Forest

I do not support overturning the conscience clause. Virginia needs faith based organizations to handle adoptions without the interference of government meddling to require them to provide services against their religious beliefs.

Last Name: Stoltzfus Locality: Rockingham

Please protect faith-based adoption agencies and foster care agencies. I understand that there are 5,400 children in Virginia's foster care system now. Why would our state want to cut out agencies that are working hard to find good places for these needy children? When I was growing up our family hosted 5 foster children in total. Our first two were brought to our house by the county sheriff the same evening that their father had shot their mother. They sure needed the care my parents provided. What would have been the result if we had not been available? For the sake of foster children including those ready for adoption please oppose HB 1932. We need all the welcoming families that are approved.

Last Name: Powell Locality: Front Royal

I ask that this bill go no further. It is not only an affront to religious freedom, which is not to be considered a private concern, but the manner in which we interact with society to bring about good. A faith that is merely personal is no faith at all. And a government that refuses to respect the rights of those who wish to exercise their faith in the public arena gives hollow praise to the term freedom. Beyond that, I have deep concerns for the welfare of the children to be impacted by this -children who have already suffered instability and often neglect and trauma. Below is an abstract concerning a study that took pains to prove that the emotional well being of children of same sex marriages is just fine. Of course, one had to dig to find this little nugget of truth because it is not politically correct. But children aren't interested in politics, they just want a safe, stable home. I would emphasize the last statistic that states the incidence of sexual abuse in lesbian 'marriages' (those seeking adoption) goes from zero to 38%. There is also anecdotal evidence from children raised in such households that beg those who would listen not to subject children to this. Abstract Wainright and Patterson’s three studies of the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health (Add Health) examining children in 44 lesbian mother families comprise a key part of research efforts that have found no disadvantages in well-being for children with same-sex parents using a statistically representative national sample. Re-examination of the data finds that 27 of the 44 cases are misidentified heterosexual parents. Replication after removing the error cases finds that children with same-sex parents experience significantly lower autonomy and higher anxiety, but also better school performance, than do children with opposite-sex parents. Re-analysis of family type (same-sex vs. opposite-sex) by marriage status finds that, on a range of measures of child well-being, opposite-sex marriage is associated with improved outcomes, but same-sex marriage is associated with with lower outcomes. Comparing unmarried to married same-sex parents, above-average child depressive symptoms rises from 50% to 88%; daily fearfulness or crying rises from 5% to 32%; grade point average declines from 3.6 to 3.4; and child sex abuse by parent rises from zero to 38%.

Last Name: Biggs Locality: Round Hill

My family has two adopted children from a faith based agency in Virginia. It was important for our family to choose a faith based agency because for prospective parents, we had shared beliefs, confidence and trust in the agency that took us through a very stressful process. Our agency continues to provide our family support, resources, education, and community. I was able to encourage my friend to also adopt from the same agency. Our social worker who did our home studies would pray with us which made a huge difference when we had to overcome hugh obstacles that were out of our control. Please do not repeal the statutory conscience protection for faith based agencies.

Last Name: Rohmiller Organization: Family Equality Locality: McLean

As co-chairs of the Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign, a coalition of over 700 individual, state, and national partners in the child welfare, faith, and civil rights communities who seek to promote the best interests of children in the foster care system by increasing their access to loving placements, Family Equality supports HB 1932. To be clear, repeal of the so-called "conscience clause" law does not impact purely private agencies that do not receive taxpayer funds, nor does it force an agency to close. There are more than 40 states that do not have conscience clause laws in place, and faith-based foster care and adoption agencies operate in nearly all of them, just as they operated in Virginia prior to passage of this law. Virginia has one of the highest rates in the country of foster children who age out of care without reunification or adoption. We should encourage every qualified parent to foster and adopt children in care. Instead, our state gives agencies taxpayer funds to place children in homes but allows those agencies to turn away qualified families - not because they don't meet state criteria, but because they don't meet an agency's religious criteria. Same-sex couples are seven times more likely to foster and adopt than different-sex couples, but Virginia's "conscience clause law" sends a message that reinforces historical discrimination experienced by the LGBTQ community and deters LGBTQ families from reaching out to agencies to foster and adopt. This law can even preclude kinship placements. An agency can invoke this law to refuse to certify the family member of a child in their care as a foster home simply because the family member is LGBTQ or practices a different faith. At a time when our foster care crisis has only worsened due to COVID, this is simply unconscionable. Providing for the care of children who have been removed from their homes is one of the most critical responsibilities of this state. Agencies that voluntarily enter into contracts with the state to carry out this work and duty of care should be held to the same well-established professional standards as the state itself: promoting the best interest of the child. Virginia's "conscience clause" law does just the opposite, prioritizing an agency's beliefs over a child's best interests. We ask this subcommittee to put children first and pass HB 1932. Thank you.

Last Name: Curtis Locality: Manassas Park, VA

To Whom it may Concern: Thank you for taking the time to read my comments and feedback. This Bill is incredibly close to my heart as it would directly impact the work that I do and my own family. I currently work for a faith-based adoption agency in the Northern Virginia area. I am humbled to serve families who have adopted from all corners of the globe and who desire to raise their children in morally-grounded, faith-rooted homes here in Virginia and across the U.S. If this conscience clause were to be repealed, our agency, though private and NOT state-funded, would be susceptible to lawsuits, lack of equal protection under the law, and potential closure simply for existing to serve families of faith-backgrounds. Virginia has an incredibly diverse and widely available selection of welfare providers for foster and adoptive families to choose from. There is no shortage of options for families of all backgrounds, whether they align with a particular religion or not. I ask you then, why would it be beneficial to remove the faith-based options, or expose them to lack of protection under the law, for families who do choose to partner with an agency based on shared beliefs? As an individual and family who hopes to one day adopt a child, it is incredibly important to me to have faith-based options that can provide holistic services, support, resources, and referrals within the scope of our shared beliefs and values. Raising a child with a trauma history is hard enough without the necessary support and vital role these agencies play in our welfare system. Keep Virginia's welfare provider options diverse and protect faith-based agencies for families who need them! Please oppose HB 1932. Thank you for your time, Amy

Last Name: Candusso Locality: Newport News

As the parent of two adopted children, adoption is close to my heart. Furthermore, with respect to the fact that one of our birth parents was seeking a Christian family, consisting of both a mother and father, I respectfully ask that you continue the religious conscience protections for these agencies. In a country where there is freedom of religion, we should not have to compromise in this. There are many secular agencies including social services for those who wish to refrain from our beliefs. This bill would not allow birth parents who want their children in Christian homes to feel as though they have a choice for their child. Furthermore, as Christians, we are not perfect, only forgiven. We know we sometimes mess up, but God, in his infinite wisdom made a way for forgiveness. There are many Christian birth mothers and fathers who have found themselves in a situation of an unexpected pregnancy and instead of abortion choose adoption and want their children raised in the Christian faith. The government should dictate what they can or cannot have for their child in this matter.

Last Name: Centrella Locality: Warren

I urge you not to not to repeal statutory conscience protections for faith-based organizations. These organizations provide homes for children. Regardless, they should not be forced to act against their own consciences or close their doors.

Last Name: Lacks Locality: Lunenburg

My husband and I adopted 4 children through a local Christian adoption agency. It has been the greatest blessing in our life. I respectfully ask that you continue the religious conscience protections for these agencies. There are many agencies that are not faith based. Our Christian faith should not be a target .We would not have adopted through any agency but a faith based one. This bill will deprive children of homes and families of children as it will force faith based agencies to close. That would be awful for so many.

Last Name: Williams Locality: Staunton

Adoption agencies should be able to place children in homes that reflect their conscience!! Faith based groups should work along the beliefs and conscience of their faith.

Last Name: Nartowicz Organization: Americans United for Separation of Church and State Locality: Washington, DC

On behalf of Americans United for Separation of Church and State’s Virginia supporters, I urge you to support HB 1932. This bill would help ensure children in foster care get the services they need and have the best opportunity to find loving homes. It would repeal § 63.2-1709.3 of the Code of Virginia, which allows state-funded child placement agencies to use religion to justify denying services to children and discriminating against prospective parents simply because they are the “wrong” religion. Section 63.2-1709.3 is not necessary to allow faith-based groups to provide foster and adoption care services—as noted in the impact statement, faith-based child placing agencies operated in Virginia before the law was passed. And faith-based organizations across the country currently provide these services in many states that don’t have this type of harmful law on the books. Repealing § 63.2-1709.3 would prevent child placing agencies from discriminating against qualified prospective parents who are the “wrong” religion, like what has happened at Miracle Hill Ministries in South Carolina. Three women who wanted nothing more than to help children in foster care have faced discrimination: • Aimee Maddonna, a Catholic mother of three who grew up in a family who provided a home for countless children in foster care, had been told by Miracle Hill that her family was a great fit to work with kids. Instead of being able to provide loving experiences to children in care, Miracle Hill told Maddonna they only work with people “who are Protestant Christian.” Maddonna has filed suit to stop this government-sanctioned religious discrimination. To learn more about Maddonna’s case, please visit https://www.au.org/fostercare. • Motivated by Jewish values and her father’s own experience in foster care, Lydia Currie and her husband wanted to expand their family by fostering. But Currie’s family was turned away because they are not evangelical Protestant. • Beth Lesser, who is also Jewish, attended a training co-hosted by Miracle Hill and completed background checks before she was told that she could not mentor or foster children because she’s Jewish. We appreciate the important role religiously affiliated institutions historically have played in partnership with the government to provide foster care services. Effective government collaboration with faith-based groups, however, has not and does not require the sanctioning of discrimination with taxpayer funds. No taxpayer-funded organization should be able to use a religious litmus test to refuse to provide services to children or place them in a safe and happy family. For these reasons, Americans United supports HB 1932. Nikolas Nartowicz Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Last Name: Ricardo Organization: C2Adopt (a private, licensed child placing agency in Richmond VA) Locality: Goochland County

C2Adopt Supports the Repeal of the Conscious Clause for the following reasons and raises the following questions: • We need to focus on increasing the pool of families available to foster and adopt the nearly 4,000 children in our VA foster care system and over 600 waiting for adoptive families • We are already serving LGBTQ youth and need to ensure that those youth have access to accepting and affirming families • The Conscious Clause is not consistent with the Virginia Values Act • There is no evidence that any LCPA has invoked use of the Conscious Clause since it’s enactment • C2Adopt is confident that there are other LCPAs who would and could meet the needs of children and families if any entity felt that by this repeal they could no longer provide child-placement services in Virginia • We raise the question of how have faith based organizations functioned differently since the Conscious Clause was enacted than prior to having it? • We raise the question of how a repeal of the Conscious Clause would cause any agency to function differently and why?

Last Name: Calhoun Organization: Co-leader Lewinsville Faith in Action Locality: Falls Church

I have already submitted written testimony and am in full support.

Last Name: Calhoun Organization: Lewinsville Faith in Action Locality: Falls Church

I write as former U.S. Commissioner of the Administration for Children, Youth and Families where I played a major role in helping to pass 96272, The Child Welfare and Adoption Act opf 1980, a bill which stressed finding and strengthening family strengths, and, not finding them in immediate or extended family, moving swiftly to adoption. Permanency was one of the core policy foundations. I also worked on this from a different position when serving as Commissioner of Youth Services in MA. there stressing support for delinquent children, and that failing, moving to adoption. And it was tough to find adoptive parents as many of these kids were wounded, angry, traumatized. Loving, courageous, committed adoptive families are hard to find, and thus I'm in full support which would widen the net of those willing to adopt. Anything you can do to expand the reservoir of loving folks ready and willing to adopt, I heartily applaud. Co-Leader, Lewinsville Faith in Action Consultant, National League of Cities

Last Name: DeGrave Organization: American Atheists Locality: Newport News

As a Virginia resident and an Assistant State Director for American Atheists, which has over 1,600 constituents in Virginia, I testify in support of HB1932, a bill that would end state-sanctioned discrimination in foster care and adoption based on religious beliefs. Every young person in Virginia deserves a loving home. This legislation would increase the number of available foster and adoption families, leading to more availability for children in foster care to have a loving, permanent home. We strongly urge you to support this bill. American Atheists is a national civil rights organization that works to achieve religious equality for all Americans by protecting what Thomas Jefferson called the “wall of separation” between government and religion created by the First Amendment. We strive to create an environment where atheism and atheists are accepted as members of our nation’s communities and where casual bigotry against our community is seen as abhorrent and unacceptable. We promote understanding of atheists through education, outreach, and community-building and work to end the stigma associated with being an atheist in America. Religious liberty is guaranteed by the First Amendment to protect individual beliefs; it does not create special rights for religious individuals and organizations to violate neutral laws or discriminate against groups they disfavor. children are in either long term foster care or awaiting adoption.1 Nationally, nearly 24,000 youth age out of foster care each year, finding themselves with no support at age 18. Furthermore, 20% of these youth which age out of foster care become homeless.2 HB 1932 addresses these troubling numbers by repealing the so-called “conscience clause,” which allows adoption and foster placement services to discriminate against potential families for these children. Nearly 40 states do not have such exemptions, and faith-based foster care and adoption agencies function well in these states, continuing to provide their services without discrimination. Without this repeal, child placement agencies that receive state funding will continue to be permitted to freely discriminate based on their religious beliefs. For example, these agencies could discriminate against would-be parents because they are (or are assumed to be) religious minorities or atheists, unmarried, LGBTQ, or have some other characteristic that the placement agency disfavors. Instead, placement decisions must be based on the best interest of the child, regardless of the agency’s religious beliefs. Currently, about 24% of adults are religiously unaffiliated, and atheists and agnostics make up about 7% of the total population.3 Therefore, even without considering the other categories of people affected, allowing foster placement agencies to discriminate on the basis of their religion will potentially exclude about a quarter of adults from providing a home for foster children, inevitably reducing the number of youth placed in loving, permanent homes. Moreover, repealing this harmful language will directly affect a significant number of religiously unaffiliated youth. Studies show that approximately 13% of youth ages 13-18 identify as atheists, with more than a third being nonreligious. We strongly urge you to support HB1932.

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

RISE for Youth supports this bill and urges the committee to act favorably on HB 1932. The only requirement that we should have for foster or adoptive families is that they provide a safe and loving home. We must repeal this unnecessary conscience clause.

Last Name: Wright Locality: Glen Allen

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

HB1962 - Foster care; termination of parental rights, relatives and fictive kin.
Last Name: McCullough Locality: Herndon

As a Foster Parent with Fairfax County DFS for the last six years, I do not write in support nor against this bill. However, I do want to provide testimony from direct experience with the Foster Care System that should be taken into account in regards to the definition of “fictive kin.” I could not agree more with the notion that the best permanency plan for children in foster care is with their immediate or extended family. I would also agree that placement with true fictive kin is more ideal than the child being adopted outside of their relational network. However, we have been involved with cases where we had a Foster Child who was permanently placed with “Fictive Kin” due to the lack of willingness of any immediate or extended family to care for the child. However, it was admitted by DFS staff that the family that was selected and designated as “Fictive Kin” were in fact not true fictive kin. To quote the social worker on the case: “This family is a friend of a friend of the child’s great Aunt who wants a baby.” Upon raising speculation on if this was the best permanency plan by both us and the CASA worker, we were told not to ask these kinds of questions. On top of that, the case ended up being transferred from Fairfax DFS to Arlington DFS because the person designated as “fictive kin” was an employee of Fairfax DFS and it was declared a conflict of interest. I understand this might be an isolated case. However, I do think it speaks to the need to be very specific and objective about who qualifies as “fictive kin” or “a person of interest” so as to make sure that this policy is not abused and therefore perpetuates more trauma for the child. Interested parties need to be able to demonstrate why someone deserves the label of “fictive kin.” I believe the policy aspiration of this bill is good but I also believe it presents a level of subjectivity that might actually create an outcome opposite of what the bill is seeking to accomplish.

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

In 2018, Black women died two and a half times more often that white women. Research derived from the National Vital Statistics Reports found that, of the 658 women who died of maternal causes in 2019, Black women fared the worst, dying two and a half times more often than white women. Black women have historically been susceptible to poor maternal health outcomes, some of which is suspected to be a combination of institutionalized racism and health disparities, such as obesity and hypertension. Black women are also less likely to have access to quality prenatal care. We are supportive of policy solutions that create opportunities that close gaps in disparities, such as this. Please support this bill.

HB1988 - Cannabis oil; processing and dispensing by pharmaceutical processors.
Last Name: Williams Organization: Virginia Medical Cannabis Patients Locality: Chesterfield, Virginia

I beg you, Include Flower for Medical Cannabis users. The vape oil hurts my lungs. I just moved here from Florida, and I had Great Success with Flower. Also, Please, Please let us have Adult Use. I believe some need medical assistance, while many do not. This should be considered along the lines of supplemental vitamins and herbs. The THC concerns are not in line with common knowledge of users. Users know some THC is beneficial, and sometimes not. With so many strains to choose from, it should be the choice of the user to find which strains they prefer. I personally became 'accustomed' to the affects of THC, and find it 'enhances' my thinking, it does not distort my thinking, save for some strains, but certainly not all. The distortions to my thinking are such that I simply become more artistic, I do not lose my ability to function, nor do I lose the ability to accomplish difficult tasks. When my second knee was replaced, I abandoned my rx, and chose cannabis. My second knee replacement recovery was superior to rx, which had side effects of which my doctors were concerned. Today 90% of my doctors are glad I use cannabinoids vs rx. Health care providers see first hand the benefits of Cannabinoids in the human body. There is growing evidence humans have become cannabinoid deficient since is was removed from the feeding regime of our livestock. The body has cannabinoid receptors, and more and more people are seeing miraculous type healing with most who use cannabinoids as a health supplement, and/or for medical needs. Adult use should be considered along the lines of 'after dinner cocktails or wine' without the fear of using too much. Using too much cannabis simply makes one sleepy. One cannot overdose on cannabis like one can with alcohol. The cannabinoids in cannabis neutralize carcinogens, so there is no fear of cancer, like there is with tobacco. The time is now to legalize and decriminalize the use of cannabis as a medicine or as a lifestyle choice. Christopher Newport College reports that 80% of Virginians Want Decriminalization. That means only 2 out of 10 oppose. You were elected to do the 'will of the people,' so Please, get to work. If you cannot arrange for or provide cannabis to the people, please, let them import it from one of the other legal states, like Washington State, California, Nevada, and more. I am 66 years old and feel I cannot live a fruitful life without free and easy access to Cannabis. I beg you, End The Suffering. People need this herb, especially ones whom work with their body or those who suffer from Inflammatory diseases. Cannabis lessens inflammation thereby lessening pain, thereby lessening anxiety. Don't take my word for it, look to "The Villages" in Florida where most of the medical cannabis is purchased by senior citizens, most of whom are Republicans. This is a bipartisan issue. Everyone wants it legal, Yesterday. Please, Please, I beg you, Legalize it NOW, End the War on Your Cousins, Brothers and Sisters, and yes, even Parents and Grandparents. No one wants anyone using it before age 18 wherein Psychology Today announces it is the end of Brain Development wherein cannabis can inhibit brain growth. After 18 mounting evidence suggests cannabis help Heal the Brain, Especially as we age. I truly hope Virginia sets the example here, I really don't want to drive to the Carolina's the get 'cheaper Cannabis' like some tobacco users do. Let's keep it in Virginia, and keep the tax low

Last Name: Williams Organization: Decriminalize Virginia Locality: HAMPTON

I am supporting HB1988 as written. I am supporting HB 1988 as written. I am supporting HB 2218 nd HB 2222 as written

HB2005 - Disposition of the remains of a decedent; persons to make arrangements for funeral.
Last Name: Whittaker Organization: Virginia Funeral Directors Association Locality: Hanover

We thank the Members for hearing HB2005. I would like to stress that we worked closely with the Virginia Bar to craft the bill aligning the priority of the next of kin to closely align with the current Code set out in the Wills, Trusts and Fiduciaries section. We also worked with DHP to be sure there is no conflict with other sections of the Code of Virginia. The following organizations support HB2005: Virginia Funeral Directors Association Virginia Network of Private Providers Virginia Association of Community Services Boards Virginia Association for Hospice Boards SCI Lacy Whittaker Executive Director, VFDA

Last Name: Keeney Organization: Association of Independent Funeral Homes of Virginia Locality: Henrico

The Association of Independent Funeral Homes of Virginia represents over 150 independent funeral homes and their chapels throughout the Commonwealth. Our organization opposes HB 2005 introduced by Delegate Sickles. This legislation will reduce a funeral directors ability to work with the right family member as opposed to the one who's highest on a pre-determined list. The legislation sets a double standard where cemeteries will not be held to the same hierarchy requirement even though they are a part of the disposition process. Moreover the hierarchy concept fails to incorporate all appropriate groups/parties such as grandparents and grandchildren. It also fails to permit unmarried couples to be involved in the process until all higher priority groups have waived their rights. Effectively unmarried couples will be removed from this process with the passage of this legislation in most circumstances. Right now a problem does not exists as a Virginia has a good system for making decision for the disposition of a decedent. This change will make it difficult for funeral directors to navigate the difficult family dynamics that often exists. Please oppose HB 2005.

Last Name: Williams Organization: Decriminalize Virginia Locality: HAMPTON

I am supporting HB1988 as written. I am supporting HB 1988 as written. I am supporting HB 2218 nd HB 2222 as written

Last Name: Spiaggi Organization: Virginia Funeral Directors Association Locality: Chesterfield

I encourage you to support HB2005. This bill aligns the priority of next of kin with the right to make arrangements for their loved ones with the Wills, Trusts and Fiduciary section of Code. You may have heard from opposition that this removes "flexibility" for determining which relative is responsible for final arrangements. What they mean is that the FUNERAL HOME does not have the flexibility to determine which relative is responsible for final arrangements. The funeral home should NOT be choosing which relative is responsible; however current Code is ambiguous and actually does allow that. For Example: If you elderly mother is visiting a relative in the far end of Virginia from you and she dies - THAT relative (cousin, aunt...), who may be trying to safe you the anguish of arranging for her funeral has your mother cremated. THAT can happen now. Setting a concise next of kin priority eliminates such occurrences. Opposition indicates that this would increase the funeral home's liability. In fact, HB2005 does the opposite. By establishing the priority in Code, a funeral professional can the show a list to family members, which will set expectations for the family members and provide protections for the funeral home. Without this prioritization, the funeral professional then becomes a mediator for a family in dispute. Those who oppose indicate that this prioritization will create unnecessary delay of arrangements. There are many reasons for delay. Prioritization won't be one of those reasons. In fact, it may prevent intra-family disagreement and and even prevent court action because it is very clear who has the right to make final arrangements. It has been indicated that prioritization of next of kin will increase the cost of funeral arrangements. Untrue. This proposed change protects the consumer first and when a dispute arises and legal action must be taken, a judge will have a clear and concise law to guide a decision. Finally - Opposition indicates that HB2005 is a solution looking for a problem. HB2005 is in fact a solution to an every-increasing problem. With more blended and fractured families, funeral professionals are having to address and mediate family disputes without the clear guidance established in HB2005. Thank you, Laurence F. "Larry" Spiaggi, CFSP, CPC, CCO Certified Celebrant Funeral Director/Owner

Last Name: Bezik Organization: Virginia Funeral Directors Association Locality: Williamsburg

HB2005 is a bill that makes clear the priority of the next of kin who have the right to make funeral arrangements for their loved ones. The VFDA worked with the Virginia Bar to align the priority with the Wills, Trusts and Fiduciary section of Code - an alignment that makes perfect sense. This clarification of priority helps a family in disagreement understand fully who has the priority, rather than the current Code that is ambiguous and would allow anyone to make such decisions. The VFDA worked with DHP as well to ensure no conflicts between Code sections, refine notification requirements, and remove embalming as a decision by the funeral home to preserve bodies in the case of family dispute. You have likely heard from some in opposition who say that HB2005 establishes a "rigid hierarchy" for next of kin authorized to make such decisions. This is true! It creates a MUCH NEEDED "rigid hierarchy" that establishes more concise priorities in the process. Opposition indicates that it removes the "flexibility" in determining which relative is responsible for arrangements. When they talk about flexibility, they are referring to the ability for anyone on any level of kinship to control making the final arrangements for the deceased. HB2005 establishes clearer more concise next of kin priorities and sets the expectations of the next of kin - it creates strong consumer protections. PLEASE SUPPORT HB2005

Last Name: Seibert Organization: VA Cemetery. Association Locality: Richmond VA

The VA Cemetery Association has been working with the proponents of this bill for the last three sessions to ensure that cemeteries are extricated from this new section of Code. We are getting closer, but we still aren't quite there, but are committed to continue to working to get the language right. We appreciate the willingness to work with us and hope we can come to a satisfactory conclusion this year.

HB2044 - Naturopathic doctors; Board of Medicine to license and regulate.
Last Name: Wright Organization: VAANP Locality: Richmond, VA

The VAANP requests that the Committee vote YES on HB 2044: 1. Licensing is the most appropriate form of regulation for Naturopathic Doctors (NDs). Title protection will not convey a scope of practice – without this, we will have gained no ground towards the goal of meaningfully expanding access to additional care for Virginians. Additionally: certain parties have stated that NDs do not meet the risk for harm criteria, but that there is no opposition to title protection for the profession. In order to be eligible for title protection, a group or profession must demonstrate that they meet five of the requisite criteria – including Criterion 1: Risk for Harm 2. This is a distinct profession. It is a blend of conventional, scientific, and empirical methodology with natural therapies. Therefore NDs receive education and training in both traditional sciences and naturopathic medicine through competency-based, in-residence doctoral naturopathic medical programs at CNME-accredited schools. These medical programs include: Biomedical sciences, Environmental Health, Pharmacology and pharmacognosy, Diagnostic subject matter/courses, Therapeutic subject matter/ courses, and Clinical subject matter/courses. Note: Certain naturopathic medical schools also receive National Institute of Health (NIH) Research Grants. 3. 25 states & jurisdictions are using the exact same basic educational and training requirements from HB 2044 to define NDs as a profession and regulate them as providers. The scope of practice includes the suggestions made by the BHP Regulatory Research Committee in their recommendation report, and mirrors the core components included in the practice scopes of almost every state that currently licenses Naturopathic Doctors. HB 2044 provides an exceptionally limited scope, focused on the following: o Perform physical exams; o Order labs; o Order diagnostic imaging (without interpretation; that is handled by another licensed provider) There are no prescriptive rights for Schedule II-VI drugs. There is no minor surgery. There are numerous specifications about how NDs shall operate collaboratively with other licensed providers – including MDs – as well as accountability and transparency measures related to how NDs convey their practice and profession to patients and the public.

Last Name: Inzer Organization: American Naturopathic Association Locality: Eagle, ID

This is written response to the House taking up HB2044. I am saddened that this piece of legislation has been rushed through the Virginia House of Delegates so quickly that there has not been a chance for both sides of this important legislation be heard. As I mentioned in a previous letter, there are two separate groups of Naturopathic Doctors. One side is represented by this bill and the other will be completely locked out of practice if this passes. I grant the CNME (Council of Naturopathic MEDICAL Education) the use of Natural MEDICAL Doctor (NMD), but as a Naturopath who has over 4,000 hours of education, I am a Doctor. The paradigm I, as well as many Naturopaths in Virginia, practice under is more than just suggesting herbs, minerals and other supplements. Our paradigm is different than what is outlined in HB2044 and a few Naturopaths who went to one of 6 specific schools desire a monopolistic control over our profession. Please do NOT send this to the floor for vote. I understand that this particular language was killed in the Senate Subcommittee. Please follow your fellow lawmakers lead and NOT pass this bill. Thank you, Sir Rev. Dr. Colby Inzer, ND, DN, Sanctified Healer (SMOKH), NBENQA, NCTMB, LMT, President American Naturopathic Association

Last Name: Rochelle N.D. Organization: National Board of Naturopathic Examiners Locality: Washington D.C. (The District)

The National Board of Naturopathic Examiners (Virginia, District of Columbia) 4410 Massachusetts Ave. NW#360 Washington, District of Columbia 20016 Established 1951 The National Board of Naturopathic Examiners sends its greetings to: Virginia House Committee on Health Professionals, Dear sirs and gentle women of this committee, it has come to our attention that a study was conducted last year by the Virginia Department of Health pertaining to Naturopathic Medicine and Naturopathy. Though we were not aware of this study and did not write in, we are now aware and would like to formally announce our opposition to HB2044 for the following reasons. WE OPPOSE HB 2044 for the following reasons: 1. The study conducted by VDHP was not exhaustive as they did not include the oldest certifying and testing body in the nation for Naturopathic Doctors; The National Board of National Board of Naturopathic Examiners. It is our understanding that the American Naturopathic Medical Certification Board and the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners were studied, neither of these boards predate the National Board of Naturopathic Examiners . 2. Our national exam the NDLEX was not part of the VDH study. 3. HB2044 does not make a distinction between Doctors of Naturopathy and Doctors of Naturopathic Medicine nor the practice of Naturopathy and that of Naturopathic Medicine. This distinction is seen by law in California, New Mexico, Montana, Idaho and Colorado for instance. 4. This bill would disenfranchise those Naturopathic Doctors who do not practice Naturopathic medicine but practice naturopathy . 5. The titles Naturopath, Natural Medicine, ND, and Doctor of Naturopathy do not belong exclusively to graduates of CNME colleges. Their title is Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine or NMD. Sincerely, Dr. Paula Rochelle N.D. Chair of the Board of Naturopathic Examiners

Last Name: Inzer Locality: Virginia Beach

In 1931, the Dictionary of Occupational Licenses defines a Naturopathic Doctor as ” [one who] Diagnoses, treats, and cares for patients, using a system of practice that bases treatment of physiological functions and abnormal conditions on natural laws governing the human body: Utilizes physiological, psychological, and mechanical methods, such as air, water, light, heat, earth, phytotherapy, food and herb therapy, psychotherapy, electrotherapy, physiotherapy, minor and orificial surgery, mechanotherapy, naturopathic correction and manipulation, and natural methods or modalities, together with natural medicines, natural processed foods and herbs, and nature’s remedies. Excludes major surgery, therapeutic use of x-ray and radium, and use of drugs, except those assimilable substances containing elements or compounds of body tissues and are physiologically compatible to body processes for maintenance of life.” This is the definition the ANA still stands behind today. The ANA was formed by Dr. Lust in 1919 as an institution. This organization split into two distinct groups in 1942 w/ separate identities. One of these groups became the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) and formed the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME). The other group retained the name ANA and went dormant for many years following Dr. Lust’s death in 1945. We believe in the distinct sets of education between those who desire to be called “Naturopathic Medical Doctors” (NMD) and “Naturopathic Doctors” (ND). An ND is a professional who has 4,000 hours of post graduate education—including 2,000 hours of clinical experience. In 1950 Dr. Wendel proposed a Standardization of Naturopathy and he provided the following definition: “NATUROPATHY is defined as a scientific system of Natural Healing by a Naturopathic Physician, to diagnosis, treat, prescribe for any human disease, pain, injury, deformity, for any physical, chemical or mental condition through the use of AIR, WATER, LIGHT, HEAT, EARTH, FOOD and HERB THERAPY, PHYSIOTHERAPY,MINOR and ORIFICIAL SURGERY, MECHANOTHERAPY, NATUROPATHIC CORRECTIONS and ADJUSTMENTS, and all Natural Methods or Modalities; together with Natural Medicines; Natural Processed Foods, Herbs and Nature’s remedies, which contains life and health elements, or compounds which are components of body tissues, which has for its objects the maintaining of the body in, or restoring it, to a state of normal health excluding the use of poisonous DRUGS, SERUMS, INJECTIONS, CONCOCTIONS, MAJOR SURGERY, X-RAY and RADIUM for therapeutic purposes or unnecessary surgery or mutilations.” In short we believe in the curative force of NATURE and the use of anything found in nature to encourage the healing of a body. Naturopathic education should embrace the study of life in all its aspects, physical, psychological, spiritual and social. We recognize the importance of Allopathic Medicine and the need for direct acute or traumatic care that needs to be practiced by MD’s, or DO’s who are currently licensed. The paradigm that NMD’s schools fashioned their programs to more closely resemble Medical Education. ND’s ONLY and naturally occurring substances to treat and “cure” the human body understand that a strong education in health sciences is needed.The ANA is asking the Virginia House of Delegates to recognize the distinct trainings of NMD’s and ND’s.

Last Name: Steele Locality: Virginia Beach

I represent the Virginia Naturopathic Doctors Association affiliated with the American Naturopathic Association which predates the Naturopathic Medical Doctors presented. Naturopathic Medical Doctors are distinct from Naturopathic Doctors. Therefore, this is invalid. Their diplomas say Naturopathic Medicine not Naturopathic Doctors.

Last Name: Mantay, Ludwig - HMC(SW)Ret., BS, MPH Locality: Warrenton, VA

Support HB 2044: I have served in the US Navy for twenty-one and a half years as a Hospital Corpsman, retiring as a Chief Petty Officer. I served as a clinical laboratory technician conducting all aspects of clinical medical laboratory medicine to my final duty serving as Operations Department Head for the Biological Defense Research Directorate, Naval Medical Research Center. In that capacity, I was privileged to lead a team in delivering to this nation a rapidly deployable laboratory capability performing RT-PCR, handheld lateral flow assays, and ELISA capability for the detection of biological warfare agents in support of the Joint Special Operations Command, Intelligence Community, FBI, and the USSS from 1999 to 2002. I highlight this to provide the frame of reference from which I evaluate my current experience as a first-year medical student at Bastyr University. As a first-year student, I have experienced the highest standards of education, demonstrating the highest level of medical knowledge. My education to date entails gross anatomy, the physiology of electrical waveform generation in the heart, the biochemistry of lipid transportation, the histology of epithelial cells, the embryology of the development of the heart, as well as charting patient examinations, and conducting clinical skills assessments in preparation for clinic shifts that will begin in the spring. The experience of caring for my wife as she has battled numerous autoimmune conditions for the last twenty-one years convinced me to pursue my ND as opposed to an MD. The combination of naturopathic modalities and allopathic modalities have provided her the greatest relief. Licensing ND’s will enhance access to healthcare in Virginia through complementary modalities of care that augment and enhance the patient’s opportunities for restoring their health. Licensing will provide additional opportunities for positive health outcomes for the patient in a safe, regulated, and licensed fashion. The citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia deserve access to degreed and licensed naturopathic physicians with a defined scope of care. In 2024, I will graduate from an accredited naturopathic education institution with the intent to practice as a licensed, regulated ND with a defined scope of care. I, and many of my fellow students want to contribute to the health and welfare of the citizens of Virginia when we graduate. My request of you is to support ND licensure in the Commonwealth of Virginia, enabling my fellow NDs and me to serve patients with compassionate and educated care. Failure to do so will only benefit California, Washington, Oregon, and other states that license NDs. I await your decision so I can make mine.

Last Name: Rice, RPh Locality: Richmond, VA

My name is Dr. Baylor Rice, I have been a pharmacist in Virginia for over 25 years and I am in support of HB 2044 and the licensure of naturopathic doctors. I have been serving the community as the President of South River Compounding Pharmacy since 1998 at our locations in both Richmond and Midlothian, Virginia. I testified in support of SB 858 (a bill to license naturopathic doctors in Virginia) during the 2020 legislative session, and I am today again writing in my full support of regulating medically-trained naturopathic doctors in Virginia through licensure. I have been working in collaboration with naturopathic doctors for over 10 years now in the capacity of health optimization. Our work dovetails nicely, and together we are able to offer solutions in the most complex of clinical cases. It is through this experience of co-management that I am able to attest to the depth of the medical knowledge of NDs as well as the capacity of their clinical training. Naturopathic medicine is a distinct health care profession with an entirely unique scope that serves to meet the needs of constituents where many times their health goals are not otherwise met through conventional medicine alone. Naturopathic doctors are experts in their field related to natural therapies where they understand how the systems of the body work as a whole, as well as the interactions between pharmacotherapy, nutrition, and botanical medicine. Even though they have a variety of tools and therapies at their disposal they are trained to know when to refer and the importance of collaboration. They focus on prevention and restoration. As you are aware, naturopathic doctors are graduates that attend onsite 4-year naturopathic medical programs, and they complete board exams in basic sciences. They also complete licensing exams in pharmacology, nutrition, botanical therapies, and physical medicine known as NPLEX. It is important to note that naturopathic doctors have residency training available as do pharmacists and both of which are competitive and can last anywhere between 1-3 years of additional training. Because Naturopathic doctors are trained as primary care providers, their scope should reflect such training. Licensing is the most appropriate level of regulation for medically-trained health care professionals. Neither certification nor registration adequately distinguish between licensable, medically-trained naturopathic doctors and lay naturopaths. With every medical profession, it is important to have oversight to ensure accountability and public safety. The practice of naturopathic medicine is no different. I urge the legislature to vote in favor of licensure for naturopathic doctors.

Last Name: Dr. Lee, MD Locality: Ashburn, VA

I am writing to you in support of HB 2044. I am a board certified physician in Internal Medicine, with over 25 years of practice. I currently work for Inova in Ashburn, Virginia. I urge you to pass this bill. Conventional medicine cannot help all our patients. Naturopathic medicine has a distinct and important approach to health in which conventional medicine is lacking. I have referred many patients to naturopathic doctors, who have been able to provide relief or improvement in their conditions. Naturopathic medicine emphasizes health, rather than sickness. I have had quite a few patients who have been able to decrease or stop medication, returning them to a state of health and wellness. There are those in conventional medicine who are opposed to novel ideas in medicine. I trained at UVa, and one of my professors was Barry Marshall. At the time he was teaching us, he told us he was being vilified in the medical community for proposing that H. pylori (a bacteria) could cause ulcers and some cancers. Years later, he won a Nobel Prize in Medicine for this finding. Naturopathic medicine provides many novel ideas and approaches in the care of patients, and trained naturopathic doctors should not be prohibited from practice and from contributing more fully to the collective healthcare field. I believe it is a disservice to Virginia residents, to deny them better access to the full range of care that naturopathic doctors are qualified to safely provide. Please support licensure for naturopathic doctors.

Last Name: Humphrey, J., PharmD Locality: Henrico, VA

I’m a resident of Henrico County, VA. I am also a graduate of Shenandoah University School of Pharmacy, and – prior to a career shift – was a licensed pharmacist in the state for several years. I urge the General Assembly to support HB 2044. While I am no longer working in this field, the landscape of healthcare in Virginia continues to be a topic of interest (and concern) for me. As a citizen, and a former licensed healthcare professional, it is my opinion that voting to create licensure for Naturopathic Doctors would be the positive and responsible decision. Prior to educating myself on naturopathic modalities and practitioners, I was unaware there were actual naturopathic DOCTORS – with substantial medical training and education, graduates of in-residence doctoral medical programs, and who are licensed in almost half the states in our nation. These practitioners complete standardized exams, and their medical programs are accredited by a federally-recognized body. Before, my experience with and understanding of “naturopath” consisted of anti-medicine and little or no legitimate study or education in evidence-based healthcare. Distinguishing between the different groups is important, and legislative action should not be dictated by opponents who lack sufficient training – or by opponents in organized medicine who misrepresent the qualifications of naturopathic doctors. The scope of practice proposed by HB 2044 is narrow, defined, and specific. Allowing a healthcare provider to practice as fully to the scope of their training as reasonably possible is a responsible and efficient way to govern or regulate healthcare. At this juncture, naturopathic doctors are unreasonably limited in what they are able to provide here in Virginia. The education and training of NDs is more than sufficient to engage in these defined healthcare services. While I do not endorse allowing naturopathic doctors to engage in certain modalities – such as chiropractic care or surgery – restricting their medical education and training as doctors to those services within the exact same parameters of untrained naturopaths is a needless limitation, without any real benefit. How is the health of our state served by voluntarily restricting access to qualified providers, able to diagnose and treat? Naturopathic doctors are equipped to practice to a broader, defined scope, and there is a significant population to serve; licensure is the regulatory vehicle that allows for this. It is also the mechanism through which the state proactively works to protect patients and the public from the risks present.

Last Name: Keenan, MD Locality: Paeonian Springs, VA

SUPPORT for HB 2044. I would like to share a few relevant points regarding my career and experience with Naturopathic Doctors. In 1988, I moved to Northern Virginia and opened a practice in Sterling. I was a newly graduated, Board Certified Internal Medicine Physician. It was not long before I recognized the challenge of managing patients with chronic conditions. In 1995, I underwent a 5 year saga of reproductive endocrinology treatment in an effort to conceive. Complications from these procedures led to me being confined to bed for over a year. During this time, I read many books and took an extension course from Harvard in Complementary Medicine, now called Integrative Medicine. I learned the history of medicine, including the birth and subsequent role of the American Medical Association in directing the delivery of health care away from eastern medical treatments, and the systemic rejection of natural therapies with the discovery of now-conventional treatments. When I returned to practice in 2000, I began working with integrative providers. By this point I had expanded from a solo practice to a patient-centered, multi-disciplinary, primary care medical home with four different locations in Northern Virginia. My clinic was the largest integrative, primary care, medical home in Virginia, until being acquired by Inova in 2016. Over 18 years of working NDs, we helped thousands of patients in a team-like manner, merging the best of Eastern and Western medicine with the patient truly at the “Center of Care.” We were referred patients deemed “unresponsive to mainstream approaches,” and it was a rare patient that we didn’t help. Naturopathic doctors are trained to look at “the whole patient”, rather than the reductionist approach that is crippling healthcare today. Many patients were cured by reducing the poly-pharmacy that we see so frequently today. While I understood the value of having naturopathic doctors as part of the team and was glad to employ them in medical practice, larger systems were and remain unable to credential unlicensed providers. Restricting naturopathic doctors from health care practice is unnecessary and almost harmful, in today’s healthcare landscape and with the shortage of providers across the country. They have demonstrated for years that they have the proper education and medical training for the scope of practice suggested in this bill, and I along with many other licensed medical professionals can attest to this. I urge you to support the licensing of naturopathic doctors and vote for HB 2044.

Last Name: Dr. Ciprian, D.C. Locality: Washington, DC

I am a chiropractor licensed in Virginia and in the District of Columbia. I know several Naturopathic doctors that I work with in Virginia. Please support HB 2044, a bill to license naturopathic doctors in Virginia: It provides public safety and transparency by asking the Board of Medicine to oversee and address the potentials for harm in practice, and by outlining the allowed use of certain designations based on medical training and education (“licensed naturopath,” “naturopathic doctor,” etc.). It promotes additional choices in available healthcare approaches for Virginia citizens, that will provide better service and care for patients who choose naturopathic medicine. This legislation will not prohibit “traditional naturopaths” or other lay practitioners from continuing to run their business in Virginia within existing parameters, and will not put limitations on citizens who choose to work with these other natural health practitioners. Patient protection and choice are key. Sincerely yours, Robert Ciprian, D.C., D.I.B.A.K.

Last Name: Petty Locality: Lansdowne, Virginia

I urge you to support HB 2044 for the licensure of medically trained naturopathic doctors, in order to provide additional and safe health care access in our state. I have been a Nurse Practitioner since 1998. I am Board Certified as a Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner, and as a Family Nurse Practitioner. I have had the opportunity to work in collaboration with naturopathic doctors for several years, and have found them to operate at a high-level of patient care and safety. When working collaboratively with naturopathic doctors, I have been impressed with the care taken to work with the patient on prevention and to achieve optimal health. The training naturopathic doctors receive is intense: they complete a 4-year on-site, accredited medical program, as well as national board exams in applicable sciences. The training also requires licensing exams in pharmacology, nutrition, botanical therapies, and physical medicine. Naturopathic doctors receive education and clinical competencies training, that is comparable to the preparations a nurse practitioner undergoes. Through their expansive training and practice, naturopathic doctors are distinct experts in their field related to natural therapies, able to understand the interactions between pharmacotherapy, nutrition, and botanical medicine. Naturopathic doctors are already licensed in 22+ states and in DC. Allowing licensure in the Commonwealth of Virginia will increase access to care, while maintaining safety for patients. I have concerns about naturopathic doctors NOT obtaining licensure within Virginia. There are lay naturopaths who do not receive the extensive education and training of naturopathic doctors in accredited doctoral medical programs and yet, they are able to refer to themselves as naturopathic doctors. I believe the public is more at risk when there is no licensure that assures that standards of education and practice are met. Licensure also allows the public to have a regulated means to express their concerns in the event of an untoward outcome.

Last Name: O'Connor, Shannon Locality: Fredericksburg, VA

I urge you to SUPPORT licensing for qualified Naturopathic Doctors by voting YES on HB 2044. I have been a Nurse for almost 30 years and have worked with both Conventional and Natural medicine and have witnessed the benefits of them working together to achieve amazing healing within the body. The patient deserves the best care and the best options for their needs, many have been so over medicated their system needs to be detoxed with natural medicine. Virginians deserve to have the options to see Naturopathic Doctors. Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) are a distinct profession that blends conventional medicine with natural therapies. This approach provides NDs with specialized skills and training – focusing on whole patient wellness through health promotion and disease prevention. NDs attend four-year, in residence doctoral programs in naturopathic medicine at a CNME-accredited school, and complete 4,000 hours of relevant training (including hands on, supervised clinical training). They also pass national licensing exams. NDs are trained and qualified to provide physical exams and order labs and diagnostic imaging – however, because of the lack of a practice license, Virginians are unable to access some of these basic health care services from a Naturopathic Doctor. HB 2044 would help address the provider shortage in Virginia by creating a very limited scope of practice for qualified Naturopathic Doctors, and includes multiple protections for public safety and professional accountability as a part of licensing. Language in the bills also promotes transparency from providers, and ensures that NDs responsibly and fully collaborate with the wider team of licensed health care professionals to be sure each patient receives the best care possible. Exemption language has also been included to make sure that traditional naturopaths and lay practitioners (individuals without accredited education or training) are not prohibited from being able to continue offering the same services and consulting in Virginia that they do today. Almost half the nation is already regulating Naturopathic Doctors. It is now time for Virginia to recognize and license this rapidly growing profession. Please vote YES on HB 2044 and support better access to safe and effective health care for all Virginians! Sincerely, Shannon O’Connor

Last Name: McCarter Locality: Rockville, MD

Dear Honorable Members of the Committee, I am writing to you in support of HB 2044. I am a licensed Naturopathic doctor and licensed Acupuncturist in the state of Maryland with over a decade of clinical experience. I currently own and operate a medical practice in Rockville, MD. I urge you to pass HB 2044. Over the course of my career, now having practiced in two states, I have consistently documented improvement in not only patient-reported outcomes but biomarkers as well. These patients were previously unable to achieve such changes when receiving conventional medical care alone. Naturopathic medicine offers an important approach to health, that is both safe and effective, that is absent in the education and training of conventionally trained doctors. In the decade that I have been in practice, I have enjoyed collegial and collaborative relationships with conventionally trained physicians whether through referral or during my time serving on the Board for Integrative Medicine for the Underserved (IM4US) an organization comprised of primarily conventionally trained physicians from across the United States. These physicians are not alone in their ability to see the value of what Naturopathic medicine has to offer. I have experienced a warm welcome in the state of Maryland from several conventionally trained doctors with whom I have come into contact. They have expressed their desire to work with me and to refer patients to me for my particular expertise in the use of natural therapeutic modalities. Licensure of Naturopathic doctors is prudent not only for the benefit to individual patients but also because Naturopathic doctors can help alleviate the strain on our healthcare system in light of the shortage of primary care practitioners. Licensed Naturopathic doctors have the appropriate education and training to be able to fill the current gaps in primary care. Your support of HB 2044 is essential and would be a great service to the residents of Virginia. Please support licensure for naturopathic doctors. Sincerely, Safiya McCarter, ND, LAc

Last Name: Klisz Locality: Richmond

I am a psychotherapist (LPC) in Richmond, VA writing in support of HB 2044 licensing Naturopathic doctors as full doctors with the ability to diagnose and treat patients, provide complete physical exams and authorize labs and imaging for patients. In my work with clients I often have the honor and privilege of collaborating with local naturopathic doctors. In my experience their broad and holistic view often allows for solutions to complex and troubling medical conditions that are misdiagnosed or under treated by traditional Western medicine. I have also found naturopathic doctors to be quite adept in assessing for mental health issues, triaging and referring patients out for counseling to augment the medical treatment. This has consistently led to better outcomes for my clients. Given the robust and thorough approach of naturopathic doctors, as well as the holistic and patient centered nature of these providers I can only imagine how much it would enhance patient care and access to provide a licensure process and broaden what a naturopathic doctor can provide for patients.

Last Name: Norris Locality: Henrico, VA

Disclaimer that I don’t work in healthcare or belong to any advocacy group for or against this bill. But as a citizen skeptical of most all folks who get to charge you even when THEY are late for an appointment and who’s gotten lots of friends contacting me about naturopathic medicine and licensing, I do want to post some pretty obvious thoughts on medical businesses and titles. And why representatives should vote YES for Hb2044. 1) Medical doctors are not the only types of doctors. I respect my PCP and listen to their advice when I actually go. But doing a little research on other bills, and VA has a long bad habit of letting Medical lobbyists dictate what can or can’t, or should or shouldn’t happen about the business of ALL professions. It’s not insulting medical docs and the good they do to state the fact that their lobbying society is going to try and protect a business interest-just like Dominion, big tobacco, gambling and others. And when medical society members also belong to some of the state departments that our representatives say they turn to for advice, makes me wonder how much my elected lawmakers are relying on institutions that probably have some bias against other professions getting to practice. 2) Folks can argue over who is a REAL doctor all day long. But just as real; you can go to an online school, wear a white coat and call yourself a Doctor all you want but it doesn’t actually make you one. Representatives here in VA have been able to figure out what makes you eligible to be a so and so and do such and such, for dozens of other occupations and jobs. Other states that have licenses for naturopath doctors and medical doctors and other doctors have been able to figure it out. Seems like the requirements in this bill are a good start to having it all figured out. 3) The government shouldn’t force you to do anything to your own body you don’t want to have done to you. But our government also should keep in mind that some people opposed to this bill think that all modern medicine and prescriptions are poisonous including any vaccines. If social media is any clue they’re not shy about spreading this false information, to the general public. If folks want to listen that’s their right, but VA should also be sure that it isn’t using input from these people to decide what should happen with MEDICAL policy. Thanks for your time.

Last Name: Dr. Pylypko, MD Locality: Ashburn, VA

Please SUPPORT HB 2044. I am writing this in support of licensing Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) in Virginia. I am a practicing Family Medicine doctor, and have had the fortunate experience of working with NDs over the last six years. I found them to be very knowledgeable and helpful to patients and I was grateful that they could provide alternative solutions to medical problems for which conventional approaches had failed. Additionally, while working with NDs I was particularly impressed at their breadth of knowledge regarding the many uses of natural therapies and potential side effects. They were familiar with the appropriate labs to monitor for adverse reactions, and studied the current scientific literature to ensure proper dosing and frequency of supplement regimens. One of the core tenets to their practice includes the ‘Do No Harm’ policy which guided them to always err on the side of safety in an emerging field where large randomized control trials are sometimes lacking. I was very touched by their commitment to the overall well-being and health of our shared patients and I looked to them as valuable players on our health care team. Moreover, I became comfortable referring patients to NDs after learning about their rigorous four-year degree program. The first two years of their education are dedicated to the medical sciences and include courses in biochemistry, anatomy, pathophysiology, and neuroanatomy that are similar in content and length to the courses required for traditional medical doctors. During their second two years they undergo systems and population studies (gynecology, cardiology, gastroenterology, geriatrics, etc.) Throughout their training they focus on the application of natural therapies such as botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, physical medicine and health counseling. Some go on to complete additional training in acupuncture. Additionally, all NDs complete professional board exams, and they have the opportunity to complete residencies to further master their practice. They are credentialed by a committee (the CNME) recognized by the US Department of Education. The licensing of naturopathic doctors would allow them to practice more fully to the scope of their abilities, and would provide an immense service to patients by opening up access to basic healthcare from an ND. I value the critical role that NDs play in the field of integrative medicine and I recognize that they are an essential part to our multidisciplinary approach to patient care. I urge you to support this bill so that we can better meet the needs of our patients in Virginia.

Last Name: Boyd Locality: Broadlands, VA

Support HB 2044! I am an engineer and a math tutor. I have been a resident of the Commonwealth for the past 23 years. I am imploring you today to vote YES on HB 2044 in support of the licensing of medically trained Naturopathic Doctors in Virginia. Both my son and I have traveled the difficult road of understanding and managing autoimmune illness. Our first encounter with a naturopathic doctor (ND) was seven years ago, two years after my teenage son was diagnosed with autoimmune encephalitis by a neurologist. He experienced some relief after undergoing the very few medical interventions that were considered appropriate at the time, but he still suffered from overwhelming fatigue and anxiety. His new primary care provider referred us to the ND within her medical group. The insights and guidance of this ND helped us establish a holistic recovery plan for my son that included powerful lifestyle changes and natural options along with referrals to other health professionals including neurofeedback that enabled him to regain his energy and enthusiasm for life. Due to lack of licensing, NDs are outside of the insurance system and visits are out of pocket, so we didn’t approach care with an ND until it was a last resort. This obstacle to holistic care in Virginia delayed his recovery and put school on hold for almost two years. If this care had been readily accessible, we would have used ND services in tandem with his medical interventions shortly after his diagnosis. After the chronic stress of caring for my son, struggling with a strained marriage, and neglecting self-care, my own autoimmune condition flared and I faced a significant decline in my own physical, emotional, and cognitive health. Inspired by my son’s progress, I recruited his ND as a key member of my own care team. However, since she is not a licensed doctor, she cannot order labs or other screenings for me. I feel her frustration with her limited scope of practice knowing that she is well equipped to help me beyond the nutritional consulting role she is limited to, and realize many Virginians are being deprived of the breadth of care these practitioners are trained and capable of providing. Licensing trained naturopathic doctors will provide additional, safe healthcare access for the patients most in need. I respectfully urge the Committee to support HB 2044.

Last Name: P. Sterling, LPC Locality: Richmond, VA

SUPPORT HB 2044 I am writing to convey to you my experience with medical trained naturopathic doctors. I am licensed professional counselor in Virginia and I feel grateful to have naturopathic doctors that I can refer to that are educated in both the conventional medical model and Naturopathic Medicine. I share numerous patients with naturopathic doctors and have found that they are able to help some of the most challenging cases when other therapies have not been enough. I also have a personal story with naturopathic doctors. In fact, I started seeing a naturopathic doctor because I was getting almost no relief from the anxiety, sleep issues and digestive troubles that I was experiencing for about a decade. I was told by numerous primary care doctors in the 15 minutes that they allotted me, to take an SSRI, not watch screens at night and take more laxatives. Needless to say, these “interventions” did nothing to address the root of my issues. I am happy to say that after much work that I am in a different place in my health and have been able to wean down responsibly off of medication where I am stable and have a high quality of life. As Primary Care Doctors become increasingly overwhelmed, the amount of time that is allotted for each visit and the quality of the attention given to each patient is diminishing in my opinion. Naturopathic medicine takes a different approach it is about prevention and restoration- they work to empower patients to engage in their health differently. Naturopathic Doctors are not a luxury. They are a necessity. They fulfill a need that is expanding by the day in our society. The mind and body are not disconnected, as we all know by now. The dividing line between the two is completely arbitrary, just as the dividing line between “human” and “nature” is completely arbitrary. Naturopathic doctors take this into account and it is often the missing link in addressing lifelong symptoms that some of us experience. And right now during a pandemic, it is even more important. Physical exams, imaging, labs, these all should be at the disposal of Naturopathic doctors for public health that is aligned in prevention. Coverage for those that cannot afford it could change the quality of life for countless people. I ask that you choose to move towards a more meaningful healthcare model that truly believes in prevention.

Last Name: K. Boardman, MSc, PA-C Locality: Lansdowne, VA

I am writing in personal SUPPORT of HB 2044 for the licensure of naturopathic doctors. I have been a practicing Physician Assistant for six years. I work with naturopathic doctors frequently. I value their nonpharmacological, and oftentimes more natural, approach to restoring balance and health. As you are aware, naturopathic doctors complete a 4-year onsite medical program and also complete board exams in basic sciences. Additionally they take licensing exams in pharmacology, minor surgery, nutrition, botanical therapies, and physical medicine. They are credentialed by the CNME (Council on Naturopathic Medical Education) which is recognized by the US Department of Education. Naturopathic doctors also have privately funded residency training. In my opinion, this education and training should qualify them for licensing and a basic scope of practice in Virginia. Naturopathic doctors are experts in their field related to natural therapies, where they understand the interactions between pharmacotherapy, nutrition, and botanical medicine. Licensure would provide safety and additional access to care, plus a framework of standards for professionalism in naturopathic medicine. And due to healthcare shortages in the state, naturopathic doctors could serve as an additional provider to help us deal with the crises we are having in serving those with pain, addiction, chronic disease, and mental health illness, since naturopathic doctors know how to effectively work collaboratively to serve as another safety net provider. I urge you to support HB 1040, which will further provide additional safe health care access for the Commonwealth.

Last Name: Coombs Organization: American Naturopathic Medical Association Locality: Las Vegas

Vote NO on HB2044 For more than 15 years ANMA has come to VA fighting this bill. And this bill has never passed. During this time members have been opening businesses and practicing low cost naturopathy without incident. ANMA has 213 members in VA. Many studies have been done declaring naturopathy not a threat to the public. Real naturopathy should be available to all citizens. Preventative medicine is the key to good healthy living. ANMA does not support the licensure of naturopathy that isn't properly defined. Naturopathy has a defined scope of practice and it never includes IV's or prescription meds. These practitioners are a threat to the public. It is confusing to the public. In this time of budget short falls due to covid it seems the money could be better spent somewhere else. Thank You

Last Name: R. Bonner, CFNP Locality: Ashburn, VA

Support HB 2044: I am a Family Nurse Practitioner and have worked in primary care for over 20 years. I have worked with Naturopathic Doctors for over 15 years directly in an integrative primary care setting. I am very aware of the positive outcomes reached with the treatment of patients for a multitude of health problems, and especially those that require further investigative care and treatment beyond the realms of western medicine. Over the years I realized the challenge of managing patients with chronic conditions. I shared the patient’s disappointment with the results obtained from standard of care treatments for many chronic conditions, particularly fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraine and obesity, to name a few. I have relied heavily on Naturopathic Doctors during my career to aid me in the diagnosis, treatment, and recovery of patients from varying disease processes and to assist patients in remaining well with preventative medicine. In my years of working with naturopathic doctors I have often seen patients recover from the effects of polypharmacy and the adoption of a more healthy lifestyle as a result of their treatment. The skillset and training naturopathic Doctors bring to the table are distinct, and should not be unnecessarily hampered. The onus of sorting out who is a medically trained Naturopathic Doctor, from someone who took online correspondence training but lacks the qualifications to safely practice, should not fall to the patients. Licensing of Naturopathic Doctors will provide patients with better, safer access to essential healthcare. Licensing will also help draw more Naturopathic Doctors to Virginia, increasing patient access to care. And, licensing ultimately creates a framework for Naturopathic Doctors to be able to participate in the greater health care system, helping effectively meet the need for more providers. I urge you to support the licensing of naturopathic doctors and vote yes on HB 2044.

Last Name: Dr. Mansukhani, MD Locality: Fairfax

I am writing to you in support of licensing Naturopathic Doctors. I am an Endocrinologist and Obesity Medicine specialist with over 20 years of practice experience, and my office is in Fairfax, VA. I urge you to pass this bill. My training cannot help all my patients. Naturopathic medicine is a complementary approach to conventional medicine. I have shared patients with naturopathic doctors, who have been able to provide relief or improvement in their conditions. Naturopathic medicine emphasizes health, rather than sickness. I have had quite a few patients who have been able to improve or cure conditions when their conventional physicians had run out of options. As a licensed health care colleague, I firmly believe that Naturopathic Doctors have the requisite training and education to employ a modest scope of practice, as suggested by the legislation . While "physician­ led teams" have an important and prominent role in our healthcare system, the provider shortages we are predicted to face in the future are truly frightening. I worry who will take care of me in my older years. We cannot rely on the traditional physician as the only model for making sure basic and most essential health care services are available. Licensing Naturopathic Doctors will not replace conventional physicians, specialists, or other regulated professionals; it will add another collaborative partner, able to stand with all other medical colleagues in a more holistic role. There is often a lack of distinction between a Naturopathic Doctor and a lay naturopath, or other "natural" health practitioners who sometimes use a similar title. This confuses patients and providers, particularly related to the educational, training, and clinical competencies standards that qualify NDs to have a practice license in 20+ other states, which lay persons lack. ND naturopathic medical programs are accredited doctoral programs, and their accrediting body is the only one that US Department of Education recognizes for naturopathic programs. These doctoral programs provide thousands of hours of training in biomedical and clinical sciences, and diagnostics. As all accredited naturopathic programs are in residence, NDs also receive hands on clinical training and practice. Regulating the profession, and giving the Board of Medicine the authority to oversee Naturopathic Doctors and the risk for harm (just as the Board does for other professions), is the common-sense approach to making sure the public has access to other providers to meet their healthcare needs. Please vote YES on HB 2044.

Last Name: Inzer, Colby Organization: American Naturopathic Association Locality: Eagle, ID

The American Naturopathic Association (ANA)has been asked to compose a letter of regards to HB2044 and what a Naturopathic Doctor is. Merriam Webster defines a Physician: "A person skilled in the art and science of healing sperate from surgery. "Therefore, a Naturopathic Physician is one who is skilled in the art and science of NATURAL healing separate from surgery. In 1931, the Dictionary of Occupational Licenses defines a Naturopathic Doctor as ” [one who] Diagnoses, treats, and cares for patients, using a system of practice that bases treatment of physiological functions and abnormal conditions on natural laws governing the human body. ..." This is the definition the ANA still stands behind today. The ANA was originally formed by Dr. Benedict Lust in 1919 as an educational institution and society. This organization split into two distinct groups in 1942 with separate identities. One of these groups became the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) and formed the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME). The other group retained the name American Naturopathic Association and went dormant for many years following Dr. Lust’s death in 1945. We are currently reviving our association and stand with the position that Dr. Steele has presented to the good gentlemen and ladies of the Virginia House of Delegates. We believe in the distinct sets of education between those who desire to be called “Naturopathic Medical Doctors” (NMD) and “Naturopathic Doctors” (ND). We believe that an ND (in my state, I can still call myself a Naturopathic Physician and use the ND title) is a professional who has 4,000 hours of post graduate education. In 1950 Dr. Paul Wendel said, “NATUROPATHY is defined as a scientific system of Natural Healing by a Naturopathic Physician, to diagnosis, treat, prescribe for any human disease, pain, injury, deformity, for any physical, chemical or mental condition through the use of AIR, WATER, LIGHT, HEAT, EARTH, FOOD and HERB THERAPY, PHYSIOTHERAPY, MINOR and ORIFICIAL SURGERY, MECHANOTHERAPY, NATUROPATHIC CORRECTIONS and ADJUSTMENTS, and all Natural Methods or Modalities; together with Natural Medicines; Natural Processed Foods, Herbs and Nature’s remedies, which contains life and health elements, or compounds which are components of body tissues, which has for its objects the maintaining of the body in, or restoring it, to a state of normal health excluding the use of poisonous DRUGS, SERUMS, INJECTIONS, CONCOCTIONS, MAJOR SURGERY, X-RAY and RADIUM for therapeutic purposes or unnecessary surgery or mutilations.” In short we believe in the curative force of NATURE and the use of anything found in nature to encourage the healing of a body. As an organization, we also recognize the importance of Allopathic (Western) Medicine and the need for direct acute or traumatic care that needs to be practiced by MD’s, or DO’s who are currently licensed to practice Medicine. The paradigm that NMD’s (graduates from an approved CNME school and a member of the AANP) use is a conglomeration of Western Medicine (use of drugs) and Natural Therapeutics and their schools fashioned their programs to more closely resemble Medical Education. ND’s strive to use ONLY naturally occurring substances to treat the human body and understand that a strong education in health sciences is needed. The American Naturopathic Association is asking the State of Virginia to recognize the distinct trainings of NMD’s and ND’s.

HB2086 - Child care providers; background checks, portability.
Last Name: Nadwodny Locality: Gainesville

Why would you force a vaccine when hyrdroechloraquin and other drugs heal people. CDC says 99.9% of people recover. Why are you using the tool of fear. What is in it for you. It’s being said that covid is just the first part of this bio weapon. The next part will kill those who were diagnosed with it. If you keep this up there won’t be any one to vote. Oh that’s right. Depopulation is part of the plan. You reap what you sow.

Last Name: Aliff Organization: Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists Locality: Mechanicsvlle

The Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists supports HB2086 and the help it will provide for day cares including those represented by some of our churches. Some of our day cares have been negatively impacted and closed, therefore this will help those who may seek employment elsewhere. Thank you. Eddy Aliff Executive Director

Last Name: Saxon Organization: VEA Locality: Charlottesville

The Virginia Education Association opposes this bill.

HB2107 - Health, Board of; public health emergency, virtual visitation for certain facilities.
Last Name: Nadwodny Locality: Gainesville

Why would you force a vaccine when hyrdroechloraquin and other drugs heal people. CDC says 99.9% of people recover. Why are you using the tool of fear. What is in it for you. It’s being said that covid is just the first part of this bio weapon. The next part will kill those who were diagnosed with it. If you keep this up there won’t be any one to vote. Oh that’s right. Depopulation is part of the plan. You reap what you sow.

Last Name: McCullough Organization: Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (VAELA) Locality: Spotsylvania

The Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (VAELA) is comprised of approximately 200 attorneys throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia who practice in a variety of areas related to elder law, estate planning and administration, Medicaid and other benefits planning, disability planning, and adult guardianship/conservatorship. Many of our members also serve as guardians ad litem for incapacitated adults and/or routinely serve as counsel advising guardians and agents under powers of attorney as to their duties and powers. VAELA’s Public Policy Committee has reviewed HB 2107, relating to drafting regulations for virtual visits in nursing homes, and on behalf of VAELA, we want to register our support of this Bill. Access to loved ones in hospitals, nursing homes, and certified nursing facilities has been a matter of great concern to many of our clients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Regulations that would guarantee patients and residents of these facilities timely access to their loved ones through virtual visits, especially when in-person visits are not advised, would be very beneficial to the physical and mental health of facility residents and patients, as well as their loved ones. Thank you in advance for your consideration. - Amy E. McCullough (amcculloughesq@gmail.com) Rhona Levine (rlevine@opnlaw.com) Stephen D. Burns (stephen.burns@parksensenig.com), Public Policy Committee Co-Chairs, 2021

HB2218 - Pharmaceutical processors; permits processors to produce & distribute cannabis products.
Last Name: Williams Organization: Virginia Medical Cannabis Patients Locality: Chesterfield, Virginia

I beg you, Include Flower for Medical Cannabis users. The vape oil hurts my lungs. I just moved here from Florida, and I had Great Success with Flower. Also, Please, Please let us have Adult Use. I believe some need medical assistance, while many do not. This should be considered along the lines of supplemental vitamins and herbs. The THC concerns are not in line with common knowledge of users. Users know some THC is beneficial, and sometimes not. With so many strains to choose from, it should be the choice of the user to find which strains they prefer. I personally became 'accustomed' to the affects of THC, and find it 'enhances' my thinking, it does not distort my thinking, save for some strains, but certainly not all. The distortions to my thinking are such that I simply become more artistic, I do not lose my ability to function, nor do I lose the ability to accomplish difficult tasks. When my second knee was replaced, I abandoned my rx, and chose cannabis. My second knee replacement recovery was superior to rx, which had side effects of which my doctors were concerned. Today 90% of my doctors are glad I use cannabinoids vs rx. Health care providers see first hand the benefits of Cannabinoids in the human body. There is growing evidence humans have become cannabinoid deficient since is was removed from the feeding regime of our livestock. The body has cannabinoid receptors, and more and more people are seeing miraculous type healing with most who use cannabinoids as a health supplement, and/or for medical needs. Adult use should be considered along the lines of 'after dinner cocktails or wine' without the fear of using too much. Using too much cannabis simply makes one sleepy. One cannot overdose on cannabis like one can with alcohol. The cannabinoids in cannabis neutralize carcinogens, so there is no fear of cancer, like there is with tobacco. The time is now to legalize and decriminalize the use of cannabis as a medicine or as a lifestyle choice. Christopher Newport College reports that 80% of Virginians Want Decriminalization. That means only 2 out of 10 oppose. You were elected to do the 'will of the people,' so Please, get to work. If you cannot arrange for or provide cannabis to the people, please, let them import it from one of the other legal states, like Washington State, California, Nevada, and more. I am 66 years old and feel I cannot live a fruitful life without free and easy access to Cannabis. I beg you, End The Suffering. People need this herb, especially ones whom work with their body or those who suffer from Inflammatory diseases. Cannabis lessens inflammation thereby lessening pain, thereby lessening anxiety. Don't take my word for it, look to "The Villages" in Florida where most of the medical cannabis is purchased by senior citizens, most of whom are Republicans. This is a bipartisan issue. Everyone wants it legal, Yesterday. Please, Please, I beg you, Legalize it NOW, End the War on Your Cousins, Brothers and Sisters, and yes, even Parents and Grandparents. No one wants anyone using it before age 18 wherein Psychology Today announces it is the end of Brain Development wherein cannabis can inhibit brain growth. After 18 mounting evidence suggests cannabis help Heal the Brain, Especially as we age. I truly hope Virginia sets the example here, I really don't want to drive to the Carolina's the get 'cheaper Cannabis' like some tobacco users do. Let's keep it in Virginia, and keep the tax low

Last Name: Williams Organization: Decriminalize Virginia Locality: HAMPTON

I am supporting HB1988 as written. I am supporting HB 1988 as written. I am supporting HB 2218 nd HB 2222 as written

Last Name: Curry Locality: Chesapeake

I am in favor or legalization. If alcohol is legal it only makes sense to legalize marijuana. Alcohol is much more of a danger to society. The state can always use the taxes collected. I have chronic pain and medical marijuana helps me with that alot. I have a couple of vials of pain killers from the doctors that I do not have to use.

Last Name: Netzel Locality: Virginia Beach

I am a Virginia medical cannabis patient and have a neurological condition called Multiple Sclerosis. I support this bill. Patients like myself need the maximum benefits that botanical cannabis can provide and this GREATLY reduces my medication costs which will be almost $12,000 out of pocket since this cannot be claimed with insurance. There are many Virginians who could be served in this medical cannabis program if botanical cannabis was available because of the cost of medical cannabis.

HB2222 - Military medical personnel program; facilities that offer medical services to public, etc.
Last Name: Williams Organization: Decriminalize Virginia Locality: HAMPTON

I am supporting HB1988 as written. I am supporting HB 1988 as written. I am supporting HB 2218 nd HB 2222 as written

HB2242 - COVID-19 immunization; prohibition on requirement, discrimination prohibited.
Last Name: Dobbins Locality: Haymarket

I found out to late to submit this msg before the House Committee meeting. But I am writing in the hope that feedback would still be heard. In light of the many deaths and injuries due to the covid "vaccine", (which BTW actually does not fit the medical definition for a vaccine), and in light of the fact that the WHO announced that this experimental biological agent does not prevent anyone from getting the covid virus, AND in light of the fact that the CDC admits that the survival rate of covid is 99.998% for most individuals, it should be illegal for any government to impose this extremely dangerous experimental biological agent on its citizens. It is also well known that this agent also tracks and traces humans, treating them like cattle, except less humanely, because now they can be incorporated in the matrix of surveillance. It is also called experimental because mRNA has never been tried before and therefore there are no scientific studies to prove that it is safe. There is also questions about whether it could cause infertility in women, thereby rendering it extremely unfit and unethical to force such an agent upon 50% of the population without first determining its safety as far as human reproduction of the entire globe. There are many people who should not take this experimental biological agent due to health issues. Anyone with serious comorbities as heart disease, cancer, hypersensitivities, allergic reactions, diabetes, obesity, autoimmune diseases, and other immune system issues is at risk of cascading into a spike response and rapidly dying. Mandating this highly questionable experimental biological agent is in the public's eye just one more example of American's freedoms being stolen daily by their representatives in Congress that are not out for the people's protection at all; politicians are showing their true colors, whether they are to protect the people or to betray them. People are watching to see how their legislators vote. Please do what is right. Thank you for 'hearing me out'.

Last Name: Thomas Locality: Virginia Beach

I feel that mandating vaccines, especially the questionable Covid vaccine, and imposing harsh penalties for those who refuse them, is unfair. A pharmacist I know said he was concerned because these vaccs are not fully tested and the populace are essentially guinea pigs. Healthy people have already died from or been harmed from these- people with with no prior co-morbidities. PLEASE restore our right of refusal without penalties! Thanks!!

Last Name: Nadwodny Locality: Gainesville

Why would you force a vaccine when hyrdroechloraquin and other drugs heal people. CDC says 99.9% of people recover. Why are you using the tool of fear. What is in it for you. It’s being said that covid is just the first part of this bio weapon. The next part will kill those who were diagnosed with it. If you keep this up there won’t be any one to vote. Oh that’s right. Depopulation is part of the plan. You reap what you sow.

Last Name: Lehman Locality: Haymarket

I am speaking on behalf of many friends and families in my neighborhood and county who all agree that mandating vaccines, especially the hastily introduced and questionable Covid vaccine, and denying all legal means of redress for those who refuse them is unacceptable to us. PLEASE support HB2242, HB2268, HB2335 and HB2336 and restore to us the right of refusal without penalty. For all too many of us who are already feeling betrayed by our lawmakers on all levels, the mandating of a vaccine under a questionable state of emergency seems like just one more ploy to steal our freedoms and take government coercion to a whole new level. Thank you for your attention.

Last Name: Blum Locality: Leesburg

SUPPORT HB2242. This vaccine WILL NOT STOP transmission or prevent the disease. The risks are real and great. There have already been numerous severe reactions and deaths. NO ONE should be forced to inject anything into their bodies without their informed consent. NO ONE should suffer ANY discrimination based on their vaccine status. Where there is risk, there must be choice. SUPPORT HB2242.

Last Name: Whitlock Locality: Louisa

Subject line: SUPPORT HB2268, HB2242, HB 2335, and HB2336 Dear Esteemed Delegates, My name is Karen Whitlock, and I wish I could have spoken to you via Zoom today; however, I do not have the proper equipment to do so. I am deeply concerned about any effort by my state government that would both deny citizens their freedoms protected under the Virginia and federal constitutions and penalize them for exercising those freedoms. Therefore, I respectfully encourage you to support HB2268, HB 2242, HB 2335, and HB 2336. These bills allow citizens protection from religious persecution and criminal charges, prevent discrimination, and ensure the right to autonomy in health care decisions, without consequence upon their access to employment, public property, education, travel…basically, the pursuit of happiness. We, the people, all of us, have had our lives impacted by the extraordinary events of this past year: adulterated elections, a pandemic, loss of loved ones and jobs, widespread violence, vitriol and partisan politics, overreach of technology giants, contradicting information and contracted access to it, just to name a few. Many of us are weary from what feels like simultaneous attacks on our nation, whether they are biological, social, political, or economical. Please help restore our trust in government and lead us out of this mire by considering all varied data, research, opinions, and means to mitigate this pandemic. Vaccines are only one way to combat outbreaks. Do not seek to control individuals’ choices, but rather seek to control this virus through sufficient access across the state to free vaccines or other proven remedies, dissemination of accurate and unbiased information, temporary travel restrictions, promotion of healthy lifestyles, and a proactive approach to better manage a future medical emergency. I read reports from many different sources, of which I am willing to share, and I concluded that the vaccine does not give me any more protection from the virus than my God-given immune system, and I wouldn’t have to worry about side effects from a hastily developed medical product. I have an immune-compromised daughter as well as an 85-year-old mother whom we visit regularly. We have managed to keep both safe by improving our health and practicing the same precautions that we have used every year during flu season. I pray that each member of this committee will stay objective and vote to progress these pieces of legislation for further consideration. I noticed that the majority of proposed legislation during the current session has been accepted or killed precisely along party lines. If these bills are considered only through this criterion, then these issues will appear to be about politics and not the health and safety of the citizens. Thank you in advance for your time and service to the people of this Commonwealth. Sincerely, Karen L. Whitlock 540-660-2544 23093

Last Name: Shackelford Locality: RUCKERSVILLE

Dear Virginia Legislators, Ensuring the rights enshrined in our Constitution are upheld is of the upmost concern. Religious Freedom must be protected at all times. Please support SB 2242, SB 1449, 1450 and 1451. With the release of the two latest mRNA "vaccines" [medical technology & gene therapy] we are now into new “medical and health protection" legal interpretations combined with complex medical treatment concerns all tied into the issue of religious freedoms and our enshrined constitutional rights. BLUF: The issue of medical technologies (and the law) has now entered into the discussion when it comes to 'health' mandates and religious freedom. We must not restrict Virginians enshrined religious freedoms and choice by preventing Virginians from work, future employment or other actives based on a lack of understanding of the scientific (and documented) evidence that clearly outlines the nature of the technologies in place with the Moderna and Pfizer technology. A ‘health’ technology without legal precedent. Please see excerpts below that may help explain the ‘technology’ issues surrounding the Moderna and Pfizer mRNA technologies. Of note is that Virginians have never been mandated to assume the risk of ‘creating disease’ in the body, first, prior to the ‘stimulation’ of an antibody response. Both Moderna and Pfizer do this. This issue is without legal precedent. It is also unjust, is not safe for some, and goes against every religious and philosophical belief that one should not compel or commit self-harm. The Moderna and Pfizer “alleged vaccine” trials have explicitly acknowledged that their gene therapy technology has no impact on viral infection or transmission whatsoever and merely conveys to the recipient the capacity to produce an S1 spike protein endogenously by the introduction of a synthetic mRNA sequence. There is no “general comfort, health, and prosperity,” derived from the ‘encouraged’ application of a gene therapy on a population in which it has already been documented . (181 deaths to date from mRNA) By the manufacturer’s own admission, the mRNA gene therapy does not: (1) convey immunity, (2) does not preclude infection by a virus, (3) and does not block the development of COVID-19 symptoms. Beyond the fact that mRNA is gene therapy technology – not vaccination –the uptake of this medical device - an unproven medical countermeasure - is without any judicial precedent. No law has been passed that says that a healthy population must become unwell for the purpose of a medical experiment. Closing Thoughts An mRNA synthetic strand does not fall within the definition of a biologic and falls well outside the definition of “vaccine” or “immunity” in State statutes. This must be considered in the broader issue of mandates. Conflating mRNA device technology with religious rights and health measures must not happen. Thank you for your consideration of this material and thank you for your time and attention to these very important and complex topics. SB 2242, 1449, SB 1450 and SB 1451 deserve support. Respectfully, Additional Reference: The notes were, in part, derived from Dr. David E. Martin M·CAM International.

Last Name: Eckels Locality: Rockingham

HB 2268 and HB2242 - Please restore the right to opt out of mandated vaccines and reinstate religious freedom. #prolife #religiousfreedom

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

Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, on behalf of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association I would like to take a moment to touch base with you and share our opposition to HB2242. The measure as currently drafted would create potential legal issues for hospitality and tourism related businesses. In addition, it would interfere with the employer-employee relationship. Employers are already required to provide reasonable accommodation based on discrimination of sincerely held religious beliefs. We believe any expansion beyond that could create significant challenges for employers. For those reasons, we urge you to oppose HB2242.

HB2268 - State Health Commissioner; powers during an epidemic, vaccinations, religious tenets or practices.
Last Name: Dobbins Locality: Haymarket

I found out to late to submit this msg before the House Committee meeting. But I am writing in the hope that feedback would still be heard. In light of the many deaths and injuries due to the covid "vaccine", (which BTW actually does not fit the medical definition for a vaccine), and in light of the fact that the WHO announced that this experimental biological agent does not prevent anyone from getting the covid virus, AND in light of the fact that the CDC admits that the survival rate of covid is 99.998% for most individuals, it should be illegal for any government to impose this extremely dangerous experimental biological agent on its citizens. It is also well known that this agent also tracks and traces humans, treating them like cattle, except less humanely, because now they can be incorporated in the matrix of surveillance. It is also called experimental because mRNA has never been tried before and therefore there are no scientific studies to prove that it is safe. There is also questions about whether it could cause infertility in women, thereby rendering it extremely unfit and unethical to force such an agent upon 50% of the population without first determining its safety as far as human reproduction of the entire globe. There are many people who should not take this experimental biological agent due to health issues. Anyone with serious comorbities as heart disease, cancer, hypersensitivities, allergic reactions, diabetes, obesity, autoimmune diseases, and other immune system issues is at risk of cascading into a spike response and rapidly dying. Mandating this highly questionable experimental biological agent is in the public's eye just one more example of American's freedoms being stolen daily by their representatives in Congress that are not out for the people's protection at all; politicians are showing their true colors, whether they are to protect the people or to betray them. People are watching to see how their legislators vote. Please do what is right. Thank you for 'hearing me out'.

Last Name: Thomas Locality: Virginia Beach

I feel that mandating vaccines, especially the questionable Covid vaccine, and imposing harsh penalties for those who refuse them, is unfair. A pharmacist I know said he was concerned because these vaccs are not fully tested and the populace are essentially guinea pigs. Healthy people have already died from or been harmed from these- people with with no prior co-morbidities. PLEASE restore our right of refusal without penalties! Thanks!!

Last Name: Nadwodny Locality: Gainesville

Why would you force a vaccine when hyrdroechloraquin and other drugs heal people. CDC says 99.9% of people recover. Why are you using the tool of fear. What is in it for you. It’s being said that covid is just the first part of this bio weapon. The next part will kill those who were diagnosed with it. If you keep this up there won’t be any one to vote. Oh that’s right. Depopulation is part of the plan. You reap what you sow.

Last Name: Lehman Locality: Haymarket

I am speaking on behalf of many friends and families in my neighborhood and county who all agree that mandating vaccines, especially the hastily introduced and questionable Covid vaccine, and denying all legal means of redress for those who refuse them is unacceptable to us. PLEASE support HB2242, HB2268, HB2335 and HB2336 and restore to us the right of refusal without penalty. For all too many of us who are already feeling betrayed by our lawmakers on all levels, the mandating of a vaccine under a questionable state of emergency seems like just one more ploy to steal our freedoms and take government coercion to a whole new level. Thank you for your attention.

Last Name: Whitlock Locality: Louisa

Subject line: SUPPORT HB2268, HB2242, HB 2335, and HB2336 Dear Esteemed Delegates, My name is Karen Whitlock, and I wish I could have spoken to you via Zoom today; however, I do not have the proper equipment to do so. I am deeply concerned about any effort by my state government that would both deny citizens their freedoms protected under the Virginia and federal constitutions and penalize them for exercising those freedoms. Therefore, I respectfully encourage you to support HB2268, HB 2242, HB 2335, and HB 2336. These bills allow citizens protection from religious persecution and criminal charges, prevent discrimination, and ensure the right to autonomy in health care decisions, without consequence upon their access to employment, public property, education, travel…basically, the pursuit of happiness. We, the people, all of us, have had our lives impacted by the extraordinary events of this past year: adulterated elections, a pandemic, loss of loved ones and jobs, widespread violence, vitriol and partisan politics, overreach of technology giants, contradicting information and contracted access to it, just to name a few. Many of us are weary from what feels like simultaneous attacks on our nation, whether they are biological, social, political, or economical. Please help restore our trust in government and lead us out of this mire by considering all varied data, research, opinions, and means to mitigate this pandemic. Vaccines are only one way to combat outbreaks. Do not seek to control individuals’ choices, but rather seek to control this virus through sufficient access across the state to free vaccines or other proven remedies, dissemination of accurate and unbiased information, temporary travel restrictions, promotion of healthy lifestyles, and a proactive approach to better manage a future medical emergency. I read reports from many different sources, of which I am willing to share, and I concluded that the vaccine does not give me any more protection from the virus than my God-given immune system, and I wouldn’t have to worry about side effects from a hastily developed medical product. I have an immune-compromised daughter as well as an 85-year-old mother whom we visit regularly. We have managed to keep both safe by improving our health and practicing the same precautions that we have used every year during flu season. I pray that each member of this committee will stay objective and vote to progress these pieces of legislation for further consideration. I noticed that the majority of proposed legislation during the current session has been accepted or killed precisely along party lines. If these bills are considered only through this criterion, then these issues will appear to be about politics and not the health and safety of the citizens. Thank you in advance for your time and service to the people of this Commonwealth. Sincerely, Karen L. Whitlock 540-660-2544 23093

Last Name: Eckels Locality: Rockingham

HB 2268 and HB2242 - Please restore the right to opt out of mandated vaccines and reinstate religious freedom. #prolife #religiousfreedom

HB2300 - Hospitals; emergency treatment for substance use-related emergencies.
Last Name: Nadwodny Locality: Gainesville

Why would you force a vaccine when hyrdroechloraquin and other drugs heal people. CDC says 99.9% of people recover. Why are you using the tool of fear. What is in it for you. It’s being said that covid is just the first part of this bio weapon. The next part will kill those who were diagnosed with it. If you keep this up there won’t be any one to vote. Oh that’s right. Depopulation is part of the plan. You reap what you sow.

Last Name: McDermott Organization: Faces and Voice of Recovery (FAVOR) of Virginia Locality: Maidens

Honorable Delegates – First I would like to share some factual historic background on “how we got here,” so-to-speak, and also my thoughts on strengthening the intended consequences for this life-saving legislation. In the mid ‘90s prescription opioid manufacturers marketing and lobbying efforts were widespread. “In 1995, Dr. James Campbell addressed the American Pain Society urging that health care providers treat pain as the “fifth vital sign.” “In 2001, as part of a national effort to address the widespread problem of underassessment and undertreatment of pain, The Joint Commission (formerly The Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations or JCAHO) introduced standards for organizations to improve their care for patients with pain. For over a decade, experts had called for better assessment and more aggressive treatment, including the use of opioids. Many doctors were afraid to prescribe opioids despite a widely cited article suggesting that addiction was rare when opioids were used for short-term pain...” ”Delegates at the 2016 American Medical Association (AMA) meeting voted to stop treating pain as the fifth vital sign because they believe it is likely that the initiative, along with other factors, have exacerbated the opioid crisis. Clearly many factors have contributed to the opioid crisis, including aggressive marketing by pharmaceutical companies, increased number of prescriptions written by providers…” My point being some opponents to HB2300 recently touted their professional credentials being challenged by HB2300’s initial language regarding naloxone (NARCAN®), such that it now reads ”may include, for patients who have been treated for substance use-related 201 emergencies, including opioid overdose, or other high-risk patients, (a) the dispensing of naloxone or other opioid antagonist used for overdose reversal.” This “may” needs to be a “shall!” An overdose victim is typically not a casual, recreational or social opioid user. They are more likely addicted, and releasing them to their soon to become “dope-sick” again selves without this potentially life-saving drug just doesn’t make sense…common sense! I use the “history lesson” above to demonstrate medical professionals have been wrong in this arena previously…dead wrong. It took 21 years for them to admit they were wrong about pain as the fifth vital sign. Many view the professional and institutional adoption of the fifth vital sign as an embryonic moment in the genesis of our current opioid epidemic. We don’t have to wait another 21 years to admit they are wrong about naloxone here. Secondly and lastly, I take issue with again, a “may” that needs to be a “shall” here – “Such protocols may also provide for referrals of individuals experiencing a substance use-related emergency to peer recovery specialists and community-based providers of behavioral health services, or referrals for to providers of pharmacotherapy for the treatment of drug or alcohol dependence or mental health diagnoses.” Releasing an overdose patient, as I mentioned above, back to the streets, is simply not a good idea. I say that as an individual accumulating over 29 years of sustained continuous recovery from substance use disorder (SUD). Prior to that time, I was the hamster on the wheel. Since then, I’ve seen more than my fair share of deaths because addicts weren’t immediately engaged with recovery services when they most need it.

Last Name: Snodderly Locality: Henrico

I am writing in support of HB 2300 Naloxone dispersal to every Virginian that is seen in an ER during an opioid overdose. This bill saves lives, it prevents families from getting the dreaded phone call that a family member has passed away due to an avoidable overdose. This bill helps ensure that those suffering from substance use disorder are given the necessary, life-sustaining medication.

Last Name: McDermott Organization: FAVOR of Virginia Locality: Maidens

HB2300 - As an individual with over 29 years of sustained continuous recovery from Substance Use Disorder (SUD), I strongly support this life-saving legislation.

Last Name: Mitchell Organization: The Recovery Advocacy Project Locality: Richmond

Mister Chair, members of the subcommittee. My name is Nathan Mitchell and I am a person in recovery from a substance use disorder. I serve as a state organizer with the Virginia Recovery Advocacy Project representing recovery organizations and thousands of individuals throughout the Commonwealth. We support HB 2300 and ask the members of this subcommittee to report. As outreach coordinator with The McShin Foundation, I work daily with individuals in or seeking recovery from a substance use disorder to provide immediate access to vital recovery support services. Addiction is a brain disease. Not a moral failure. Individuals caught in the grips of addiction deserve our compassion not our scorn, and our help when they are not able to help themselves. There is no mincing words here, the number of overdose emergency department visits continues to grow each year with an alarming spike during the COVID-19 pandemic. Emergency departments are often only able to treat the immediate emergency without considering other short- and long-term addiction treatment options for the patient. HB 2300 seeks to solve some of this problem by screening or assessing individuals experiencing substance use related emergencies, providing information on appropriate community-based providers of behavioral health services upon discharge, and most importantly, providing take-home naloxone or other overdose reversal medication immediately upon discharge (NOT a prescription which may never be filled). Our people are dying, and emergency departments are on the frontline. We must give emergency departments the tools they need to save lives and introduce individuals to a lifetime of recovery. Please support HB 2300.

Last Name: Mitchell Organization: The Recovery Advocacy Project Locality: Richmond

Mister Chair, members of the subcommittee. My name is Nathan Mitchell and I am a person in recovery from a substance use disorder. I serve as a state organizer with the Virginia Recovery Advocacy Project representing recovery organizations and thousands of individuals throughout the Commonwealth. We support HB 2300 and ask the members of this subcommittee to report. As outreach coordinator with The McShin Foundation, I work daily with individuals in or seeking recovery from a substance use disorder to provide immediate access to vital recovery support services. Addiction is a brain disease. Not a moral failure. Individuals caught in the grips of addiction deserve our compassion not our scorn, and our help when they are not able to help themselves. There is no mincing words here, the number of overdose emergency department visits continues to grow each year with an alarming spike during the COVID-19 pandemic. Emergency departments are often only able to treat the immediate emergency without considering other short- and long-term addiction treatment options for the patient. HB 2300 seeks to solve some of this problem by screening or assessing individuals experiencing substance use related emergencies, providing information on appropriate community-based providers of behavioral health services upon discharge, and most importantly, providing take-home naloxone or other overdose reversal medication immediately upon discharge (NOT a prescription which may never be filled). Our people are dying, and emergency departments are on the frontline. We must give emergency departments the tools they need to save lives and introduce individuals to a lifetime of recovery. Please support HB 2300.

HB2329 - Involuntary commitment; release of person before expiration of order.
Last Name: Airington Organization: Mental Health America-Virginia Locality: Richmond

Chairman Sickles, Vice-Chair Rasoul, and Distinguished Committee Members –Mental Health America-Virginia would like to take this opportunity to align our comments and concerns about HB2329 with those of The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association. While we know this legislation is well-intentioned, the shortage of psychiatrists in Virginia and across the nation will force hospitals to hold patients far longer than clinically necessary or appropriate. Furthermore, the unintended consequences of this legislation will further exacerbate the psychiatric bed census pressures that currently exist in the Commonwealth. Thank you for considering our comments to HB 2329.

Last Name: Nadwodny Locality: Gainesville

Why would you force a vaccine when hyrdroechloraquin and other drugs heal people. CDC says 99.9% of people recover. Why are you using the tool of fear. What is in it for you. It’s being said that covid is just the first part of this bio weapon. The next part will kill those who were diagnosed with it. If you keep this up there won’t be any one to vote. Oh that’s right. Depopulation is part of the plan. You reap what you sow.

Last Name: Wicker, Jennifer Organization: Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association Locality: Glen Allen

The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association opposes HB 2329 (Cox). If this bill passes, an attending psychiatrist who has determined that a patient is clinically ready for discharge within 96 hours (4 days) of admission, will be required to have a second psychiatrist evaluate the patient and agree with the discharge, before the patient can be discharged. Requiring two psychiatrists to evaluate and agree to a patient's discharge will put a significant burden on community hospitals. There is a significant behavioral health workforce shortage and some hospitals struggle to hire and maintain sufficient psychiatrists to staff current psychiatric beds. Having to identify two psychiatrists for a clinically appropriate discharge will result in delays in discharge and hold patients longer than clinically necessary. The unintended consequences of this bill include longer lengths of stay for patients who are clinically ready for discharge and increased psychiatric bed census pressures on an already stressed behavioral health system. Establishing in the Code, a mandated number of days, in this case 4 days, for an involuntary hospital admission because someone has experienced a behavioral health crisis and requires inpatient treatment goes against the direction that the Commonwealth is currently headed as it improves Virginia's behavioral health system with STEP-VA and Behavioral Health Enhancement. Although the legislation is well-intentioned, for these reasons VHHA strongly opposes HB 2329 (Cox). Thank you.

HB2335 - Medical mandates; each adult has a fundamental right to be free from mandates.
Last Name: Dobbins Locality: Haymarket

I found out to late to submit this msg before the House Committee meeting. But I am writing in the hope that feedback would still be heard. In light of the many deaths and injuries due to the covid "vaccine", (which BTW actually does not fit the medical definition for a vaccine), and in light of the fact that the WHO announced that this experimental biological agent does not prevent anyone from getting the covid virus, AND in light of the fact that the CDC admits that the survival rate of covid is 99.998% for most individuals, it should be illegal for any government to impose this extremely dangerous experimental biological agent on its citizens. It is also well known that this agent also tracks and traces humans, treating them like cattle, except less humanely, because now they can be incorporated in the matrix of surveillance. It is also called experimental because mRNA has never been tried before and therefore there are no scientific studies to prove that it is safe. There is also questions about whether it could cause infertility in women, thereby rendering it extremely unfit and unethical to force such an agent upon 50% of the population without first determining its safety as far as human reproduction of the entire globe. There are many people who should not take this experimental biological agent due to health issues. Anyone with serious comorbities as heart disease, cancer, hypersensitivities, allergic reactions, diabetes, obesity, autoimmune diseases, and other immune system issues is at risk of cascading into a spike response and rapidly dying. Mandating this highly questionable experimental biological agent is in the public's eye just one more example of American's freedoms being stolen daily by their representatives in Congress that are not out for the people's protection at all; politicians are showing their true colors, whether they are to protect the people or to betray them. People are watching to see how their legislators vote. Please do what is right. Thank you for 'hearing me out'.

Last Name: Thomas Locality: Virginia Beach

I feel that mandating vaccines, especially the questionable Covid vaccine, and imposing harsh penalties for those who refuse them, is unfair. A pharmacist I know said he was concerned because these vaccs are not fully tested and the populace are essentially guinea pigs. Healthy people have already died from or been harmed from these- people with with no prior co-morbidities. PLEASE restore our right of refusal without penalties! Thanks!!

Last Name: Nadwodny Locality: Gainesville

Why would you force a vaccine when hyrdroechloraquin and other drugs heal people. CDC says 99.9% of people recover. Why are you using the tool of fear. What is in it for you. It’s being said that covid is just the first part of this bio weapon. The next part will kill those who were diagnosed with it. If you keep this up there won’t be any one to vote. Oh that’s right. Depopulation is part of the plan. You reap what you sow.

Last Name: Lehman Locality: Haymarket

I am speaking on behalf of many friends and families in my neighborhood and county who all agree that mandating vaccines, especially the hastily introduced and questionable Covid vaccine, and denying all legal means of redress for those who refuse them is unacceptable to us. PLEASE support HB2242, HB2268, HB2335 and HB2336 and restore to us the right of refusal without penalty. For all too many of us who are already feeling betrayed by our lawmakers on all levels, the mandating of a vaccine under a questionable state of emergency seems like just one more ploy to steal our freedoms and take government coercion to a whole new level. Thank you for your attention.

Last Name: Whitlock Locality: Louisa

Subject line: SUPPORT HB2268, HB2242, HB 2335, and HB2336 Dear Esteemed Delegates, My name is Karen Whitlock, and I wish I could have spoken to you via Zoom today; however, I do not have the proper equipment to do so. I am deeply concerned about any effort by my state government that would both deny citizens their freedoms protected under the Virginia and federal constitutions and penalize them for exercising those freedoms. Therefore, I respectfully encourage you to support HB2268, HB 2242, HB 2335, and HB 2336. These bills allow citizens protection from religious persecution and criminal charges, prevent discrimination, and ensure the right to autonomy in health care decisions, without consequence upon their access to employment, public property, education, travel…basically, the pursuit of happiness. We, the people, all of us, have had our lives impacted by the extraordinary events of this past year: adulterated elections, a pandemic, loss of loved ones and jobs, widespread violence, vitriol and partisan politics, overreach of technology giants, contradicting information and contracted access to it, just to name a few. Many of us are weary from what feels like simultaneous attacks on our nation, whether they are biological, social, political, or economical. Please help restore our trust in government and lead us out of this mire by considering all varied data, research, opinions, and means to mitigate this pandemic. Vaccines are only one way to combat outbreaks. Do not seek to control individuals’ choices, but rather seek to control this virus through sufficient access across the state to free vaccines or other proven remedies, dissemination of accurate and unbiased information, temporary travel restrictions, promotion of healthy lifestyles, and a proactive approach to better manage a future medical emergency. I read reports from many different sources, of which I am willing to share, and I concluded that the vaccine does not give me any more protection from the virus than my God-given immune system, and I wouldn’t have to worry about side effects from a hastily developed medical product. I have an immune-compromised daughter as well as an 85-year-old mother whom we visit regularly. We have managed to keep both safe by improving our health and practicing the same precautions that we have used every year during flu season. I pray that each member of this committee will stay objective and vote to progress these pieces of legislation for further consideration. I noticed that the majority of proposed legislation during the current session has been accepted or killed precisely along party lines. If these bills are considered only through this criterion, then these issues will appear to be about politics and not the health and safety of the citizens. Thank you in advance for your time and service to the people of this Commonwealth. Sincerely, Karen L. Whitlock 540-660-2544 23093

HB2336 - Non-FDA-vaccines; preventing public and private imposition of vaccines.
Last Name: Dobbins Locality: Haymarket

I found out to late to submit this msg before the House Committee meeting. But I am writing in the hope that feedback would still be heard. In light of the many deaths and injuries due to the covid "vaccine", (which BTW actually does not fit the medical definition for a vaccine), and in light of the fact that the WHO announced that this experimental biological agent does not prevent anyone from getting the covid virus, AND in light of the fact that the CDC admits that the survival rate of covid is 99.998% for most individuals, it should be illegal for any government to impose this extremely dangerous experimental biological agent on its citizens. It is also well known that this agent also tracks and traces humans, treating them like cattle, except less humanely, because now they can be incorporated in the matrix of surveillance. It is also called experimental because mRNA has never been tried before and therefore there are no scientific studies to prove that it is safe. There is also questions about whether it could cause infertility in women, thereby rendering it extremely unfit and unethical to force such an agent upon 50% of the population without first determining its safety as far as human reproduction of the entire globe. There are many people who should not take this experimental biological agent due to health issues. Anyone with serious comorbities as heart disease, cancer, hypersensitivities, allergic reactions, diabetes, obesity, autoimmune diseases, and other immune system issues is at risk of cascading into a spike response and rapidly dying. Mandating this highly questionable experimental biological agent is in the public's eye just one more example of American's freedoms being stolen daily by their representatives in Congress that are not out for the people's protection at all; politicians are showing their true colors, whether they are to protect the people or to betray them. People are watching to see how their legislators vote. Please do what is right. Thank you for 'hearing me out'.

Last Name: Thomas Locality: Virginia Beach

I feel that mandating vaccines, especially the questionable Covid vaccine, and imposing harsh penalties for those who refuse them, is unfair. A pharmacist I know said he was concerned because these vaccs are not fully tested and the populace are essentially guinea pigs. Healthy people have already died from or been harmed from these- people with with no prior co-morbidities. PLEASE restore our right of refusal without penalties! Thanks!!

Last Name: Nadwodny Locality: Gainesville

Why would you force a vaccine when hyrdroechloraquin and other drugs heal people. CDC says 99.9% of people recover. Why are you using the tool of fear. What is in it for you. It’s being said that covid is just the first part of this bio weapon. The next part will kill those who were diagnosed with it. If you keep this up there won’t be any one to vote. Oh that’s right. Depopulation is part of the plan. You reap what you sow.

Last Name: Lehman Locality: Haymarket

I am speaking on behalf of many friends and families in my neighborhood and county who all agree that mandating vaccines, especially the hastily introduced and questionable Covid vaccine, and denying all legal means of redress for those who refuse them is unacceptable to us. PLEASE support HB2242, HB2268, HB2335 and HB2336 and restore to us the right of refusal without penalty. For all too many of us who are already feeling betrayed by our lawmakers on all levels, the mandating of a vaccine under a questionable state of emergency seems like just one more ploy to steal our freedoms and take government coercion to a whole new level. Thank you for your attention.

Last Name: Johnson Locality: Henrico

I am writing to address my concerns about that the Covid-19 vaccine possible mandate violates informed consent. We need to prevent forcing people to get a less safe and not FDA-approved vaccine without the rigorous testing protocols that can take years to accomplish, but not prevent those who want the vaccine. This is the first time that Virginia has ever thought about mandating a non-FDA approved vaccine and shouldn’t start now. Informed consent is the bedrock of health. If there are risks to any medicine, medical procedure or vaccine,( which there are always risks), ONE MUST access the risk and then either Accept or decline the medical procedure, medicines or vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine is a “emergency authorized use” vaccine and isn’t approved by the FDA. FDA-approved vaccines are those that have undergone extensive testing, extensive animal and human trials, longitudinal studies, and evaluation relative to numerous factors (age, gender, races, fertility, carcinogenicity, pregnancy, nursing, interactions, etc.). ALSO the long-term effects of this vaccine are unknown and is very risky to mandate a vaccine without knowing the long-term effects and interactions with other drugs and those tested on different ages including children. In conclusion, medical freedom and informed consent is what this bill preserves for those who decide they want the vaccine and those who do not want the vaccine. Freedom of choice and preserves body autonomy.

Last Name: Whitlock Locality: Louisa

Subject line: SUPPORT HB2268, HB2242, HB 2335, and HB2336 Dear Esteemed Delegates, My name is Karen Whitlock, and I wish I could have spoken to you via Zoom today; however, I do not have the proper equipment to do so. I am deeply concerned about any effort by my state government that would both deny citizens their freedoms protected under the Virginia and federal constitutions and penalize them for exercising those freedoms. Therefore, I respectfully encourage you to support HB2268, HB 2242, HB 2335, and HB 2336. These bills allow citizens protection from religious persecution and criminal charges, prevent discrimination, and ensure the right to autonomy in health care decisions, without consequence upon their access to employment, public property, education, travel…basically, the pursuit of happiness. We, the people, all of us, have had our lives impacted by the extraordinary events of this past year: adulterated elections, a pandemic, loss of loved ones and jobs, widespread violence, vitriol and partisan politics, overreach of technology giants, contradicting information and contracted access to it, just to name a few. Many of us are weary from what feels like simultaneous attacks on our nation, whether they are biological, social, political, or economical. Please help restore our trust in government and lead us out of this mire by considering all varied data, research, opinions, and means to mitigate this pandemic. Vaccines are only one way to combat outbreaks. Do not seek to control individuals’ choices, but rather seek to control this virus through sufficient access across the state to free vaccines or other proven remedies, dissemination of accurate and unbiased information, temporary travel restrictions, promotion of healthy lifestyles, and a proactive approach to better manage a future medical emergency. I read reports from many different sources, of which I am willing to share, and I concluded that the vaccine does not give me any more protection from the virus than my God-given immune system, and I wouldn’t have to worry about side effects from a hastily developed medical product. I have an immune-compromised daughter as well as an 85-year-old mother whom we visit regularly. We have managed to keep both safe by improving our health and practicing the same precautions that we have used every year during flu season. I pray that each member of this committee will stay objective and vote to progress these pieces of legislation for further consideration. I noticed that the majority of proposed legislation during the current session has been accepted or killed precisely along party lines. If these bills are considered only through this criterion, then these issues will appear to be about politics and not the health and safety of the citizens. Thank you in advance for your time and service to the people of this Commonwealth. Sincerely, Karen L. Whitlock 540-660-2544 23093

End of Comments