Public Comments for 02/01/2021 Appropriations - Compensation and General Government Subcommittee
HB1818 - Workers' compensation; presumption of compensability for certain diseases.
Last Name: Bayer Organization: Muhlenberg Lutheran Church Locality: Harriosnburg

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

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

On behalf of the 9,000 members of the Virginia Professional Fire Fighters, I ask you to SUPPORT HB1818. This legislation seeks to add full-time salaried emergency medical technicians to the list of public safety employees who are entitled to a presumption for hypertension and heart disease. To limit its fiscal impact, this bill provides for a local option and outlines that the presumption will only be provided in those jurisdictions that have authorized such presumption by local ordinance. The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act provides a presumption for hypertension for many public safety officials, including fire fighters, police officers and correctional officers. However, the statute omitted many EMS providers when the presumption was first established in 1975. While some EMS providers are cross trained as fire fighters and covered within the presumption, that is not the case in every jurisdiction. For example, Virginia Beach has 65 medics that are classified as full-time salary Emergency Medical Technicians and are not included within the definitions outlined in § 65.2-402. Portsmouth has another 27. These EMS providers preform the same type of strenuous activities as the others currently included in the presumption section. Therefore, VPFF supports HB1818 and request that you add emergency medical technicians to the list of public safety employees who are entitled to a presumption for hypertension and heart disease.

Last Name: Hundley Organization: Virginia Beach EMS Locality: Virginia Beach

My name is Joey Hundley and I am the Deputy EMS Chief for the Virginia Beach Department of EMS. Thank you Representatives Heretick and Convirs-Fowler for introducing this bill and to the Committee for taking the time to review it. This is an important step for our providers since we are a third service (Police, Fire, EMS) department. We have had providers in the recent past who left the department under medical conditions that, had this been in place for us at the time, would have been covered due to the medical condition. Virginia Beach EMS is in favor of the bill and we thank you for your support.

Last Name: Detrick Organization: Virginia Professional Firefighters Locality: Virginia Beach

Chair and members of their committee, My name is Kurt Detrick and I serve as a District Vice President for the Virginia Professional Firefighters, an organization that represents almost 9,000 firefighters and paramedics across the commonwealth. I am writing today in STONG SUPPORT of HB1818. Our career EMS providers are exposed to many of the same hazardous environments that firefighters are. It is long over due that they receive the same benefits that our firefighters do. Career EMS providers are exposed to long work hours, lack or sleep, exposures to carcinogens which all have been proven to lead to long term health complications. We are requesting the support and passage of HB1818. Respectfully, Kurt Detrick

Last Name: Brown Organization: Virginia Beach EMS Locality: PORTSMOUTH

Honorable committee members, Thank you for your consideration to include EMS providers under the heart presumption of the Heart and Lung Act. As a non-fire department based agency this has been an item we have longed for since our first year as a full-time career providers in 2004. In March 2020 U.S. News and World Report listed Paramedic as the fourth most stressful job in the United States. We routinely must make decisions away from hospitals regarding our patients health and lives. Multiple studies have shown that high stress jobs have increased occurrences of heart related diseases such as hypertension and heart disease which increases risk of heart attack. With the novel coronavirus, these stresses increase. As a pandemic front line provider we are willing to risk all for others. Many are exposed to the virus even while using all recommended precautions and we routinely see COVID positive patients multiple times a day. The long term effects of the virus are still not completely known but have already included cardiac issues such as palpitations and myocarditis (inflammation of the heart). There is additional stress out of concern that we could bring it home to our families as well. Before the pandemic, our department had a Medic that had suffered a cardiac arrest at work and had thankfully survived, but was unable to return to work. Without the presumption, she was forced to retire at 16 years of service to the citizens and its visitors at a reduced rate. As a husband and father myself, this is concerning. Like the pandemic, taking all precautions like proper diet, exercise, and not smoking is no guarantee that EMS providers won't suffer a cardiac event and not be able to provide for their families. We can, and must do better to care for those who are willing to risk illness and injury to themselves in order to serve others. We do this while away from our families during nights, weekends, holidays, and routinely miss family events just like our public safety partners in Fire and Law Enforcement. It's only right, that we be included under the heart presumption of the Heart Lung Act. Again, I thank you for your consideration. Very respectfully, Michael Brown Captain, Virginia Beach EMS

Last Name: Gonano Organization: Virginia Beach Professional Firefighters, IAFF Local 2924 Locality: Virginia Beach

Delegates, My name is Max Gonano and I am the president of the Virginia Beach Professional Firefighters, IAFF Local 2924. I am writing to ask you to support HB1818 which would give localities the option of including full-time salary career single role EMS providers and EMS volunteers the same kind of workers compensation heart disease presumption that is enjoyed by the firefighters, police officers, sheriffs, and correctional officers in the Commonwealth of Virginia. While many EMS providers are cross trained as Firefighters, thus including them in the current heart disease workers compensation presumption, that is not the case in every jurisdiction. Through a legislative oversight, EMS providers who are not cross trained in firefighting are not covered under workers compensation heart disease presumption. This is wrong. In Virginia Beach there are approximately 68 full-time salary EMS providers that cannot be included in heart disease presumption without this legislation because they are single role providers. This legislative oversight means that EMS providers responding to EMS calls in the City of Virginia Beach do not have the same workers compensation presumptions that are enjoyed by the cross trained Fire/EMS providers in the rest of the Commonwealth. This legislation requested by the City of Virginia Beach, among others, is not an unfunded mandate on localities because it is entirely optional. Voting for this legislation means voting to allow the few localities that have single role career EMS and volunteer EMS if those so choose the option to provide them with the same heart disease presumption that is currently maintained for firefighters, police officers, sheriffs, and correctional officers. This is a matter of parity and a matter of fairness for those that have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic for the last 10 months. I ask for your support. Sincerely, Max Gonano President, Virginia Beach Professional Firefighters Local 2924 (757)642-3776 mobile

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

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

Last Name: Detrick Organization: Virginia Professional Firefighters Locality: Virginia Beach

My name is Kurt Detrick and I serve as a district Vice President for the Virginia Professional Firefighters, an organization that represents almost 9,000 firefighters and paramedics across the commonwealth. I am writing today in STONG SUPPORT of HB1818. Our career EMS providers are exposed to many of the same hazardous environments that firefighters are. It is long over due for them to receive the same benefits that our firefighters do. Career EMS providers are exposed to long work hours, lack or sleep, exposures to carcinogens which all have been proven to lead to long term health complications. We are requesting the support and passage of HB1818. Respectfully, Kurt Detrick

Last Name: Aubrey Chigwada Organization: DHRM Locality: Richmond

Here to answer any questions on behalf of DHRM.

Last Name: Aubrey Chigwada Organization: DHRM Locality: Richmond

Answering questions related to Workers' Compensation Bills

HB1822 - Health insurance; cost-sharing payments for prescription asthma inhalers.
Last Name: Bayer Organization: Muhlenberg Lutheran Church Locality: Harriosnburg

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

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

I was asked to be available for the meeting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Name: Wright Locality: Glen Allen

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

Last Name: Loving Organization: Midwifes Locality: Chesterfield

Addressing topics for perspective is a form of growth.

HB1849 - Apprenticeship training programs; DOLI, DGS, et al., shall review availability of programs.
Last Name: Julia Hammond Organization: Associated Builders and Contractors - Virginia Chapter Locality: Chesterfield

This bill is premature as the DOLI will be directed, by letter from the Speaker, to study this issue and report recommendations to the GA for consideration. Those recommendations may result in the need for future legislation. The letter to DOLI is in response to an apprenticeship study resolution patroned by Del. Simmonds and heard by House Rules.

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

The Fredericksburg Regional Chamber supports apprenticeship programs and the valuable skills/pathway to a career they provide, however, this legislation would preclude many currently qualified contractors from public construction contracts. Many contractors may not have an apprenticeship program for every trade practiced within the company. This bill would force those who do not have the program to make costly changes to their company in order to compete. For these reasons, we regretfully oppose the bill.

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

My name is Ross Snare and I represent the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and its 1200+ Members, while we strongly support apprenticeship programs and see them as an valuable asset that will improve the economic standing of the Commonwealth, we have concerns on the impact that this bill will have fiscally on contractors and therefore, cannot support the bill.

Last Name: Reynolds Organization: Hampton Roads Chamber Locality: Norfolk

My name is Emily Reynolds and I am the Executive Director of Government Affairs for the Hampton Roads Chamber. We are a pro-business organization serving over 1,200 members. On behalf of our members and the feedback we have received regarding this bill, we have concerns. While the Chamber supports apprenticeship programs and the valuable skills/pathway to a career they provide, this legislation would preclude many currently qualified contractors from public construction contracts. Many contractors may not have an apprenticeship program for every trade practiced within the company. This bill would force those who do not have the program to make costly changes to their company in order to compete. For these reasons, we regretfully oppose the bill.

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

The Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce opposes this bill. While we support apprenticeship programs and the valuable skills/pathway to a career they provide, this legislation would preclude many currently qualified contractors from public construction contracts. Many contractors may not have an apprenticeship program for every trade practiced within the company, and this would bill would force those who do not to make costly changes to their company in order to compete.

Last Name: Ascher Organization: Mid-Atlantic Pipe Trade Association/United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters Locality: Baltimore, MD

On behalf of the over 8600 United Association members and families across Virginia, I ask you to support HB 1849. Participants in a registered apprenticeship program receive the best available education in their craft, from safety standards to construction codes to the daily on-the-job training apprentices get while being supervised by licensed journeyman workers. Using workers trained in these self-funded programs provides untold value to Virginia and all its public bodies when they need to complete a construction project. We must ensure that the contractors hired to perform work on taxpayer-funded construction projects use workers who have completed this caliber of training. These programs must have a proven track record of consistently graduating students from apprentice to journeyman to add to this value. HB 1849 will guarantee these high-quality apprenticeship programs, and the contractors who use them are the ones providing the workers for public construction projects. For all these reasons, I ask you to support this legislation.

Last Name: Floyd Organization: Local 80, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Locality: Chesapeake

Apprenticeships provide the training for future tradesmen, both by in classroom education and on the job training. Virginia needs to ensure that any contractor performing work in the commonwealth is participating in a registered apprenticeship. This provides not just the labor for the project today, but the training for the future jouneyperson. Additionally, this bill will prevent the exploitation of workers by contractors due to worker misclassification. This bill provides an avenue to ensure that new workers are given a hand up nw, rather than looking for a hand out later.

Last Name: James Spencer Organization: UA Local 5 Plumbers and Gasfitters Locality: Essex County Virginia

HB 1849 Virginia Public Procurement Act; participation in apprenticeship training programs, etc. I support HB 1849 Virginia Public Procurement Act, Introduced by: Shelly A. Simonds I support the expansion of self-funded apprenticeship training programs; Virginia should require its public bodies to include in every contract for construction over $250,000 provisions requiring the contractor, during the performance of the contract, to participate in a self-funded apprenticeship training program for each separate trade or classification program in which it employs construction employees. In addition, as the Act proposes, Virginia should ensure General Contractors, Prime Contractors and Construction Managers write subcontracts with flow down provisions in all subcontracts over $50,000 so that such self-funded apprenticeship provisions will be binding upon each subcontractor. Lou Spencer Caret, Virginia

Last Name: Ayres Organization: Concerned citizen Locality: King George

To whom it may concern, I have been involved in both residential and commercial construction for over 30 years in Virginia. First as an untrained worker when I started and then as an apprentice where I learned the proper, safe and most efficient way to perform my job to finally becoming a journey person to have the knowledge and wisdom to perform my work safely and properly. I feel it is critical and should be necessary for trades workers to be properly trained through properly accredited Apprenticeship programs to have the skills needed to construct, service and maintain all residential, commercial and infrastructure safely to protect the public and all that use or reside in it especially everything with government funding in it at the minimum. The tax payers deserve the best possible built government funded projects as possible since it will be their taxes paying for them and the public citizens will be accessing and using these projects. In conclusion once again for every ones safety please have the commonsense to require proper training through apprenticeship and proper classification so the correctly trained people are doing the work that they are correctly trained to do. Please look to the Commissioner of Labor's Office for further facts backing my concerns with injuries and deaths contributed to unskilled and misclassified workers performing the wrong jobs. Concerned Citizen,

HB2004 - Virginia Freedom of Information Act; law-enforcement criminal incident information, criminal files.
Last Name: Ward Locality: Washington, D.C

My name is Jolicia Ward, and I am an Advocate for Demario Joyner, an innocent seventeen-year-old African American teenager shot in the back of head by Virginia Beach Police Officer Robert C. Ernest after running from gun shots at a local party held at The Beach House in Virginia Beach, Virginia on January 16, 2005. Since January 16, 2005, Demario’s family has been completely stripped of their civil rights. Demario’s lifeless body was left hanging on a fence for over six hours with no immediate medical care. Demario’s family stated that they believe if he would have received medical attention with in the first thirty minutes, he could of possibly survived. Demario’s family was also not allowed to identify his body at all through the entire process. The Virginia Beach Police Department and The City of Virginia Beach never communicated with Demario’s family at all during the entire medical examination process and investigation process. Demario’s family was left without a son, without a brother and no answers why. Demario’s family is ready to fight for justice and I am leading the way. Delegate Stephen Heretick requested the police report of Demario Joyner to help with the assistance of redrafting a proposal. I contacted the Virginia Beach Police Department via phone Tuesday, August 18, 2020 and an Officer stated that Demario Joyner’s case was an investigation case, and they can only release the report to the next legal kin on the death certificate with a valid driver’s license and death certificate. Darlene Taylor goes up to The Virginia Beach Police Department in person with the proper documentation on August 25, 2020 and The Virginia Beach Police Department stated they purged his record which I believe is false and is another violation of his family’s civil right. Now we have no police report to give to Delegate Heretick which is what he specifically requested to redraft this legislation in Demario’s honor. Delegate Heretick stated he does not understand exactly how he could request and receive a copy of the police report if Demario’s mother cannot obtain one. He then made myself aware of HB2004 sponsored by Delegate Hurst that could address this problem by requiring law enforcement to release information about cases once investigations are closed. This is a critical and important bill for the state of Virginia. Without HB2004, these are the type of situations families in the very community that all of us live in will be suffering from. They would continue to be humiliated and stripped of their God given civil rights. HB2004 has the power to save the lives of thousands and bring justice home to those who have been living a long time without it. Please pass HB2004 as it will have an overall powerful positive impact in the criminal justice system.

Last Name: Attorney Adams Organization: Law Offices of Jarrett Adams, PLLC Locality: New York, New York

Greetings: My name is Jarrett Adams, and I am a criminal defense and civil rights attorney based in Manhattan, New York. I practice in federal and state courts throughout the country to defend clients claiming actual innocence, in various phases of criminal proceedings. I provide this letter in support of Bill #HB2004, and to give an example of how impactful the power of transparency is for justice in any aspect of the criminal justice system. In 2016, I co-founded the non-profit Life After Justice to advocate for the rights and release of wrongfully convicted individuals and support them through re-entry afterwards. I was inspired to start Life After Justice after my own journey of a false accusation leading to my conviction and incarceration. I was exonerated roughly 10 years after I was sentenced, and ultimately found redemption. Due to my personal and professional experiences, I am aware of how imperative it is to reinvestigate cases to exhaustion after conviction. People’s lives do not stop once they are convicted, and it is our societal duty to ensure that all claims of wrongful conduct are thoroughly investigated. This is only feasible through the release of complete investigative files. I support Bill #HB2004 regarding the release of information for closed cases because I am one of thousands of advocates that rely on meticulous and far-reaching post-conviction investigations in order to do my job effectively. Currently, I am working to secure the release of two innocent Virginia men from federal custody. See (https://richmond.com/news/state-and-regional/jury-acquitted-two-men-in-1998-murder-of-waverly- police-officer-but-both-serving-life/article_94253acf-22d0-59d7-806e-0ed27b8f40ef.html) and (https://www.change.org/p/sussex-county-commonwealth-attorney-terrence-richardson-and-ferrone- claiborne-have-been-wrongfully-incarcerated-for-20-years-801c7893-88a9-4335-8472- 4acd680f1cde?recruiter=1525985&recruited_by_id=a2a41f60-d02c-012f-1e60-40401bfb75). Proving both men’s innocence has been a challenge, especially since the state police refuse to allow access to the criminal file that may hold more evidence of innocence. After filing FOIA requests that were ultimately denied, I was only able to obtain pertinent information about the case through happenstance—old files that were dumped in a facility's storage after an unsuccessful post-conviction hearing. Through reviewing these old files, I discovered new evidence pointing to Mr. Richardson’s and Mr. Claiborne’s innocence. These documents revealed statements from a witness that provided a description of the perpetrator that did not match the two men, and record of an anonymous tip naming an alternate suspect. None of this information was disclosed to Mr. Richardson’s and Mr. Claiborne’s attorneys at the time of trial. It is preposterous and completely unjust that coincidence delivered the documents that I previously requested through FOIA. The current barrier to accessing information is a threat to the integrity of the criminal justice system and must be repaired at once. If the practice of restricting access to criminal files continues, innocent men and women may die in prison never having a chance to prove their innocence, thus imposing a separate and cruel form of punishment. Passing Bill #HB2004 would be a most appropriate step in preventing such an injustice. Sincerely, ___________________ Jarrett Adams, Esq.

Last Name: Haskins Organization: Virginia Association of Comonwealth's Attorneys Locality: Pittsylvania County

Robert Bryan Haskins. Commonwealth’s Attorney for Pittsylvania County. I am writing on behalf of the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys (VACA) to address the fiscal impact of HB 2004. VACA is opposed to HB 2004 because Commonwealth’s Attorneys do not have the resources to handle the obligations imposed by the bill. Virginia FOIA law contemplates a five day turnaround to comply with a FOIA demand. This time frame contemplates a process whereby a request is responded to by copying papers, video, and audio and mailing them out as a package to the requestor. This cannot be the process with the many redactions required for criminal investigative files, and Commonwealth’s Attorneys simply do not have the staff or resources to manage this redaction process. It is one thing to say there will be no fiscal impact because Commonwealth’s Attorneys can charge reasonable copying fees. This argument misses the point of who will have abandon their current caseload to do work. Countless hours will be spent reviewing every document, every video, and every audio recording to redact all references to the victim and to redact information which other statutes require not to be released. For cases older than 5 years we will need to find VRCs just to watch the video much less edit the tapes. These redactions require legal interpretation of the FOIA statutes and how they interact with other law enforcement records privacy statutes found elsewhere within the code. The workload of file review and redaction cannot be delegated to an already burdened administrative assistant. The hours of work required will fall on the attorneys who are already either in court fighting today’s cases or out of court preparing for tomorrow’s cases. If HB 2004 passes there will be a rush to demand files from the media, the friends of defendants, and the simply curious. Without proper funding and staffing these FOIA requests will cripple our ability to help today’s victims because we are having to spend our time reviewing and redacting yesterday’s cases. VACA respectfully submits that HB 2004 is advancing without any consideration of the impact on the workload of Commonwealth’s Attorney’s offices. VACA submits that a study is needed before anyone can responsibly predict this bill’s impact on the operations of our offices. For the reasons stated above VACA respectfully opposes HB 2004.

Last Name: Rhyne Organization: Virginia Coalition for Open Government Locality: Williamsburg

The Virginia Coalition for Open Government supports HB2004. Records in a criminal investigative file have been generated, created and maintained because they have value to the agency that has them. They reflect the work of the law enforcement agency or state department. They have value to the public, too. We whose taxes fund these offices. We who have given our consent to be governed. And we who are impacted by that governance. These records have little value to us as a means of oversight if we cannot access them. Law enforcement has an interest in transparency, too. The records can refute a claim of malfeasance or prove that decisive action was taken when things went wrong. They can corroborate competence or adherence to policy. They can tell the story of the hard work that went into solving or pursuing a case. Other states around the country — from “red” Louisiana to “blue” Connecticut — and the federal government allow access to a far larger pool of criminal investigative files than Virginia does. And they do so without compromising the integrity of the records or the safety of law enforcement personnel. Please support HB 2004 and lift the curtain on the work of this part of the criminal justice system.

Last Name: Feldman Organization: The Innocence Project Locality: Brooklyn

The Innocence Project at University of Virginia (UVA) School of Law, Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project (MAIP) and national Innocence Project make up the Virginia Innocence Coalition, which advocates for policies that address and prevent wrongful convictions. The Virginia Innocence Coalition strongly supports House Bill 2004. We thank Delegate Hurst and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act Council for developing this legislation. While the majority of states (32) and the federal government permit public access to inactive criminal investigative files, Virginia gives police agencies complete discretion about whether to release this information. Agencies frequently deny requests, leaving crime victims without closure, police-shooting victims without justice, and wrongfully convicted people without a way to prove innocence. House Bill 2004 would fix the broken law by presuming public access to inactive criminal investigative files, unless any of six exemptions apply. House Bill 2004 is based on the federal Freedom of Information Act. The federal model is used in 12 other states. The proposal balances the public’s right to know with protections for ongoing investigations, privacy and safety. The bill would: -Presume public access to criminal investigative files for law enforcement investigations or proceedings that are not considered “ongoing.” -Define an “ongoing” investigation or proceeding as one in which the case has not been finally adjudicated, evidence continues to be gathered, and the case would be jeopardized with premature release of the information. -Allows custodian to withhold criminal investigative files based on six exemptions for: 1) Interference with an ongoing law enforcement investigation or proceeding; 2) Deprivation of the right to a fair trial; 3) Unwarranted invasion of personal privacy; 4) Disclosure of identity of a confidential informant, 5) Disclosure of law enforcement technique or procedure that could risk circumvention of the law; 6) Endangerment of life or safety of an individual. This proposal is critical to meet demands for police accountability and racial justice. Innocence organizations are regularly forced to close wrongful conviction investigations because police agencies deny access to old case files. For example, a corrupt police officer framed four innocent sailors in the “Norfolk Four” case and is now in federal prison for other crimes. Innocence organizations are unable to review other cases in which the detective may have framed innocent people because requests for investigative files have been rejected by the Norfolk Police Department. Mandating release of these records will help overturn wrongful convictions and detect the actual perpetrators. It is also critical for victims. The Virginia Beach Police Department completed its investigation into last year’s mass shooting that killed 12 people at the city municipal center. The department is denying requests from victims’ families for the complete investigative files. Providing victims with access to this information will help answer questions about what happened to their loved ones.

Last Name: Hickman Organization: Virginia Press Association Locality: Richmond

The Virginia Press Association supports HB 2004 (Hurst). We join with open government advocates in ensuring that citizens and the press have access to criminal incident information for responsible journalism. We thank Delegate Hurst and all stakeholders for their work on this bill.

Last Name: Rhyne Organization: Virginia Coalition for Open Government Locality: Williamsburg

The goal of the legislation is to establish a mechanism that requires release of some criminal investigative files in some instances. The purpose is not to throw open the doors wide to any and every disclosure, but it is to understand that there is public interest and public value — through accountability — in records that are no longer part of an open, active investigation. Records in a criminal investigative file have been generated, created and maintained because they have value to the agency that has them. They reflect the work of the law enforcement agency or state department. They have value to the public, too. We whose taxes fund these offices. We who have given our consent to be governed. And we who are impacted by that governance. But these records have little value to us as a means of oversight if we cannot access them. There are defendants, victims, families of both, media, researchers, academics, civil rights advocates, attorneys, former officers, and others who have interest in these files.  The public has an interest in monitoring the work of the government. The government with a very difficult and delicate job to do, but the government with extraordinary power over individuals and communities. And law enforcement. They too have an interest in transparency. The records can refute a claim of malfeasance or prove that decisive action was taken when things went wrong. They can corroborate competence or adherence to policy. They can tell the story of the hard work that went into solving or pursuing a case. Attempts to open up the records relating to policing, prosecuting and punishing people have been fought under a doomsday scenario that sees access to records and the information contained in them as a tool for new or additional wrongdoing. Records will be manipulated or altered. Records will jeopardize some other possible prosecution some time in the future. Records will be used to harm officers. Records will be quoted out of context. Or, the public doesn’t have the ability to understand what’s in the records. But make no mistake: other states around the country — from “red” Louisiana to “blue” Connecticut — and the federal government -- allow access to a far larger pool of criminal investigative files than Virginia does. And they do so without compromising the integrity of the records or the safety of law enforcement personnel. Please support HB 2004 and lift the curtain on the work of this part of the criminal justice system.

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

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

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

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

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

We support this bill

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

We are against this bill

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

We are against this bill

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

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

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

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

Last Name: Jones Organization: CWA Locality: Sandston

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

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

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

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

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

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

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

Last Name: Tetterton Organization: VAHC Locality: Henrico

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

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

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

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

The Virginia Education Association (VEA) supports HB2137.

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

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

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

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

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

We support this bill

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

We support this bill

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

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

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

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

Last Name: SNELL-COOK Locality: Virginia Beach

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

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

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

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

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

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Name: Ciliento Organization: AFSCME Locality: Fairfax

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

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

Last Name: Tetterton Organization: VAHC Locality: Henrico

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

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

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

Last Name: Johnson Locality: Richmond City

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

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

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

Last Name: Tetterton Organization: VAHC Locality: Henrico

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

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

We support this bill

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

We support this bill

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

We support this bill

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

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

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

oppose all marked bills

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

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

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

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

Last Name: Chigwada Organization: DHRM Locality: Richmond

Here to answer any questions for DHRM on the Bill

Last Name: Ciliento Organization: AFSCME Locality: Fairfax

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

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

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

Last Name: SNELL-COOK Locality: NORFOLK

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

Last Name: Camden Locality: Virginia Beach

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

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

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

Last Name: Aubrey Chigwada Organization: DHRM Locality: Richmond

Here to answer any questions on behalf of DHRM.

Last Name: Aubrey Chigwada Organization: DHRM Locality: Richmond

Answering questions related to Workers' Compensation Bills

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

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

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

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

HB2288 - Va. Public Procurement Act; construction contracts, requirement to submit list of subcontractors.
Last Name: Hammond Organization: Associated Builders and Contractors - Virginia Chapter Locality: Chesterfield

ABC-VA opposes this bill.

Last Name: Bruce Burton Organization: The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and Virginia AFL-CIO Locality: Alexandria area of Fairfax County

I write in support of HB 2288 (VA. Public Procurement Act; construction contracts, requirement to submit list of subcontractors), legislation designed to limit the irresponsible practice of "bid shopping" on public construction in Virginia. Bid shopping or bid pedaling occurs when a general contractor or project manager discloses the bid price from one subcontractor to another after bids have been submitted in an attempt to obtain a lower unreasonable price. This practice is highly unethical and leads to shoddy work and unsafe construction by incentivizing dangerous corner-cutting. Moreover, it defeats the purpose of the competitive bidding system. It is time to limit, if not end, the practice of bidshopping on public construction in Virginia. I respectfully request the Committee Members to support HB 2288 when it is brought-up for consideration.

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

We support this bill

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

We support this bill

Last Name: Ayres Organization: International Union of Elevator Constructors Locality: King George

Dear Chairman and Committee members, I am in support of HB 2288 as there is a large and long history of Contractors and sub-contractors that have been and are still being hired to do both public and private work that are not qualified and can not perform the work properly required in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We need to have a process that reviews the history and qualifications of contractors being hired in Virginia to protect the residents and the tax revenue being used. There should be no issues with this for contractors and sub-contractors that are being used for especially public work as we all should understand that there are more requirements to perform government work to protect the public citizens in all matters.

Last Name: Spencer Organization: UA Local 5 Plumbers and Gasfitters Locality: Essex

I support HB 2288. HB 2288 requires bidders or offerors on contracts for construction of $250,000 or more to submit along with their bid or proposal a list of all subcontractors, regardless of tier, that the bidder or offeror will use on the contract to perform work valued at $50,000 or more. HB 2288 requires such list to include certain information about each contractor. HB 2288 allows the public body to disqualify listed subcontractors. The practice of bid shopping is repugnant, and it must be stopped. Construction professionals are decisively opposed to bid shopping. Bid shopping and bid peddling are unethical and exploitative. This legislation increases transparency in the bidding process substantially; it will encourage and increase the number of responsive and responsible bidders and this will reduce cost associated with shoddy work and schedule delays. It is time for all professional contractors and construction trade associations and the Virginia General Assembly to come together in strident opposition to bid shopping stopping the practice altogether in Virginia, please vote favorably for HB 2288. Lou Spencer Caret, Virginia

Last Name: Solis Organization: Plumbers and Gasfitters Local No. 5 Locality: Loudoun

I support HB 2288 which revises the Virginia Public Procurement Act pertaining to construction contracts, requiring general contractors to submit a list of subcontractors. HB 2288 requires bidders or offerors on contracts for construction of $250,000 or more to submit along with their bid or proposal a list of all subcontractors, regardless of tier, that the bidder or offeror will use on the contract to perform work valued at $50,000 or more, including labor and materials. HB 2288 requires such list to include certain information about each contractor. HB 2288 allows the public body to disqualify listed subcontractors but requires the public body to notify the bidder or offeror of such disqualification and allow the bidder or offeror reasonable time to find a qualified replacement. HB 2288 provides that any bidder or offeror that does not submit the required list and statements will have its bid or proposal disqualified, and any bidder or offeror that is found to have knowingly provided false information pursuant to this section shall be debarred from contracting with any public body for a period of up to one year. The practice of bid shopping is repugnant, and it must be stopped. Construction professionals are decisively opposed to it bid shopping. Bid shopping and bid peddling are unethical and exploitative. It is time all professional contractor and construction trade associations and the Virginia General Assembly to come together in vociferous opposition to stop bid shopping in Virginia vote favorably for HB 2288. Respectfully Submitted, Tony Solis Leesburg, Virginia

Last Name: Spencer Organization: UA Local 5 Plumbers and Gasfitters Locality: Essex

I support HB 2288 which revises the Virginia Public Procurement Act pertaining to construction contracts, requiring general contractors to submit a list of subcontractors. HB 2288 requires bidders or offerors on contracts for construction of $250,000 or more to submit along with their bid or proposal a list of all subcontractors, regardless of tier, that the bidder or offeror will use on the contract to perform work valued at $50,000 or more, including labor and materials. HB 2288 requires such list to include certain information about each contractor. The bill also requires the bidder or offer to submit 1) a statement declaring that the bidder or offeror has reviewed the qualifications and performance history of each subcontractor and found such qualifications and performance history to be sufficient to qualify the subcontractor to perform the subcontract work and 2) a statement indicating that the bidder or offeror has received a written statement from each subcontractor verifying that such subcontractor (a) has not defaulted on any projects within the last three years, (b) has not been suspended or disbarred by any public body within the last three years, and (c) is not currently in bankruptcy. HB 2288 allows the public body to disqualify listed subcontractors but requires the public body to notify the bidder or offeror of such disqualification and allow the bidder or offeror reasonable time to find a qualified replacement. HB 2288 provides that any bidder or offeror that does not submit the required list and statements will have its bid or proposal disqualified, and any bidder or offeror that is found to have knowingly provided false information pursuant to this section shall be debarred from contracting with any public body for a period of up to one year. The practice of bid shopping is repugnant, and it must be stopped. Construction professionals are decisively opposed to it bid shopping. Bid shopping and bid peddling are unethical and exploitative. It is time all professional contractor and construction trade associations and the Virginia General Assembly to come together in vociferous opposition to stop bid shopping in Virginia vote favorably for HB 2288. Lou Spencer Caret, Virginia

HB2306 - Va. Public Procurement Act; contract clause requiring subcontractor reporting of certain payments.
Last Name: Hammond Organization: Associated Builders and Contractors - Virginia Chapter Locality: Chesterfield

ABC-VA opposes this bill. Changes to the VPPA should be studied and vetted by impacted agencies, procurement professionals, and stakeholders before brought to the GA.

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

The Virginia Ready Mixed Concrete Association opposes HB 2306 as an unnecessary and excessive burden on contractors. Subcontractors will be required to determine and report individual employee wages for every worker on a project site. This is separate from the current reporting of wage information that is already required by VDOT. The General Assembly implemented additional requirements last session to address wage theft. Since then, no significant issues have been identified on transportation construction projects. We fear that this bill will stifle participation and raise the cost of public projects. Finally, we have concerns with the opportunity for public feedback on this bill. We ask you to oppose HB 2306.

Last Name: Dixon Organization: VA Transportation Construction Alliance Locality: Chesterfield

As a Virginia trade association of 300 firms, we are deeply disappointed we were not provided the opportunity to express our opinion during previous legislative testimony due to being locked out of the sign-up system. Here again, we are locked out of today’s opportunity to speak before the elected officials who will make the decision. Our only recourse is to send this electronic writing – I do hope all legislators are readying these comments. This major policy decision should be looked at in further detail. VTCA represents the contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and service firms who build, maintain and repair state roads. The Virginia firms who employ Virginia citizens on transportation projects manage projects to ensure good use of taxpayer dollars. As clients of the State and often Federal dollars, we are already subject to audits and certified payrolls and if violations occur, the government agencies have the authority to address issues and even suspend or debar bad actors. This bill is an excessive bureaucratic paper chase effort where no agency has the current resources to seriously look at the data until a complaint is filed. With the excessive detailed information requested, competitors will scan the FOIA data and get sensitive wage information. Subcontractors will need to pull individual employee and report monthly payrolls for all workers on the site. This is separate from the current reporting of wage information to VDOT. These excessive requirements will significantly impact SWaM contractors harder than the large firms and will discourage participation in the states SWaM goals as well as reduce overall competition. The Legislature set up additional compliance vetting last year to address the alleged "wage violations" during the 2020 Session, yet you have not identified significant issues on transportation construction projects and this bill will only raise the cost of taxpayer dollars on all public projects. We ask you to oppose HB 2306 and allow last year's legislation to address this concern. Gordon Dixon

Last Name: Robinson Organization: Associated General Contractors of Virginia (AGCVA) Locality: Glen Allen

As we have been unable to speak against this bill in General Laws and now in this subcommittee, on behalf of the over 500 businesses in commercial construction in Virginia, we write to express our opposition to this legislation. This bill creates an onerous reporting requirement on contractor businesses. The bill requires monthly reporting on a wide variety of payment and salary information. Much of this information is already required in the prevailing wage statute, though HB 2306 goes beyond what is currently required. It does not have a threshold limit, meaning it applies to small projects as well. It is open to FOIA requests, meaning competitors could gain access to proprietary pricing information, which harms the free market and the ability of contractors to appropriately price bids. AGCVA commends the Delegate for his goal of eliminating wage theft in public procurement. However, onerous industry wide reporting requirements will do harm to good businesses while not appropriately targeting bad actors.

Last Name: David Bailey Organization: Alliance fo Construction Excellence (ACE) Locality: HENRICO

The Alliance for Construction Excellence (ACE) fully supports HB2306 and encourages you to report it. This is another effort to combat wage theft and worker misclassification. Passage of the bill will help those businesses that are operating legally and are that are now unfortunately competing with some businesses that are skirting the law. David Bailey for ACE

Last Name: Abraham Organization: Old Dominion Highway Contractors Association Locality: Henrico

This bill puts a major burden on state contractors by requiring them to report monthly the payrolls for all workers on site. There is no indication DOLI has the systems in place to handle this mountain of data they will now be receiving and what they will do with it. If they suspect a wage theft violation they have the power to request this information but why put the burden on general contractors to report a select portion of their payrolls monthly to DOLI? Subcontractors will need to parse out their employees on site from their payrolls and then combine that information to provide to their general contractor. There a no FOIA protections in this bill so competitors will be able to get wage information on the companies they compete with. Highway contractors already have to report wage information to VDOT and this will require a different separate monthly report be provided to a different state agency. Why make general contractors get this information, compile it and then report it to DOLI? The burdens this bill impose will hit small businesses and SWAM contractors particularly hard and will discourage participation in state contracting opportunities. This bill was filed on the lat day for bill introduction, was heard in House General Laws without going to Subcommittee and, because it was added late to the full committee docket, nobody in the construction industry was able to speak against it. When I found out this bill would be heard on a different day than normal for this Subcommittee, I was unable to sign up to speak against it. This major change in state policy deserves much more thorough consideration and work and I respectfully request it not be approved. Thank you, Phil Abraham.

Last Name: Spencer Organization: UA Local 5 Plumbers and Gasfitters Locality: Essex

I support HB 2306; updating the Virginia Public Procurement Act, by requiring subcontractor reporting of payments to employees and independent contractors. This bill requires any contract awarded by a state agency or an agency of local government to require the contractor to include in each of its subcontracts a provision requiring the subcontractor to report to the contractor on a monthly basis 1) payroll records for all of the subcontractor's employees; 2) records of all payments made by the subcontractor to individuals classified as independent contractors; and 3) the total number of individuals on the jobsite, including the number classified as employees and the number classified as independent contractors. The bill requires the contractor to compile such information and submit it in a monthly report to the Department of Labor and Industry. HB 2306 is good for legitimate Virginia Business and Contracting. Worker misclassification is often the result of illegitimate labor brokers who supply undocumented workers (who are subject to wage theft oppression) to illegitimate businesses for the purpose of evading payroll taxes and worker compensation, this undermines legitimate Virginia business, under cuts qualified Virginia residents from employment, and it undermines state and local treasuries hurting all Virginia communities. It is time to enact HB 2306 for legitimate Virginia subcontractors AND stop worker misclassification (and wage theft) in Virginia. Lou Spencer Caret, Virginia

HB2322 - Opioid Abatement Authority; established, report.
Last Name: Jennifer Faison Organization: Virginia Association of Community Services Boards Locality: Richmond

The Virginia Association of Community Services Boards (VACSB) strongly supports HB2322 because it recognizes the devastating impact the opioid epidemic has had on Virginia. While the human toll can never be undone, the bill seeks to rectify some of the monetary impact the epidemic has had on localities as well as to put appropriate prevention measures in place and support services going forward for those who have succumbed to the disease of addiction. We believe that the governance structure as proposed in the bill strikes a delicate balance of all of the involved parties and appreciate the work of the Attorney General's Office, which was heavily involved in the drafting of the bill.

Last Name: Jordan Organization: City of Roanoke Locality: Richmond

Support

Last Name: Mitchell Organization: The McShin Foundation & The Virginia Recovery Advocacy Project Locality: RIchmond

The Virginia Recovery Advocacy Project - representing recovery organizations and thousands of individuals throughout the Commonwealth - and The McShin Recovery Resource Foundation - Virginia’s leading accredited, community-based, non-governmental organization (NGO) providing same-day, evidence-based, authentic peer-driven recovery support services - applauds this preemptive effort to ensure funds from current and potential opioid settlements reach the individuals and communities most devastated by the continuing opioid crisis. We write to share our concerns and offer the following improvements: First, the composition of the Board of Directors should reflect the community it serves. We suggest increasing the number of board members from 11 to 15, where five individuals represent the addiction and recovery community, of which at least three shall represent NGOs providing same-day, evidence-based, authentic peer-driven recovery support services. This change recognizes the importance of peer-to-peer recovery in combating the opioid crisis, and gives voice to the individuals directly served. Second, 35% of the Fund must be allocated to established, accredited, NGOs providing same-day, evidence-based, authentic peer-driven recovery support services. While Community Services Boards provide vital access to resources, same-day, NGO service providers, like The McShin Foundation, are fundamental for developing long-term connections to the authentic recovery community. The Virginia Association of Recovery Residences (VARR) and the Council on Accreditation of Peer Recovery Support Services (CAPRSS) are two established accreditations in Virginia with rigorous, evidence-based, national standards of excellence. We applaud you and members of the General Assembly for working to ensure equitable access to recovery from opioid use disorder. We must give voice to the community that the Opioid Abatement Authority will serve, and we must support community-based NGOs providing same-day, evidence-based, authentic peer-driven recovery support services. When we invest in authentic peer recovery, we build strong families, create safer communities, and produce healthier citizens.

Last Name: McDermott Organization: Faces and Voice of Recovery (FAVOR) of Virginia | www.favorva.org Locality: Maidens

I call your attention to the above referenced proposed legislation HB2322 (Establishing an Opioid Abatement Authority} before you in the House General Laws Committee this evening, upon which I commented before the Professions/Occupations and Administrative Process Sub-Committee this morning. From the perspective of an individual with more than 29 years of sustained continuous recovery from Substance Use Disorder (SUD), I support you referring this much needed legislation to the House Appropriations Committee with some additional input. As I stated before the Sub-Committee, this legislation is heartily welcomed; however I would amicably argue that “one representative of the addiction and recovery community” is not enough. Furthermore, I encourage you to look at what Delaware has done with their already enacted legislation along these lines to apportion a sizeable percentage of these anticipated settlement funds to non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) providing lived experience evidence based SUD recovery services – Opioid Impact Fund: See how Delaware will spend Big Pharma payout (delawareonline.com)

Last Name: Williams Organization: Decriminalize Virginia Locality: HAMPTON

I strongly support the legalization of cannabis. Although I would like a separate agency to be set up as a regulatory authority, I ok with the ABC /cannabis serving as a regulator, I do want to stop the process of legalization. Legalization and social equity is important. . Opt in and Opt out is important. We need to incorporate the Cannabis Control Advisory board this is important.

Last Name: McDermott Organization: Faces and Voice of Recovery (FAVOR) of Virginia | www.favorva.org Locality: Maidens

From the perspective of an individual with more than 29 years of sustained continuous recovery from Substance Use Disorder (SUD), this legislation is heartily welcomed, however I would amicably argue that “one representative of the addiction and recovery community” is not enough. Furthermore, I encourage you to look at what Delaware has done with their already enacted legislation along these lines to apportion a sizeable percentage of these anticipated settlement funds to non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) providing lived experience evidence based SUD recovery services – Opioid Impact Fund: See how Delaware will spend Big Pharma payout (delawareonline.com) Thank You!

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