Public Comments for 02/11/2021 Labor and Commerce
SB1247 - Electric generating facility closures; integrated resource plan.
Last Name: Dick Organization: Municipal Electric Power Association of Virginia (MEPAV) Locality: Chesterfield County

MEPAV represents the 16 government-owned electric utilities in Virginia. These utilities range in size from the City of Danville, with 42,000 customers to the Town of Wakefield, with 500. SB1247 is different from HB1834, which the House approved. The Senate Bill was amended to be limited to generation facilities of electric utilities as defined in 56-576, which includes municipal electric utilities along with the investor-owned utilities and the cooperatives. Dominion, APCO and the co-ops have large generation in Virginia that would be subject to the notice requirements in the bill - carbon dioxide emitting facilities larger than 80 megawatts. The municipal utilities do not. We think that distinction is important and wanted to make sure there was no misconception that any municipal utility had any generation of the size and type referenced in the bill. Since we have no generation the bill applies to, our position is to not oppose the bill. Thomas Dick on behalf of MEPAV.

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

On behalf of the Virginia Conservation Network I urge the committee to support SB1247, and to support substituting this bill with the House version (HB 1834). As it currently exists SB1247 includes an unnecessary amendment that restricts the public notice of facility closure requirement to only utilities. This would exclude approximately 6 out of 26 facilities subject to HB 1834. These merchant generators do not object to be included in the bill. Those 6 facilities still provide jobs and tax revenue to local communities.

Last Name: Barnes Organization: Appalachian Voices Locality: Big Stone Gap

SB1247 - Please substitute the Senate version with the House version (HB 1834). The Senate version includes an unnecessary amendment that restricts the public notice of facility closure requirement to only utilities. The HB 1834 and SB 1247 already exclude manufacturers with co-generation facilities by limiting the bill to only facilities that are subject to carbon regulations (§§ 10.1-1308 E or 10.1-1330). The Senate amendment limiting the first section of the bill to utilities would exclude merchant generators from the reporting requirements. This would exclude approximately 6 out of 26 facilities subject to HB 1834. These merchant generators do not object to be included in the bill. Those 6 facilities still provide jobs and tax revenue to local communities.

Last Name: Pien Organization: Earth Rise Indivisible, Loudoun Climate Project, Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun Earth Justice Team Locality: Leesburg

Power plants are a significant source of revenue for some localities. They will be closed in order to meet the mandates made in the Virginia Clean Economy Act. Impacted communities must be informed about power plant closures to address this source of revenue. This bill: 1.Requires owners of carbon-emitting electrical facilities ≥80 megawatts to notify impacted communities and relevant state agencies of power plant closures and work with local governments to provide public hearings. ○The notice must include information regarding worker transition assistance and environmental clean-up. ○Notice must be provided within 30 days of a decision to close, and public hearings must take place within 6 months. 2.Requires the Department of Energy to maintain a website of carbon-emitting power plants with announced, required, or estimated closures, and environmental permits. 3.Requires investor-owned utilities’ periodic integrated resource plan filings to include facility retirement studies, which must be provided to impacted communities and relevant state agencies. Protect impacted communities by passing this transparency bill. Thank you.

SB1269 - Health insurance; authorization of drug prescribed for the treatment of a mental disorder.
No Comments Available
SB1275 - Workers' compensation; presumption of compensability for certain diseases.
No Comments Available
SB1276 - Essential health benefits; abortion coverage.
Last Name: Schlur Locality: Richmond

I am writing to you today to urge your support on SB 1276. Denying women of their right to abortion coverage under their health insurance is not fair and this ban needs to be changed. Abortion is currently the only essential health benefit being prohibited on the health exchange, and as a result many women are being forced to pay for the costly procedure out of pocket, which is not something every woman has the funds to be able to do. In addition, SB 1276 is not making an intolerable amount of change as it would only remove the current abortion restrictions in place and allow the decision to provide that benefit to be up to the insurance companies. Having an abortion is a deeply personal decision for a women that no one can truly understand so it should not be anyone’s else right to deny them of this right based on their own kind of morality. This bill needs to be passed in order to further female reproductive rights and allow these customers to receive more comprehensive coverage on their reproductive services through their health insurance.

Last Name: Forester Locality: Richmond

SB1276 should be passed because I believe that people should have the choice whether or not they want an abortion. If they want to have one, they need to be able to afford it. Many people cannot pay out of pocket for an abortion and the people who need one the most, because of financial reasons, need the money the most. Taxes will not be affected by this bill, so it will not affect anyone who does not want anything to do with abortions. The bill will only positively affect people, not negatively, because everyone will have the option to get an abortion and have insurance pay for it and if one wants nothing to do with abortions, then they will not be effected. Also, this wont negatively effect insurance companies on the exchange, only positively effect them because they do not have to offer abortion services, it is only an option for them. So, each insurance company can decide whether they want to spend the funds or not. They may be willing to allow it in order to get more customers, but will not be forced to add any procedure as part of their plan if they do not wish to.

Last Name: Maguire Locality: Richmond

Healthcare is a basic human right and should be treated as such. As it stands, abortion coverage in the state of Virginia does not provide even the most basic right to women: the choice. The main concern with this bill is that taxpayers will be forced to pay for abortions. However, funding for abortions largely comes from fundraisers, donations and other independent organizations, not taxpayer dollars. Lifting the ban on elective abortions will not drastically increase the number of abortions. The choice to have an abortion is one of the hardest, most challenging choices of a woman's life and the Commonwealth of Virginia should value the right for a rational, autonomous woman to make that choice.

Last Name: McCreary Locality: Chesterfield County

My name is Sarah McCreary and I am writing in opposition to Senate Bill 1276. In order to address any bill pertaining to abortion, it is crucial to ask the most fundamental questions of: “what is abortion?” and “why might it be wrong?”. As in any case where the value of human life is at question, we must also ask, "What gives us value?" I hold, as I think that most do, that what gives us value does not lie in something that we can currently do or in some immediate physical attribute. You and I do not have value because of something we can do in a particular given moment or the way we appear, but rather we have value by nature of what we are. Further, we out to be treated in such a way that is consistent with the kind of thing we are. Abortion is wrong because the intentional killing of an innocent human person is gravely contrary to what is good for it by nature of what it is. I believe that no dollars should go towards such an act, either public funds or private. Therefore I ask you to please you to please oppose SB 1276.

Last Name: Smith Locality: Richmond

Taking away all restrictions on abortion is not want Virginians want- the Commonwealth should NOT subsidize abortion coverage for any reason, on our healthcare exchange. This legislation is dealing with the idea of abortion and if abortion should be covered for any reason in our healthcare exchange- so feel that first I must reaffirm many Virginians conviction that all human life is sacred whether born or unborn. We as leaders have the right and responsibility to help establish public policy that protects the right to life of unborn children, and provide healthcare for women and children. Abortion has become the fundamental human rights issue for so many Virginians, like myself, because of the fact that it denies legal status to an entire class of human beings because of their age or condition of dependency. While the patrons and supporters of this legislation reassure the public that this is "no mandate", this is indeed a bold measure that opens the door for abortions for ANY reason to be accessed and paid for by taxpayer funds. Because - this exchange is tax payer funded- taxes pay for managing the exchange and for subsidizing the health plans For Catholics- abortion is of overriding concern because it negates two of our most fundamental moral imperatives: our duty to respect innocent life, and preferential concern for the weak and defenseless. Abortion is not healthcare- we need to focus on measures that support affordable access to pre and post-natal healthcare, healthcare that supports both the mother and her child- healthcare that supports lives instead of ending lives. I ask that the committee please reconsider this legislation and chooses to collaborate with the full range of stakeholders when deciding on what is best for women’s health.

Last Name: Laboy Organization: Hispanic Community Locality: Manassas

SB 1276/ HB 1896 Taxpayer-funded abortion on demand in Virginia’s health exchange · Virginia should not subsidize abortion on demand with taxpayer funds. · Tens of thousands of low- and middle-income Virginians use the exchange (a virtual “marketplace” for those shopping for health insurance) to provide healthcare for themselves and their families. The exchange is taxpayer funded. Taxes pay for managing the exchange, and for subsidizing health plans in many cases. · Keep abortion out of the state health care exchange because abortion is not healthcare; it ends lives instead of healing them. · Seven in ten Americans, including nearly half who identify as pro-choice, want significant restrictions on abortion. (2020 Marist Poll) · The Hyde Amendment has been in place in federal law for over 40 years. Most states follow it. So should Virginia’s health exchange. · Virginia should prohibit abortion-on-demand coverage in the taxpayer-funded state health exchange.

Last Name: Helbraun Locality: Falls Church

Hello. My name is Madeline Helbraun., I live in Falls Church. I am testifying in Support of SB 1276. This bill will repeal the ban on insurance plans offered on the Virginia State Health Exchange that offer abortion services. This bill DOES NOT require plans to cover abortions, nor does it require the state or federal government to pay for abortions. I believe that all Virginians deserve full access to reproductive healthcare. It will not hurt anyone for this option to be available, but it will help those Virginians who perpetually underserved: black and brown women, immigrants and our lower income populations. Everyone should be able to make a choice about what kind of healthcare is best for them. This ban is unnecessary and mean spirited. Reproductive freedom should be available to all Virginians. I urge you to Vote for SB 1276. Thank you for your consideration.

Last Name: Leyko Locality: Vienna

Dear Committee Members, Currently there is so much discussion about equity in our society, we have all come to realize that it is important for all Virginias to have access to a level playing field regardless of their economic income. Given that, it appears very unfair that only those with the economic means to have complete access to Reproductive Health Choice while other members of our society are not able to access the same care due to their lower economic status. To this point, it is women of low economic status who suffer the most. This has become critically apparent during the pandemic with so many essential workers, who have limited economic means are being impacted by job loss. Ultimately these women will not be able to have access the same Reproductive Health Choice afforded to wealthier women. This will affect "all" women making minimum wage, but will affect women of color the most. I urge you to please support SB 1276, thank you.

Last Name: Blatchford-Harding Locality: Fairfax County

My name is Megan Blatchford-Harding, and I am a resident of Fairfax County, Virginia. I am testifying today in support of SB 1276, which would allow insurance plans that cover abortion to be traded on the state exchanges. I support this measure because women deserve all safe and legal healthcare procedures to be covered by their insurance. I feel strongly that the State of Virginia should not pick and choose which safe and legal healthcare services are covered by insurance. By supporting this measure, it will remove an unnecessary barrier for Virginian women to access medical care. I strongly urge you to support the amendment to SB 1276. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Last Name: Jameson Locality: Merrifield

Good afternoon members of the committee. My name is Morgan Jameson and I live in Merrifield, VA. The exchange is for individuals to receive private healthcare coverage. An individual should be able to select a plan which covers what they may need. Allowing reproductive health to be covered for plans is a no brainer. Many plans cover things people never need but they may need in the future. To not allow the insurance market to offer coverage within their own offerings is restrictive to both companies and individuals seeking coverage. I urge you to please support SB 1276, thank you.

Last Name: Miller Locality: Hampton

My life could have been so different… I was raped at the ages of 18 and 24. At the age of 20, I made the difficult choice to terminate a pregnancy – I knew that I was not ready to be a mother – as starry-eyed and full of “love” that I thought I was, it was not time for me to procreate. I have been fortunate to live in a state where I have been able to make reproductive choices for myself. I have never been told that I couldn’t choose what was right for me, my health, and the way that I have wanted to live. Whereas birth control before the ACA was expensive, I made the choice to purchase it until I was ready to be a mother. When that time came, I was married and ready to be the mother of three that I am now. Now I’m not looking at others who haven’t been able to make the choices that I made as any more or less than I am. In fact, to the contrary, I feel that they should have the RIGHT to do what I did. Twice in my life I have been the supportive friend that I did not have when I had an abortion. In both of those instances, my friends have made choices – one chose to have her baby and the other chose to terminate. In both of those cases, these women made the choices that were right for them – I celebrate them as I celebrate ANY woman who should have the RIGHT to be in charge of their own destinies. My story had a happy ending. I’m okay. Because of that, I will always be advocate for any woman to make decisions for their own health – especially my two daughters. Although they are 8 and 14, at some point in time they will be in the position to make choices that will change their entire futures. And I’ll be that mom to stand by their sides when they make time. In any legislation, the rights of our future female leaders should ALWAYS be at the forefront of our minds – what will they say about the people who are in power who have the chance to advocate for them? Will they look at us and say that we were antiquated and misguided? Or will they look at the things that we tried to accomplish and say “Well done?” I’m going to do everything I can so that the latter will be said about me. Will you? I urge you to support SB1276. Thank you.

Last Name: Hoffman Organization: League of Women Voters & National Organization for Women Locality: Albemarle

To the Chair and members of the committee, my name is Katherine B. Hoffman, otherwise known as Kobby. I am speaking as a member of the League of Women Voters in Virginia and I am also past President of local chapter and on current national Board of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and member of other civic organizations. The League of Women Voters and NOW support a woman’s right to choose and we support SB1276 to permit insurance to cover the cost of abortions. When I was in college a friend’s little sister showed up, 13 years old seeking assistance with an abortion; it was not legal in her home state. This was an awakening for me. In 1989 I learned of a woman who needed funds for an abortion. Another woman and I put out a pickle jar at the county fair. This pickle jar fund evolved into the Blue Ridge Abortion Fund which helps 1100 people across Virginia every year. These individuals struggle and call a stranger for suggestions how to raise money and help with the cost. The individuals’ situations vary vastly; this affects people all across the spectrum of our society. An example and it breaks my heart when I talk to a person who into their pregnancy has the genetic test and learns that their doctor wants them to have an abortion to save their life and their dreams of having a child are not happening now. This was not planned, time is of the essence, and the cost can be great. We all have insurance for the same reason - to cover the unexpected. Most us, in families or alone, have an inability to pay for an abortion at the moment we need it. We need to recognize this as a health and safety issue. Let us keep people safe and healthy. This is about equality. This requires access to healthcare, and coverage under their insurance. Vote for Senate Bill 1276. Artificial barriers denying abortion as healthcare have to go. Let us move forward for safety and health. ###

Last Name: Mileur Locality: Norfolk

I live a good life. I have a safe and secure place to live, enough to eat, clothes on my back and a stable income that allows me to travel and enjoy my leisure time. I credit my access to reproductive healthcare as one of the biggest factors that allowed me to achieve financial security. Without the ability to manage my own reproductive health, none of this would be possible. All people deserve and are due the same level of access to reproductive healthcare, and the same ability to achieve a stable, secure life. I urge you to support SB1276. Thank you.

Last Name: Barwick Locality: Norfolk

As a transgender woman, I know what it is to have my right to healthcare be a topic of political debate. I stand in solidarity with people whose right to reproductive choice is treated as something for others to vote on, rather than the fundamental human right it is. By protecting reproductive freedom, this legislature will be giving individuals, rather than the government, control over their bodies. I urge you to support SB1276. Thank you.

Last Name: Leser Locality: Norfolk

Just as access to healthcare must be an essential right for every person, women must be entrusted to bodily autonomy and to make the best decision for her health in consultation with her doctor. Abortion care is healthcare and must be protected. I strongly support repealing the ban on abortion coverage on the state insurance exchange. I urge you to support SB1276. Thank you.

Last Name: Johnson Locality: Charlottesville

My right, not yours to decide any girl or woman has the right to have any form of reproductive health or care that she chooses. it is a given for all Virginians and not subject to the votes of by and large white men in government or anywhere. I urge you to support SB1276. Thank you.

Last Name: Hendrickson Locality: Sterling

My name is Abbie Henrickson, and I live in Sterling, Virginia. I am writing to urge you to support Senate Bill 1276 (Repeal Ban on Abortion Coverage on the State Exchange). The ability to access abortion services is an important part of reproductive healthcare. At present, however, there is a divide between those with financial means and those without. More than half of the pregnant people in Virginia cannot afford to pay the $500 average cost for an abortion without insurance. This is especially true for people of color, who have suffered the highest rates of unemployment due to COVID-19. They are also very likely to purchase their insurance through the state exchange. Without the cash in hand to pay for an abortion, these individuals will be unable to access this crucial reproductive healthcare. I currently volunteer with the New River Abortion Access Fund. (I previously volunteered with the Blue Ridge Abortion Fund for many years.) As an intake volunteer, I speak directly with pregnant people who are at their wits ends trying to find the funding they need to pay for their abortions. Many are already parents to children they are struggling to provide for; others have medical conditions or fetal abnormalities that require them to make the decision to abort their current pregnancies. The stories have familiar themes and elements, but each is totally unique to the individual. In the end, though, without access to insurance with abortion coverage, they may be unable to have the procedure they need merely for financial reasons. That is unconscionable. I urge you to support Senate Bill 1276. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Last Name: Carlson Locality: Alexandria

I urge you to support SB 1276 Hello, my name is Jessica Carlson. I live in Alexandria, Virginia and my representative is Delegate Paul Krizek. I am testifying today in support of Senate Bill 1276. I have private insurance through my employer, and I am lucky to have been able to stay employed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and economic consequences. Unfortunately, not all are so lucky – many lost their jobs, and with it, their access to employee-sponsored healthcare, in the middle of a raging pandemic. Many of those who lost their jobs are women of color – in fact, the unemployment rate is nearly 9.2% among Black women and 9% among Latina women, leaving many without healthcare coverage or access. Why should those women now seeking insurance on the state exchanges be denied even the OPTION of finding a plan with abortion coverage? This should not be an ideological or political issue – it is simply a matter of fairness and equality. Women have the right to seek abortion care, and their economic or employment status, or where and how they purchase health insurance, should not infringe on that right. There is the other issue of how this disproportionally affects low-income and marginalized communities, those who have also been more affected by the COVID-19 pandemic both economically and in health. It is unconscionable to me that we would cause potential further harm to women in financial hardship, unemployed or under-employed, and at high risk for a deadly disease. There is no justification for this ban other than the political motivations of those who created it. Virginian women deserve better. For this reason, I urge you to support SB1276. Thank you for your time and service.

Last Name: Varchena Organization: NARAL VA Locality: Virginia Beach

Abortion is one of the safest medical interventions performed in the United States today. Nonetheless, abortion coverage is banned on Virginia’s healthcare exchange solely due to ideological beliefs and political motivations. That is why NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia is calling for the removal of the current ban on abortion coverage on the state exchange. Virginia can join two dozen other states that do not have such a ban. Bans on abortion access put pregnant people’s health and lives at risk, especially those who are marginalized. The COVID-19 pandemic has further revealed the need for healthcare access and coverage, yet hundreds of thousands of Virginians are now unemployed, leaving even more people without the healthcare they need, including access to timely and affordable reproductive healthcare. Abortion care is, and always has been, less accessible to marginalized communities, communities of color and low income women. The pandemic has exacerbated this. The current ban in place on the state exchange is just another example of a barrier to abortion care that disproportionately affects women of color.[1] It is time for Virginia to step up and protect her vulnerable citizens. And now, the COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly increasing the number of people who fall into the category of seeking insurance through the exchange. The unemployment rate is nearly 9.2% among Black women and 9% among Latina women, leaving many without healthcare coverage or access. Unemployment dramatically reduces access to health care in general, including abortion services. [2] . Most people seeking an abortion cannot afford to pay out of pocket for the procedure. Financial hardship should not be a barrier to access for those seeking abortion care, especially during a global pandemic that disproportionately affects unemployed or low-income people. Limiting abortion access for those who purchase insurance through the state exchange is unfair and leaves those who are currently going through financial hardships without any affordable options. We are asking that this ban on abortion coverage is removed because we know that those who are already facing financial hardship will be affected the most. Virginia has two different healthcare systems. One for those who have means and one for those who do not. Removing this ban can at least guarantee that our most vulnerable communities can come a little bit closer to the same abortion care access as those who have more financial resources. Because everyone deserves safe and affordable access to abortion care. Thank you, Galina Varchena, Esq. Policy Director, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia galina@naralva.org. [1]https://www.kff.org/womens-health-policy/issue-brief/interactive-how-state-policies-shape-access-to-abortion-coverage/ [2]https://nwlc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Expanding-Refundable-Tax-Credits-In-Response-to-COVID_19.pdf

Last Name: Bhagwat Locality: North Potomac

I am in favor of Bill 1276 because there are several extenuating circumstances outside of the few listed in the bill in which a woman should have coverage for getting an abortion. To say that "no qualified health insurance plan" that is sold through an exchange in the Commonwealth may provide coverage for abortions is denying the right to many women that may be in need of having an abortion. The exceptions listed in the bill are dire circumstances, but don't account for several other instances that a pregnant woman may find herself in. A woman should be able to make the decision for herself if an abortion is the best decision for her, and if she decides it is then she needs to have the resources and coverage available to her in order to make it possible to proceed. By removing this clause of the bill, more women in extreme and difficult situations will not have to worry about their insurance coverage of an abortion if they are ever in this tough position.

Last Name: Hudgins Locality: Richmond

Good afternoon members of the committee. My name is Ryan Hudgins and I am a sophomore at the University of Richmond. I strongly believe that SB 1276 should be passed because abortion procedures should not be treated as something separate from healthcare, but rather as an integral part of healthcare. One in four American females will have an abortion in their lifetime, and yet abortions remain the only legal medical procedure on Virginia’s health care exchange mandated that insurance companies not cover. By limiting a woman’s health care options, we are limiting her ability to make a sound decision for herself, her family, and her circumstances. Without the passage of this bill, females who do not have health care insurance covering abortion would face financial implications that would create an unnecessary burden. Alternatively, the passage of this bill would aid low-income Virginians because abortion procedures would not be an out of pocket cost. The passage of this bill offers an achievable setting for individuals to have access to healthcare that covers ALL of their needs. Thank you.

Last Name: Calimano Organization: Radio Maria Locality: Manassas

SB 1276/ HB 1896 Taxpayer-funded abortion on demand in Virginia’s health exchange · Virginia should not subsidize abortion on demand with taxpayer funds. · Tens of thousands of low- and middle-income Virginians use the exchange (a virtual “marketplace” for those shopping for health insurance) to provide healthcare for themselves and their families. The exchange is taxpayer funded. Taxes pay for managing the exchange, and for subsidizing health plans in many cases. · Keep abortion out of the state health care exchange because abortion is not healthcare; it ends lives instead of healing them. · Seven in ten Americans, including nearly half who identify as pro-choice, want significant restrictions on abortion. (2020 Marist Poll) · The Hyde Amendment has been in place in federal law for over 40 years. Most states follow it. So should Virginia’s health exchange. · Virginia should prohibit abortion-on-demand coverage in the taxpayer-funded state health exchange.

Last Name: Miller Locality: Hampton City

Good afternoon members of the committee. My name is Nikia Miller and I reside in Hampton, VA. My life could have been so different… I was raped at the ages of 18 and 24. At the age of 20, I made the difficult choice to terminate a pregnancy – I knew that I was not ready to be a mother – as starry-eyed and full of “love” that I thought I was, it was not time for me to procreate. I have been fortunate to live in a state where I have been able to make reproductive choices for myself. I have never been told that I couldn’t choose what was right for me, my health, and the way that I have wanted to live. Whereas birth control before the ACA was expensive, I made the choice to purchase it until I was ready to be a mother. When that time came, I was married and ready to be the mother of three that I am now. Now I’m not looking at others who haven’t been able to make the choices that I made as any more or less than I am. In fact, to the contrary, I feel that they should have the RIGHT to do what I did. Twice in my life I have been the supportive friend that I did not have when I had an abortion. In both of those instances, my friends have made choices – one chose to have her baby and the other chose to terminate. In both of those cases, these women made the choices that were right for them – I celebrate them as I celebrate ANY woman who should have the RIGHT to be in charge of their own destinies. My story had a happy ending. I’m okay. Because of that, I will always be advocate for any woman to make decisions for their own health – especially my two daughters. Although they are 8 and 14, at some point in time they will be in the position to make choices that will change their entire futures. And I’ll be that mom to stand by their sides when they make time. In any legislation, the rights of our future female leaders should ALWAYS be at the forefront of our minds – what will they say about the people who are in power who have the chance to advocate for them? Will they look at us and say that we were antiquated and misguided? Or will they look at the things that we tried to accomplish and say “Well done?” I’m going to do everything I can so that the latter will be said about me. Will you? I urge you to support SB 1276. Thank you.

Last Name: Na Locality: Richmond

I believe that Bill 1276 should be supported with the changes proposed. The main reason is that allowing for abortion to be covered on insurance allows women to make choices that are best for their health and also respects situations women may be in. In addition, it offers support (if insurances do cover abortion) for those of lower-income in a more convenient way rather than forcing them to make sacrifices. There are also cases where fetuses may have anomalies that make them incompatible for survival and it is a painful decision for mothers but they may choose to go through with abortion for the sake of the fetus but that is not a feasible option as of now and mothers have to deal with that pain and devastation after birth even if they know of the anomalies due to the current restrictions on abortion especially in regards to insurance.

Last Name: Kennedy Locality: Richmond

To Whom It May Concern, Thank you for the opportunity to comment on SB 1276: Essential health benefits; abortion coverage. I am Emma Kennedy, a second-year University of Richmond student. Through one of my leadership studies classes this spring, I have become aware of this particular legislation and how it relates to justice as well as my own personal beliefs. I would like to voice my opposition to the passing of SB 1276. Since the 2020 session, abortion is more accessible than ever in the United States. If passed, this bill will add another element in abortion legislation by inevitably enmeshing taxpayer dollars in the accessibility of a hugely controversial act. Taxpayer money pays to make the Virginia health insurance exchange run (healthinsurance.org). With this fact, it is no longer a matter of limited access to abortion, but more of who will bear the burden of providing the means for these elective abortions. While this bill may grant each individual provider the freedom to choose to use federal funding for abortions, it discards the individual’s freedom to choose to support such a morally and ethically controversial act. Taxpayer money WILL be used one way or another to fund an elective abortion. This legislation, which lifts nearly all restrictions on elective abortions in Virginia, should not be signed into law while the majority of citizens are strongly against it. According to Marist Poll, three quarters of Americans, including a majority who identify as prochoice, want significant restrictions on abortion (https://www.toomey.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2021%20Marist%20Poll[3].pdf). Ultimately, I believe that by involving taxpayer money in the funding for this procedure, you would directly infringe on the consciences and individual rights of Virginians. And finally, I believe that such an imposing legislation should not be signed into law when too many Americans are at odds with each other on the one fundamental truth underlying the morality of abortion, which is the definition of life itself. Sincerely, Emma Kennedy

SB1310 - Va. Human Rights Act; application of laws applicable to employee safety and payment of wages.
No Comments Available
SB1334 - Broadband capacity; expands existing pilot program, municipal broadband authorities.
Last Name: Durkin Organization: Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce Locality: Roanoke

The Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce strongly supports this initiative to help expand broadband access to those currently unserved. We believe that this legislation will aid in efforts to attract businesses and their employees to more rural parts of the Commonwealth and we appreciate Senator Edwards for bringing this effort forward. Please support SB 1334.

SB1375 - Workers' compensation; presumption of compensability for COVID-19.
No Comments Available
SB1379 - Humane Cosmetics Act; civil penalties.
Last Name: Glover Organization: Ojima Nails Locality: Hampton

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

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

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

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

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

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

On behalf of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and our members and supporters in Virginia, I am writing to express support for SB 1379, introduced by Senator Jennifer Boysko. The bill (1) makes it unlawful to conduct or contract for cosmetic animal testing and (2) makes it unlawful to import for profit, sell, or offer for sale any cosmetic for which a cosmetics animal test was conducted by or contracted for or on behalf of such cosmetics manufacturer after January 1, 2022. There is strong corporate support for ending cosmetic animal testing. Last Congress, the Humane Cosmetics Act was introduced into the U.S. Congress with bipartisan support in the Senate and the House of Representatives including from lead sponsor, Rep. Don Beyer (D, VA). This legislation also had the support of the cosmetic industry trade group, the Personal Care Products Council, which represents approximately 600 companies, as well as more than 325 individual companies. SB 1379 was drafted in part to mirror the provisions of the Humane Cosmetics Act. In traditional animal tests, rabbits, guinea pigs, mice and rats have substances forced down their throats, dripped into their eyes, or smeared onto their skin before they are killed. These test methods are unreliable predictors of human safety. Different species can respond differently when exposed to the same chemicals. Consequently, animal tests may under- or over-estimate real-world hazards to people. In addition, results from animal tests can be quite variable and difficult to interpret. Fortunately, animal testing for cosmetics is completely unnecessary. There are no animal testing requirements for cosmetic safety substantiation in the United States. Companies can already create great products using thousands of available ingredients that have a history of safe use and do not require new testing. For new ingredients where animal testing may currently be used, many non-animal methods have been, and continue to be, developed. Non-animal methods can combine human cell-based tests and sophisticated computer models to deliver human-relevant results at less cost and in less time than the animal tests. Virginia has already taken a lead on ending unnecessary animal testing. In 2018, the state passed a law requiring manufacturers to use available non-animal alternative test methods for safety assessments of household products and industrial chemicals, as well as cosmetics. There has been a global trend toward eliminating cosmetic animal testing. In 2018, California became the first state in the country to ban the sale of cosmetics newly tested on animals followed by Nevada and Illinois in 2019. In 2013, the European Union (EU) finalized a ban on the sale of cosmetics tested on animals, creating the world’s largest cruelty-free cosmetics marketplace. This ban compelled cosmetic companies around the world to end animal testing and invest in the development of non-animal alternatives instead. Similar bans have also been enacted in Israel, Norway, India, Switzerland, and Australia and are under consideration in several other countries. In order to sell their products in any of these countries or states, cosmetic companies must already comply with bans on animal testing. There is no reason for the continued use of inhumane and outdated animal test methods in the United States. The HSUS urges your strong support of SB1379.

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

PCPC is a national trade association representing global cosmetic and personal care products companies. Its 600 member companies manufacture, distribute and supply the vast majority of finished personal care products marketed in the U.S. and around the world. Our member companies are global leaders committed to product safety, quality and innovation. PCPC supports the substitute which is based on model language forged by PCPC and Cruelty Free International and represents a shared commitment to address the safety of humans and animals, while preserving access to so many products that consumers trust and rely on every day. The cosmetics industry has long worked toward eliminating the use of animal testing, and this language is an effective measure that balances our common goal to make cosmetics animal testing obsolete globally. Regarding distribution and availability, basically, these areas would not be affected. It is important to understand that only animal testing conducted after January 1, 2022 is affected by the proposed legislation. Animal testing that took place prior to enactment of the law, would not be considered a violation. This means that all cosmetic and personal care products currently available on the shelves in Virginia will continue to be available after the bill goes into effect. Animal testing in the cosmetics sector has typically taken place in the formulation of brand-new ingredients. New cosmetics and personal care products will still be available to Virginia residents. Many companies have consistently produced high quality and innovative products without relying on animal testing for many years and now support setting consistent laws on the issue. Since 2013, cosmetic manufacturers have had to comply with a no-new-animal testing requirement to sell products in one of the world’s largest cosmetics markets – the European Union - and should have no problem doing the same for US consumers. Furthermore, it would be fiscally imprudent for a national manufacturer to formulate a cosmetic or personal care product specifically for VA or any of the other three states – CA*, NV, IL – where similar bans have been in place since the start of 2020. Manufacturers will ensure that their products meet all existing criteria before distribution begins. To our knowledge there have been no issues with product distribution or availability as a result of these bans. A simple Google search of personal care products in any major retail outlet in CA, NV, or IL will confirm product availability. Like the laws in CA, NV, and IL and under consideration in other states, the proposed VA legislation does not apply to retailers and was carefully crafted to limit the impact to cosmetic manufacturers. We want to thank Senator Boysko for working with all the stakeholders on this substitute. As more and more states embrace this legislation, having language which closely mirrors the model with similar definitions and timelines is very important to the industry.

Last Name: Hanrahan Locality: Lorton

I strongly support passage of this legislation for several reasons. 1. Animal testing is cruel. 2. Animal testing is unnecessary - there are thousands of ingredients that have a history of safe use that manufacturers can use. Alternatively, there are non-animal tests available for new ingredients. 3. Animal tests are unreliable, over- or under-predicting results in humans 4. The bill is not burdensome. In Virginia, manufacturers already must use non-animal tests when they are available. Cosmetics products tested on animals may not be sold in California, Illinois, Nevada, or 40 other countries, including all of the countries of the European Union. Any manufacturer wishing to take advantage of these lucrative markets already can not test cosmetics products on animals. Finally, the bill has the support of the leading cosmetics manufacturers association, the Personal Care Products Council. Thank you.

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

RE: Support for SB 1379 Humane Cosmetics Act. [Boysko] On behalf of Cruelty Free International, I am pleased to support SB 1379– the state Humane Cosmetics Act. Current law prohibits performing animal tests on products in Virginia when there is an appropriate validated alternative test method. SB 1379 would strengthen this prohibition with respect to cosmetics products, barring the sale of all cosmetics that were tested on animals, even if those tests were performed outside the State. The legislation makes exceptions for special safety concerns, drugs used in cosmetics, foreign testing requirements, and allows companies to rely on existing data from testing that was done to address regulatory requirements for non-cosmetic purposes under specific conditions. We worked very hard with industry stakeholders to reach an agreement on these points that consider the complexities of the industry while achieving a primary and shared goal of ensuring that cosmetics are not the cause of new animal testing. Animal tests for cosmetics are frequently painful and harmful to the animal. Furthermore, alternative testing methods, such as the use of engineered human tissue and the use of computer models, are often cheaper and more accurate than animal testing, in addition to being cruelty-free. Hundreds of successful cosmetics companies of all sizes now rely on non-animal testing methods and support globally consistent rules on this issue. Passage of SB 1379 would bring Virginia in line with nearly 40 countries and three US states [California, Illinois and Nevada] that already prohibit the sale of new animal-tested cosmetics. Moreover, ending animal testing for cosmetics is an is an issue that unites Americans across generations and political affiliations. A 2019 SurveyUSA poll revealed that nearly 8 out of 10 of poll respondents said that they would support a law that would prohibit animal testing for cosmetics. When broken down by self-reported party affiliation 83% of Democrats, 72% of Republicans, and 80% of Independents support or strongly support a law. Likewise, the poll revealed that there is no generational divide: 76% of those aged 50-64 said they are against animal testing for cosmetics, followed by 75% of those 65 and over, 72% of 34 to 49-year olds and 65% of those aged 18-34. SB 1379 reflects the interests of industry, consumers and animal protection organizations and would make Virginia one of the first states to create a cruelty free cosmetics market and help to move the rest of the nation in the right direction. Sincerely Monica Engebretson Head of Public Affairs -North America Cruelty Free International

SB1380 - Electric utilities; electric school bus projects.
Last Name: LeMenestrel Organization: Virginia Democracy Forward (VADF) Locality: McLean

Based on a review from several prominent organizations and expert opinions on this bill, our group Virginia Democracy Forward (VADF) urges the Committee to NOT pass this bill UNLESS IT IS AMENDED in the following ways: (1) Remove mention that electric school buses connected to the grid are in the public interest; and (2) guarantee that student transportation will take priority over using the buses to send back electricity to the grid. Thank you to the House leadership for the opportunity to provide public comments on the bill!

Last Name: Greenwood Organization: Sierra Club Locality: Fairfax

Sierra Club opposes SB 1380. As Virginia seeks to reduce and ultimately eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, switching from diesel school buses to zero-emission electric school buses is an important goal. And adding battery storage to the grid is important as Virginia utilities transition to solar and wind as energy sources. VCEA has a storage target of 250MW by 2025 and 1200MW by 2030. Electric school buses each have a 155kWh battery. This bill allows up to 1,250 electric school buses, which equates to 193mWh of battery storage. But since the buses need to be used for transporting students, this 193mWh is not equivalent to 193mWh of battery storage dedicated to the utility grid. But, SB 1380/Lucas would allow Dom to count its bus batteries toward the 2700 MW VCEA storage requirement. A 193 MW school-bus battery storage program would meet almost 80% Dom's 2025 interim storage target (250 MW by 2025) and account for nearly a one-sixth of the 2030 target, with no standards to ensure that it is sufficiently interacting with the grid. Another concern is that battery storage in buses may cost significantly more than dedicated battery storage owned by the utility. A cost analysis should be performed before utility ratepayers start paying for electric school buses. Electric school buses should not be declared in the public interest without a thorough review of battery storage options by the SCC.

SB1413 - Phase I or Phase II electric utilities; provision of broadband capacity.
Last Name: Rust Organization: Dominion Energy Locality: Fairfax

Am available for responses to SCC questions if requested. John Rust

SB1420 - Electric utilities; nonjurisdictional customers, third party power purchase agreements.
No Comments Available
SB1425 - Data centers; expands sales and use tax exemption.
No Comments Available
End of Comments