Public Comments for 02/22/2021 Appropriations
HB5002 - Small Business & Women-owned & Minority-owned Business Procurement Enhancement Programs; establish.
Last Name: Stone Locality: RICHMOND

During the discussion in previous subcommittee meetings, several Delegate's brought up the concern from their constituents “how does a small business break into public procurement?” Because the current “small business definition” allows companies to have up to 250 employees and UNLIMITED revenue, it leaves no opportunity for the real small businesses to be able to participate in public procurement. That is the “elephant in the room” that needs to be addressed if the Commonwealth is serious about expanding opportunities to small women-owned, small minority-owned, business. That was the recommendation from the JLARC study and the VCU study commissioned by the DSBSD. Respectfully, Chris Stone.

Last Name: Hood Organization: VCU Health System Locality: Midlothian

The two state teaching hospitals VCUHS and UVA Health, are both statutorily exempt from the VPPA due to the General Assembly’s long-standing recognition that we must compete in a largely private marketplace with hospitals that are not subject to state procurement requirements. For many years, these exemptions have afforded us flexibility and nimbleness in our ability to purchase necessary medical supplies. HB5002 would severely impact our procurement operations by: • Restricting the speed by which necessary purchases are made, and requiring significant redesign of current purchasing and data management programs to be compliant. Especially in the current COVID-19 pandemic, our procurement channels have been extremely limited, and we have had to acquire supplies swiftly, from whatever sources might be available. • Jeopardizing our GPO contracts, which are ubiquitous in the hospital industry and allow us to realize substantial savings that ultimately benefit our patients. • Impairing our ability to drive product standardization which would have implications on best practice quality outcomes and cost savings opportunities. • Limiting our ability to procure certain physician preference items (e.g., implants, screws, etc.). Our hospitals’ purchase selections are often driven by the preference of our physicians who have been trained using specific supplies and devices. In an effort to reduce our overall cost of care, we do aggressive strategic sourcing of physician preference items. Limiting purchase options would likely have a negative impact to the quality and safety of patient care, and would impact our ability to recruit and retain top physician talent to our AMCs • Limiting our ability to meet service level needs. With a limited number of SWaM firms in the health care industry we are concerned about the ability to meet the complex needs of an academic medical center in a highly regulated industry, including the ability to scale operations. • Limiting the progress of driving down the total cost of healthcare throughout VA and across the US. Traditionally, our total cost of care is higher than community hospitals due to our teaching missions and the complexity of patients treated, so limiting our ability to leverage national GPO contracts would put us at an even greater disadvantage with value based care and advanced payment models with government and commercial payors. • Negatively impacting our patients. VCUHS and UVA Health have worked for many years to arrive at focused efforts to reduce supply acquisition costs. We have in turn passed these savings to our patients in direct and indirect ways, and we are committed to continuing that effort towards more affordable healthcare. If HB5002 is implemented, VCUHS estimates the negative fiscal impact to its operations would be approximately $37M annually. This estimate is conservative as it only includes operating costs, and not additional human resource and technology expense that would be required to comply with the administrative requirements of the legislation. It also does not capture the impact to capital expenditures. UVA Health estimates the negative fiscal impact to its operations would be approximately $33.1M, and $99.3M over the average 3-year GPO contract term. This is a conservative estimate that only includes operating and capital contract expenditures, and not additional human resources and technology expenses associated with compliance.

Last Name: Bradford Organization: Office of the Governor Locality: Richmond

Just writing to let you know that Sec. Ball (Sec of C&T), Fran Bradford (Dep Sec of Ed) and Sandra Gill (DGS), would welcome a chance to be in the "room" in case there are questions. And Secretary Ball is prepared to speak on the bill if desired. - Fran

Last Name: Robinson Locality: Radford

HB 5002 codifies a requirement for all state agencies and universities to mandate a set aside program for certified small, woman owned and minority owned business. A key word in the requirements set forth is "certified". The Small Business Administration reports there are over 700K small businesses in Virginia. Yet in Commonwealth, there are only 13K small, woman owned and minority owned companies certified as such. The state has seen a 40% decrease in the number of certified SWaM firms in the Commonwealth since 2017. A set aside program will not be successful unless the number of certified small, woman owned and minority owned business matches the number of available firms. The disparity study reported out percentages based on all small, woman owned and minority owned businesses available and not based on state certified businesses. It is premature to require a set aside program for such a small fraction of small businesses in the Commonwealth. The Virginia Public Procurement Act is based on the maximum extent of competition available. This bill does this opposite. I recommend not passing a mandatory set aside but instead suggest proposing legislation that would fix the small, woman owned and minority owned certification process that will encourage more of these businesses to get certified. There is absolutely no incentive for a company to go through the intrusive certification process that is in place today required to get certified and it typically takes 3-6 months to get certified. You need to ask the SWaM eligible businesses about the certification process not the agency that certifies as you hear two different accounts of the process. And as more companies are certified, the Commonwealth needs to remove the current moratorium which disallows certifying small, woman owned and minority owned businesses from thirteen other states including the three most populous states in the country being Florida, Texas, California and also includes a moratorium on certifying SWaM businesses from Washington DC. I would support any bill that allows more state purchases to be awarded to small, woman owned and minority owned businesses but not when the Commonwealth is already excluding so many companies from being certified as such. See SBA reference noted above at: https://cdn.advocacy.sba.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/04144231/2020-Small-Business-Economic-Profile-VA.pdf

Last Name: Stone Locality: RICHMOND

During the discussion this morning at the Subcommittee meeting, many of the members brought up the point “how does a small business break into public procurement?” Because the current “small business definition” allows companies to have up to 250 employees with unlimited revenue, it leaves no opportunity for the real small businesses to be able to participate in public procurement. That is the “elephant in the room” that needs to be addressed if the Commonwealth is serious about expanding opportunities to small women-owned, small minority-owned, business. That was the recommendation from the JLARC study completed in 2020.

Last Name: Stone Locality: Richmond

I support the aspirational goals of HB5002, however, I respectfully ask that General Assembly consider updating the “small business definition” to more accurately reflect what a small business enterprise is in Virginia. • The current “small business” definition has not been updated since introduced in 1986. • The current “small business” definition is not “narrowly drawn” and lumps all business types into one category. • According to the current definition, any company can have “unlimited” revenue, and as long as they have less than 250 employees, they can be certified in Virginia as a “small business”. • DSBSD commissioned VCU to study the “small business definition”. Former Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones conducted a similar study. Last year JLARC completed a study. All concluded the definition was too broad and recommended changing it. • Under the current definition for a "small business", 99% of Virginia businesses can be certified as “small businesses” and 97% of Virginia businesses can be certified as "micro" having less than 25 employees, according to JLARC. • If the GOAL is to help small businesses grow, then the Commonwealth should update the “small business” definition so it is narrowly tailored and narrowly defined. Virginia currently defines a small business as having up to 250 employees OR up to $10 million in gross receipts averaged over the three previous years. Consequently, this definition allows companies with less than 250 employees to have UNLIMITED revenue, and still be a certified small business. If Virginia wants to support small business, small women-owned and small minority-owned business, then the Commonwealth should update the small business definition as recommended by the JLARC and VCU study. One option recommended by JLARC is “The General Assembly could amend §2.2-4310 and §2.2-1604 of the Code of Virginia to change the small business definition to businesses that have no more than 250 employees AND gross receipts of no more than $10 million.” It's time that Virginia supports "legitimate" small business, and changes the definition.

Last Name: Benka Organization: Virginia Contractor Procurment Alliance Locality: Henrico

We are opposed to both SB 1305 and HB 5002.

Last Name: Garrison Organization: HCCA Locality: Charlottesville

The Heavy Construction Contractors Association (HCCA) represents 170 firms in Northern Virginia made up of 39,000 employees in road building and site development whom accumulate $1.65 billon pay roll. We are following SB1305 and HB5002 and would appreciate the opportunity to discuss the bills with you prior to tomorrow’s 7AM subcommittee meeting. Oppose SB1305 • Creates unnecessary complexity in the procurement process • Seeks to remedy a wage theft issues that is not present in the transportation construction industry (see attached for empirical data to this point) Oppose HB5002 • Goal is unattainable due to lack of small businesses in the transportation construction industry o Failure to meet compliance goals would result in debarment of essential general contractors • Artificially inflate the cost of transportation infrastructure projects

Last Name: Ball Locality: Hanover

Speaking against this bill. This bill would codify the micro executive order. The micro order completely removes any opportunity for me to sell to the Commonwealth buyers. At the inception of the order I lost 1M in revenue which cost our company 4 jobs and cut the salary of 2 people in half. We have revenue above the 3M threshold yet we sell a low margin commodity. Our average order size is $250, far less than the $10,000 exemption. Our head count hovers around 28 people which is just above the 25 limit. This bill places our small business in the same category as billion dollar multinational companies. We are in favor of diversity procurement but not in favor of removing a seat at the table for small business as is the unintended consequence in this circumstance. If there were amendments that considered, inventories, equipment or actual profits that would be more telling of the actual size of the business. By SBA standards my company would be considered small at anything less than $35.5M. I am not asking for a free pass. Just asking to be allowed to sell when my small business is the best decision for the buyer. We served the Commonwealth for decades competitively against the non mandatory contract in our category. When the executive order was enacted we were completely locked out. This order has also caused a rise in third party billers that remain under 3M and assist larger companies in billing only. This process creates a higher cost to the Commonwealth. I ask that stake holders, including deserving small businesses have an opportunity to make sure companies are not locked out of the process. I am a 100% woman owned small business and at this time buyers are not allowed to buy their products from my company. Melissa Ball, Ball Office Products

Last Name: Brown Organization: JMI Locality: Bon Air

I would like to speak briefly in support of the Bill.

Last Name: Ehrhardt Organization: Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce Locality: Danville

The Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce represents more than 580 businesses with approximately 18,000 employees. We support HB5002 as it aligns with our wealth equity initiative, focused on workplace equity, as well as the objectives of the Dan River Region Entrepreneur Ecosystem, which convenes small business owners, entrepreneurs and service providers across the region.

Last Name: Peoples Organization: Peoples Pharmacy Locality: Norfolk

HB 5002 Small Business & Women-owned & Minority-owned Business Procurement Enhancement Programs; Why is the bill only limited to all new capital outlay construction solicitations that are issued. How many Black women own construction companies? Why is it capped at 200K. I have an independent pharmacy in Norfolk Virginia and I have been waiting for this bill to come to committee. The bill has no bite. The state wasted money doing a diversity study , only to come up with this as a resolution. I have been consistently discriminated against in the state procurement process and I do not see where this bill is going to change anything. Dr. Anna Peoples

Last Name: Khan Locality: Loudoun, Leesburg

Hello My name is Usma Khan. I'm the owner of a Staffing and Recruiting business. Being an owner of a Small Business, this bill will allow me to have a larger footprint in the state of Virginia to conduct business.

Last Name: Kanoyton Organization: VSC NAACP Locality: Hampton

VSC NAACP hope this bill will pass but be strengthened in the Senate.

Last Name: Scott Organization: VSC NAACP, Economic Development Director Locality: Manassas

I’m EJ Scott, Chair of the VSC NAACP Economic Development division. I’m here to speak in favor of HB5002. Although we are disappointed that the proposed substitute decreases the set asides for Women owned business and Minority businesses, we still believe there is merit to HB5002 that will advance business and supplier diversity and equity. The VSC NAACP asks that you vote to pass it. Thank you.

Last Name: Ross Organization: JMI Locality: RICHMOND

These comments are in support of HB5002. JMI supports HB5002 because the bill allows for state agencies and institutions to increase the inclusion of women-owned and minority-owned businesses for various contracting opportunities.

Last Name: Brown Organization: JMI Locality: North Chesterfield

Please accept my full support of this Bill.

SB1119 - Law-enforcement agencies; body-worn camera systems.
No Comments Available
SB1150 - Military Spouse Liaison; position created in Department of Veterans Services, report.
Last Name: Peoples Organization: Peoples Pharmacy Locality: Norfolk

HB 5002 Small Business & Women-owned & Minority-owned Business Procurement Enhancement Programs; Why is the bill only limited to all new capital outlay construction solicitations that are issued. How many Black women own construction companies? Why is it capped at 200K. I have an independent pharmacy in Norfolk Virginia and I have been waiting for this bill to come to committee. The bill has no bite. The state wasted money doing a diversity study , only to come up with this as a resolution. I have been consistently discriminated against in the state procurement process and I do not see where this bill is going to change anything. Dr. Anna Peoples

SB1258 - Solar projects; erosion and sediment control.
Last Name: Russell Locality: Virginia Beach

The pipeline for oil needs to be reopened but thanks to our corrupt president biden it got closed which put a lot of people out of work and raised gas prices.

Last Name: Lapis Locality: Washington County, Bristol

Clean water matters.

SB1261 - Court of Appeals; expands jurisdiction, increases from 11 to 17 number of judges on Court.
No Comments Available
SB1319 - Waste Diversion & Recycling Task Force; Department of Environmental Quality to continue Task Force.
Last Name: Halligan Organization: AMMD Pine Grove Project Locality: Powhatan

Please support SB 1319 Waste Diversion and Recycling Task Force; Department of Environmental Quality to Continue Task Force (Hashmi). Virginia's Solid Waste Management system is broken. Our rural counties continue to be targeted and pressured to host large corporate multi-state landfills under the promise of economic salvation. These huge heavily industrialized facilities disrupt communities, displace residents, destroy landscapes and wildlife habitats and erase cultural and historical resources all in the name of free enterprise and corporate profit.. Virginia does not need additional disposal capacity. DEQ's 2020 Annual Solid Waste Management report reveals sufficient disposal capacity for at least the next 20 years. Virtually all of Virginia's 71 Solid Waste Planning Units report sufficient disposal capacity for the next 20 years with some indicating the existence of additional reserve capacity beyond the 20 year window. Landfilling is an outdated technology and needs to be replaced by more economically efficient, socially responsible, and environmentally sustainable solid waste management policies, practices, and methods. Thank you very much for taking the time to consider this important issue. Sincerely Kevin Halligan Powhatan, Virginia

Last Name: Lapis Locality: Washington County, Bristol

Clean water matters.

Last Name: Stoltzfus Organization: James Madison University Locality: Harrisonburg

SB1319 is an important step towards bringing Virginia's waste management into the 21st Century. The variety of technologies and approaches available to divert materials from landfills has proven to create more jobs, improve environmental outcomes, and save money for municipalities than continuing the status quo. Virginia's Universities are capable of assisting this task force in identifying best practice technologies, regulations, and business models to achieve better environmental, economic, and social justice outcomes for managing our waste, and I urge you to support this bill. Thank you.

Last Name: Myers Organization: CCLA Locality: Cumberland, Cartersville

SB1319 – Waste control and recycling; permits. I speak before you today representing Cumberland County Landfill Alert (CCLA). We have read and fully support SB1319 and encourage you to vote yes on this important legislation. The Waste Diversion and Recycling Task Force was created pursuant to SJ 42 in 2020 and this bill amends that resolution. The Task Force needs time to organize, research, hold meetings, and make recommendations in this vital area. The current methods of handling trash are not working and are harmful to our environment and changes are needed. The Waste Diversion and Recycling Task Force does not have an easy task before them, and it will take time to research and review various options to handle Virginia’s trash to find better methods that are not so harmful to our environment – it is doable! It is important for you, our lawmakers, to make sure adequate time is provided for this Task Force. It is time for you to stop fixing things with band aids when a major bandage is needed. Approve SB1319 and give the Task Force the needed time and resources to do a complete, thorough research and make recommendations to improve things for all Virginians. Does Virginia want to continue to be known as the State for Lovers or the Trash State? The decision is in your hands, we do not need more Charles Cities or other similar tragedies already present in Virginia. It is time for you to protect our environment! Thank You.

Last Name: Halligan Organization: Cumberland County Landfill Awareness Locality: POWHATAN

SB 1319 Waste Diversion and Recycling Task Force: Department of Environmental Quality to Continue (Hashmi) Madam Chairwoman and members of the Committee, my name is Kevin Halligan. I live in Powhatan County Virginia and am a member of the AMMD Pine Grove Project. I am here to speak in support of Senate Bill 1319. SB1319 directs the Waste Diversion and Recycling Task Force to study ways that organic material such as wasted food generated in and outside of Virginia can be diverted from Virginia landfills and either be composted or recovered and donated. Virginia's broken waste management system must be fixed, and it is time that more responsible, efficient, and environmentally sustainable policies and methods of waste management be established. The immediate formation of the Waste Diversion and Recycling Task Force is the first step in bringing needed changes to Virginia's ability to manage solid waste generated within and imported from outside of the Commonwealth. DEQ’s 2020 Annual Solid Waste Report estimates that Virginia Landfills have sufficient disposal capacity for the next 20 years. It should be noted that DEQ only requires that Virginia’s Solid Waste Planning Units project disposal needs for only the next 20 years. Virginia’s 71 Regional Solid Waste Planning Units are responsible for managing the waste generated in the counties and cities of Virginia. These Planning Units are each required to maintain current Solid Waste Management Plans projecting anticipated needs and disposal capacity for 20 years from the date of the plan. These plans must be updated every 5 years. Virtually every Solid Waste Management Unit that I have contacted and Plan that I have reviewed indicates sufficient disposal capacity to effectively manage the region’s waste stream for the Plan’s 20-year window. The plans from Virginia’s most populated Regional Planning Units, Fairfax County, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, and Central Virginia Waste Management Authority all indicate sufficient disposal capacity for at least 20 years or more. Virginia does not appear to have any pressing need for additional landfill capacity but instead needs to develop more socially responsible and environmentally sustainable waste management methods. Please vote yes to Senate Bill 1319. Thank you for the opportunity speak today. Kevin Halligan 6372 Haleford Drive Powhatan County Va. 23139 Kevin Halligan wkhalligan@gmail.com

Last Name: Halligan Organization: AMMD Pine Grove Project Locality: Powhatan

SB 1319 Waste Diversion and Recycling Task Force: Department of Environmental Quality to Continue (Hashmi) Madam Chairwoman and members of the Committee, my name is Kevin Halligan. I live in Powhatan County Virginia and am a member of the AMMD Pine Grove Project. I am here to speak in support of Senate Bill 1319. SB1319 directs the Waste Diversion and Recycling Task Force to study ways that organic material such as wasted food generated in and outside of Virginia can be diverted from Virginia landfills and either be composted or recovered and donated. DEQ’s 2020 Annual Solid Waste Report estimates that Virginia Landfills have sufficient disposal capacity for the next 20 years. It should be noted that DEQ only requires that Virginia’s Solid Waste Planning Units project disposal needs for no longer than 20 years. Virginia’s 71 Regional Solid Waste Planning Units are responsible for managing the waste generated in the counties and cities of Virginia. These Planning Units are each required to maintain current Solid Waste Management Plans projecting anticipated needs and disposal capacity for 20 years from the date of the plan. These plans must be updated every 5 years. Virtually every Solid Waste Management Unit that I have contacted and Plan that I have reviewed indicates sufficient disposal capacity to effectively manage the region’s waste stream for the Plan’s 20-year window. The plans from Virginia’s most populated Regional Planning Units, Fairfax County, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, and Central Virginia Waste Management Authority all indicate sufficient disposal capacity for at least 20 years or more. Virginia does not appear to have any pressing need for additional landfill capacity but instead needs to develop more socially responsible and environmentally sustainable waste management methods. Suspending Permits for new or existing landfills that accept huge volumes of waste will have no adverse impact on Virginia’s waste management needs but will instead prevent the unnecessary disruption of communities, dislocation of residents destruction of cultural and historic resources, wildlife habitats and landscapes. The permitting of huge heavily industrialized, multi-state corporate landfills should be suspended until such time as the General Assembly has had an opportunity to enact legislation that incorporates the findings and recommendations of the Waste Diversion and Recycling Task Force. Please vote yes to Senate Bill 1319. Thank you for the opportunity speak today. Kevin Halligan 6372 Haleford Drive Powhatan County Va. 23139 Kevin Halligan wkhalligan@gmail.com

Last Name: Halligan Organization: AMMD Pine Grove Project Locality: POWHATAN

Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, Please vote yes to SB 1319 Waste Control and Recycling:Permits. This bill directs the DEQ Waste Diversion and Recycling Task Force to study ways prohibit the disposal of wasted food, food residuals and other organic materials in Virginia's landfills. It also directs the task force study the development of a food donation and composting infrastructure to accept all food residuals and organic material. Organic waste accounts for 20-30% of waste disposed in landfills. Waste Diversion prpgrams will extend the life of existing landfills reduce the need to develop new landfills. Virginia must adopt more socially responsible and environmentally sustainable methods to manage the waste generated in and brought from outside of Virginia. As stated in its November 1, 2019 Report to the General Assembly, the Department of Environmental Quality concluded that "new paradigms need to be created to manage waste in Virginia and divert waste from landfills." Thank you for your consideration of SB 1319. Sincerely Kevin Halligan Powhatan County Va AMMD Pine Grove Project Member

SB1339 - Criminal records; sealing of records, Sealing Fee Fund created, penalties, report.
No Comments Available
SB1365 - Data Governance and Analytics, Office of; created.
Last Name: Arnold Locality: Virginia Beach

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2021/02/virginians-deserve-better-empty-privacy-law

SB1396 - Onsite Sewage Indemnification Fund; use of Fund for grants to certain property owners.
Last Name: Calvert Organization: Virginia Conservation Network Locality: Charlottesville

Virginia Conservation Network (VCN) and its coalition of 150 conservation organizations across the Commonwealth are in full support of SB1396. Please vote in SUPPORT of this legislation. Case for support: http://www.vcnva.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/SB1396-Onsite-Sewage-Fund.pdf

Last Name: Killius Organization: James River Association Locality: Richmond

The James River Association strongly support SB1396, along with our colleagues at Wetlands Watch and Friends of the Rappahannock. Adequate wastewater treatment is an environmental and an equity issue. Aging septic systems across the Commonwealth, including those designed to meet out-of-date health and environmental regulations, can send pathogens and nutrient pollution into our communities and our waterways. This is a particular concern within our rural coastal regions, where climate change and recurrent flooding are already inundating these systems and significantly reducing their lifespan. SB1396 will help address these concerns as we work to ensure our wastewater infrastructure adequately protects the health and well-being of all Virginians.

Last Name: Russell Locality: Virginia Beach

The pipeline for oil needs to be reopened but thanks to our corrupt president biden it got closed which put a lot of people out of work and raised gas prices.

SB1428 - Alcoholic beverage control; operation of government stores, sale of low alcohol beverage coolers.
Last Name: DiFranco Organization: Virginia Spirits Association Locality: Virginia Beach

Principle Advantage representing the Virginia Spirits Association submits the following comments on their behalf. Virginia Sprits Association understands that shelf space is a valued commodity in stores – especially during a time when ABC revenue is growing while other state revenue streams are on the decline. As the patron stated during the Senate Finance hearing, removing low-alcohol beverages (LABs) from the shelves of ABC stores would free up more space for the sale of spirits which are taxed at a much higher rate than LABs which are taxed at the much lower wine rate. If the intent of the SB1428 is to clear up a marketplace issue between the ABC authority and the wholesalers and retailers it regulates, then the bill MUST be amended. The current language of the bill only removes some LABs creating an inequitable carve out for others. As written, the bill removes 91% of the LABs sold in 2020 and its associated revenue to the Commonwealth and leaves behind a carve-out market for a small, select group of licensed distillers. We respectfully request that you OPPOSE SB1428 as written, and instead amend the language of the bill to remove and low alcohol beverage coolers produced by licensed distillers on lines 16-17, 112-113, and 208-209. Removing ALL LABs from ABC store shelves would establish a fair and consistent policy for all in the LAB marketplace. VSA thanks you for your consideration, and appreciates your past support of “cocktails-to-go”.

SB1442 - Public defender office; establishes an office for the County of Chesterfield.
Last Name: Brigham Locality: Richmond

Please support this bill.

Last Name: Córdova Locality: Chesterfield

SB1442. It's time to correct pretrial injustices and the fundamental rights of the people of Chesterfield.

Last Name: Hernandez Locality: Richmond

I urge the House to pass Senate Bill 1442. Our pre-trial detention system is cruel and defendants deserve adequate representation as they await trial. This is an important equity issue to address the racism and classism in our criminal justice system.

Last Name: McElwain Locality: N Chesterfield

People with few economic resources or whose living situation is impacted negatively for this lack of resources need an advocate to ensure fairness for all in our justice system. I have formerly incarcerated friends who now advocate for criminal justice reform and have seen first-hand the impacts of our justice system on disadvantaged citizens. Around 80% of detainees in Chesterfield County are indigent from data citizens, including me, collected from New Virginia Majority's Court Watch program which was active in Chesterfield County before the pandemic and which we hope to resume their soon.

Last Name: Osinkosky Locality: Richmond

I urge the House to pass SB 1442!

Last Name: Christopher Rashad Green Organization: Community Organizer for the People Locality: Richmond

The Citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and specifically the residents of Chesterfield County, all need this bill to move forward. As a formerly incarcerated individual who has experienced years of pretrial detention and mass supervision, I know how thousands of individuals have in the past, and currently are experiencing horrendous conditions in our current system, due to the fact that they don't have a State Advocate on their behalf. This bill will provide that for thousands in Virginia. This bill will address the inequities and injustices thousands face in the current pretrial system, where 80% of detainees are indigent, where Pretrial Assessment tools are racist and bias, the lack of quality Legal Representation, and all this disproportionately affects Black folks, people of color, and the poor! I urge the House to pass SB 1442!!!

Last Name: Gaborik Locality: Richmond

SB 1266 - Removing the presumption against bail allows for Judges to evaluate bail in a more fair and just manner which aligns with the core tenet of presumption of innocence. Judges can and should be allowed to determine bail on a case by case basis without being forced to start at a presumption against bond. Arbitrary pretrial incarceration makes it difficult for defendant's to assist in their defense and can lead to mental health and medical issues associated with the poor treatment of inmates, especially during a pandemic. SB1315 - Our justice system must include language that allows for the defendant's mental health to be addressed during the case in chief. This bill allows for our state to become more in line with the Model Penal Code. I have had dozens of cases as a criminal defense attorney over the last two decades where an individual with significant mental health issues did not meet the very rigid and narrow definition of insanity and instead were incarcerated for substantial amounts of time after a guilty verdict. These individuals should have been able to present evidence of their mental health at the time of the offense when determining guilt or innocence. It was a travesty of justice that they could not and it is time for Virginia to recognize the need to give those suffering from mental health other avenues for justice. SB1442 - As a former public defender in the City of Richmond I encourage the members of this Committee to vote in support of a Public Defender's Office in the County of Chesterfield. I practice frequently in this County and can say the level of representation by the court appointed counsel is substantially hindered by the lack of resources and low pay for these attorneys. A Public Defender's Office helps level the playing field for indigent defendants by providing those resources currently not available to court appointed counsel, as well as, not making counsel dependent upon the Judge for their source of income. A defendant represented by a Public Defender would have access to an investigator in their case, regardless of the severity. Currently, only the most serious of charges warrants the granting of funds for an investigator. This means defendant's facing misdemeanors and low level felonies, that could result in jail time, do not have access to an investigator who could help locate witnesses, canvas scenes, and provide other pretrial work the attorney cannot or should not be doing. Additionally, the Public Defender's office would have mitigation specialists on staff to help with complex cases or complex defendant's who need more help at the pretrial or sentencing phase of a case. Additionally, thanks to the substantial number of Public Defender Offices across the state attorneys would have access to brief and motions banks for trial and appellate purposes. Lastly, attorneys in this office would have supervision and daily oversight to insure they are held to the high standards put in place by the Indigent Defense Commission for representation of their clients. Real reform of our justice system must include the ability to have counsel that is both qualified and has the resources necessary to be effective in their representation. Thank you.

SB1443 - Mandatory minimum sentences; elimination, modification of sentence to mandatory minimum term.
Last Name: Turner Organization: Valley Justice Coalition Locality: Rockingham

Hello, We are asking you to please vote YES for SB1443 to Repeal ALL Mandatory Minimums. HB2331 is not broad enough and excludes many nonviolent offenses. We are asking that you include ALL Mandatory Minimums in the final bill, but if a compromise is necessary, look to the Earned Sentence Credits Bill for a source of compromise. Thank you for making HB2331 retroactive. Please amend SB1443 to also include those currently serving excessively long mandatory minimum sentences. Mandatory Minimums can no longer be a part of Virginia's criminal justice system in the future and it is intolerable to allow them to continue to unjustly affect those serving them now. Thank you. Gary and Debra Turner

Last Name: Nance Organization: Sistas in Prison Reform Locality: Henrico

My name is Santia Nance from Sistas in Prison Reform and BrillianceBehindBars and I urge you to pass SB1443, ending all mandatory minimums, instead of considering HB2331 which only covers drug charges. My loved one Quadaire Patterson is currently behind bars due to a stacked mandatory minimum sentence due to use of a firearm charges in a wrongful conviction. While we know the standard arguments about how mandatory minimums don’t work for recidivism, public safety, or fair trials, we still have vastly different bills on the table and we must push for SB1443. If you’re on the fence about this bill, ask yourself: Is it the excluded crimes you want to be harder on, or is it the people who are convicted for them? We both agree that non-violent crimes - those where no one was hurt - should NOT carry mandatory minimums. I urge you all to rethink the fact that charges used to dictate sentences, do not represent the full situation or indicate a violent crime nor a violent person. Let the judges and juries do their jobs hearing specifics cases and using the sentencing guidelines, instead of mandatory minimums, to determine the time that fits the crime. Let the system work the way it’s supposed to.Let’s do the right thing and bring fairness back to Virginia. Thank you.

Last Name: Belton Organization: Sistas in Prison Reform Locality: Brockton

It is tiring writing statements and speaking up for laws that are blatantly wrong because senators are going to come with their made up stats and lies to prevent what's right. mandatory minimums give judges you all appoint their jobs back. They also eliminate racist sentencing towards black and brown people. But that's not enough for you all. That last part should be the biggest issue and it isn't which makes Virginia the worst. It is time you all get on the RIGHT side of justice and retroactively. REPEAL ALL MANDATORY MINIMUMS

Last Name: Whitlock Locality: Louisa

I oppose SB1443 : "Eliminates all mandatory minimum sentences of confinement from the Code of Virginia...." (CHAOTIC, SWEEPING, AND IRRESPONSIBLE) "The bill directs the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security to establish a work group (WHO WOULD COMPRISE THIS WORK GROUP?) to evaluate (WHAT ARE THE CRITERIA FOR EVALUATION?) the feasibility of resentencing persons previously convicted of a felony offense (WHY FELONIES?) that was punishable by a mandatory minimum term of confinement...." The work group would report on its findings by November 1, 2021. As introduced, this bill was a recommendation of the Virginia State Crime Commission. Sentencing for crimes, particularly felonies, is too serious of an issue to approach it so broadly. It seems political, arbitrary, and irresponsible.

Last Name: Manch Locality: Albemarle

Please vote NO to SB1443. This bill leaves too many citizens vulnerable and is NOT supported by victims - myself included. Within the past 2 years I was the victim in 3 jury trials due to crimes taking place in different jurisdictions. Over the course of these trials, I worked with SIX Commonwealth Attorneys. They genuinely and actively sought my input on sentence outcome - from start to finish, while considering the MM’s on the table. Removing ALL minimums is a knee-jerk, pacifying move that ignores the Crime Commission’s own findings - not all MM crimes are racially disproportionate. Example: Sexual assault statutes included in SB1443 show white men as the largest offender. In the larger scope of criminal justice reform, are we considering how each piece of new legislation fits together? If not, who is left unprotected? Sen Edwards says the sentencing guidelines will be there, but the current guidelines are impacted by the presence of a MM. Do we know what these ranges will look like once MM’s are removed? Have we considered the inevitable sentencing inconsistencies due to the wide ranges the guidelines suggest? If we take the time to thoughtfully adjust MM’s, criminal justice reform can happen in parallel. Prosecutors have the option to reduce/drop charges and progressive Prosecutors have openly moved toward this practice in the name of reform. Our laws took time and evidence-based data to create. Change should follow this same model.

Last Name: Turner Organization: Valley Justice Coalition Locality: Harrisonburg

Hello, We are asking you to please vote YES for SB1443 to Repeal ALL Mandatory Minimums. HB2331 is not broad enough and excludes many nonviolent offenses. We are asking that you include ALL Mandatory Minimums in the final bill, but if a compromise is necessary, look to the Earned Sentence Credits Bill. Thank you for making HB2331 retroactive. Please amend SB1443 to also include those currently serving excessively long mandatory minimum sentences. Mandatory Minimums can no longer be a part of Virginia's criminal justice system in the future and it is intolerable to allow them to continue to unjustly affect those serving them now. Thank you. Gary and Debra Turner

Last Name: Harris Organization: Mothers Against Drunk Driving Locality: City of Fairfax

MADD opposes SB 1443 unless if the proposal is amended to ensure that all impaired driving offenses are subject minimum sentencing guidelines. Thank you, Frank Harris MADD Director of State Government Affairs

Last Name: Edwards Locality: Roanoke

Please remove mandatory minimums they do nothing but harm people. No case should ever be cut and dry and the punishment should be decided by judges who can take all evidence into account before condemning to jail maybe we should focus on helping people with addiction get and stay clean,assist in getting jobs so they don't fall back into same patterns. Would you want everyone who has a medical condition to be seen ,and treated the same, without looking at the individual person and all medical history where we set a individual plan of care related to their circumstances to help them heal? Every person has individual needs even if they have the same medical diagnosis. The same should work with the law. There are many extenuating circumstances in many cases and having a set punishment for all cases is wrong . Judges are on the bench because they have shown they are held in high esteem for there decision making skills and that they are sworn to uphold the law and to render judgements and sentencing in a fair just manor. So is it not time for judges to be able to see the case and evidence and then pass sentences without being told the punishment and limiting their ability to see each case as individual with its own circumstances. Judges like doctors should have the ability to follow basic sentences for a crime as a doctor would for each disease process but should be able to also adjust punishment according to each individual case as a doctor creates a plan of care for each individual patient.

Last Name: Hakes Organization: VACDL Locality: Albemarle County

Mandatory Minimum sentences are unnecessary. Trust judges to be judges. The General Assembly put them on the bench. They know the case and the players. We already have sentencing guidelines. In addition, some prosecutors use Mandatory Minimum sentences to stack offenses and create a huge "trial penalty" - forcing individuals to plead guilty and give up their right to trial.

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