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2016 Legislative Agenda

Protecting our Children

Keeping Virginia’s children safe has always been a top priority for me, especially in our daycares, courtrooms, and schools. Some of my bills would:

  • Improve the employer background check system to stop abusers from working in daycare settings (SB 278)**

  • Require fingerprint-based background checks, not just name-based checks, for daycares and assisted living facilities. This bill would keep criminals from being employed by these facilities (SB 601)

  • Creating another tool to use child victim statements in court (SB 421)**

  • Introducing age-appropriate sexual abuse prevention education for K-12 in our public schools.  In other states where this legislation has passed, after being taught to recognize abuse, more children have reported abuse to their teachers and other trusted adults. (SB 370)

Combating the Heroin and Opioid Epidemic

The heroin and opioid epidemic continues to overwhelm Virginia’s public safety and social services providers. Unfortunately, deaths associated with drug overdoses outnumber both motor vehicle accidents and gun related deaths. We are working at the state level to change how doctors prescribe opioids as well as to improve access to treatment for addiction and overdoses. I carried numerous bills dealing with the issue, and those include bills that would:

 

  • Require pharmacies to update the Prescription Monitoring Program within 24 hours of filling a prescription. Previously, they had seven days to do so. (SB 287)**

    • This bill was a recommendation of the Governor’s Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Abuse, and seeks to increase information available to doctors and pharmacies and combat “pill mills” throughout the Commonwealth.

  • Give treatment providers access to more medication-assisted therapies to treat addiction (SB 556)**

  • Hold predatory drug dealers accountable for the overdose deaths they cause (SB 66)

Expanding Mental Health Services for Volunteer First Responders

Mental health services are critical for our first responders, and I was proud to introduce legislation that expanded these services for our volunteer firefighters and EMTs. Our volunteers deal with the same emergencies and crises that our career personnel do, and having coverage for both will allow us to ensure the wellness and safety of all our first responders. My bill would allow any locality to fund participation in mental health treatment and counseling programs for members of volunteer fire or rescue companies (SB 79)**

 

An Economy that Works for Everyone

We need to build a Virginia that works for everyone, especially women and their families. Establishing policies that would allow paid medical leave would help Virginia’s families and economy. My SB 274 would require certain employers to provide paid medical leave to their full-time employees.

 

Education

Our children should be getting the best pre-K and Kindergarten education possible. In Loudoun County, Full-Day Kindergarten is not a reality. Since I believe that all children should have access to FDK, I introduced a bill, SB 279, that would require localities to present a plan to fully implement Full Day Kindergarten over five years.

 

LGBT protections in Virginia’s Fair Housing Law

Someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity will not tell you if they will be a good tenant or be able to pay rent. This discrimination has no place in Virginia, and it has an adverse affect on promoting business’ relocation and investment in the Commonwealth. Therefore, I introduced a bill (SB 67) that would add discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited practices under Virginia’s Fair Housing Law.

 

Transportation

I serve on the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission as a General Assembly representative. Because NVTC covers most of Northern Virginia, localities are allotted seats on the commission based on population size. As Loudoun County continues to grow, its voice on the committee needs to expand as well. My SB 277 would give Loudoun a greater voice in regional transit decisionmaking by gaining an additional seat on NVTC.**

 

Voting Access

In the past few years, legislators have passed laws that have created barriers to the voting booth for many Virginians. I believe that we should make it easier to vote, not harder. Two of my bills would do just that.

  • My SB 69 would expand the types of voters IDs accepted at polling locations

  • Another bill (SB 68) would implement no-excuse absentee voting options for people aged 70 and older

Family Law Changes

As an attorney, I practiced family law for a number of years. Small changes to divorce proceedings were needed, and I introduced two bills that would reform certain aspects of how courts award alimony (SB 70 & SB 71)**

 

**Bills that became law