July 2020

William Richard Gay

April 10, 1962-July 11, 2020

William Richard Gay, 58, of Emporia, passed away Saturday, July 11, 2020. He was the son of the late William Rufus Gay and Paige Harrell Gay and was also preceded in death by his wife, Sherry Woodruff Gay and sister, Tammy Gay Harrington.

Richard is survived by his son, Christopher Gay (Amanda Harris); two grandsons, Christopher Michael Gay, Jr. and Jace Alexander Gay; brothers, Timothy Russell Gay and Tony Craig Gay; sister, Jessica Gay and six nieces and nephews.

The family will schedule a memorial service at a later date.

Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.owenfh.com.

Del. Jay Jones Announces Historic Campaign for Attorney General

~ Grabs endorsements from over 30 General Assembly members on first day of campaign, Congresswoman Elaine Luria ~

Delegate Jay Jones (D-Norfolk) announced today that he will seek the Democratic nomination for Attorney General of Virginia in 2021.

Delegate Jones released a new video announcing his historic campaign to become Virginia’s first African American Attorney General entitled “Generations in the Making.”

“This decision is truly generations in the making,” said Delegate Jay Jones. “Five generations ago, my ancestors were freed from the shackles of slavery. Just two generations ago, my grandfather endured systematic racism and discrimination on his journey to becoming a pioneering black lawyer in Virginia.  And in 1960 my father and my uncle were two of the first black students to attend an all-white elementary school in Norfolk, Virginia.”

“Today, I am announcing that I’m running for Attorney General of our great Commonwealth, not just because it is time for a new generation of leadership, but because it is time for a Commonwealth that embraces everyone and lifts everyone, no matter who you are, where you come from, or what you look like,” Delegate Jones added.

"I am fortunate to have Jay Jones represent me in the House of Delegates, and I am proud to endorse him for Attorney General,” said Congresswoman Elaine Luria. “Jay is the type of leader that lifts everyone up and leaves no one behind. During my first term in Congress, we have worked together to fight for the people of Hampton Roads, and I know Jay has the conviction, integrity and experience to fight for every Virginia family as our next Attorney General."

"Jay represents a new generation of leadership in our Commonwealth that is committed to progressing our Commonwealth forward,” said Senator L. Louise Lucas. “As the first African American woman to serve as President Pro-tempore of the Virginia Senate, I could not be more honored to support Jay’s campaign to serve as Virginia's first African American Attorney General.”

“Having spent three years in leadership at the Office of the Attorney General, I have seen first hand the qualities, skills, and abilities that are necessary to be an effective AG,” said Delegate Jeff Bourne. “Jay Jones has all of the tools that will be required when he is Attorney General. Virginia is at a crossroads. We need a new voice with new solutions to old problems that have plagued our Commonwealth for too long.”

“I have seen Jay's leadership and effectiveness up close in the Virginia House of Delegates,” said Delegate Schuyler VanValkenburg. “As a civics teacher, I know Jay’s statewide election would be not only historic but also vital to showing our young people that our Commonwealth is inclusive and open to everyone. Jay will make Virginia proud as our next Attorney General. We need new voices and a new generation of leaders to lift everyone up in our Commonwealth.”

Delegate Jones announced last week that he raised over $255,000 in the first financial reporting period of 2020.  Since announcing that he was exploring a bid for Attorney General in 2021, Delegate Jones has received strong financial support from all across the Commonwealth and has more than $330,000 in cash on hand as of June 30, 2020.

Delegate Jay Jones was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2017 representing the 89th District.

Virginia Issues Year-End Revenue Report

Total General Fund revenue collections increased 2.0% over prior year, but $236.5 million below official forecast

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia ended fiscal year 2020 with a deficit of approximately $236.5 million in general fund revenue collections. While the shortfall was expected due to the impacts of COVID-19 on the state’s economy and budget, it is smaller than anticipated, and overall, revenues increased 2.0 percent over fiscal year 2019.

“COVID-19 has created both a health crisis and an economic crisis, and we have to box in this virus before we can fully address its fiscal impacts,” said Governor Northam. “While I am pleased that our revenue shortfall is less than initially expected, we know this pandemic will continue to negatively affect our state’s finances as long as this virus is with us. We must all keep taking steps to protect public health so we can continue our economic recovery and ensure the Commonwealth remains on strong financial footing.”

Total revenue collections rose by 2.0 percent in fiscal year 2020, behind the forecast of 3.1 percent growth. The main drivers of the revenue shortfall were payroll withholding and sales taxes—these two sources contributed $351.5 million to the deficit. Nonwithholding income tax payments—mainly from 2019 tax returns—were on target and income tax refunds contributed positively to the bottom line revenues by $146.3 million. Total revenues were $3.1 billion in June, a 26.7 percent increase, as the due date for payments from individuals and corporations was extended to June 1. 

“While this is good news as it relates to the final fiscal year 2020 projected shortfall, I am concerned that payroll withholding fell 2 percent and retail sales declined by 7 percent for the months of April, May, and June contributing to a $496.5 million shortfall in the fourth quarter,” said Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne. “We were helped by prior year income tax payments and current year payroll withholding and sales tax revenues not falling as much as initially anticipated.  But the fact remains, the Commonwealth has had a significant contraction in jobs and those effects on payroll withholding and the ability for consumers to spend is an obvious concern going forward into fiscal year 2021 for the state budget.” 

In reviewing the State Comptroller’s report on the preliminary revenue shortfall, the Commonwealth will conduct an interim forecasting process with an updated economic and revenue outlook for fiscal years 2021 and 2022. These forecasts will be released on August 18 at the Joint Money Committee meeting.

Analysis of Fiscal Year 2020 Revenues
Based on Preliminary Data

  • Total general fund revenue collections, excluding transfers, fell short of the official forecast (Chapter 1283) by $236.5 million (1.1 percent variance) in fiscal year 2020.
    • The 30-year average general fund revenue forecast variance is plus or minus 1.6 percent.

  • Payroll withholding and sales tax collections, 85 percent of total revenues, and the best indicator of current economic activity in the Commonwealth, finished $351.5 million or 2.1 percent behind the forecast.
    • Payroll withholding growth of 3.0 percent was behind the forecast of 4.7 percent growth.

    • Sales tax collections increased 3.5 percent as compared to the annual forecast of 7.4 percent.

    • Fourth quarter results show that payroll withholding fell 2.0 percent and sales tax revenues fell 7.0 percent.

  • Nonwithholding income tax collections finished the year in line with expectations, down 4.3 percent. 2019 tax year final payments due June 1 were ahead of expectations; however, estimated payments due in June for 2020 were below expectations.
  • Individual income tax refunds were a positive to the forecast, as the average check size did not increase. Tax refunds were $146.3 million below expectations and is a positive to the bottom line.

  • Corporate income tax collections increased 7.2 percent for the year, behind the annual forecast of 9.3 percent mainly due to the lower than expected payments in the April to June period.

  • A complete analysis of all final receipts for revenue sources, including transfers, will not be available until the Joint Money Committee meeting on August 18.

Osteoporosis: What you can do

If you are concerned about a loved one’s osteoporosis—brittle bones—it’s a good idea to bring this up with the doctor. He or she will likely discuss various medicines that can help.

In addition, changes in daily life outlined below can go a long way to making stronger bones. Consider:

Calcium. The best food sources are low-fat dairy products; dark green leafy vegetables; canned salmon, mackerel, or sardines (with bones); and tofu. Women over age 50 should consume a total of 1200 mg of calcium per day. Men need 1000 mg/day until age 70. Then they too should get 1200 mg/day. A supplement is fine. But be sure to pick a dose that factors in the calcium your relative already receives from food. More than 2000 mg/day may increase the risk of heart disease and kidney stones.

Vitamin D. Exposure to sunshine yields vitamin D. But only when sunscreen is not used (no free lunch!). Look for foods such as milk that have been fortified with vitamin D. Or get a supplement. Adults age 51–70 are advised to take 600 international units (iu)/day. Those over age 71 need 800 iu/day. African Americans don’t absorb vitamin D well through the skin, so 2000 iu is the recommended supplement. Most people can safely take up to 4000 iu/day.

Strength exercises. Weight-bearing exercise works with gravity to produce strong bones: Brisk walks, hiking, dancing, climbing up stairs. Resistance training also helps: Lifting weights or using exercise bands. Talk to the doctor about the safest way to build up strength.

Lifestyle changes

  • Get up off the couch! A sedentary lifestyle leads to brittle bones.
  • Limit alcohol to no more than two drinks/day. Alcohol kills bone cells and leaches calcium from the bones.
  • Stop smoking. Smokers’ bones heal more slowly.

Virginia Newsom Boney

Services

Thursday, July 9, 2020, at 7:00 P.M.

Echols Funeral Home
806 Brunswick Avenue
Emporia, Virginia 23847

Virginia Newsom Boney, 69, passed away on July 6, 2020. She was born in Roanoke Rapids, NC., and worked many years at Simmons Truck Stop in Emporia, VA. She was preceded in death by her parents, Bobby Thomas Newsom and Ocie Odell Finch. She is survived by her husband, John Howard Boney, her sons, Thomas Wayne Boney (Rebecca Jarrett) of Emporia, VA., Stephen Michael Boney (Mary) of Roanoke Rapids, NC., daughter, Tiffany Spenla (Ian) of Houston, TX., sisters, Laura Newsom of Gaston, NC., Betty Stephenson of Roanoke Rapids, NC., Dorothy Cannon (Joe) of Jackson, NC., Susan Newsom of Gaston, NC., brother-in-law, Gerald Allen of Emporia, VA., sister-in-law, Barbara Allen of Emporia, VA., grandchildren, Ivey, Evelyn, Zachary, Megan, Mathew, and her cat, Peaches.

A memorial service will be held at Echols Funeral Home, Thursday, July 9, 2020, at 7:00 P.M. with Rev. Brad Barbour officiating.

Online Condolences may be made at www.echolsfuneralhome.com

new feature in my social security puts you in control

 

By Jacqueline Weisgarber, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Richmond, Virginia

­The future can be uncertain.  However, Social Security’s new Advance Designation program can help put you in control of your benefits if a time comes when you need a representative payee to help manage your money.  Advance Designation enables you to identify up to three people, in priority order, whom you would like to serve as your potential representative payee.

The following people may choose an Advance Designation:

o    Adults applying for benefits who do not have a representative payee.

o    Adult beneficiaries or recipients who do not have a representative payee.

o    Emancipated minors applying for benefits who do not have a representative payee.

o    Emancipated minor beneficiaries or recipients who do not have a representative payee.

If you fall into one of the above categories, you may provide and update Advance Designation information when you:

o     File a claim for benefits online.

o     Use the application available in your personal my Social Security account at www.ssa.gov/myaccount.

o     Call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

You may also change your Advance Designation(s), including the priority order, at any time while you are still capable of making your own decisions.  In the event that you can no longer make your own decisions, you and your family will have peace of mind knowing you already chose someone you trust to manage your benefits.

 

Therapy Dog Program Seeking Volunteers

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital is seeking volunteers with friendly and well-behaved dogs to participate in a program that aims to bring cheer to hospital patients, visitors and staff.

The Dogs On Call Therapy Dog Program provides complementary therapy to enhance the well-being of patients, staff, and students through canine-assisted interventions.  The dog and handler would visit patients that requested to have a visit and visit hospital departments to lift spirits of staff.

If you have a dog that would be a good fit for this program and would like to learn more about volunteering as a Dogs On Call team, please call 434-584-5411.

Church Street Independence Day Celebration Cancelled, But Say Thank You Anyway

Anne and Bobby have been celebrating Independence Day on Church Street for more than half a century. This year's event is cancelled due to the Coronavirus Outbreak. A reader has suggested that we show our appreciation to the Wrenns for their dedication by filling their front yard with tiny American Flags from the the dollar stores. Sneak by this evening and place a flag in the front yard so that it will be there when Bobby wakes up - it will be the perfect "THANK YOU" for all those years of fun! See you next year!

Sidney Stanley "Stan" Prince

October 16, 1946 – June 24, 202

 

Sidney Stanley "Stan" Prince, October 16, 1946 – June 24, 2020. A native of Emporia, VA, he graduated from Greensville County HS in 1965. A member of the class of 1969 at VPI, he graduated with a Bachelors of Architecture in 1970. Stan was a retired Licensed Architect in the Commonwealth who practiced commercial architecture in Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Richmond, where he retired as Corporate Architect for the Covington Company, having served as Corporate Architect for Heilig-Meyers Furniture for 23 years, and an Associate with Williams and Tazewell in Norfolk, where he managed projects for the building of Scope and Chrysler Hall, and subsequently for 3M Architects, designing furnishings for Kuwaiti Air Force Bases. He is survived by his wife of almost 50 years, Dr. Anita H Prince, and only child, daughter, Meghan E P Bryant (husband, Blanton F Bryant, Jr). Stanley was a devoted Hokie, having rarely missed a game in more than 30 years after he became a season ticket holder. In remembrance, any act of kindness or support would honor him because he was a kind and decent human being. He had a special love for Feed More, Habitat for Humanity, and the Boy Scouts of America to which he belonged as a youth and young man achieving Eagle Scout, God and Country, and Order of the Arrow. Arrangements are pending with Echols Funeral Home, Emporia, Virginia.

 

VIRGINIA STATE POLICE URGES MOTORISTS TO CELEBRATE SMART, SAFE & SOBER DURING JULY 4 HOLIDAY WEEKEND

RICHMOND – With Virginia having moved into Phase Three of Governor Northam’s COVID-19 guidelines, the Virginia State Police is encouraging everyone to plan ahead for their celebratory travel plans this coming holiday weekend.
 
“Summer days are filled with celebration, including vacations, outdoor festivals and backyard cookouts, but no matter where your plans take you, please make safety your priority,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Regardless of the distance you’re traveling this week – across the country or around the corner – remember to buckle up, eliminate distractions and never drive buzzed or drunk. If we all do our small part, we increase everyone’s chances of having a safer holiday weekend.”
 
As part of its ongoing efforts to increase safety and reduce traffic fatalities on Virginia’s highways during the coming holiday weekend, Virginia State Police will increase patrols from 12:01 a.m. Friday (July 3, 2020) through midnight Sunday (July 5, 2020) as part of the Operation Crash Awareness Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.). Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt.
 
During last year’s three-day Independence Day Operation C.A.R.E initiative, Virginia troopers arrested 79 drunk drivers. In addition, state troopers cited 5,517 speeders and 1,774 reckless drivers, issued 742 individuals for failing to obey the law and buckle up. During the three-day July 4, 2019 holiday counting period, there were seven traffic deaths on Virginia highways.
 
If planning to drink alcohol at a July 4 function, plan ahead and arrange a designated driver, use a rideshare service or taxi, or utilize public transportation to be certain you get home safely.  Party hosts are encouraged to serve non-alcoholic beverage options, and to help prevent any guests from drinking and driving home from their event.
 
With increased holiday patrols, Virginia State Police also reminds drivers of Virginia’s “Move Over” law, which requires motorists to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped alongside the road. If unable to move over, then drivers are required to cautiously pass the emergency vehicle. The law also applies to workers in vehicles equipped with amber lights.

Governor Northam Launches Rent and Mortgage Relief Program to Assist Virginians Facing Eviction or Foreclosure

 
RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today launched the Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP), which will provide $50 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding for households facing eviction or foreclosure due to COVID-19. RMRP will provide short-term financial assistance on behalf of households in the form of rent and mortgage payments.
 
“Expanding access to safe, affordable housing has been and will continue to be a top priority of my administration, during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” said Governor Northam. “The Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program will help Virginians experiencing financial instability as a result of this unprecedented health crisis by preventing evictions and foreclosures and keeping Virginia families safely in their homes as we battle this virus.”
 
The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) will administer the $50 million program through a variety of partners, including nonprofit organizations and local governments, which will receive upfront funds that they will distribute on behalf of eligible households. Individuals and families receiving funding will also be connected to housing counseling and receive other technical assistance.
 
Eligible households must demonstrate an inability to make rent or mortgage payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Monthly rent or mortgage must be at or below 150 percent Fair Market Rent (FMR), and eligible households must have a gross household income at or below 80 percent of area median income (AMI).
 
“Safe, stable housing is essential for public health,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “As we continue to secure funding for rent and mortgage assistance, this $50 million investment will serve the most vulnerable Virginians while providing a roadmap for future relief.”
 
To ensure RMRP funding assists households most in need, the program will complete targeted outreach to communities of color across Virginia. Before the pandemic, analysis from RVA Eviction Lab at Virginia Commonwealth University found that minority communities had higher eviction rates, even after controlling for income, property value, and other characteristics. The COVID-19 pandemic has also had a disproportionate impact on people of color.
 
“DHCD delivers programs through our partners that are closest to the Commonwealth’s communities, and our team is deeply appreciative of the local and regional network that has rapidly developed this program to assist in meeting this critical housing and health need,” said DHCD Director Erik Johnston. “We urge all tenant advocates, landlords, lenders, philanthropy, local governments and faith communities to partner with your local program providers to ensure that these funds stretch as far as possible to Virginians most in need of this assistance.”
 
The program will also give precedence to households without other federal and state eviction or foreclosure protections. From June 29 to July 20, priority will be given to households with current gross incomes equal to or below 50 percent of AMI. After July 20, households with current gross incomes at or below 80 percent of AMI will be also be included. In addition, households with an unlawful detainer action dated prior to June 8 will be given top consideration.
 
To identify the local RMRP administering organization for a household and to conduct a self-assessment for eligibility, visit dhcd.virginia.gov/eligibility or call 211 VIRGINIA by dialing 2-1-1 from your phone. Tenants and homeowners are encouraged to know their rights and responsibilities and pay their rent and mortgages on time if they are able. Visit StayHomeVirginia.com for additional information and resources.
 

Virginia Department of Health Urges Virginians to Engage with Legitimate Contact Tracers, Avoid Scams

Contact Tracers Will Not Ask for Social Security Numbers or Bank Details

(Richmond, Va.) — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) encourages all Virginians to respond and engage with legitimate contact tracing calls and emails while remaining vigilant against scams. Caller ID will read “VDH COVID Team.”

The Commonwealth employs contact tracers to notify individuals who have been exposed to known cases of COVID-19. Contact tracers will offer information, encourage individuals to monitor themselves for symptoms, and refer those who develop symptoms for medical evaluation and testing to help contain the spread in Virginia.

Contact tracing saves lives by preventing the spread of COVID-19, so we encourage every Virginian to do their part and answer calls, text messages, or emails from the Commonwealth’s contact tracers.

Recognizing the signs of a scam is important. Contact tracers will not ask for money or information such as a Social Security Number (SSN), bank account details, or credit card numbers.  The Commonwealth does not charge individuals for contact tracing services.

Contact tracers will offer to enroll Virginians in a voluntary contact monitoring platform called Sara Alert, which individuals can use to update local health departments on their health status during the period of time they are participating in public health monitoring. The Sara Alert system is secure and always contacts users from the same phone number or email: 844-957-2721 or notifications@saraalert.org.

In addition to being vigilant, there are several other ways to stay safe from scams:

  • use multi-factor authentication for online accounts;
  • enable auto updates for the operating systems and apps on your electronic devices to ensure you have the latest security;
  • and back up the data on your devices regularly, so you won’t lose valuable information if a device gets malware or ransomware.

Verizon Communications, Inc provided the Caller-ID feature for VDH contact tracers without charge.

Additional information from the Federal Trade Commission on contact tracing scams is available here.

House Democratic Majority Leads Sweeping Change in Virginia

RICHMOND, VA—The seismic shift created by Virginia voters last year when they elected a Democratic majority to the Virginia House of Delegates yielded a parallel shift in public policy, resulting in landmark legislation taking effect July 1, 2020. These new laws, which benefit Virginians in ways obstructed by past General Assembly majorities, include crucial gun violence prevention measures, more expansive voter rights, new anti-discrimination protections for women and the LGBTQ+ community, and energy policies that will reduce the Commonwealth’s use of fossil fuels for electricity. 

"Last November, voters called for decisive, impactful action to make their communities safe and more prosperous. We have delivered on that mandate. We took that action. And tomorrow, many of these bills become law,” said Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn. “These laws will strengthen our democracy, protect Virginians from gun violence, tackle discrimination to make our Commonwealth fairer, combat the climate change crisis, give women the ability to make their own reproductive decisions, make our criminal justice system fairer (with much work ahead) and build on our economic progress in every corner of the Commonwealth."

Last week, Speaker Filler-Corn announced that the House Courts of Justice and Public Safety Committees will hold joint public hearings in July and August regarding police and criminal justice reform. Information gathered during the hearings will better prepare the House of Delegates to act in the upcoming special session, and the 2021 regular session, on these matters and others related to racial inequities in Virginia and the nation.

“Our first year serving in the majority has been marked by new highs in the passage of landmark legislation in the effort to make Virginia a more inclusive and better place to live, work, and raise a family,” said House Democratic Majority Leader Charniele Herring. “Our work reversing systemic inequities and injustices is not over and we look forward to making further progress for the Commonwealth during the special session and 2021.”

In 2019, a historic blue wave ushered in the first Democratic majority in the House of Delegates in more than 20 years. House Democrats appointed more women and people of color to leadership and committee chair positions than ever before in the legislative body’s 401-year history. Heeding the call of the Virginia voters who put them into the majority, Democratic legislators swiftly advanced legislation to improve the lives of residents all across the Commonwealth.

“When voters across the Commonwealth stood up and elected Democrats last year, House Democrats listened and passed hundreds of bills based on Virginians' calls for change,” said House Democratic Caucus Chair Rip Sullivan. “July 1 officially marks a new beginning in the Commonwealth, when more Virginians will be heard and recognized. House Democrats are preparing to return to Richmond for the special session and the 2021 regular legislative session with the same level of determination and innovation to create thoughtful solutions benefiting everyone in the Commonwealth.”

In addition to legislation, the House also passed the House and Senate resolutions to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, becoming the 38th and final state required by the U.S. Constitution. Other important matters were also addressed in joint resolutions, such as Delegate Cia Price’s HJ 111 designating July as Maternal Health Awareness Month in Virginia. This observance, which begins in 2020, will bring public attention to the problem of increased maternal mortality in the nation and the Commonwealth, especially the much-higher rates among African-American women. Unlike bills, resolutions do not involve any action by the governor. 

Here is a list of some of the House Democrats’ major legislative accomplishments going into effect on July 1:

  • Passing common-sense gun safety legislation. Seven House bills establishing stronger gun safety measures — all introduced in response to the Virginia Beach tragedy in May 2019 — were signed by the governor. These laws implement universal background checks for sales of firearms, require gun owners to report lost and stolen firearms, increase the penalty for recklessly allowing children to have access to loaded firearms, allow localities to ban firearms at certain public facilities or events, establish substantial risk protective orders, prohibit persons subject to domestic violence protective orders from possessing firearms, and restore a limit on the number of gun purchases a person may make per month.

  • Combatting voter suppression with measures to grant people more accessibility and flexibility to vote. These laws include making election day a state holiday in place of Lee-Jackson Day, implementing “no excuse” absentee voting, expanding the types of ID voters may present in order to vote, and ensuring that mail-in ballots postmarked on election day can be counted.

  • Attacking racial inequities by implementing new and increased protections such as outlawing racial discrimination based on styles of hair or dress, promoting equal pay regardless of race, and expanding the justice system’s ability to investigate hate crimes based on race. House Democrats also backed several bills now becoming law that address environmental justice and seek to prevent health risks or disproportionate impacts of environmental pollution or environmental policies on minority communities. 

  • Empowering women through restoring reproductive rights, promoting equal pay, outlawing pregnancy discrimination, prohibiting schools from adopting dress code policies that have a disparate impact on a specific gender, improving treatment for prison inmates who are pregnant or have recently given birth, and making menstrual supplies available in public schools without charge.

  • Enhancing rights for the victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and human trafficking. Protective measures include prohibiting persons subject to protective orders due to domestic violence from possessing firearms, requiring colleges and universities to grant disciplinary immunity from self-disclosed alcohol and drug violations for victims and bystanders who report sexual assaults, and informing localities and local immigration organizations of human trafficking risks to which immigrants may be more vulnerable.

  • Setting new progressive environmental standards and priorities. In 2020, House Democrats successfully pushed for Virginia to become the most environmentally progressive state in the South by joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and passing the Virginia Clean Economy Act, which puts Virginia on the path toward a 100 percent renewable-energy electricity supply by 2050. Other measures include raising water quality standards, further regulating disposal of coal ash, promoting and expanding access to the use of electric vehicles, and protecting wildlife populations. 

  • Widening discrimination protections for the LGBTQ+ community by banning conversion therapy for minors, requiring the State Registrar to establish a new birth certificate upon request after gender transition, mandating that schools to adopt policies which improve treatment of LGBTQ+ students, and strengthening hate crime laws. The Commonwealth will now also outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, public accommodation, public contracting, apprenticeship programs, housing, banking, and insurance. 

  • Repealing racially discriminatory Acts of Assembly. The injustices in these old laws included de jure school segregation and housing discrimination, as well as restrictions on African Americans relating to voting, public transportation, medical care, public documents, and public facilities.

  • Providing additional food insecurity and housing protections by expanding eligibility for the housing choice voucher tax credit and food stamps, providing school lunches for children who cannot afford them, and funding grocery stores and small food retailers to better serve underserved areas. Newly enacted legislation also provides short-term stays on court actions for eviction or foreclosure for Virginians who were furloughed due to a federal government shutdown or lost their jobs due to a State of Emergency declared by the governor, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

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