LEGISLATIVE UPDATE--YOU ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE


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Special Alerts-State


Must read! – 2018 SALT Legislative Priorities Updates

Click Here to View 2018 SALT Updates as of February 6, 2018

Please go to: SALT's Virginia “State Legislative Agenda” page of SALT web site for a detailed list of SALT 2018 priorities and for Click-on Fact Sheets for each SALT priority.


Must read -The 2017 Session Adjourns! SALT Report --what happened!

Together we did it!
 
On behalf of SALT, I would like to convey our thanks to you our advocates and legislators in this year’s general assembly session for an increase in TANF and other Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits.
 
SALT’s proposed a TANF increase patroned by Delegate Paul Krizek passed:

  • There will be a 2.5 percent increase in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits effective July 1, 2017.  This will be the third TANF Benefit increase in three years following fifteen years with no increases.  Benefits have declined to just one-fifth of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).


TANF Group Consolidation:
 

  • SALT proposed and supported legislation to reform TANF locality groupings for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program was successful passed.

TANF Group I – is eliminated effective with 7/1/17 payments.  All Group I localities will become Group II.

  • Locality groupings that determine (TANF) payment levels are reformed to reflect increased costs of living. The DSS Board's current three locality groups shall be reorganized into two locality groups. Group I shall consist of all localities that fall within the Board's current Group I and Group II.


Workforce Development
Initiatives:

  •  Passed $7.5 million from the federal (TANF) block grant for community employment and training programs offered by Employment Services Organizations.
  • This money will help struggling mothers and struggling communities get a second chance.


SALT Opposed HB 2213: Time limit on the receipt of TANF financial assistance (defeated):

  • This proposal by Delegate O’Bannon to reduce the total lifetime limit on TANF financial assistance to 24 months;
  • Defeated by House Appropriations Committee.


SALT Supported Comprehensive community colleges; tuition grants SB 1032 by Senator Favola:
 

  •  Provides that Virginia students who were in foster care or considered a special needs adoption and are enrolled in a noncredit workforce credential training program in a comprehensive community college may qualify for a grant for the payment of tuition and fees.
  • Passed - Senate: Enrolled Bill Communicated to Governor.   


The General Assembly reconvenes six weeks after session (April 5th) to vote on bills that the Governor vetoes or amends.
The General Assembly has a perfect record sustaining Governor McAuliffe’s vetoes. Voice your support!
 
For Another SALT Accomplishment:
See our SALT Letter to the Editor published in Washington Post 1/25/17 go to Op/Ed for SALT page---Transparency letter.

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State ISSUES –2017

SALT Legislative Proposals Updates—March 10, 2017 --

Celebrate!

SALT’s Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF) Results Report for the 2017 General Assembly Session

The General Assembly added $17.0 million in SALT proposed TANF program funding for Virginia families as follows:

  • $4.8 million for a Child Support Supplement;
  • $4.7 million for a 2.5% cash benefit increase;
  • $7.5 million from TANF for community work training programs by Employment Services Organizations. Funding will help struggling mothers and communities; Comprehensive Community colleges tuition grants for Virginia students who were in foster care or a special needs adoption and are enrolled in a noncredit workforce credential training program in a community college qualify for payment of tuition and fees.
  • $2.9 million--Consolidation of Locality Groupings for TANF – Combines Groups l and ll for the purposes of TANF cash benefits and uses Group ll rates for the new group resulting in an increase in cash benefits.


State ISSUES –2016

 SALT Legislative Proposals Updates—March 10, 2016 --
 
 Celebrate!
 

SALT Advocates:

Reason to celebrate! We did it!  You did it!

Thanks to your persistent advocacy our six SALT Budget Items and one SALT bill passed.

Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant - 2016

The General Assembly added$17.4 million in SALT proposed &supported TANF program funding for Virginia families:

  • $4.8 million for a Child Support Supplement;
  • $4.7 million for a 2.5% cash benefit increase;
  • $4.0 million to expand workforce training for TANF Recipients to five additional community colleges;
  • $1.9 million to Expand Foster Care Services to 21; 
  • Provides for Apprenticeships for TANF   Welfare Families; and
  • $2.0 million for domestic violence grants; and
  • TANF Caseload Expenditure Reports to Document TANF Funds not Directed Specifically at TANF Families (Non Supplatation).

With thanks! john


Medicaid Expansion Legislation

As the 2018 General Assembly is still in session, one big problem remains: lawmakers still refuse to close the health care coverage gap. A favorite smokescreen is the claim that Medicaid needs to be reformed before it can be expanded. However, this claim neglects the fact that recent Medicaid reforms are not only in place in Virginia, but are exceeding expectations. --The Commonwealth Institute
 
The Virginia Senate Finance Committee and House of Delegates Appropriations Committee chose to exclude Medicaid expansion from the budget and instead, they want to increase state General Fund dollars to free clinics and community health centers. However, we believe Medicaid expansion would enhance the entire health care delivery system in Virginia and is a better solution.
 
Virginians are already paying for Medicaid expansion through our federal tax dollars. Since our state lawmakers have refused to expand Medicaid, we are losing that money. We are disappointed that our lawmakers are ignoring the basic needs of 400,000 people, most of whom are employed taxpayers in the Commonwealth.
 
Keep advocating for a real solution for those 400,000 Virginians because the people of the Commonwealth deserve better.

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Breaking News! VIRGINIA GOVERNOR McAuliffe BANS THE BOX WITH EXECUTIVE ORDER

Governor McAuliffe signed Executive Order 41, which reforms state hiring practices by removing questions regarding criminal history from employment applications. The Order makes clear that criminal history shall not be a determining factor in employment decisions, unless an individual’s criminal history bears specific relation to the job for which they are being considered. “In a new Virginia economy, people who make mistakes and pay the price should be welcomed back into society and given the opportunity to succeed,” Governor McAuliffe said about the Order.

As you know, “Ban the Box” legislation was a top SALT priority during the 2015 General Assembly session.  SALT & VA-CURE partner made a compelling case for “Ban the Box”: "Formerly incarcerated individuals shouldn’t face a life sentence of no job prospects and no opportunities to better themselves just because they have served time in prison. These new (“Ban the Box”) laws will help them get back on their feet, contribute to their communities and keep one offense from becoming a life-long barrier.”

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Visit the SALT website at http://www.S-A-L-T.org

SALT Advocates:

It's been a frantic week for our SALT priorities!

See SALT Legislative priorities updates. This week’s actions are flagged
with an *.

As always. Thanks for your advocacy support! john & SALT

I. TANF Scholarship Pilot Project Bill

     > Del. Kathleen Murphy -- HB 285; & Budget Amendment (BA 346 #10h ).
            Referred to House Education Committee.
            *Passed Subcommittee #3 (8 - 0).
            *Referred to House Appropriations.


     > Sen. Bill Stanley – SB 27 & (BA)

            Senate: Reported from Education and Health (15-Y 0-N).
            *Referred to Senate Finance; Reported (14 -0).
            *Passed the full Senate (39 -1)


II. Food Stamp Eligibility -- Drug Related

     > Sen. Favola -- SB 203 & (BA)
            Senate: Reported from Rehab and Social Services (8-Y 6-N).
            Referred to Senate Finance.
            *Senate Finance: Failed to report (defeated) (7-Y 8-N).


III. TANF Eligibility Drug Related

     > Del. Lopez -- HB 945 & (BA Item 340 #1h)
            Referred to Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions (HWI).
            *Passes HWI SubC #2 (8Y -2N) &recommends to the Full Committee.
            *HWI full committee reports to Appropriations, (16–Y 5-N).
            *Appropriations SubC H&HR Recommends laying on the Table(5Y-3)


     > Sen Favola – SB 204 & (BA)

            Senate: Reported from Rehab and Social Services (8-Y 6-N).
            Referred to Senate Finance.
            *Senate: (defeated) in Senate Finance (7-Y 8-N).


IV. Limiting &Ending Solitary Confinement

     > Del. Hope – HB 795
            Assigned to Militia, Police and Public Safety - SubC #2.
            *House: SubC #2 recommends striking from docket (5-Y 0-N).
            *SubC Chair. Cline to send letter to Deed's Commission to accept study provisions (compromise).


V. Studying Solitary Confinement

     > Sen. Marden – SJ 65
            Assigned to Rules Committee
            *Chair. Cline to send letter to Deed's Commission to include study provisions of HB 795 & SJ 65.


VI. Ending School Lunch Shaming

     > Del. Hope HB 50
            House: Referred to Committee on Education.
            House: Assigned Education sub: Subcommittee #1.
            *House: Subcommittee recommends reporting with substitute (8-Y 0-N)
            *House: Reported from Education with substitute (22-Y 0-N)


VII. Video Visitation-Not Replace In-person Family Visits

     > Del. Hope HB -797
            Assigned to Militia, Police and Public Safety- SubC #2.
            *Amended: keeps the provision for in person visits.
            *Deletes lowest rates provision.
            *Reported from MPPS to Appropriations, (16–5).


VIII. TANF Benefit Increase

     > Delegate Krizek Budget Amendment - Item 340 #6h
            DSS to increase TANF Benefits 10 percent July 1, 2018.


IX. Kinship Guardianship Program

     > Delegate Delaney HB 106
            *House: Referred to Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions
            *House: Assigned HWI sub: Subcommittee #1
            *House: Subcommittee recommends laying on the table (7-Y 0-N)

    
     > Delegate Emily M. Brewer HB 1333

            *House: Referred to Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions
            *House: Assigned HWI sub: Subcommittee #1
            *House: Subcommittee recommends reporting with amendments (8-Y 0-N)
            *House: Subcommittee recommends referring to Committee on Appropriations
            * House: Reported from Health, Welfare and Institutions with amendments (22-Y 0-N)
            *House: Referred to Committee on Appropriations


     > Senator Favola SB 44

            *Senate: Referred to Committee on Rehabilitation and Social Services
            * Senate: Reported from Rehabilitation and Social Services (14-Y 1-N)
            *Senate: Rereferred to Finance
            *Senate: Reported from Finance with amendments (15-Y 0-N)
            *Senate: Read third time and passed Senate (40-Y 0-N)
            *House: Placed on Calendar
            *House: Referred to Committee on Appropriations

2018 SESSION
 
18100461D

HOUSE BILL NO. 50
Offered January 10, 2018
Prefiled November 30, 2017

A BILL to amend the Code of Virginia by adding a section numbered 22.1-79.7, relating to local school boards; school meal policies.
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Patron-- Hope
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Committee Referral Pending
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Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That the Code of Virginia is amended by adding a section numbered 22.1-79.7 as follows:

§ 22.1-79.7. School meal policies.

Each local school board shall adopt policies that:

1. Prohibit school board employees from publicly identifying or stigmatizing a student who cannot pay for a meal at school or who owes a school meal debt, including requiring that such student wear a wristband or hand stamp;

2. Prohibit school board employees from requiring a student who cannot pay for a meal at school or who owes a school meal debt to do chores or other work to pay for such meals; and

3. Require school board employees to direct any communication relating to a school meal debt to the student's parent. Such policy may permit such communication to be made by a letter addressed to the parent to be sent home with the student.

As an octogenarian, I believe I have been reading The Post for 70 years, but few articles have brought me to tears as did Petula Dvorak’s Oct. 10 Metro column, “An impossible choice for an immigrant mother.” Catia Paz has been told to self-deport by Friday,  leaving her husband and her daughters, ages 6 and 8, behind. Why? Because she was 17 and not 16 or younger when she fled her war-torn country of El Salvador. She has held a responsible job, is raising her children and is a homeowner, but the Trump administration rescinded the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents executive action, and now she must leave or face deportation.

What have we as a country become? Where is our moral compass? Where is basic decency? In this instance, certainly, it has vanished.

Claire O’Dwyer Randall, Springfield

SALT Member and Member of Our Lady Queen of Peace