FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 11, 2016
CONTACT: Jacqueline Hixson, (770) 362-2408
RICHMOND, Va.: The 2016 General Assembly Session adjourned Sine Die on Friday, March 11, 2016 at 8:30 p.m. House Democrats reflect on the priorities set forth at the beginning of session and the wins and losses that have unfolded in the last 59 days in Richmond.
GOAL: THE NEW VIRGINIA ECONOMY – THE VIRGINIA DEMOCRATIC HOUSE CAUCUS IS COMMITTED TO BUILDING THE NEW VIRGINIA ECONOMY WHERE ALL VIRGINIANS HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY FOR REWARDING WORK THAT PAYS ENOUGH TO ADEQUATELY SUPPORT THEIR FAMILIES.
“Building the New Virginia Economy has been the most significant priority for House Democrats during the 2016 session,” said David J. Toscano, Democratic Leader. “And we won significant victories in this session. From implementing the GO Virginia program to funding for new technology research, transportation infrastructure such as the Port of Virginia and I-66, and workforce development programs, big steps were taken toward diversifying and strengthening the future of the Commonwealth. We will continue to press for other policies to help working families, such as raising the minimum wage and guaranteeing paid family or medical leave for Virginia’s workers.”
GOAL: EDUCATION – QUALITY EDUCATION IS THE FOUNDATION OF OUR STATE’S ECONOMY. DEMOCRATS SUPPORT EXCELLENCE IN THE CLASSROOM, FROM PRE-K TO HIGHER EDUCATION, WHICH HELPS CHILDREN SUCCEED IN SCHOOL AND IN LIFE.
“The budget this year shows how much of a priority a high-quality public education for Virginia’s children is for Virginia’s legislators. From increased funding for K-12 and higher education to giving teachers a two percent pay raise, Virginia’s public schools can continue providing a world-class education,” said Charniele Herring, Democratic Caucus Chair. “House Democrats were also able to uphold Governor McAuliffe’s veto of the ‘Tebow Bill,’ which would have diverted public funds to non-public school students. Making sure those who participate in public schools get the supplies and instruction they deserve and expect is a priority for Virginia House Democrats.”
GOAL: HEALTHCARE – HOUSE DEMOCRATS CONTINUE TO SUPPORT BRINGING TAX DOLLARS BACK TO VIRGINIA TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO INSURANCE FOR 400,000 CITIZENS THROUGH MEDICAID EXPANSION. IT IS CRUCIAL TO MAINTAINING A HEALTHY WORKFORCE, PROTECTING THE FINANCIAL VIABILITY OF OUR HOSPITALS, AND THE SOUNDNESS OF OUR STATE BUDGET.
“The biggest missed opportunity was the failure to expand Medicaid,” said Delegate Kaye Kory (38th – Falls Church). “Ensuring that health care is a right, not a privilege, in the Commonwealth will continue to be a priority. Nonetheless, new monies are in the budget for mental health, substance abuse, and for the support of the disabled. In addition, opposing barriers to women’s health care choices such as bills to defund health care clinics remains at the top of our agenda.”
GOAL: MILITARY AND VETERANS – HOUSE DEMOCRATS ARE MAKING VIRGINIA THE BEST STATE FOR VETERANS.
“As a veteran, I understand the importance of taking care of our men and women in uniform. The General Assembly secured increased funding for several veterans’ programs that I’m very proud of, such as V3 and other workforce entry programs,” said Delegate John Bell (87th – Chantilly). “House Democrats are committed to making sure that those who have served our nation can transition into the civilian workforce and access appropriate health care and other services, making Virginia the best state for veterans.”
GOAL: PUBLIC SAFETY AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM – VIRGINIANS NEED A SYSTEM THAT KEEPS US SAFE, IS FAIR, AND COSTS LESS.
“Virginia’s legislature made huge gains in keeping Virginians safe this session. We were able to increase pay for our State Police in fiscal years 2017 and 2018, and we were also able to increase funding for mental health care in correctional facilities,” said Delegate Marcia “Cia” Price (95th– Newport News). “The biggest gain we made toward keeping Virginians safe was passing legislation taking firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers, and increasing the availability of background checks at gun shows. I look forward to continuing to work to keep our neighbors safe.”
GOAL: MAKING VOTING EASIER AND FAIRER – HOUSE DEMOCRATS BELIEVE THAT VOTING IS A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT, AND SHOULD BE MADE EASIER AND FAIRER.
“Despite House Democrats’ multiple efforts, access to the ballot box and a fair redistricting process did not pass the General Assembly this year,” said Delegate Sam Rasoul (11th – Roanoke).“House Republicans blocked legislation to set up a nonpartisan redistricting commission, and denied bills that would have allowed no-excuse early voting and expanded the types of voter identification accepted at the ballot box.”
# # #