FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Contact: Julia Chun
Sen. Favola Announces her 2018 Legislative Agenda
ARLINGTON, VA – Senator Barbara Favola (D-Arlington) released today highlights of her 2018 legislative agenda.
She will continue her fight to expand Medicaid and to reform Virginia’s Hate Crime statute to include the LGBTQ community and any group in the Commonwealth who may be a target of hate. Expanding access to healthcare and making Virginia a more welcoming state are values that cut across several subject areas.
Her other efforts focus on the following subject areas.
Sen. Favola’s K-12 education priorities focus on teacher recruitment and retention. She has submitted legislation to re-design teacher preparation programs in Virginia colleges and universities to enable education majors to be in the classroom after four years of study rather than five. This would reduce the opportunity cost of selecting teaching as a profession and accelerate the pipeline for teachers.
“As chair of the subcommittee on School Leadership and Academic Outcomes, it is clear to me that Virginia must do a better job of supporting teachers and making teaching a desirable profession,” said Favola.
Favola will also seek funding to support teacher mentor programs and leadership training for principals.
Equal Taxing Authority for Counties
Sen. Favola will work to grant counties the same taxing authority as cities. Specific revenue streams that may be enhanced include the cigarette tax and the application of a meals tax, without requiring a referendum.
“Counties are providing the same services as cities and the discrepancy in taxing authority is really unfair. Moreover, diversified revenue streams would help counter swings in the real estate economy while still supporting vital programs such as public school funding, public safety and the arts,” said Favola.
Children's Health and Public Health
Sen. Favola’s children’s health and public health efforts focus on the need to provide children with "trauma informed" care. Based on recommendations from the Commission on Youth for which Favola is the Chairperson, her legislative efforts include advocating for an inter-agency task force in the Governor's Office to help ensure that trauma-informed care is integrated into the programs and policies that are administered at the local level.
Sen. Favola is also submitting legislation to enable relatives of children in foster care to access financial support if they can provide a permanent home for the child.
“I would like to continue my work to care for the ‘whole child’ and provide every opportunity for our children to grow up healthy and ready to succeed. It is particularly important to me to help our children who are struggling in the foster care system. To that end, I am continuing my efforts to provide relatives financial support for providing a permanent home to kin who are currently in the foster care system.” said Favola.
Paid Family Leave
Sen. Favola’s paid family leave agenda has two parts: One part focuses on requiring employers who already offer sick leave to allow employees to use sick leave to care for a family member. A second part and more comprehensive proposal, requires employers to provide paid family leave to employees in organizations with 50 or more workers. This expense would be covered in part by the employer and in part through a payroll tax on the employee. Favola notes that specifics of the bill are still being negotiated.
“Families should not have to choose between putting food on the table and taking care of a loved one. Paid family leave is one of the most important benefits to workers and their families. It is time that Virginia made some progress in this area.” said Favola.
Sen. Favola’s gun safety legislation is robust and includes several pieces of legislation that attempt to reach a better balance between 2nd amendment arguments and public safety. Sen. Favola submitted a bill that enables local governments to prohibit the "open carry" of firearms in protests or demonstrations.
Another bill requires that lost or stolen firearms be reported within 24 hours.
In light of the Las Vegas killings, Sen. Favola also submitted a bill to prohibit mechanisms that enable a semi-automatic weapon to fire faster.
Domestic Violence Prevention
In the area of domestic violence prevention, Sen. Favola has resubmitted her 2015 bill that would take firearms away, for a designated period of time, from domestic abusers with two or more misdemeanors.
In the area of women’s health, Sen. Favola’s legislation removes the unconstitutional statute on Virginia's books, frequently referred to as the TRAP law, that requires women's health centers that provide five or more abortions a month to meet certain physical standards of a hospital. A recent Supreme Court decision, Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt, ruled that these requirements are medically unnecessary and create an undue burden in accessing abortion services. In Virginia, five women’s health centers have closed since 2011 because the cost of renovations were so expensive and burdensome.
“It is time to make access to basic primary and preventative care easier for women and families. The clinics impacted by the TRAP law are frequently the only source of healthcare in underserved areas in the Commonwealth,” said Favola.
Details of these bills are available to the public at lis.virginia.gov.
Senator Barbara A. Favola represents Virginia’s 31st Senate district, which includes parts of Arlington and Fairfax counties, and a portion of Loudoun County. Senator Favola currently serves on the Local Government, Rehabilitation and Social Services, and Transportation Committees.