2019 has been a busy year.
Special Gun Session- 2019 Virginia General Assembly
The General Assembly convened for a special session on July 9th amid protests, rallies, and prayer vigils that encompassed much of Capitol Square. Governor Northam called this special session in response to the deadly Virginia Beach mass shooting that occurred on May 31, 2019 and urged lawmakers to pass significant gun control measures. Since the Governor’s call, both sides of the gun control debate have passionately worked to stake out their positions, previewing what many anticipated would be an ideological stalemate between Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly.
All the gun legislation has been sent to the bipartisan Virginia State Crime Commission for consideration. The Commission will be tasked with reviewing all special session legislation and undertaking a “systematic review” of the Virginia Beach shooting. The Commission will deliver a report with its findings to the General Assembly no later than November 12. On August 19th and 20th, the Crime Commission will be meeting and taking both written and oral public comment.
The upcoming elections in November are critical for Virginia and could change the political landscape for years to come. The entire General Assembly- all 100 seats in the House of Delegates and all 40 seats in the Senate- are up for election on November 5. Currently, the Republicans hold the majority in both the House and Senate by only one seat. There is a strong chance that the Democrats will win the majority in either one or both chambers. This will result in a complete shift in leadership and policy direction.
We are beginning another round of PAC fundraising to help us prepare for the 2019 elections. It’s critical that we have full Board participation for when we solicit practices again. Every little bit counts, but if you can give at least $250, we can help to elect people who care about the well- being of children! Because of the importance of these upcoming elections, it is now more important than ever that we have a strong KidsMD PAC.
Items for Consideration for VA AAP 2020 Agenda
While it may seem early, we are already discussing what our initiatives in 2020 will be. Items brought to us to consider are:
o Increased Funding for Virginia Mental Health Access Plan
Last year we received $1.23M to get the program started, along with a $450,000 federal grant. We are working with the Department of Behavioral Health and the Administration to request an additional $3.77M to implement the full consultation services in each region, care navigation and telepsych services.
o Reducing Children’s Risk of Firearm Injury
o Food Insecurity
o Ensuring Essential Health Benefits
o Bill to Ban Chlorpyrifos in VA
o Minor Consent for Immunizations
o Strengthening Religious Exemption for Immunizations
o Medicaid Reimbursement Increase
Below you will find our current legislative priorities which promise to affect pediatricians and children across the state.