Solid Mix – Session and Vaccine Update

Interest and questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine remains one of the top issues that we are hearing from folks about. While some of this information has been shared previously, I want to once again remind you of the current status of the vaccine effort and how to get in the queue locally if you are eligible.

The Central Shenandoah Health District is in phase 1b of vaccine distribution as of January 18. This phase focuses on individuals aged 65 and over, first responders such as fire and rescue and hazmat personnel, K-12 staff, people age 16-64 with a high risk medical condition, and those living in certain congregate settings as well as certain essential workers.

As supply increases, the health department will expand their vaccination criteria.

If you are over the age of 65, individual with a high risk medical condition, or if you are an essential worker in private practice included in Phase 1a or Phase 1b, and wish to receive the vaccination please fill out the following form https://redcap.vdh.virginia.gov/redcap/surveys/?s=WPLHWFN4DJ. This will add you to the waitlist and you will be contacted when a vaccine is available to you and provided with information on how to register for an appointment.

If you manage or operate a business with employees that should fall under phase 1b, and haven’t already, please click the following link to complete the following local VDH survey. If you are an employee of an essential business, please check with your employer to ensure they have completed the survey. https://redcap.vdh.virginia.gov/redcap/surveys/?s=WTEFH73H8H

If you are none of the above or fall under phase 1c, I encourage you to sign up for the Covid-19 vaccine update at https://redcap.vdh.virginia.gov/redcap/surveys/?s=R33MFJRDPK

If you’re unsure of your which phase you fall under you can fill out the VDH eligibility tool online at https://vdh.jebbit.com/amkwk6m1?L=Owned+Web&JC=Vaccine.

I will continue to provide updates on vaccine eligibility as they become available to us. For the most up to date information on the COVID-19 vaccine, I also recommend that you visit https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/…/covid-19-vaccine…/ or follow the
Central Shenandoah Health District (CSHD)
here on facebook.

Bad Bills Advance

While I would like to think we saw enough bad policy pass last year to satisfy the Democratic majority for a two year cycle, unfortunately that does not seem to be the case. Even in the midst of a pandemic that has hit many families and businesses particularly hard, we are still seeing bill after bill pass the House that imposes new costly unfunded mandates, regulations and requirements on businesses. In the criminal justice realm, while there are some reforms I can get behind, we’re also seeing proposals that are straight up soft on crime and disregard crime victims. One such bill is, HB 1936, which rolls back the sentences for robbery. Under this bill, using a gun or knife in a robbery will now have a lighter sentence, as will beating a victim in the course of a robbery. Yesterday the House passed legislation that will make it harder for kids in foster care to find loving homes. Many adoption entities are faith-based organizations and as such they are allowed to carry out their work in accordance with the principals of their faith. This legislation repeals those conscience protections – forcing these agencies to cease providing services or fragrantly violate the teachings of their faith. These are just a few examples and I intend to share more next week as final House action is taken today and tomorrow.

My Legislation

I have two bills that I would like to highlight that have now passed the House. The first is HB 1763. This bill provides an enhanced tax credit for farmers to implement best management practices on their farms. This more generous tax credit was a recommendation of the Phase III Water Quality Improvement Plan, which is a roadmap to ensure Virginia meets our EPA required water quality Improvement Goals by 2025. I favor additional incentives for farmers to voluntarily implement these often costly practices, as opposed to heavy handed mandates. Given that many farmers do not participate in the current cost share program for various reasons, this is just one more tool to utilize moving forward.

The other bill that passed the House last week was HB 2182, providing a more accurate and inclusive definition of brain injury for special education purposes. This idea was brought to me by a constituent who struggled to ensure her child received the most appropriate special education services through the public schools. She felt like a change to the definition was warranted and the Brain Injury Association of Virginia and other stakeholders agreed. The bill requires the Department of Education to include in their definition of brain injury acquired brain injuries beyond only those obtained through external physical force (blunt force). Students with these additional acquired brain injuries often experience the same symptoms and complications, but due to not being included in the definition could potentially be misclassified or receive inappropriate services.

How to Stay Engaged​​​​​​​
You can continue to reach us by email at DelTWilt@house.virginia.gov. If you are having an issue with a state agency (DMV, VEC, etc.) and need assistance or have a scheduling request please continue to call the District office, 540-208-0735. If you would like to voice your opinion on legislation pending before the General Assembly, please plan to call the Richmond line at 804-698-1026. We will do our best to accommodate meeting requests and are happy to schedule conference calls, zoom meetings, etc. Also, don’t forgot to follow us on social media!

As a reminder, the public can view the floor sessions and committees online. To watch a committee meeting or floor session, please click here. Through this site, you can watch meetings live or after they have occurred through the “archive” link. Additionally, if you desire to speak or offer written public comments on a bill coming before a committee, you can sign up to do so through the following link: https://hodspeak.house.virginia.gov/

As always, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve as your Delegate!