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Legislative Update

March 16, 2015



In this update:
■ On Capitol Hill: Opioid Overdose Reduction Act
■ Strengthening America’s Higher Education System
■ Mayor Jones Presents Biennial Fiscal Plan
■ Preston to Challenge Dance in Democratic Primary
■ 2015 General Assembly Candidates
■ Children’s Services: Virginia Pay for Success 
■ Executive Branch Media Talks
■ State & Local Government Meetings
■ Legislative Fun Fact: President Vetoes

On Capitol Hill: Opioid Overdose Reduction Act

CongressU.S. Senators Tim Kaine (Virginia), Edward J. Markey (Massachusetts), and Kelly Ayotte (New Hampshire) have introduced the Opioid Overdose Reduction Act to protect first responders, health professionals and family members who are educated in administering an opioid overdose prevention drug, such as naloxone (also known as Narcan) in an emergency situation of overdose.

The Opioid Overdose Prevention Act exempts from civil liability:

  • Individuals who work or volunteer at an opioid overdose program from any harm caused by the emergency administration of an opioid overdose drug that they provide as a part of an opioid overdose program;

  • Health care professionals from any harm caused by the emergency administration of an opioid overdose drug that they prescribe or provide to any person provided that person receives education in the proper administration of the opioid overdose drug and steps to be taken after administration of the drug; and

  • Individuals, including first responders, who administer an opioid overdose drug to a person who is or reasonably appears to have suffered an overdose provided they either are doing so pursuant to a prescription or they obtained the overdose drug from an overdose program or a healthcare professional and received education in the proper administration of the overdose drug, including steps to be taken after administration of the drug.

The legislation received praise from Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who has worked to expand civil protections for “Good Samaritans” at the state level (HB 1458). Representative Richard Neal (Massachusetts) plans to introduce companion legislation in the House of Representatives in the coming weeks.

Strengthening America’s Higher Education System

On Tuesday, March 17 at 10:00 a.m., the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training, chaired by Representative Virginia Foxx (North Carolina), will hold a hearing to discuss ways to improve higher education policies for students, families, and taxpayers. The hearing, entitled “Strengthening America’s Higher Education System” will address the evolving needs of students and the workforce.

The reauthorization of the Higher Education Act presents an opportunity for policymakers to strengthen the current system. In 2014, leaders on the Education and the Workforce Committee outlined a series of principles to guide the reauthorization process, including simplifying and improving student aid and ensuring strong accountability while limiting the federal role. Tuesday’s hearing will provide members an opportunity to explore ways to translate those principles into meaningful legislative reforms.

For more information and to view a live webcast, visit http://edworkforce.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=398531.

Mayor Jones Presents Biennial Fiscal Plan

On Friday, March 13, Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones presented his proposed Biennial Fiscal Plan. Highlights of the Mayor’s plan include:

  1. A pay raise for city employees, police officers, and firefighters;

  2. It provides new body cameras for Richmond Police Officers;

  3. Record new investments in Richmond Public Schools, to meet their school maintenance needs and invest in the academic improvement plan. The Mayor is proposing permanent cuts to City agencies to make these investments possible; and

  4. A new Richmond Promise Scholarship for public high school students, to provide more opportunities for graduating seniors and an extra tool to help mitigate poverty.

This budget also maintains the City’s commitment to developing the Riverfront, transforming the East End, investing in public infrastructure, and maintaining fiscal discipline.  Additionally, the budget meets the City’s obligation to implement multi-modal public transportation with Bus Rapid Transit. 

To view the proposed budget, visit http://www.richmondgov.com/Budget/documents/BiennialPlans/2016-2017_ProposedBiennialFiscalPlan.pdf.

Preston to Challenge Dance in Democratic Primary

http://www.sola.vsu.edu/files/images/mass-comm/joseph-prestonDelegate Joseph Preston (63rd District) announced he will challenge Senator Rosalyn Dance (Petersburg) in the Democratic primary in June. Dance, who had previously served in the House of Delegates for nine years, in November 2014 won the Senate seat vacated by Henry Marsh III. Preston ran for Dance’s House seat in a January special election and won. The 63rd House District includes Petersburg, as well as parts of Hopewell and the counties of Dinwiddie, Chesterfield and Prince George. Preston has challenged Dance to five public debates between now and the June 9 primary.

2015 General Assembly Candidates

The Virginia Public Access Project has posted on their website the 2015 General Assembly candidates. To view the most current listing, visit http://www.vpap.org/updates/1856-new-general-assembly-candidates-posted/.

Children’s Services: Virginia Pay for Success 

Virginia has been selected as part of a national competition to assess the feasibility of implementing Pay for Success to expand nurse visiting programs to the high-risk pregnant women in Virginia who need these services, but are not receiving them.

Third Sector Capital Partners, Inc. (Third Sector), the organization that ran the competition, will provide federally funded technical assistance throughout 2015 for a joint initiative between the Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Pay for Success Council, along with six other awardees. Pay for Success (PFS) is an innovative funding model that enables government to draw in greater resources to tackle social problems by tapping private investments for the upfront costs of the programs. If the program is successful in delivering services that measurably improve the lives of people it is meant to serve, then government repays those who made the original investment. If the program does not achieve its target results, government does not repay those who made the original investment. This ensures that taxpayer dollars are being spent only on programs that actually work.

The Virginia Pay for Success Council is a collaboration of interested members of private industry, human service and government organizations working for the past year to initiate a model designed to implement proven, productive early childhood programs that increase the life outlook for thousands of Virginia children, strengthen Virginia’s workforce development and competitiveness, and reduce taxpayer burdens.

Executive Branch Media Talks

Visit the following links to access President Obama’s and Governor McAuliffe’s regularly scheduled media talks.

President Obama's Weekly Video Address

Governor McAuliffe’s "Ask the Governor" Call-in Radio Show

State & Local Government Meetings

Visit the following links for information on official state and local government meetings open to the public.

The Commonwealth Calendar - http://www.virginia.gov/connect/commonwealth-calendar
Virginia’s Legislative Information System - http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+oth+MTG
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall - http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/meetings.cfm?time=future
Richmond City Council - http://www.richmondgov.com/CityCouncil/index.aspx
Henrico County - http://www.co.henrico.va.us/supervisors
Chesterfield County - http://www.chesterfield.gov/calendar.aspx?id=9753
Hanover County - http://www.co.hanover.va.us/board/mtgagmn.htm
Goochland County - http://www.co.goochland.va.us/Departments/Departments(AF)/BoardofSupervisors.aspx

Legislative Fun Fact: President Vetoes

http://www.scpolicycouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/veto.jpgIn his six years as president, Barack Obama has had to use the veto stamp fewer times than any president since James Garfield. According to data maintained by the Senate, Franklin D. Roosevelt holds the record for the most vetoes. In FDR’s 12 years in office he vetoed 635 bills, and was overridden only 9 times.

For more information, visit http://www.senate.gov/reference/Legislation/Vetoes/vetoCounts.htm.


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The next update will be available on or after March 23, 2015. For questions regarding this information, please contact VCU Office of Government Relations at (804) 828-1235 or govrel@vcu.edu

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