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Week 3: 2021 General Assembly Session

The legislative train is running full speed ahead, and keeping labor activists busy!

Legislator meetings, sub and full committees and floor sessions are picking up speed and still adding time to the clock as the meetings this week dragged on late into the night. Long nights and early mornings are required when we are working towards ensuring that working families of Virginia are being kept at the forefront of policies.


Of course, still -- hundreds of bills are in play at the General Assembly, but here are just a few to bring your attention to:


HB 2137 - Paid Sick Leave - Delegate Elizabeth Guzman : Establishes paid sick leave standard for essential workers where workers earn 1 hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours workers, up to 40 hours per year. It also defines essential workers as law enforcement officers, fire fighters, EMS, first responders, workers at essential retail businesses, health care and long-term care providers, food manufacturing and supplier workers, home care and childcare providers, domestic workers, teachers and educational support staff, transportation workers, cleaning and security workers, prison or jail personnel. Moreover, it provides eligible employees paid leave including time off for personal medical treatment or to care for a sick family member, and the bill safeguards working Virginians through job-protected leave. Lastly, the COVID 19 quarantine benefit- provides eligible employees paid leave including time off for testing, treatment, care for family members and quarantine time to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


This bill was assigned to the House Appropriations Subcommittee - Compensation and General Government.


HB 2032 - Domestic Worker Protections - Delegate Wendy Gooditis : Provides that Virginians who are providing or engaged in providing domestic service are not excluded from employee protection laws and the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act any longer.


This bill was reported to the House Floor.


HB 2288 - Responsible Bidding - Delegate Angelia Williams Graves : Requires bidders or offerors on contracts for construction of $250,000 or more to submit along with their bid or proposal a list of all subcontractors, regardless of tier, that the bidder or offeror will use on the contract to perform work valued at $50,000 or more, including labor and materials.


The purpose of this legislation is to end bid shopping and bid peddling that occurs after bids are submitted on state work. These practices damage the industry, and the Commonwealth experiences loss of value in the competitive bid process and a reduction in the quality of the product.


This bill was assigned to the House Appropriations Subcommittee - Compensation & General Government.


BILL WATCH:

Of course, as you know, many bills are on our radar, but for this week, one bill to watch:


HB 2321 - Secretary of Labor Created - Delegate Shelly Simonds : Creates in the Governor's Cabinet the position of Secretary of Labor. The bill transfers from the Secretary of Commerce and Trade to the Secretary of Labor responsibility for the Department of Labor and Industry, the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, and the Virginia Employment Commission. The bill also removes the position of Chief Workforce Development Advisor and reassigns that position's responsibilities to the Secretary of Labor.


This bill was assigned to the House Appropriations Subcommittee - Commerce, Agriculture & Natural Resources.



We’re all hard at work here to pass legislation to support our working families throughout the COVID pandemic. Next Friday, February 5th, is designated as this year’s crossover. This deadline means the House must complete all its legislation that needs to be sent over to the Senate for their action on it, and vice versa.


THINGS TO REMEMBER:

Here are a couple other quick links that may be useful to you during session:


HOUSE OF DELEGATES

During the House's virtual session, constituents must be aware of the new system to make public comments. To make public comment, visit https://hodspeak.house.virginia.gov/.

You can also check out our "How to Testify Guide" for the House of Delegates on our "2021 General Assembly Page" to learn how to sign up, a few tips and tricks, and more.


SENATE

To make public comment, visit https://apps.senate.virginia.gov/Senator/dockets.php . You can also check out our "How to Testify Guide" for the Senate on our "2021 General Assembly Page" to learn how to sign up, a few tips and tricks, and more.


For any other information pertaining to the General Assembly, just check out: the Virginia General Assembly Website. Too, don't forget to check out the rest of our website for the latest updates, information, and more on all the action going down at the General Assembly!


With all of these new changes, we at Virginia AFL-CIO need your help lobbying our legislators. Join us by signing up to lobby. Together, we can ensure that our voice aren't just heard, but that what we are saying gets acted upon.


We hope that you are just as ready and excited for this 2021 General Assembly session as we are! We look forward to seeing you and working together to keep workers first here in Virginia.

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