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Week 4: Cross Over in the General Assembly

Updated: Feb 8

This week's end crashed right into crossover. That's the deadline where the House must complete all its legislation that needs to be sent over to the Senate for their action on it, and vice versa. The days leading up to Friday's deadline were long, but very successful!


This week we saw a lot of progress on legislation that would strengthen and protect workers and the voices of working families in the Commonwealth prevail in each chamber and we are looking forward to their continues journey next week as the House and Senate take up each other's legislation -- taking on the final vote to put bills into laws.


Governor Ralph Northam called for a special session on Friday afternoon,


Special session is to begin on February 10th, which will extend session, likely by the 15 or so days the General Assembly would have normally been in session. This allots the GA the time needed to go through the budget and pass the large amount of legislation before them this session.


Out of the 1,549 bills introduced this session, the House passed 728, the Senate passed 529, and both chambers have already voted into law 184 bills. Check out below a few of the labor bills to watch for next week!

Bills to watch that the House passed and will be heading over to the Senate include, but are not limited to:


  • HB 1754 - Workers’ Compensation- anti-retaliatory (Carter)

  • HB 1786 - Min. wage protections for farm workers (Ward)

  • HB 1849 - Apprenticeship study (Simonds)

  • HB 1862 - Employee protections- medicinal CBD oil (Helmer)

  • HB 1864 - Human Rights Act- adding domestic workers to protections (Price)

  • HB 1888 - Absentee Voting- Increases availability and accessibility (VanValkenburg)

  • HB 1908 - Eviction Protection- employees impacted by government furloughs (Helmer)

  • HB 1985 - Workers’ comp Presumption- COVID-19 (Hurst)

  • HB 1996 - Responsible Bidder- remove VDOT exemption (Murphy)

  • HB 2029 - Firefighter cancer reduction bill - prohibits use of OSB (Krizek)

  • HB 2032 - Domestic workers protections- Virginia Workers’ Comp Act (Gooditis)

  • HB 2037 - Return to Work- UI protections COVID-19 (Tran)

  • HB 2040 - Unemployment Benefits-worker protections (Hudson)

  • HB 2063 - Overtime Protections (Mullin)

  • HB 2137 - Paid Sick Days (Guzman)

  • HB 2202 - Licensing bill- Elevator mechanics (Jones)

  • HB 2207 - Workers’ comp Presumption- COVID-19 (Jones)

  • HB 2288 - Responsible Contractor- Bid shopping (Williams Graves)

  • HB 2321 - Governor’s Secretaries- Secretary of Labor created (Simonds)

  • HB 2327 - Applying prevailing wage to VDOT and higher ed (Krizek)

  • HJ 522 - Study for Correctional Officer staffing, treatment (Tyler)

  • HJ 549 - Study impact of COVID-19 on VA’s public schools, students and employees (Guy)

  • HJ 555 - Automatic Restoration of Voting Rights- Constitutional Amendment (Herring)

** Learn more about a particular bill listed above by clicking

HERE

Bills to look out for that the Senate passed and will be heading over to the House include, but are not limited to:


  • SB 1102 - Orientation program DMAS home care workers (Locke) SB 1157- Moves all local elections to November (Spruill)

  • SB 1257 - Education Equity Bill (McClellan) amended

  • SB 1295 - Buy American preference- offshore wind (DeSteph)

  • SB 1305 - Responsible Contractor- Subcontractor outsourcing policy (McPike)

  • SB 1310 - Domestic workers- workers’ comp (McClellan)

  • SB 1375 - Workers’ comp Presumption- COVID- 19- firefighters, correction officers (Saslaw)

  • SB 1395 - Virginia Voting Rights Act (McClellan)

  • SJR 272 - Right to Vote Amendment (Locke)

  • SJ 308 - Study impact of COVID-19 on VA’s public schools, students and employees (Locke)

** Learn more about a particular bill listed above by clicking

HERE

Labor is seeing some changes as bills like workers' compensation and presumption bills, which are some of the hardest bills to get passed every session, have come out of committees and passed on the chamber floor. Virginia may indeed be seeing a new day when it comes to worker and workplace protection, and we are quite proud of all the hard work our labor activists are doing to help lobby everyday during session. We still need more help as you can see, a lot is at stake this session and though we are halfway there, there's a lot to be done, and we ned all hands on deck!

Join us by signing up to lobby.

Together, we can ensure that our voice is heard and that positive pro-worker legislation is passed!


We hope that you are ready and excited for the new changes the 2021 General Assembly session has in store in the coming weeks. We look forward to seeing you and working together to keep workers first here in Virginia.


IN OTHER NEWS:

Also this week, Virginia's very own U.S. Congressman Bobby Scott (VA - 3) introduced the Protect the Right to Organize [PRO] Act - H.R. 842 into Congress.


You may remember last year the Congressman introduced this legislation, and though the U.S. House of Representatives passed the PRO Act in 2020, an anti-worker majority blocked it in the Senate. This year, we are working to make sure things are different!


It's simple, and the facts are clear, the PRO Act is the cornerstone of the AFL-CIO’s Workers First Agenda. If it passes, it would:

  • Empower workers to organize and bargain.

  • Hold corporations accountable for union-busting.

  • Repeal “right to work” laws, which were created during the Jim Crow era to keep White and Black workers from unionizing together.

We know better than anyone that stronger unions mean higher wages, safer working conditions and dignity for all people who work. The PRO Act is our first step to get there. Together, we can beat the anti-worker sentiments and keep workers first in the nation. Working people deserve the right to organize and demand living wages, safe workspaces and good benefits—and it’s up to our members of Congress to protect and strengthen that right.


Join us in the fight!


So far the Virginia's Congressional Representatives who have signed onto the bill and will be voting to pass this legislation are:

  • Congressman Bobby Scott (VA - 3)

  • Congressman Don Beyer (VA - 8)

  • Congressman Gerry Connolly (VA - 11)

  • Congressman Donald McEachin (VA - 4)

  • Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA - 2)

  • Senator Tim Kaine (VA)

Click HERE to send them a thank you note for standing up to the protect workers they represent!


Still, the work isn't done because we have a few legislators that need to hear from you!

  • Congressman Rob Wittman (VA - 1)

  • Congressman Bob Good (VA - 5)

  • Congressman Ben Cline (VA - 6)

  • Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (VA - 7) *

  • Congressman Morgan Griffith (VA - 9)

  • Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (VA - 10) *

  • Senator Mark Warner (VA)

*Note: Representatives Spanberger and Wexton signed onto the PRO Act and voted for it last year. We look forward to them signing on again this year! Please urge them to do so.


Take some time and head over to our PASS THE PRO ACT Action Campaign send these legislators an email or make a phone call to them!


Access the PRO Act fact sheet HERE.

Access the PRO Act bill text HERE.


Again, together, we can make a difference. Passing the PRO Act in both chambers of Congress and getting President Biden's signature will increase worker power, rebuild our economy fairly and grow America’s labor movement. Lawmakers gave us their word that the PRO Act would be a top priority. Now it is time for action!


Call your legislator about the PRO Act Today!

OR

Email your legislator about the PRO Act Today!

THINGS TO REMEMBER FOR THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY:

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!

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