RICHMOND, Va. – Today, the Virginia House Democratic Caucus set forth their legislative agenda for the 2016 General Assembly Session. Caucus members highlighted initiatives that House Democrats aim to enact.
“From promoting the New Virginia economy through incentives for job creation, investments in the port and transportation, educational initiatives and workforce development to making our environment safer for future generations and passing sensible firearm safety measures, House Democrats are intensely focused on promoting common-sense solutions to problems that our constituents feel are important," said Democratic Leader David J. Toscano. “We look forward to working with our colleagues in the General Assembly to make positive change in 2016.”
THE NEW VIRGINIA ECONOMY – THE VIRGINIA DEMOCRATIC HOUSE CAUCUS IS COMMITTED TO BUILDING THE NEW VIRGINIA ECONOMY WHERE ALL VIRGINIANS HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY FOR REWARDING WORK THAT PAYS ENOUGH TO ADEQUATELY SUPPORT THEIR FAMILIES.
“Supporting the Governor’s plans to build a New Virginia Economy is our top priority; including all Virginians in future growth and opportunity is imperative,” said Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn (41st– Springfield). “Our members are supporting initiatives in the Governor’s budget for job creation, enhancements of the Port, and have introduced legislation that increases the minimum wage, implements paid family leave for new parents, and ensures nondiscrimination in employment and compensation.”
EDUCATION – QUALITY EDUCATION IS THE FOUNDATION OF OUR STATE’S ECONOMY. DEMOCRATS SUPPORT EXCELLENCE IN THE CLASSROOM, FROM PRE-K TO HIGHER EDUCATION, WHICH HELPS CHILDREN SUCCEED IN SCHOOL AND IN LIFE.
“Expanding opportunity and building the New Virginia Economy requires an excellent public education system in the Commonwealth. Achieving excellence begins with supporting our localities by reducing unfunded mandates, re-benchmarking the standards of quality and continuing to revise SOLs to reduce high-stakes testing. We need to restore state funding to pre-recession levels. That funding needs to include Pre-Kindergarten programs and full-day Kindergarten classes,” said Delegate Daun Hester (89th – Norfolk). “We need more teachers in the classroom – teachers who are compensated appropriately for their profession and service. We cannot increase the expectations for teachers, while decreasing their compensation. We support the Governor’s efforts to increase higher education funding, especially in research and development, and will work to lessen the burden of student loans for Virginians who are just getting their careers started or transitioning to new ones.”
HEALTHCARE – HOUSE DEMOCRATS CONTINUE TO SUPPORT BRINGING TAX DOLLARS BACK TO VIRGINIA TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO INSURANCE FOR 400,000 CITIZENS THROUGH MEDICAID EXPANSION. IT IS CRUCIAL TO MAINTAINING A HEALTHY WORKFORCE, PROTECTING THE FINANCIAL VIABILITY OF OUR HOSPITALS, AND THE SOUNDNESS OF OUR STATE BUDGET.
“Democrats will keep trying to find a way to bring back our tax dollars for the most needy among us,”said Deputy Minority Leader Mark Sickles. “We are in the very unusual position of turning down our fair share of federal dollars for the first time in history. Providing routine health care and reducing rampant chronic disease among our poor is a win-win-win that produces needed new jobs, lower health care costs over the longer term, and a higher quality of life for up to 400,000 Virginians by enabling their greater participation in our economy.”
MILITARY AND VETERANS – HOUSE DEMOCRATS ARE MAKING VIRGINIA THE BEST STATE FOR VETERANS.
“We also need to keep pushing to support our veterans and service members,” said Delegate Monty Mason (93rd – Williamsburg). “House Democrats will continue to support funding to build veterans’ care centers in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, as well as creating clear pathways for recently separated veterans to integrate into the civilian workforce.”
PUBLIC SAFETY AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM – VIRGINIANS NEED A SYSTEM THAT KEEPS US SAFE, IS FAIR, AND COSTS LESS.
“Virginians depend on us to continue to work to provide strong public safety and criminal justice system that keeps us safe, costs less, reduces over-criminalization, and facilitates prisoner reentry into society,” said Delegate-Elect Jennifer Boysko (86th – Herndon). “House Democrats are proposing several pieces of legislation to further that initiative, such as expanding background checks on firearm sales and helping localities purchase and regulate body cameras for law enforcement officials.”
MAKING VOTING EASIER AND FAIRER – HOUSE DEMOCRATS BELIEVE THAT VOTING IS A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT, AND SHOULD BE MADE EASIER AND FAIRER.
“Making elections fairer and voting easier is imperative for this 2016 session. Creating a non-partisan redistricting process will ensure that elections in the Commonwealth are fair, and that the voters are choosing their representatives, not politicians choosing their voters,” said Delegate Sam Rasoul (11th – Roanoke). “In addition, voting should be made easier, not harder. Democratic Delegates are promoting measures to make sure that voting remains a fundamental right, like expanding types of voter identification accepted, and making it easier to vote early or absentee.”
“House Democrats want to make sure the opportunity exists for people across the Commonwealth to succeed today and in the future. This is the work we are committed to, and proposals under the New Virginia Economy to fixing our lagging infrastructure and ensuring the best in education will do just that," said Charniele Herring, Chair of the House Democratic Caucus. "Making Virginia the best place to raise a family and the best place to do business must be at the forefront of our policymaking again.”
For a full list of Virginia House Demorats' 2016 Legislative Priorities, please click here.