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Votes

Sen. Favola Shares Legislative Priorities

State Sen. Barbara Favola (D-31).

State Sen. Barbara Favola (D-31). Photo contributed

State Sen. Barbara Favola (D-31) highlights the following legislative priority issues:

*Safety Net: Retain McDonnell’s $1.6 M for extension of subsidies to foster youth and adopted youth until the age of 21.

*Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) --- Index benefits to the COL Adjustment as determined by the Department of Labor (Need Budget Amendment as well). This helps women and children. Families stay an average of 3 years on TANF. The caseload has been decreasing in Virginia and $5M was shifted in the last biennium from TANF block grant dollars to funds General Fund services.

*Medicaid - - Suspend Medicaid Coverage rather than terminate coverage for foster youth who enter the DJJ system. The intent is to make it quicker and easier for the foster youth to re-gain Medicaid coverage when they leave the DJJ system. The bill does not change who is eligible for Medicaid.

*Foster Children Convicted of a Barrier Crime (Burglary) – Permit case workers to issue a waiver in determining the eligibility of a foster home when a youth 18 years or older has a criminal record because of conviction of a barrier crime.

*Education -- Teacher Evaluation: VEA asks that the time be extended from 5 business days to 10 business days before a teacher must decide to appeal an evaluation.

*Individualized Education Program (IEP) – Submit budget request ($250K) to plan for a comprehensive data system at the State level for all IEP submissions. State would likely access additional Medicaid dollars and would share these dollars with the school systems.

*Virginia Pre-school Initiative (VPI) -- Increase the funding to Northern Virginia to cover an average cost per child of $9,000 a year rather than $6,000 per year.

*Dual Degree: Increase funding to the Community College System to enable more course offerings at local high schools.

*Mental Health -- MH Services on Site at Schools: Create a pilot program to enable community health centers to offer MH counseling on site at public schools on a regular basis. ($800k)

*Institutional Diversion Program for MH Clients in Region II: Establish a pilot to enable the creation of community based services for clients with a history of jail visits and/or emergency room visits and who would likely be institutionalized. ($2.5M)

*MH Funds in the Juvenile Justice System: Establish funds for Juvenile Justice Courts to hire or contract out for mental health evaluations and follow-up services. This is a recommendation adopted by the Commission on Youth. ($1.6M)

*Health and Safety: Establish a physician based data record system that would feed into the overall State health management system. ($150K in 2014 and 2015)

*SANE – Sexual Abuse Nurse Examinations –I n cases where patients may have been exposed to HIV –require insurance companies to waive the co-pay so there are no barriers to obtaining drugs that can prevent HIV and AIDS.

*Assault of Health Care Professionals ---Make it felony if someone intentionally assaults a health care provider.

*Gun Control --Ban those convicted of a minor sexual assault from possessing a firearm for five years.

*Aging: Increase funding for home and community based services through Area Agencies on Aging

Environment: Reinstate funding so Virginia may fully participate in the Chesapeake Bay Inter-County Compact ($500K)