2023 Session Update #1
January 21, 2023
This is the end of the first full week of the Session – this is a short Session, but more than 2100 items have been introduced for consideration (approximately 1900 are actual bills!). Two of the bills are, of course, budget bills, but while money and budget language are very important – there are a significant number of policy issues that we are focused on! Here is a short run down:
- Barrier crimes – none of those bills have been heard yet; all are narrow in focus to facilitate the employment of peer recovery specialists for adult BH or SA programs; we support them all, and one is in at our request to lay the foundation for future work
- Licensing – the measure we have requested for transparency for providers who are subject to a provisional license has not been heard, another (requested by VACPB) which would reduce the licensing visits to once per licensing period and eliminate the requirement for an on-site visit, There is an amendment to try to mitigate the anticipated concern that changing the frequency of visits from annually to once in three years (if the provider has a triennial license) would reduce the oversight required by the court in the DOJ consent order. However, there remain serious fears that this is not the time to telegraph to the judge that the State intends to lessen oversight and several parties are pushing back hard.
- There are a number of workplace violence measures, we have been working with the patrons to try to ensure that acts by those we serve would not be subject to mandatory criminal penalty. The reception has been good, but there are few “good” answers.
- There are several measures to facilitate being able to hire/utilize licensed professionals; all are designed to increase access to those services.
- There are numerous bills which deal with the age at which a minor can consent to treatment, or admission, or release of records, or medication. And the ages (14, 16, 18, or 21) are, of course, inconsistent! There is one bill that is child focused that we are strongly supporting!
- And, again, there are a few measures to create a mandate for paid leave based on the number of hours worked; we are, again, pushing back!
On Wednesday, the members of the VNPP Board spent time at the General Assembly Building and managed to meet with a number of legislators or their aides – it was a very good day!
Next week we will talk more about the Budget!