VACOLAO Legislative Agenda (As of January 27, 2016)
Driving Authorization for Immigrants in Virginia
VACOLAO supports granting driving authorization to immigrants in Virginia, like other states such as Utah, Nevada, and New Mexico. This would allow legal motor vehicle operation by immigrants living in Virginia, ensuring they go meet proper safety regulations and insurance requirements. This would create a safer environment and help these families go about their daily lives in a legal, safe manner. (SB 390 Surovell, HB 695 Kory, HB 987 Lopez, Bloxom 1316).
Quality of Life for Hourly Wage Earners
VACOLAO supports any effort to enhance the quality of life for the lowest-paid laborers in society, namely through raising the minimum wage (SB 129 Edwards, SB 88 Marsden).
VACOLAO supports Medicaid Expansion to Virginians who are legal residents with income up to 138% of the federal poverty level. While Latinos comprise only about 9% of Virginians, nearly 20% of them are uninsured. Medicaid Expansion closes the coverage gap brought on by failure to implement the full range of reforms included in the ACA by ensuring that all Virginians have access to quality preventative healthcare services. Ultimately, Medicaid Expansion is good for Virginia because it creates and preserves healthcare jobs, provides a large portion of Virginians with the healthcare they need, and brings Virginia tax dollars back to Virginia. (HB797 Plum)
VACOLAO supports the Governor’s Biannual 2016-2018 budget that includes Medicaid Expansion.
Fair Treatment of Workers
VACOLAO supports any effort to help ensure that all workers are compensated accurately, and that employers who willfully defraud or refuse to pay their workers are punished. (SB 342 Ebbin) Additionally, VACOLAO supports any effort to help workers in hazardous industries, such as asbestos removal, with fair notification of rights and responsibilities in English and Spanish (SB 305 Ebbin).
VACOLAO supports any efforts to curb, reduce, assist the victims of, and punish the perpetrators of Human Trafficking in Virginia. (SB 131 Edwards, HJ 104 Leftwich, SJ 24 Edwards, SB 180 Edwards, SB 135 Edwards, SB 133 Edwards, HB 681 Leftwich)
VACOLAO supports any effort to eliminate potential disenfranchisement at the polls, in this case expanding acceptable forms of identification required to vote in Virginia (HB 32 Sullivan, SB 69 Wexton).
SB 69 Wexton was reported from Priveleges and Elections and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
Discrimination in the Workplace
VACOLAO supports any legislation that prohibits discrimination in the workplace, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, or any other factor. (SB 12 Ebbin, SB 221 McEachin, HB 179 Kory, SB 221 McClellan).
VACOLAO opposes legislation that provides a loophole for employers to discriminate on the basis of any factor, including sexual orientation or gender identity. (HB 385 Marshall, HB 77 Marshall, HB 397 LaRock)
VACOLAO supports legislation that would create a neutral, nonpartisan redistricting process to end gerrymandering and make legislative districts in Virginia fair and compact. Gerrymandering distorts the electoral process, undermines democracy, and renders legislative elections a meaningless exercise. (HB 553 Minchew, HB 26 Sullivan, HB 303 Rasoul, HB 247 Ward, HJ 96 Plum, HJ 93 Carr, HJ 117 J. Bell, SB 59 Howell, SB 191 Miller, SB 31 Lucas, SJ 68 Barker, SJ 60 Deeds). Unfortunately, SJ 68 and SJ 60 were continued to Session 2017, rather than taken up this year.
Fair Treatment of Immigrant Students
VACOLAO supports any effort to assist non-native English speakers in successfully completing their high school education, in this instance by allowing an English language learning assessment to replace the 11th Grade English SOL requirements. (HB 241 Lingamfelter, HB 573 Kory, HB 936 Toscano, HB 694 Kory, SB 548 Barker, SB 538 Ebbin)
Assistance to Refugees Fleeing Conflict Zones
VACOLAO opposes any effort to deny refugees’ asylum or assistance as required by international law. (HB 852 Hugo, HB 494 Marshall, HJ 124 Hugo, SB 270 Garrett)