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Governor Northam announces budget proposals to combat maternal and infant mortality, reduce racial disparity

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RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam announced his proposed budget will include approximately $22 million to combat maternal and infant mortality and reduce the racial disparity in Virginia’s maternal mortality rate. Proposed funding will dramatically expand Medicaid coverage for new moms, increase home visiting, and explore Medicaid reimbursement for Doula support services.

“It is unacceptable that black women in Virginia continue to die from pregnancy-related causes at more than twice the rate of white women,” said Governor Northam. “As a Commonwealth, we can and must do better. These historic investments will make a real difference for families across Virginia, and will ensure all moms and children have access to the high-quality, culturally-competent care they deserve.”

In June, Governor Northam announced a goal to eliminate the racial disparity in Virginia’s maternal mortality rate by 2025. As part of this directive, Secretary of Health and Human Resources Daniel Carey convened a diverse group of stakeholders and embarked on a 10-stop listening tour across all regions of the Commonwealth. Today’s budget proposals reflect months of input from mothers, medical professionals, doctors, and community advocates consulted as a result of this process.

“As a mother who has experienced the tragedy of losing a newborn child, I’m proud and grateful for the Governor’s leadership on this issue,” said Dr. Aaliyah Samuel, a mom who shared her testimony during the listening tour. “Ten years ago, I made a career change because I believe that policy is what changes people’s lives. Today, Governor Northam made it clear he not only listened to my voice and the voices of other mothers, advocates, and community members across the Commonwealth—he heard us loud and clear. Make no mistake, this funding won’t just change lives, it will save lives.”


Data from the Virginia Maternal Mortality Review Team show the majority of pregnancy-associated deaths occur more than 43 days after pregnancy. However, the current FAMIS MOMs program only provides Medicaid coverage for women during pregnancy and 60-days postpartum. The Governor’s budget includes nearly $4 million over the biennium to extend this coverage up to one year post-pregnancy and include medically necessary treatment for addiction and substance use disorder.

“This significant investment is a critical step towards eliminating the racial disparity in Virginia’s maternal mortality rate,” said Senator Louise Lucas. “I look forward to working with the Governor as he continues to champion these measures during the upcoming General Assembly session.”

The Governor’s proposed budget also includes $4 million in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding to increase access to affordable, reliable contraception through the Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) program. Increasing access to LARCs allows families to better plan and space pregnancies and has been shown to decrease rates of preterm and low birthweight births.

“It is great to see serious steps being taken to address the crisis of maternal and infant mortality,” said Delegate Lashrecse Aird. “These proposed investments will increase access to high-quality, patient-centered care for women and families across the Commonwealth.”

Additionally, the Governor’s budget makes significant investments in community-driven and wrap-around treatment models. The budget includes $12.8 million to make home visiting services—shown to be incredibly effective at helping new mothers navigate the complex health care system—eligible for Medicaid reimbursement. The budget also includes language to study the development of a Medicaid reimbursement model for community-based doula services, which have proven effective at reducing maternal mortality, particularly among women of color.

“These crucial measures will help address the racial disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes in Virginia,” said Delegate Marcia Price. “I look forward to witnessing bipartisan support in helping to save lives.”

Watch the video of the announcement here. Governor Northam will address the Joint Money Committees on December 17 to share the full details of his budget plan.

 

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Governor Youngkin announces School Choice Proclamation

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On January 26, 2022, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced this week as School Choice week, and issued a proclamation highlighting the importance of school choice for Virginia’s students and parents.

“As your governor, I will continually stand up for students and parents and will sign the largest education budget in Virginia’s history. Our goal is that every student will graduate high school ready to go to college or start a great career. Choice and innovation within public education is vital to achieving that goal. That’s why together we will not only raise standards and raise teacher pay, but we will invest $150 million to kick start 20 new charter schools in the Commonwealth. We must empower parents and students with choice and innovation in K-12 public education,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin.

Read a full copy of the School Choice proclamation below.

Virginia School Choice Week



WHEREAS, all children in Virginia should have access to a high quality public education; and,

WHEREAS, Virginia recognizes the important role that a quality education plays in preparing all students in Virginia for success in life; and,

WHEREAS, quality education is critically important to the economic vitality and vibrancy of the communities of the Commonwealth; and,

WHEREAS, students have different needs and learning styles and a monolithic delivery of education does not serve the myriad needs of families;

WHEREAS, Virginia currently has only 7 charter schools, but its neighboring state of North Carolina has close to 200 and the District of Columbia has 123; and,

WHEREAS, School Choice Week is celebrated across the country by millions of students, parents, educators, schools, and organizations to raise awareness of the need for effective educational options.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Glenn Youngkin, do hereby recognize January 23 – January 29, 2022

as VIRGINIA SCHOOL CHOICE WEEK in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and

I call this observance to the attention of all of our citizens, and proclaim that:

Virginia must empower parents by creating innovation within K-12 public schools to best adapt to the needs of Commonwealth’s students; and,

Virginia is committed to increasing education options for its youth by seeking $150 million to help meet a goal of starting at least 20 new public charter schools in the Commonwealth; and,

Virginia will build partnerships between the Commonwealth and our great universities to create lab schools of excellence; and,

Virginia will raise education standards to elevate students to high performing levels and reinstitute merit-based acceptance to Governor’s and magnet schools; and,

Virginia will empower parents to make choices about the educational needs of their children.

 

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Virginia Department of Elections releases post-elections report

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Recently, the Virginia Department of Elections (ELECT) released its annual post-election report for the 2021 November General Election; this report not only generates a historical record of the election, but it also highlights its successes and areas where improvements could be made.

The November 2021 General Election continued to pose the same challenges election administrators faced in November 2020: an ongoing global health pandemic and a monumental dissemination of misinformation and disinformation about the legitimacy of the electoral process.

Following each November General Election since 2018, ELECT has produced this report to highlight several areas of work done in 2021 to include law and regulatory changes impacting the administration of elections, participation in the election, key challenges/major issues, and election administration tasks completed.

The report also spotlights initiatives such as Virginia’s successful Voter Education and Outreach Campaign and collaborating with partners such as Virginia’s Medical Reserve Corps as well as the United States Postal Service to help mitigate challenges brought on by issues such as COVID-19.


“ELECT produces the post-election report annually to reinforce our agency’s continued commitment to transparency” said Christopher Piper, Virginia Department of Elections’ Commissioner. “We are proud to be able to document the work that the Commonwealth’s election administrators, electoral board members, and ELECT staff do to conduct secure and accurate elections in Virginia.”

The post-election report was presented by Commissioner Piper at the January 18 meeting of the State Board of Elections. You can find a copy of the report on ELECT’s website here.

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Governor Youngkin announces updated guidelines for parents, educators, and preK-12 schools

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On January 21, 2022, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced updated guidelines for parents, educators, and schools per Executive Order 2, which creates a parental opt-out from mask mandates at both public and private schools in the Commonwealth. The guidelines were developed by the Virginia Department of Health and the Department of Education.

“I have said all along that we are going to stand up for parents. Executive Order 2 is not about pro-masks versus anti-mask, it’s about empowering parents. I am confident that the Virginia Supreme Court will rule in the favor of parents, reaffirming the parental rights clearly laid out in the Virginia code § 1-240.1. In the meantime, I urge all parents to listen to their principal and trust the legal process. If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at helpeducation@governor.virginia.gov,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin.

Click here to read a full copy of guidelines from the Virginia Department of Health and the Department of Education.

Click here for the constituent services page.


The updated guidance is redesigned around Governor Youngkin’s key principles of parental rights, keeping kids in the classroom five days a week, and keeping kids safe and healthy. The update guidelines:

  • Emphasizes alternative mitigation measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 including vaccination, distancing, and outbreak awareness.
  • Provides a clear decision tree for parents to review when trying to determine how to keep and return children to the classroom.
  • Strongly encourages test-to-stay and other strategies to keep and return kids to the classroom as quickly as possible
  • Gives schools practicable flexibility on contact tracing, distancing, and other strategies.
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Governor Youngkin announces legislative agenda priorities

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RICHMOND, VA—On January 21, 2022, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced the legislation, budget amendments, and initiatives he will be supporting to further his Day One Agenda priorities.

“Today, I am proud to share the more than 59 pieces of legislation and a package of more than 25 budget amendments that I will be supporting. These reflect bipartisan priorities like fully eliminating the grocery tax, doing more to train and equip our workforce, and providing funding to create 20 new innovation schools across the Commonwealth. These initiatives will make Virginia’s communities safer, restore academic excellence, lower the cost of living, and I look forward to seeing these bills come to my desk,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin.

Click here to read the full Legislative Day One Game Plan.

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Governor Youngkin announces Covid Action Plan

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RICHMOND, VIRGINIA – On January 20, 2022, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced his COVID Action Plan concurrent with Executive Order Number Eleven to provide hospitals, health systems, nursing facilities, and other healthcare providers the tools necessary to combat COVID-19. The plan also includes issuing clear testing guidelines to prioritize the use of COVID rapid tests and marshaling further resources to encourage Virginians to get the vaccine.

“While many families have experienced tragedy over the last two years, Virginians have truly embodied the spirit of Virginia as they came together to fight a common enemy—COVID-19,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “Today’s announcements are designed to give Virginians the tools and resources needed to make the best decisions for their families, strengthen our hospital systems, and ensure a strong recovery as we encounter new challenges associated with the pandemic that has become part of our everyday life.”

COVID-19 Vaccine Marshall Plan for Virginia

Governor Glenn Youngkin will devote additional resources and efforts to encouraging the nearly 1.6 million Virginians who are still unvaccinated to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Data shows that people vaccinated from COVID-19 are 4 times less likely to be hospitalized than those who are not. Governor Youngkin’s actions include:


  • Directing the Secretary of Health to re-prioritize resources toward vaccine education and outreach, including expanded efforts in disproportionately unvaccinated communities.
  • Plan to host and attend COVID-19 vaccine events across the Commonwealth.
  • Working with Governors across the country to learn best practices on vaccine education.
  • Empowering Virginia with choices, not mandates.
  • Expanded Healthcare Flexibility & Support

Governor Glenn Youngkin signed Executive Order #11 to give healthcare providers flexibility and support to battle staffing shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and unconstitutional federal mandates on healthcare workers. Virginia’s hospitals and healthcare facilities are in crisis. Governor Youngkin’s actions include:

  • Allowing hospitals and nursing homes to rapidly expand bed capacity by waiving regulations.
  • Providing flexibility for qualified out-of-state nurses and healthcare professionals to practice in Virginia.
  • Creating appropriate exemptions to the scope of practice requirements to allow healthcare providers to care for patients in this difficult time.
  • Expanding the number of providers available to offer the Covid-19 vaccine.
  • Expanding flexibility, overtime hours, and availably for personal care workers.
  • Prioritized Testing Guidelines

Governor Glenn Youngkin will prioritize testing guidelines to mitigate supply-chain shortages for COVID-19 tests. The Governor will discourage mass testing for the purposes of pre-screening, discourage asymptomatic individuals from testing, and urge healthy individuals with mild symptoms to stay home and use discretion on testing. Governor Youngkin’s actions include:

  • Expedite pending orders of rapid tests.
  • Redeploy unused tests at state agencies and other non-essential facilities to schools, hospitals, and nursing facilities.
  • Directing the State Health Commissioner to issue new guidelines that prioritize the use of rapid tests for key categories including Students potentially exposed to COVID-19 who need to test to remain in school. Essential healthcare professionals and other essential workers needing to be tested to return to work. Vulnerable citizens including those in nursing facilities and over the age of 65. Those with serious medical conditions and their caregivers. Those who need to be tested after consultation with a healthcare provider.

Click here to read the full copy of Executive Order # 11.

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Virginia State Police welcomes 58 new troopers to serve

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On Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, the Commonwealth will graduate its 135th generation of Virginia State Troopers. The 58 new troopers will be presented their diplomas during commencement exercises at 10 a.m. at the State Police Training Academy located at 7700 Midlothian Turnpike in North Chesterfield County. Governor Glenn Youngkin will speak at the graduation ceremony.

“Completing the training here at the Virginia State Police Training Academy is no easy feat, and when you add the challenges COVID has brought, the bar is raised even higher,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “These 58 Trooper-trainees have put their heart and soul into becoming the very best troopers they can be. I am impressed with their resiliency and dedication during the last 27 weeks.”

The new troopers have received more than 1,300 hours of classroom and field instruction in more than 100 different subjects, including de-escalation techniques, strategies to assist people in mental health crisis, ethics and leadership, fair and impartial policing, constitutional law, emergency medical trauma care, and public and community relations. The members of the 135th Basic Session began their 27 weeks of academic, physical and practical training at the Academy July 6, 2021.

The soon-to-be graduates of the 135th Basic Session are from every corner of the Commonwealth, as well as Ohio, Oklahoma, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Vermont and the countries of Germany and Mongolia.


Upon graduation, the new troopers will report to their individual duty assignments across Virginia the week of Jan. 31. For their final phase of training, each trooper will spend an additional six weeks paired up with a Field Training Officer learning his or her new patrol area.

135th BASIC GRADUATING CLASS

Name  –  Hometown  –  Assignment

  • Alijia Danielle Monet Annon   –   Henrico   –   Henrico
  • Justin Aaron Armes   –   Stuart   –   Henrico
  • Zachary Cole Bailey   –   Ewing   –   Fluvanna
  • Stone Lee Baker   –   Boykins   –   Surry
  • Kennedy Jerome Barbour, Jr.   –   Williamsburg   –   James City
  • Jonathan Y. Bazil   –   Lynchburg   –   Charles City
  • Lucas Jeffrey Beall   –   Accomack   –   Accomack
  • William Brady Blankenship   –   Powhatan   –   Culpeper
  • Johnathon Daniel Blitz   –   Richmond   –   Henrico
  • Michelle Lynn Carney   –   Roanoke   –   Culpeper
  • Christopher John Caudill   –   Old Bridge   –   Prince William
  • Mark Wade Chamberlain   –   Mount Airy   –   Hanover / Henrico
  • Jeffrey Michael Dense   –   Alpine, New York   –   Fairfax
  • Austin Lee Edwards   –   Pounding Mill   –   Henrico
  • Robert Lane Faulkenberry   –   Lane, Oklahoma   –   Dinwiddie
  • Dimitrice John Finley   –   Chesapeake   –   Springfield
  • Justin Carl Grable   –   Louisa   –   Clarke
  • Nathanael Scott Hall   –   Forest   –   Dinwiddie
  • Sarah Francis Halperin   –   Hardwick, Vermont   –   Norfolk / Virginia Beach
  • Jonathan Wesley Hawk   –   Emporia   –   Sussex
  • Nicholas H. Henderson   –   Cape May, New Jersey   –   Prince William
  • Logan Allan Hinnant   –   Fredericksburg   –   Prince William
  • Nicole Noelle Hobbs   –   Hiltons   –   Frederick
  • Emma Clare Hodge   –   Powhatan   –   Norfolk / Virginia Beach
  • Alex Jamal Holley   –   Newport News   –   Springfield
  • Matthew Samuel Honey   –   Fairfax   –   Springfield
  • Luke J. Horvath   –   Schenectady, New York   –   Campbell
  • Logan James Houston   –   Quinton   –   Mathews
  • Steven Rex Huffman   –   Louisa   –   Hanover / Henrico
  • Brian D. Hurlimann   –   Rochester, New York   –   Stafford
  • Kenneth Ray Jamison   –   Danville   –   Bedford
  • Scott Andrew Jeltema   –   Bitburg, Germany   –   Springfield
  • Jeffrey Scott Keeney   –   Virginia Beach   –   Norfolk / Virginia Beach
  • Corey James Klak   –   Chesapeake   –   Norfolk / Virginia Beach
  • Alexis Mykayla Kovach   –   Chesterfield   –   Henrico
  • Sean Michael Laychak   –   Springfield   –   Prince William
  • Kortney M. Leazer   –   Remington   –   Bedford
  • Joo No Lee   –   Plainview, New York   –   Springfield
  • Griffin Downey Martin   –   Bracey   –   Cumberland
  • Kortney Evan Terrell McGhee   –   New York, New York   –   Highland
  • Michael Ryan Middleton   –   Ashburn   –   Fairfax
  • Chance Allen Morris   –   Powhatan   –   Springfield
  • Robert Dale Morris   –   La Crosse   –   Henrico
  • Samuel Patrick Norris   –   Pulaski   –   Roanoke
  • Alex Hoon Pak   –   Fairfax   –   Fairfax
  • James Robert Davis Pettry   –   Big Stone Gap   –   Bedford
  • Andrew Schuyler Poff   –   Shawsville   –   Botetourt
  • Justin Alexander Ratowski   –   Hunlock Creek, Pennsylvania   –   Prince William
  • Joshua Tyler Stahl   –   Toronto, Ohio   –   Hanover / Henrico
  • Malik Rashad Staton   –   Clinton, Maryland   –   Prince William
  • George Pendleton Stephenson, Jr.   –   Seaford   –   Hanover / Henrico
  • Eli Steven Thies   –   Harrisonburg   –   Henrico
  • Gungaajargal Turek   –   Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia   –   James City
  • Daniel Ryan Urban   –   Yorktown   –   Cumberland
  • Eric Grant Vitatoe   –   Haysi   –   Gloucester
  • Alexander B. Wallace   –   Staunton   –   Orange
  • Matthew Dennis Weinholtz   –   Buffalo, New York   –   Fairfax
  • Daniel Andrew Wood   –   Powhatan   –   Hanover / Henrico
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Jan
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12:30 pm Free REVIVE! Opioid Overdose and... @ ONLINE
Free REVIVE! Opioid Overdose and... @ ONLINE
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Northwestern Prevention Collaborative, in conjunction with Northwestern Community Services Board, will offer a free, virtual REVIVE! Training on January 28th from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm. The one-hour online class provides an overview of how[...]
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3:00 pm Virtual Financial Services Workshop @ ONLINE
Virtual Financial Services Workshop @ ONLINE
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Virtual Financial Services Workshop @ ONLINE
People Incorporated is cohosting a virtual financial services workshop for small business owners to learn about business loans, technical assistance, training, and other services provided by the agency. The workshop is scheduled for Monday, Jan.[...]
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Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
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Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
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Women’s Wellness Workshop @ ONLINE
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6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
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10:00 am Artifacts Roadshow @ Virginia War Memorial
Artifacts Roadshow @ Virginia War Memorial
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Artifacts Roadshow @ Virginia War Memorial
The Virginia War Memorial is pleased to announce that one its most popular events, the Artifacts Roadshow, will be held Saturday, February 12, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon EST, at the Virginia War Memorial,[...]