General Assembly session update

Published 12:50 pm Saturday, February 24, 2018

Week 7

We are entering the final weeks of the 2018 General Assembly Session. There are only two weeks left before what is known as “Sine Die,” the last day of session. Our last day is Saturdasy, March 10, and there is still a lot of work to be done before then. This week we debated and voted on the budget, and there were several other House bills that cleared the Senate. As I have said before, this year I and my House colleagues have been focused on “Practical Solutions to Everyday Issues,” prioritizing the real problems people talk about at home.

Worth Mentioning:

Opposed to Expanding Obamacare

One of the most important things we do in the General Assembly is pass a budget, on Thursday the House of Delegates passed a proposal that will now go to conference to be amended with the Senate’s version.

I wanted to share with you personally why I voted against this budget. I made a promise to the people of the 64th District that I would oppose new tax increases as well as expansion of the failed Obamacare system. After hearing from many constituents and much personal consideration, it is clear to me that the 2018 House Budget did not align with the promises I made to the people I represent.

Medicaid expansion under Obamacare has failed in nearly every state it has been tried, increasing their budgets beyond all projections. With the current uncertainty of Medicaid funding at the federal level, this is not the time to begin experimenting with expansion. This year, the federal funding match for this program has already dropped 93 percent, and is expected to drop to 90 percent over the next two years. As we have seen in the past, the federal government often makes fake promises of false funding, that is eventually pulled back steadily or simply ceases to continue altogether.

With declines already occurring, it would be only a matter of time until Virginians are left shouldering the cost of expanding the failed Obamacare system.

For these reasons, I could not support the House Budget this week. I hope when the budget arrives in conference, changes are made so that I can support the budget for final passage.


Adoption Reform Agenda

The Senate this week passed three adoption bills that will help more children find loving adoptive parents. House Bills 241, 227 and 291 all passed through the House with bipartisan support earlier in the session. My bill, HB 241, has already been signed by the governor and is now the law.

HB 241 was the first bill I introduced this session. This bill shortens the length of time, from three years to two years, that a child must live with a close family member before adoption proceedings can begin. The closest relatives of a child provide that child with the best chance of success during a tumultuous time.

HB 1333 establishes the Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program that would take funds already available to foster homes and redirect the financial assistance to prospective parents who are willing to take in a closely related child that currently resides in the foster care system. Having a child reside with kin instead of in the foster care system provides children with the best options for permanency. The Senate version of this legislation already passed the Senate unanimously and the House version, which passed the House unanimously, was passed this morning in the Senate Committee on Rehabilitation and Social Services.

HB 227, carried by Del. Chris Stolle, requires courts to consider the results of a national criminal history background check conducted on the prospective adoptive parent. The legislation is in response to a case where a young female was found dead from an overdose. After an investigation, it was learned that her adoptive parent had a long felony criminal history.

HB 291 was carried by Del. Chris Collins. This piece of legislation simplifies access to adoption files regarding court orders for adoptees and/or adopters so they can more easily obtain personal vital records.

I supported each of these bills and I am happy they have received bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House and I hope the Governor will sign them into law.


In closing:

I encourage you to keep in touch with me and my office over the coming months. I value the feedback you provide on a continual basis as it helps me do a better job of representing you. You can email me at DelEBrewer@House.Virginia.Gov or call me at 804-698-1064. You can also join the conversation on our social media pages, or

I will continue providing you updates during the 2018 General Assembly Session and will be meeting with constituent groups after Session to report on the Session and take questions.