Legislators report on Assembly

Published 11:30 am Friday, April 20, 2018

During her report at the Eggs & Issues breakfast on Tuesday, Sen. L. Louise Lucas (D-18) said she believes the Medicaid bill would pass when the General Assembly reconvened in special session that afternoon to finalize the budget.

So far, she’s half-right. On Wednesday, the House of Delegates passed a budget that could expand Medicaid. But as indicated in the Capital News Service article, also on this page, there’s still the hurdle of the Senate.

Lucas was one of three representatives to speak at the annual post-legislative update, which was sponsored by Dominion Energy and took place in Franklin Baptist Church. With her were Del. Roslyn Tyler (D-75) and Del. Emily Brewer (R-64,) who also spoke out their work earlier this year.

The senator, who was the first to present, first told a story of a former employee who recently broke windows at her business by driving into them with his car. She attributed his behavior to a possible mental health issue. This was tied into the Medicaid bill, which Lucas believes could deal help people with mental health. One of her committees is the Join Commission on Health Care.

She said that 919 bills were passed, with 1,530 killed and 62 carried over.

“We’re all responsible for the bills we vote,” said Lucas. Among those with which she was involved include restoring the civil rights of convicts of nonviolent felonies after they’ve served their sentences. “People deserve the right to a second chance,” she added.

Lucas said she was pleased by the large turnout of high school and academy students.

“They should know what we do affects all of us in our areas we reside in,” she said.

Tyler was patron to HB 1375, which broadened the definition of “qualified mental health professional” to include employees and independent contractors of the Dept. of Corrections who by education and experience are qualified and registered by the Board of Counseling to provide collaborative mental health services.

She was also a co-patron to HB 790, which exempts persons working in a barbershop or cosmetology salon whose duties are confined to blow drying, cleansing and styling hair from being required to obtain an occupational license.

Brewer, who is the freshman of the trio, was successful in her bill (241) to lessen the amount of time a child must live with a close relative in order to be adopted.

She also served on a committee to expand broadband availability in rural areas, and supported the repeal of outdated or ineffective legislation.