Thursday, April 26, 2018
During a very productive legislative session, many key priorities championed by Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41) passed the Virginia House and Senate this year and made their way to Governor Ralph Northam for his signature, including:
Teaching About Boundaries and Personal Privacy in School: Filler-Corn’s bill, HB 45 will require any family life education curriculum offered in any elementary school, middle school, or high school to incorporate age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the importance of the personal privacy and personal boundaries of other individuals. This measure was signed into law on March 19. HB 45 builds upon Filler-Corn’s successful legislation from 2016 and 2017, which requires any high school family life education curriculum offered by a local school division to incorporate age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the prevention of dating violence, domestic abuse, sexual harassment, and sexual violence and also allows education about the law and meaning of consent.
Making College More Affordable: Filler-Corn’s bill, HB 454 will require the governing board of each public institution of higher education to implement guidelines that encourage the adoption and use of low-cost and no-cost open educational resources in courses offered at such institution. The measure will help universities and faculties make class materials more affordable to college students. The Governor signed this bill on April 4.
Protecting Health Care Workers and Cutting Government Red Tape: Filler-Corn’s bill, HB 456 would have repealed a little known provision allowing a loan provider to petition a circuit court to order the suspension of any state-issued license to engage in a health care profession or occupation when the licensed person is either delinquent or in default in the payment of a federally guaranteed or state-guaranteed educational loan or work-conditional scholarship. Filler-Corn struck her bill and signed on as Chief Co-Patron of a similar bill, HB 456 sponsored by Del. Schuyler Van Valkenburg. The Governor signed the bill on March 5.
Taking Government Out of the Doctor’s Office: Filler-Corn introduced HB 458 which would provide that a practitioner may issue a written certification for the use of cannabidiol oil or THC-A oil for the treatment, or to alleviate the symptoms of, any diagnosed condition or disease. Under current law, a practitioner may only issue such certification for the treatment or to alleviate the symptoms of intractable epilepsy. Filler-Corn’s bill was rolled into HB 1251 sponsored by Del. Ben Cline, on which Filler-Corn serves as a chief co-patron. The bill was signed on March 9. This builds upon Filler-Corn’s work with Sen. Dave Marsden and her constituents from the 41st District to decriminalize cannabidiol oil since 2015.
Improving Virginia’s Criminal Justice System: For the past two years, Del. Filler-Corn has carried the Governor’s legislation to increase the felony larceny threshold. Her bill, HB 706, would have raised the threshold from $200 to $1000. Similar legislation, HB 1550, passed with Filler-Corn as a co-patron. HB 1550 raises the threshold from $200 to $500 and was signed into law by Governor Northam on April 4.
Making Travel Safer for Infants and Toddlers: Although the enactment is delayed until 2019, Filler-Corn’s bill HB 708, will prohibit child restraint devices (car seats) from being forward-facing until, at least, the child reaches two years of age or until the child reaches the minimum weight limit for a forward-facing child restraint device as prescribed by the manufacturer of the device. The bill will also expand the reasons that a physician may determine when it is impractical for a child to use a rear-facing child restraint system due to the child's height. The Governor signed this bill on March 23.
Bringing Much-Needed Transportation Funds to Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads: Working closely with the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, Del. Filler-Corn introduced HB 1083, which would have provided that the 2.1 percent tax that is imposed on the sales price of motor fuel in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads shall be imposed on the regional price of gas, defined and computed as the six-month average price of fuel, for each region. Her bill was rolled into HB 768, on which she serves as a chief co-patron. Governor Northam signed this bill on April 6. This will not only provide millions of dollars in transportation funds to Virginia’s largest metropolitan regions but also fix a long-standing oversight from the 2013 Transportation Bill (SMART Scale). It is important to note that this is an key component of the bill that will provide a dedicated funding source to Metro.
Making Child Care Safer: Filler-Corn’s bill, HB 1480 would have amended child care licensure codes and would add to minimum basic health and safety standards for license exempt child care programs. While Filler-Corn’s bill was re-referred from the House floor to the House Appropriations Committee and was therefore not voted on. Its Senate companion, sponsored by Senator Emmett Hanger, SB 539 was signed by the Governor on April 9. This legislation will help to ensure that no matter where Virginia’s parents place their children for child care, they can feel more secure that their children are being cared for in a safer program with oversight.
Reforming School Absenteeism Policy: Filler-Corn’s Bill, HB 1485 will reform truancy and absenteeism policies for public schools. This bill aims to find better options to keep children in school before they are referred to the court system for truancy. The Governor signed this bill on April 4.
“My priorities center around protecting our families, strengthening our education system, improving our transportation and quality of life in Virginia and ensuring that our workforce is ready and able to compete,” said Filler-Corn. “I know we can make Virginia an even better place to raise a family and start a business by maintaining our world-class public schools, making sure our students feel secure in high school and beyond, helping people with disabilities and ensuring that Virginians have the opportunity to fill jobs created in the New Virginia Economy.”