2022 VIRGINIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Policy Agenda

Click on each bill number to learn more about the bill. To voice your opinion on one of them, call or email your representatives! You can also email Zowee, our Policy & Communications Team Lead, at zaquino@hamkaecenter.org for questions or other ways to get involved. More actions coming soon!

Health Access

Access to health services and treatments during childhood are critical to a healthy life and development. However, not all children have access to these important resources: about 13,000 (including ~2,500 Asian American) uninsured kids in Virginia are eligible but cannot access vital health coverage through FAMIS / Medicaid- just because they’re undocumented.

Virginia has an opportunity to join 10 other states and D.C. to remove this immigration status-based restriction to #CoverAllKids and give them a healthy start to life.

SUPPORT:

HB 1012 / SB 484

Cover All Kids – Provides uninsured undocumented kids (< 19 years old) in Virginia with state-funded health care coverage through Medicaid / DMAS. Provides free translation and interpretation services to make program information accessible to those with limited English proficiency. Ensures personal information remains confidential. Establishes group of individuals experienced in outreach to aforementioned populations to do marketing and outreach for program.

Full text: HB 1012 (Del. Tran); SB 484 (Sen. Hashmi)

😞 Both bills are no longer making progress.

Language Access

A 2021 language access audit conducted by the Virginia Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion found that none of Virginia’s state agencies were providing proper language access or support for vital services and resources to linguistically-marginalized communities* (including disabled, non-English speaking, or multilingual Virginians). 7 of the top 10 languages spoken in Virginia are Asian (Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Hindi, Arabic, Farsi, Filipino).
Additionally, over 36,000 Asian American Virginians are disabled (including hearing- and visual-impaired).

With defined standards for language access, state agencies can use resources more efficiently and properly support the millions of Virginians impacted by language barriers.

* linguistically marginalized communities: groups and individuals who “use any dominant spoken or sign language, and are not fully proficient in the dominant language” which in the United States is English

SUPPORT:

HB 1049 / SB 270

Funds and establishes standards, policies, staff, & Interagency Language Access Working Group to improve language access and associated services in Virginia state agencies. Establishes criteria for translation and interpretation services and compensation policy for multilingual staff whose jobs require translatation and interpretation. Requires each state agency to have a language access coordinator, who is responsible for agency’s annual language access report.

Full text: HB 1049 (Del. Tran); SB 270 (Sen. Hashmi)

HB 1049 is no longer making progress, but we can still fight for SB 270!

take action (click on sb 270)!

HB 987

Requires Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) to provide comprehensive language access in Virginia’s Medicaid program.

Full text: HB 987 (Del. Tran)

HB 1221

Requires hospitals to make information about charity care (including eligibility and how to apply) accessible to patients with limited English proficiency.

Full text: HB 1221 (Del. Tran)

😞 This bill is no longer making progress.

Education Equity

Virginia has nearly 95,000 Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) students, who should be empowered by their education & supported at school- especially during this time of increased anti-Asian discrimination and harassment against AAPI students since the COVID-19 pandemic began. We support legislation that uplifts and protects the well-being of our youth in school.

We oppose proposals that roll back diversity and equity in Governor’s schools by limiting hard-fought efforts to increase racial and socioeconomic diversity in the student body, preventing data collection, and taking away local control from school divisions. Governor’s schools and local school divisions have created effective policies that maintain visibly-open pathways to opportunity for qualified students from a range of backgrounds.

OPPOSE:

HB 127

Requires Virginia governor’s school admissions to ignore applicants’ race, sex, color, ethnicity, and national origin, as well as correlating geographic & socioeconomic factors; prohibits collection of aforementioned data. Permits admissions to use “traditional academic success factors” instead.

Full text: HB 127 (Del. Davis)

take action!

SUPPORT:

HB 1179

Establishes a 29-member Asian American, Pacific Islander, Latino, & Indigenous Education Advisory Board to advise Virginia administration and legislators about:

  • how these histories are currently described and being taught in public school classrooms, and
  • strategies to develop such history and social studies electives.

Full text: HB 1179 (Del. Clark)

😞 This bill is no longer making progress.

HB 371

Requires licensed school board employees to include how to handle bullying of AAPI students in cultural competency training.

Full text: HB 371 (Del. Convirs-Fowler)

Voting Rights

The voting age population of Asian Americans in Virginia grew by 30% from 2010 to 2020. Recent voter access laws in Virginia have greatly increased voter turnout, early voting, and absentee voting- especially for Asian American voters in 2020!

However, legislation aimed at repealing initiatives (such as extended early voting and no voter ID) that have made and continue to make participating in democracy more easy and accessible is an attempt to limit the working-class, disabled people, and those who don’t follow Western naming conventions from making their voices heard.

OPPOSE:

HB 24, HB 942, & HB 1090

Requires voters to provide photo ID to vote. Repeals ability for voters who do not have ID present to sign an identity-affirmation statement to vote; instead, they will sign a provisional ballot.

Full text: HB 24 (Del. Walker); HB 942 (Del. LaRock); HB 1090 (Del. Webert)

🎉 These bills are no longer making progress!

HB 46

Literally HB 24, but also gets rid of permanent absentee voter list.

Full text: HB 46 (Del. Ware)

🎉 This bill is no longer making progress!

HB 35

Gets rid of permanent absentee voter list. Requires voters to apply and provide excuse to vote by mail (absentee) or to vote early in-person prior to the 2nd Saturday before election. Limits special annual application to voters with a disability or illness.

Full text: HB 35 (Del. Campbell)

🎉 This bill is no longer making progress!

SB 552

Literally HB 35, but also requires general registrar to match voter’s signature. Requires witness signature on absentee ballots.

Full text: SB 552 (Sen. Chase)

🎉 This bill is no longer making progress!

HB 39 & HB 178

Limits availability for voters to vote absentee in-person from 45 to 14 days before election, Monday-Saturday from 7AM-7PM.

Full text: HB 39 (Del. Scott); HB 178 (Del. Bloxom)

🎉 Both bills are no longer making progress!

Governor’s Budget

Investing in our communities is critical for generational change. We have an opportunity through the state budget, by proposing budget amendments and protecting line items that would fund the priorities our communities care about the most.

This investment also includes mandatory combined reporting – a proposal that would increase state revenue by nearly $100 million annually. Large corporations and businesses should pay their fair share to take the burden off of small businesses and individual taxpayers.

SUPPORT:

Item 56 #1h

Funds Interagency Language Access Workgroup. See HB 1049 in Language Access section.

Full text: 56 #1h (Del. Tran)

Item 56 #1s

Funds language access equity report. See SB 270 in Language Access section.

Full text: 56 #1s (Sen. Hashmi)

Items 486 #13h & #18s

Funds translation of government services (childcare, housing, healthcare, transportation, taxes, etc).

Full text: 486 #13h (Del. Tran); 486 #18s (Sen. Hashmi)