Henrico County VA
General Assembly

Governor approves bipartisan mental health bill


A month after being approved by the General Assembly, Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed House Bill 206 into law at the beginning of April. The legislation requires each four-year public institution of higher education in the commonwealth of Virginia to create and feature on its website information dedicated solely to the mental health resources available to students at the institution.

The bill was drafted and proposed by a group of students from the University of Virginia, including Hannah Bondurant, a third-year student at the university.

“It’s an easy solution that hopefully will bridge treatment that is available and people actually getting help,” Bondurant told the Cavalier Daily.

Governor’s taskforce meeting mental health solutions


Members from each branch of the Virginia legislature and health officials from across the commonwealth collaborated on improvement and implementation of mental-health crisis response at an April governor’s taskforce meeting.

Despite ongoing turmoil throughout the state government over the issue of including Medicaid expansion in a final budget, legislators from both chambers and the governor’s office agreed that the recently-passed mental health crisis response bills should receive ample funding.

"Even though we don’t have a budget, we have a basic consensus between the House and the Senate as far as funding level (for mental health crisis response bills)," said Sen. Emmett Hanger, R - Mount Solon.

Senate budget reinstates Marketplace Virginia

The battle for a passable Virginia budget continues in the General Assembly after the Senate passed a budget bill Tuesday that the House of Delegates likely will reject.

The Senate form of the budget, Senate Bill 5003, includes the private health care plan Marketplace Virginia and removes the Medicaid-expansion pilot program proposed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

Numerous animal-related bills pass General Assembly

With the 2013-2014 Virginia General Assembly session officially complete, animal activists and lovers around the state can celebrate the legislative passage animal-related bills received over the past few months.

Four bills dealing with animal/pet welfare and rights were passed this session, including the heavily talked about Senate Bill 228, which also known as Bailey’s Law.

Contraception rights activists rally outside Supreme Court

Women’s choice advocates rallied outside the Supreme Court this past Tuesday in support of the Affordable Care Act birth-control benefit as the oral arguments in the Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood v. Sebelius were heard.

Despite the frigid temperatures and precipitation, representatives of NARAL, Planned Parenthood, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and other volunteers from across the state and the country shared the message: birth control is not my boss’ business.

McAuliffe proposes federally funded Medicaid program

Gov. Terry McAuliffe addressed critics of Medicaid expansion as part of Virginia’s biennial budget by proposing a two-year pilot program he says would close the commonwealth’s healthcare gap without financial penalty to the state.

McAuliffe’s 45-minute address signified the beginning of the General Assembly’s special session, which was scheduled in effort to reach an agreement on the roughly $96 billion two-year budget currently at odds over expanding Medicaid coverage to more than 400,000 currently uninsured Virginians.

Compromise reached for violence victims

A bipartisan compromise has been reached to provide additional state funding and resources to victims of sexual and domestic violence after anti-violence bills were struck down in the General Assembly.

House Bill 885, which originally extended the time bracket for filing claims to the Criminal Injury Compensation Fund, now includes the increased emergency awards for victims of crime through the CICF that were contained in the failed House Bill 1 and Senate Bill 4, according to HB885 sponsor Delegate Christopher Peace, R-Hanover.

General Assembly braking on DUI legislation

Virginia passed landmark DUI legislation in 2012, requiring anyone convicted of a DUI in the commonwealth -- whether it’s a first or 31st offense -- have an ignition interlock device installed in their car.

After the passage of the milestone law, advocates are not surprised that further DUI legislation has been stunted in the past two sessions.

GOP House leaders request special session on Medicaid expansion

Republican leaders in the Virginia House of Delegates have proposed a special legislative session to address the debate on Medicaid expansion just three days before the General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn.

The House and Senate are less than one-tenth of one percent (or $26 million) apart from compromising on a two-year, $96 billion state budget agreement, but GOP leadership reinforced its position Tuesday that Medicaid Expansion does not belong in the budget bill.

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