Category: Press Releases

Delegate Stolle Releases Ad Focusing on Sea Level Rise & Coastal Flooding

Commitment to Collaborative Approach to Addressing Adaptation

Virginia Beach, VA, August 17, 2017 – Delegate Chris Stolle, Chairman of the Joint Legislative Committee on Coastal Flooding released an ad today to raise awareness of an increasing threat to our community. Stolle said “We as a community and a state must work together to address an aging infrastructure, land subsidence and sea level rise. I believe our citizens have had their fill of political rhetoric. While debating the cause of coastal flooding makes great political fodder, I believe our citizens, the military, and business owners don’t want debate – that want action.”

Under Chairman Stolle’s leadership, the subcommittee has played a key role in advancing legislation aimed at adaptation, awareness, and innovation. The Joint Subcommittee on Coastal Flooding, made up of citizens members and members of the House and Senate from both sides of the political aisle, have successfully advanced legislative initiatives including the creation of the Commonwealth Center for Recurrent Flooding Resiliency – a collaboration of resources at ODU, William and Mary, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and others.

Delegate Stolle applauded Ed Gillespie for being the first Virginia gubernatorial candidate to develop a plan to focus on such a key issue and looks forward to the dialogue and community engagement continuing throughout the fall gubernatorial campaign.

Delegate Chris Stolle has been quoted many times as saying, “Water doesn’t care if you are a Republican or a Democrat.” “Our future depends on us learning to live with water, here in Hampton Roads and throughout the Commonwealth. The economic impact of recurrent flooding is felt throughout the state so we must have a statewide leader committed to finding solutions and working with our partners in local government, academia, business, and the military.”

Delegate Chris Stolle will be speaking at the inaugural Hampton Roads Resilience Forum produced by the Hampton Roads Chamber, InsideBiz and RISE Resilience Innovations and sponsored by Old Dominion University on August 22nd.

 

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Chris Stolle Earns 100% on Small Business Issues

RICHMOND, August 2, 2017— Nicole Riley, State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business, announced today that Delegate Chris Stolle earned a score of one hundred percent on the 2016-2017 NFIB/Virginia Voting Record.  NFIB/Virginia is the commonwealth’s leading small-business association, with 6,700 small-business members statewide.

“What this means is that Delegate Name Stolle has stood up for Virginia’s job creators time and again on important issues such as addressing the rising costs of healthcare, opposing efforts to place additional mandates on the backs of small business and reforming Virginia’s regulatory structure,” Riley said.

Small businesses account for 98 percent of the commonwealth’s employers and employ nearly half of Virginia’s non-government workforce, according to federal government statistics.

“Our members truly appreciate the efforts of legislators such as Delegate Stolle who help Virginia’s small-businesses,” Riley said.  Delegate Stolle understands the challenges facing the Commonwealth’s small businesses, and our members believe he will continue to take a fiscally responsible approach to managing state government and support legislation that helps our small businesses grow and create jobs.”

NFIB tracks the key legislative issues identified by our small business members every session and then we tabulate a score for each Virginia lawmaker in the state House and state Senate.  The NFIB voting record provides a critically important evaluation of a legislator’s attitude toward small business based on floor votes.

Delegate Stolle stated “As a small business owner myself, I am proud to have earned a 100% score from NFIB, Virginia.  We must continue to create a climate where Virginia’s small businesses can grow and prosper.”

Download a PDF copy of the 2016-2017 NFIB/Virginia Voting Record at http://www.nfib.com/virginia/voting-record.

Statement by Speaker William J. Howell

RICHMOND, VA – Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) announced Monday that he will not seek re-election. Howell’s full remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below.

Since the House has returned to the Morning Hour, I ask the members to indulge me a moment while I take this opportunity to share some news.

Serving in this esteemed body which is the Virginia House of Delegates for the last 30 years has been a distinct privilege. Likewise, serving as the Speaker of the House for 15 years now truly has been the greatest professional honor of my life.

While I obviously will miss all of you and while I will always look back with only fondness at every day I served here, I have decided that I will not be seeking re-election to the House.

Cessie and I are so grateful for the opportunity that we have had to serve. There truly are no words to fully describe the joy and fulfillment we have received from this incredible opportunity for public service. But, we also know there is much more joy and fulfillment to come, albeit differently and beyond Capitol Square and this body. We are blessed to have two good sons and seven energetic grandkids. We have our youth! And, we cannot wait to take some time together to travel, spend more time with our family and, frankly, just to relax together.

The House of Delegates truly is an historic institution. I love it dearly. I believe it represents the hope, enduring strength and resiliency of our exciting and ongoing experiment in representative self-government.

If America is a shining city on a hill, then our Virginia House of Delegates is the brightest light atop the highest tower.

As a Delegate and as Speaker, I always have tried to serve in a manner worthy of that stature.

I believe the Office of Speaker rises above partisan politics. This is an institutional role, with constitutional and other attendant obligations that transcend the fractured moments that often drive our politics.

I also always have tried to be open, accessible and, most of all, fair.

When I became Speaker in 2003, I pledged to lead this historic chamber with the honor and integrity it deserves and to faithfully uphold the dignity of this constitutional office.

Throughout my tenure, when faced with difficult decisions that go along with this Office, I have strived to reflect those enduring values. And, in practice, I always sought to put what’s good for the whole institution, and all that it represents, ahead of any other interest.

I pray you will judge my time as Speaker on that more than anything.

When I accepted the Speaker’s gavel, I reminded myself and others that what kind of people we are, and how we treat one another, is as important as the bills we pass and the laws we make. May we never lose sight of this worthy aspiration.

Like you, I understand that our mission is so much larger than ourselves. Ultimately, our purpose is continuing to fulfill the four-century-old mission of Virginia – preserving human freedom and advancing opportunities for all.

So today, I hope you join me in taking pride in everything that this body – Republicans and Democrats working together more often than not – has accomplished over the last 15 years. The House of Delegates has been a stable and consistent factor in reforming and improving state government for the past decade. Our shared enterprises, through difficult and good times alike, has made our Commonwealth stronger and more prosperous. And together, I believe we have enhanced the lives and livelihoods of our fellow citizens we are so privileged to represent and serve.

Now and always, I am optimistic that this House – the oldest continuous representative law-making body in the New World – will continue to inspire and fulfill the enormous potential of Virginia’s bright future.

So, I will close by saying from the bottom of my heart, thank you!

I am so grateful for the trust and faith you placed in me 15 years ago. And, I appreciate that you have continued to maintain that trust in me. The many friendships that have made here over almost 30 years are worth more than any bill I have ever championed or passed. I am proud to know you all and honored to serve with each of you.

All of you are very talented individuals and highly capable leaders. You are valuable parts of something much bigger than any one of us. So, it is easier for me to make this announcement now and to leave next year knowing that this institution will continue to thrive.

Thank you. May God Bless you. May God Bless our great country and wonderful Commonwealth. And, may God continue to Bless this historic House of Delegates.

House of Delegates passes amended 2016-2018 state budget

– The Virginia House of Delegates passed an amended two-year state budget Thursday that includes no tax or fee increases, takes steps to secure the future of state employees, and makes strategic investments in K-12 and higher education. The budget goes beyond Governor McAuliffe’s proposal to include a full pay raise for state employees, additional investments in public education, and ensures oversight and transparency in economic development. The budget bill, HB1500, passed the House 98 to 2.

“The budget passed today is a reflection of the priorities of the House of Delegates,” said House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford).  “The investments into public safety, K-12 and higher education, the healthcare safety net, and economic development demonstrates that the House of Delegates is leading on the important issues facing Virginians.  This budget also goes a long way toward securing a better and brighter future for our state employees.  I want to thank Chairman Jones, Vice-Chairman Landes, and the entire Appropriations Committee for their hard work on producing this budget.”

“The House passed a strong conservative budget that invests in the core functions of government while protecting precious taxpayer dollars,” said Majority Leader M. Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights).  “Our budget will give state employees a much-needed pay raise, help make college more affordable, give localities flexibility in K-12 education, and help spur private-sector economic growth across the Commonwealth. While Washington drowns in debts and deficits, Virginia is leading the way on budgeting responsibly.”

Commenting on the passage, House Appropriations Chairman S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk) said, “Throughout last year’s revenue shortfall and continuing into this year, our goal has been to produce a structurally balanced budget that responsibly invests in the core functions of government. Our budget meets both of those goals. The budget we passed will secure the future of state employees, provide local education leaders with much-needed flexibility, hold down the cost of higher education and strengthen our healthcare safety net.”

“The House is governing on important issues like education, healthcare, and domestic violence. The budget that passed today makes important investments while remaining balanced and protecting taxpayers.  Our budget rejects Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion and instead replaces it with funding to provide critical health care safety net services to the neediest Virginians.  We are building on our previous investment. This is the right approach for the Commonwealth.” said House Appropriations Vice-Chairman Steve Landes (R-Augusta).

Governor McAuliffe Announces First Veteran Hire Facilitated by Virginia’s Military Medics & Corpsmen Program

The first state program of its kind in the nation assists transitioning veterans and transitioning medics and corpsmen to find employment in healthcare fields

RICHMOND – Governor McAuliffe today announced the first veteran hire facilitated by Virginia’s Military Medics and Corpsmen Program (MMAC). The Governor proposed the legislation for the program using the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Intermediate Care Technician (ICT) Program, as a model. MMAC, is a two-year pilot program which allows recently discharged veterans and transitioning medics and corpsmen to perform certain medical procedures under the supervision of a physician or podiatrist at major healthcare systems across the Commonwealth. 

“With the fastest growing veteran population in the Nation, Virginia is full of talent and tremendous skill sets that must be utilized to grow the workforce and economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Healthcare is projected to be the largest employment sector of the U.S. economy, and Virginia wants to ensure that we attract and retain as many of the over 11,000 medics and corpsmen that transition out of the military every year as we can. This innovative program creates an immediate pathway to jobs for veterans and provides a talent pool for our healthcare providers as they work to find the best and brightest in a growing industry.”

The program is authorized by legislation (HB825-Stolle) and passed the Virginia General Assembly with tremendous support. It focuses on a solution that addresses healthcare staffing shortages and boosts veteran hiring. Army medics, Navy and Coast Guard corpsmen, and Air Force medical technicians receive extensive and valuable healthcare training while on active duty. When they transition to civilian life, their military healthcare training often does not translate into comparable certifications or licenses required for civilian healthcare jobs. Many medically trained veterans often struggle to find unemployment and cannot apply their skills in the civilian healthcare sector. 

“MMAC facilitates veteran hiring and helps this pool of uniquely qualified veterans keep their clinical skills current while obtaining their civilian credentials and continuing their medical education,” said John C. Harvey, Jr., Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs. “MMAC meets the urgent health care needs being faced throughout the Commonwealth.”

The Virginia Department of Veterans Services recruits and screens candidates worldwide and assists with job placement. The hiring decisions, general scope of practice, and potential credentialing and educational opportunities are determined by the MMAC partner healthcare systems. Memoranda of Agreement have already been signed with two partners: Bon Secours Virginia Health System and Chesapeake Regional Healthcare.  Agreements are pending with Carilion Clinic, Inova Health System, Mountain States Health Alliance, and Sentara.

“Chesapeake Regional Healthcare (CRH) was the first MMAC Partner healthcare system to begin accepting MMAC Program candidates and is proud to be the first to benefit from the program. Our first hire, Jeffrey Filler, served as a Navy Corpsman and will capitalize on the exceptional skill set he earned in the United States Navy by serving as an Anesthesia Technician at CRH while seeking his civilian credentials in this field,” noted Dr. Alton Stocks, Former Interim Chief Executive Officer of CRH and previous U.S. Navy Medical Corps Officer.

To find out more, visit www.dvs.virginia.gov, or click here to learn more details about the MMAC Program.

 

House of Delegates proposes balanced budget that invests in core functions of government

~ Budget proposal contains no tax or fee increases ~

RICHMOND, VA – The Virginia House of Delegates Committee on Appropriations proposed an amended two-year state budget Sunday that includes no tax or fee increases, takes steps to secure the future of state employees, and makes strategic investments in K-12 and higher education. The proposed budget goes beyond Governor McAuliffe’s proposal to include a full pay raise for state employees, additional investments in public education, and ensures oversight and transparency in economic development. Chairman Jones outlined the House’s priorities Sunday afternoon. The House will vote on the proposed budget on Thursday, February 9, 2017.

“The House budget is a conservative, responsible, and structurally-balanced budget. When it comes to budgeting, the House of Delegates has long practiced fiscal responsibility, charting a prudent and cautious course.  Our budget invests in the core functions of government while protecting precious taxpayer resources,” said Appropriations Committee Chairman S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk).  “The steps we proposed will secure the future of state employees, provide local education leaders with much-needed flexibility, hold down the cost of higher education and strengthen our healthcare safety net. This budget is built off of input and feedback from all members of the House and reflects the priorities of the citizens we represent.”

“The House of Delegates is laying out a fiscally responsible future for Virginia.  The budget proposal released today builds on the House’s longstanding commitment to conservative budgeting,” said House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford). “The investments in education, health care and public safety will improve the lives of our citizens and make Virginia a better place to live, work and raise a family. I want to thank Chairman Jones, Vice-Chairman Landes, and the entire Appropriations Committee for their hard work in preparing this budget.”

The House budget addresses the problems with Virginia’s economic development model. The House instead emphasizes transparency, accountability and oversight by directing funds through GO Virginia.

“Growing Virginia’s economy is our number one priority.  This budget maintains that commitment, but increases accountability and oversight in order to protect taxpayer’s dollars,” said Majority Leader M. Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights). “We are restoring the funds that were cut to GO Virginia. Our steps in this budget will yield long-term positive results for the Commonwealth.”

The budget does not include Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion and it restores the Stanley Amendment which requires General Assembly approval before expanding Medicaid. Instead, the House continues to strengthen the health care safety net. The House will invest $28.5 million for substance abuse treatment, to expand eligibility for the GAP program, and create new waiver slots to address the critical waiting list.

“It is now clear that Virginia made the right choice not to expand Medicaid. Instead of expanding a broken and costly government-run system, the House is taking real steps to invest in the healthcare safety net to meet the needs of Virginia’s most vulnerable citizens,” said House Appropriations Committee Vice-Chairman R. Steven Landes (R-Augusta).

In addition to the investments in the state retirement system, the House budget also invests in Virginia’s hard working state employees.

“The budget we unveiled today secures the future of state employees,” said Delegate John O’Bannon (R-Henrico).  “We are proposing a three percent pay raise for state employees, and a 2% pay raise for state-supported local employees. We also set aside funding to implement the recommendations of Speaker Howell’s Commission on State Employee Retirement Security and Pension Reform.  Our state employees are dedicated public servants. This investment will make it easier to attract and retain high quality employees.”

The House calls for new funding for K-12 education, exceeding Governor McAuliffe’s proposal by nearly $15 million.  The House budget also provides added flexibility by restoring over $218 million in lottery proceeds.  These funds are sent back to local school divisions with fewer strings attached than other funding. The House budget also includes $20 million to hold tuition increases.

“It is important to invest in education, because that is also an investment into Virginia’s future,” said Delegate Tag Greason (R-Loudoun). “Our budget proposal ensures that taxpayer dollars are spent in the classroom, not in more bureaucracy, and it allows localities the flexibility to meet the unique needs of their school system.”

“Virginia has the best system of public higher education in the country and great private colleges,” said Delegate Jimmie Massie (R-Henrico). “The House of Delegates has taken specific steps in recent years to address the rising cost of college, increasing funding for financial aid and prioritizing in-state students.  The $20 million investment we are making this biennium will help offset tuition increases, leaving more money in the pockets of hard working Virginia families.”

2016-2018 Amended House Budget Proposal

Key Takeaways

  • The House budget is a conservative, responsible, and structurally-balanced budget; general fund spending has decreased by 5% over 10 years when adjusted for population and inflation
  • Exceeds the Governor’s investment in K-12 education by nearly $15 million while increasing flexibility for local schools and reducing tax burden on local government
  • Invests in higher education to limit tuition increases
  • Makes strategic and targeted investments in economic development while emphasizing accountability and oversight
  • Funds a comprehensive package to combat domestic violence, including additional funding for prevention, treatment and counseling services
  • Builds on previous efforts to strengthen the health care safety net, creating new additional waiver slots
  • Invests in Virginia’s hardworking state employees by providing a 3% pay raise and invests in our State Police by providing a salary increase.

Public Safety

  • Provides $14.6 million in funds to raise the starting salary of Virginia State Police to $43,000. All sworn troopers will receive a $6,793 salary increase.
  • Provides funds to raise the starting salary of the Division of Capitol Police to $42,750. All sworn personnel will receive a $4,355 salary increase
  • $7.3 million is given to provide a compression adjustment for employees in sheriffs’ offices and regional jails.

Flexibility in K-12 Education

  • The House budget proposal exceeds the Governor’s investment in K-12 education by nearly $13 million, but gives localities much needed flexibility by re-establishing the lottery proceeds distribution.
  • Invests $15 billion for direct aid to public education.
  • Re-establishes the lottery proceeds distribution, sending $218.7 million back to localities with almost no strings attached.  This sends 40% of lottery proceeds back to local schools, which was the policy prior to 2010.
  • Establishes the 10-10-10 plan to support smaller school divisions with declining enrollment. That sends an additional $9 million to rural schools.

Making College More Affordable

  • The House budget proposal builds on our continued effort to make college more affordable for Virginia families and includes $20 million more than Governor McAuliffe proposed for higher education funding.

Economic Development

  • The House budget funds strategic and targeted investments in economic development, while promoting increased accountability and oversight in coordination with our legislative priorities.
  • Restores $7.5 million in funds to GO Virginia that was cut by Governor McAuliffe

Combatting Domestic Violence

  • The House budget complements the House’s legislative efforts to prevent and combat domestic violence.
  • Includes $1.5 million to expand domestic violence prevention, treatment and counseling programs and services for women and children.
  • Allows drawdown of $6 million in federal funding match

Stronger Healthcare Safety Net

  • The House budget does not include Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, and restores the Stanley amendment that prohibits the Governor from expanding Medicaid without consent of the General Assembly.
  • The House budget invests $28.5 million to build a stronger healthcare safety net, including funding for substance abuse treatment, and increases eligibility for the GAP program to 100% of FPL, which will cover 3,000 individuals.
  • Creates 100 new DD waiver slots.

Investing in Our State Employees

  • Includes $70.2 million for a 3% pay raise for state employees. The Governor’s budget proposal provided a 1.5% bonus.
  • The budget also sets aside funds to implement the findings and recommendations of Speaker Howell’s Commission on State Employee Retirement Security and Pension Reform.
    • $200,000 for JLARC to complete a total compensation study of all state employees
    • $140,000 for state agencies to incorporate succession planning in their agency strategic plans
    • Establishes $1.5 million in administrative funding for VRS to begin the implementation of a new optional defined contribution retirement plan.

Are you a Military Medic seeking to transition to civilian health care? Apply Now.

Military Medics & Corpsmen (MMAC) Program (HB825-Stolle)

When an Army Medic, a Navy Corpsman, an Air Force Medical Technician or Coast Guard Health Services Technician leaves military service and enters civilian health care, their ID tags may change from dog tags to a hospital ID badge, but their mission stays the same:

  • Having a rewarding career to support themselves or their family. . .
  • Keeping their clinical skills scalpel-sharp . . .
  • Continuing their medical education . . .
  • Giving their very best to those in their care . . .

But without civilian credentials: the care can stop there.

The Virginia Department of Veterans Services, Military Medics and Corpsmen (MMAC) Program is changing the way healthcare hires veterans. MMAC is a pathway to employment for recently discharged veterans and transitioning service members. It’s an opportunity to apply hard-earned and at times battle-tested patient care skills under physician supervision while obtaining civilian medical credentials.

The program is the first of its kind in the nation and began accepting applications from U.S. military medics, corpsmen and technicians worldwide on December 1, 2016.

The MMAC staff will recruit and screen candidates and assist with job placement. The hiring decisions, scope of practice and potential educational opportunities are determined by our partner healthcare systems. MMAC does not grant licensure and certification or financial assistance. What MMAC does is open doors to potential employment and educational opportunities at our partner healthcare systems statewide.

MMAC addresses critical healthcare staffing shortages and boosts veteran hiring. Providing quality patient care while serving those who served our country: that’s multi-tasking at its best!

Virginia’s Military Medics and Corpsmen Program: a path to a career, credentials and continued caring.

 

JLARC report highlights inefficiencies and management problems at VEDP

JLARC VEDP Briefing

RICHMOND, VA – The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) report released Monday highlighted inefficiencies and management problems at the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP). The report details the systematic deficiencies at the state agency and outlined recommendations that should be taken by the General Assembly to restore accountability and oversight.

“Today’s JLARC report on VEDP is extremely disappointing.” said House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford). “VEDP lacks the basic practices necessary for effective management and marketing of Virginia’s economic development activities. It is important that we do everything we can to get VEDP back on the right track so that Virginia can remain competitive when attracting new jobs and investment. I appreciate JLARC’s work to uncover these problems and I look forward to working with my colleagues to fix them.”

“JLARC’s report on VEDP shows that the McAuliffe-Northam administration’s governance of VEDP has severely failed the Commonwealth,” said House Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights). “The report uncovered a lack of basic employee oversight. If VEDP leadership does not even hold staff accountable for basic employment obligations, how can we trust they going to hold businesses accountable to incentive agreements? This is unacceptable. While we appreciate the steps that newer board members have taken to fix some of the problems, the Governor should call on Lt. Governor Northam and the entire VEDP board to immediately remedy the management deficiencies pointed out by JLARC.”

Speaking to the report House Appropriations Committee Chairman S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk) said, “This report is highly critical of the operation of VEDP and its board. Rest assured the General Assembly will make the necessary reforms, potentially including a total makeover of VEDP. We will also implement the additional oversight measures necessary to ensure the efficient and effective use of tax payer dollars.”

“I want to thank JLARC for their outstanding report today on VEDP,” said Chairman Bobby Orrock (R-Caroline). “Today’s report demonstrates why JLARC exists. Their expert work uncovering systematic failures at state agencies is vitally important, now more than ever. This report will guide the General Assembly’s deliberations on how to remedy the problems at VEDP.”

Highlights from JLARC’s Report on VEDP:

  • VEDP has operated without using basic practices necessary for effective management and marketing.
  • VEDP’s unstructured and inconsistent approach to administering state incentive grant programs leaves the state vulnerable to fraud and poor use of limited resources.
  • The systemic deficiencies that are present at VEDP demonstrate the need for an effective, engaged, and informed board of directors.
  • VEDP lacks fundamental elements of organizational management to ensure efficient and effective operations.
  • Key customers indicate that VEDP is responsive to information requests but not effective at promoting awareness of Virginia and its competitive advantages.
  • VEDP has not taken basic steps to ensure it is effectively and efficiently marketing Virginia.
  • Many incentivized projects do not meet their contractual performance requirements.
  • VEDP has not recouped grant money from businesses that did not meet their performance requirements.
  • VEDP’s unstructured approach to administering incentive grants leaves the state vulnerable to fraud and poor use of limited resources.
  • VEDP and localities have approved longer performance extensions than allowed by statute.
  • VEDP’s board has played a minimal role in holding VEDP staff accountable.

VHHA Honors 2016 HosPAC Health Care Hero Award Recipients

Eight Virginia General Assembly Members Who Exemplify Leadership on Health Care Issues Among This Year’s Winners

RICHMOND, VA – Eight esteemed state lawmakers are recipients of the 2016 HosPAC Health Care Hero Award that recognizes legislators who epitomize leadership, advocacy, and dedication to the mission of the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association in the community and the Virginia General Assembly. Award recipients for 2016 are Senator George L. Barker (D-Fairfax County); Delegate M. Keith Hodges (R-Urbanna); Delegate Patrick A. Hope (D-Arlington County); Senator Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax County); Delegate Matthew James (D-Portsmouth); Senator Stephen D. Newman (R-Lynchburg); Senator William M. Stanley Jr. (R-Franklin County); and Delegate Christopher P. Stolle (R-Virginia Beach).

Presented by VHHA’s HosPAC (political action committee), the awards are bestowed on elected officials who have a demonstrated record of supporting issues related to hospitals and health care, have taken important stands on behalf of hospitals and health care, have introduced or supported priority legislation impacting hospitals and health care, and shown proven leadership in effecting significant change to benefit hospitals and health care.

“Access to quality health care is important to the well-being of Virginians and the economic prosperity of the Commonwealth. Bi-partisan, common sense health care public policy decisions that support our health care system are vital to a healthy and productive Virginia,” said 2016 HosPAC Campaign Chair E.W. Tibbs Jr., the President and CEO of Lynchburg-based Centra Health System. “The eight Virginia citizen legislators selected as 2016 HosPAC Health Care Hero Award recipients have each worked to advance health care policy solutions in the General Assembly. On behalf of community hospitals and health systems across the Commonwealth, I applaud and congratulate these deserving awardees.”

“Advocating for complex health care policy isn’t always easy. It can take commitment and investment of time and effort to comprehend its intricacies. It is critically important to have engaged legislators take on these tough issues on behalf of the health care needs of all Virginians,” added HosPAC Board Chairman James W. Dunn, Vice President for Advocacy and Community Affairs with Bon Secours Virginia Health
System. “The health care community is grateful to have support from accomplished legislative leaders willing to passionately engage on such important public policy issues.”

The 2016 HosPAC Health Care Hero Award recipients are:

  • Senator George L. Barker (D-Fairfax County). Senator Barker is widely recognized as one of the most knowledgeable legislators on health care issues. He has consistently championed proposals to improve the health of the Commonwealth, its hospitals, and citizens. Behavioral health has been a major focus for Senator Barker, who has offered many proposals to improve services and treatment for some of Virginia’s most needy. On Certificate of Public Need (COPN), Senator Barker’s efforts during the 2016 General Assembly session were critical in shaping the reform debate, and he continues to work as an effective advocate towards a sensible policy solution on that issue.
  • Delegate M. Keith Hodges (R-Urbanna). As a pharmacist and hospital board member, Delegate Hodges’ deep knowledge and understanding of the challenges facing hospitals and Virginians is invaluable on the House of Delegates’ Health, Welfare, and Institutions (HWI) Committee. Delegate Hodges has demonstrated a commitment to doing what is in the best interest of local hospitals and patients during his General Assembly tenure. Nowhere is this commitment more evident than his steadfast support for responsibly reforming COPN.
  • Delegate Patrick A. Hope (D-Arlington County). As a member of the HWI Committee, Delegate Hope continually demonstrates his commitment to his local hospitals and improving access to care throughout the Commonwealth. He has been an ardent and vocal supporter of helpful health care public policy initiatives in word and deed. Delegate Hope recognizes the challenges facing our health care system, and he demonstrates strong leadership on identifying innovative solutions to those challenges.
  • Senator Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax County). For years, Senator Janet Howell has been a tireless champion for health care, including her years of service on the Senate Education and Health Committee. Senator Howell has been recognized nationally for her work on improving the health care of children in her district and throughout the state. She has also been a strong voice on mental health and health care access issues.
  • Delegate Matthew James (D-Portsmouth). As an up and coming leader on the Appropriations and HWI committees, Delegate Matthew James’ engagement on health care issues is invaluable within the House of Delegates. Coupled with his experience as a hospital board member, Delegate James brings a deep understanding of the challenges facing access to health care and local hospitals. Delegate James has long advocated for effective solutions to addressing these challenges, including expanding access to care and responsibly reforming COPN.
  • Senator Stephen D. Newman (R-Lynchburg). Senator Newman has long been focused on the “Virginia Way” – identifying complex policy challenges and working with diverse constituencies towards compromise. As Chairman of the Senate Education and Health Committee, Senator Newman takes that approach to addressing the difficult challenges facing our health care system. Senator Newman’s recognition that introducing more competition into our health care system requires the establishment of a level playing field in which market inequities faced by our hospitals are substantively addressed is a critical step in resolving the broader challenges facing our health care system.
  • Senator William M. Stanley Jr. (R-Franklin County). When it comes to advocating for solutions to the challenges facing our health care system, Senator Stanley has long been a leader in the Virginia Senate. In 2016, he championed VHHA-supported legislation to reform COPN, and to implement a new telemedicine pilot program for nurse practitioners to expand access to care. Senator Stanley has also led efforts to ensure more Virginia medical students stay in Virginia and practice in medically underserved communities. And he has shown a willingness to think creatively and advocate for achievable policies to improve the health of the Commonwealth.
  • Delegate Christopher P. Stolle (R-Virginia Beach). Delegate Stolle is among the General Assembly’s most steadfast supporters of Virginia hospitals and health systems.As a legislator, physician by training, and a hospital administrator, Delegate Stolle is quite familiar with the challenges facing the Commonwealth’s health care system. He has been a vocal supporter of sensible COPN reform. In 2016, he carried VHHA-supported legislation to responsibly reform the program to make it work better for all constituents. He also carried legislation to implement a new pilot program to streamline the process for veterans with medical training to receive the additional training necessary to enter civilian practice. Throughout his time in the legislature, Delegate Stolle has advanced many policy proposals intended to improve the health of the Commonwealth, its citizens, and its hospitals.

This is the second year the HosPAC Health Care Hero Award has been bestowed on Virginia legislators. Award recipients from the 2015 inaugural class include Senator Emmett W. Hanger Jr. (R-Augusta County); Delegate Terry G. Kilgore (R-Gate City); Senator Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax County); and Delegate David J. Toscano (D-Charlottesville.). View the 2015 winners online here, and the 2016 recipients here.

About VHHA: The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association is an alliance of 107 hospitals and 30 health delivery systems that develops and advocates for sound health care policy in the Commonwealth. Its vision is to achieve excellence in both health care and health. Its vision is through the power of collaboration to be recognized as a driving force behind making Virginia the healthiest state in the nation.

 

SMART SCALE (HB2) – CTB Approved Projects and Funding

Legislation signed into law in 2014 directed the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) to develop a prioritization process to be used in the selection of capacity expansion transportation projects to be funded.  The legislation, commonly referred to as House Bill 2 or HB2 (Patron-Stolle), has been renamed SMART SCALE (SMART stands for System Management Allocation of Resources for Transportation and SCALE stands for the six road project scoring attributes: Safety, Congestion mitigation, Accessibility, Land use, Environmental and economic development).

SMART SCALE is intended to improve the transparency and accountability of project selection as well as improve stability in the Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP).  Using the new prioritization process, proposed projects are scored based on an objective and fair analysis that is applied statewide.  The project scores are a critical part of the information taken into consideration by the CTB and help the CTB select projects that provide the maximum benefit for tax dollars spent.

The CTB approved the FY 2017-2022 Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP) at their meeting on June 14, 2016.  The $14.6 billion SYIP includes $1.6 billion for 163 SMART SCALE projects across the Commonwealth. The Hampton Roads Region received funding on 21 projects totaling over $332 million, with $178 million in District Grant Program funds and $154 million in Statewide High Priority Projects Program funds.

The CTB approved SMART SCALE projects in the Hampton Roads Region are shown in the following table:

 

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