RICHMOND, VA—Today, three House Democrats’ bills designed to help Virginians during the COVID-19 pandemic successfully passed the Virginia House of Delegates.
These pieces of legislation support a safe process for delivering absentee ballots, create stronger housing protections, and promote telehealth services in the Commonwealth. House Democrats identified COVID relief as a major Special Session priority.
Here are summaries of the COVID relief bills which passed today:
- HB 5046 will clarify certain Code provisions related to telemedicine services and require the Department of Medical Assistance Services to continue reimbursing providers for Medicaid-covered telemedicine until July 1, 2021. Delegate Dawn Adams patroned this bill.
- HB 5103 will fund safe and secure alternatives for Virginia voters to return absentee ballots during the upcoming 2020 General Election. Delegate Mark Sickles served as the patron.
- HB 5115 will extend eviction and foreclosure continuance periods in court proceedings to more Virginians affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Delegate Marcia Price sponsored this legislation.
The bill patrons and the House Democratic Majority Leader released the following statements:
“In a time where we must prioritize the public health of our citizens, this bill ensures no Virginian will be forced to choose between their well-being and the right to vote. I am grateful we can provide numerous options and flexibility for all voters in our communities,” said Del. Sickles of HB 5103, dealing with absentee voting. “It is critical that we work together so that everyone can cast a vote safely on November 3, or before.”
“The pandemic has exposed even further the work we have ahead of us for housing justice in the Commonwealth. HB 5115 is part of a comprehensive strategy to prevent evictions and foreclosures, especially during this health and economic crisis,” said Del. Price. “As we seek solutions for our state budget, we have to seek solutions for Virginia families as well.”
“Telemedicine access, enhanced by the Governor’s Executive Order, has been a lifeline for patients needing basic checkups, medication renewal, and mental health support during the pandemic,” said Del. Adams. “HB 5046 ensures that we continue access and reimbursement for these telemedicine services.”
“Looking out for the people of Virginia during times of crisis is one of our core responsibilities as legislators and public servants,” said House Democratic Majority Leader Charniele Herring. “House Democrats are working hard to figure out the right steps to take as we try to navigate the best path out of this pandemic together.”