A legislative update from our friends at Voices for Virginia's Children.
After a fast and furious 45 days the Virginia General Assembly has adjourned Sine Die and sent bills to the governor for his signature, including additional budget initiatives. Some highlights from the 2021 General Assembly include:
Budget Includes Big Wins for Kids
In total, the budget includes more than $257 million in new funding to support Virginia’s children and families and to provide equitable opportunities for economically disadvantaged children and children of color. The biggest funding initiatives go towards improving equity in education including $26 million for more school counselors, $48 million to enhance the Virginia Preschool Initiative to serve 3 & 4 year-olds and $49 million for additional student support staff including nurses, social workers and school psychologists. Read more about the initiatives included by the legislature in our budget blog.
Legislators on Both Sides of the Aisle Step Up for Kids
Voices helped to advance a number of new initiatives to improve child welfare, expand child care access, provide families with economic relief and to address trauma, including racial trauma. In nearly every bill Voices’ team prioritized this year there was strong, bipartisan support from Republicans and Democrats! We've created a social media toolkit so you can share on your own social media how new bills will impact the children and families in your life!
Leveling the Playing Field for Legislators, Lobbyists and Advocates
The virtual session allowed advocates to access Zoom rooms to meet with legislators or participate in testimony that they might not have been able to do in person. Our team was often joined by students weighing in on bills from home or early educators stepping outside the classroom to take a meeting. VPM covered how advocates were pivoting and changing their tactics to adapt to the digital GA Session. Be sure to read the recaps of Voices' priority initiatives on our blog.