In Due Course: 2015 Changes To Virginia's Laws

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Fighting For Transportation Solutions
Named Legislator Of The Year
In Due Course: 2015 Changes To Virginia's Laws
Economic Growth
Fighting For Virginia Schools

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I am honored to have the privilege of representing you in the Senate of Virginia. Serving constituents in the 35th District is a responsibility that I take very seriously. I hope you will find this website useful to communicate with me about legislative matters of concern and issues facing our community. Together we can keep Virginia moving forward in a positive fashion.

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Senator Saslaw's Blog

On April 12 The Virginia Education Association will recognize Senate Democratic Leader Dick Saslaw (35th District) as Legislator of the Year at its annual convention in Hampton Roads. The VEA is made up of more than 60,000 teachers and school professionals across Virginia.

 

“Senator Saslaw has earned the Legislator of the Year award because of his effective and tireless advocacy on behalf of Virginia’s teachers, parents, and children,” said VEA President Meg Gruber. “His leadership in the Senate is unmatched when it comes to public education. The VEA wishes to honor Dick Saslaw’s commitment to improving our schools and his outstanding work in the General Assembly that has helped move Virginia forward.”

 

Dick Saslaw is receiving the award because of his exceptional record in the state Senate on issues related to education. His work on behalf of teachers, parents, and students has helped make Virginia’s public schools the 4th best in America. Senator Saslaw continues to lead the way in making education affordable and accessible for all Virginians.

The 2013 General Assembly of the Legislature came to a close on February 23. This year was the short session, consisting of some 46 days at the Capital. The shorter legislative session did not stop the onslaught of thousands of introduced bills. Not being a budget year, we were merely tasked with making amendments to the existing document. Of course, there were hundreds of requests – most went unmet. Here are a few highlights of the General Assembly that will become law soon.

Virginia ranks 48th in per capita Medicaid spending. We have one of the highest income thresholds in the nation for eligibility. The passage of the Affordable Healthcare Act in 2010 was to open Medicaid programs to people with incomes up to 138% of the national poverty level. The federal government would pay the entire cost for three years of healthcare insurance and then reduce payment to around 90%. For the Commonwealth that amounts to about $2B annually – money paid by Virginians through their federal taxes.

Governor McDonnell lead the opposition to this and worked diligently to defeat any bi-partisan efforts to recoup Virginia tax dollars, which would apply to providing access for healthcare outside the emergency room treatment which is commonplace for indigent patients. Those of us that have healthcare insurance often see a significant rise in annual premiums to cover the least cost effective care of an emergency room visit for the poorest of patients. Aside from providing coverage to an additional 400,000 Virginians, it is estimated some 30,000 new jobs would be created in health-care related fields. This should have been a logical next step, but it was not. This issue was one of the most intensely debated during the General Assembly and still remains in limbo on the Governor’s desk.

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