PAID FOR AND AUTHORIZED BY FRIENDS OF SIOBHAN DUNNAVANT

Dr. Siobhan Dunnavant
Office:

804-698-7512
Email Me 
Mailing Address:
PO Box 70849
Henrico, VA 23255

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Doctor's Note: Crossover

Tuesday was the last day to complete action on all of our bills in the Senate. We didn’t quite make it to the midnight deadline, but we did adjourn at 12:48 Wednesday morning. We are now at “crossover,” which is the halfway point where our bills move to the House of Delegates for consideration. For the next half of session, we will review legislation that has passed in the House.


Almost all of the legislation that I have proposed has successfully passed or been placed into the budget. I believe this is the result of carrying legislation that solves problems in prudent ways, and that makes it easy to build bipartisan consensus.

Here is some more information about my legislation that has passed the Senate and is now in the House:

Education:

Virtual Virginia (SB142)

Status: Passed the Senate (40-Y 0-N)

Family Life for IEP Students (SB186)

Status: Passed the Senate (40-Y 0-N)

Public School Learning Management System (SB366)

Status: Passed the Senate (40-Y 0-N)

Link to my Dr.’s Note for my information: https://www.dunnavantdelivers.com/post/blog-k-12-legislative-update


Healthcare:

CBD in Nursing Homes (SB185)

Status: Passed the Senate (39-Y 0-N)

Link to my Dr.’s Note with more information about what this legislation does: https://www.dunnavantdelivers.com/post/dr-s-note-medical-cannabis-nursing-home-access

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Veterans (SB362)

Status: Passed the Senate (40-Y 0-N)

Commonwealth Care Health Benefits Program; Association Health Plans for the Individual Market (SB364)

Status: Passed the Senate (40-Y 0-N)

Health Care Provider Credentialing (SB365)

Status: Passed the Senate (40-Y 0-N)

Link to my Dr.’s Note for more information: https://www.dunnavantdelivers.com/post/doctor-s-note-streamlining-credentialing-for-health-care-providers

Twelve Week Maternity Leave (SB567)

Status: Passed the Senate (40-Y 0-N)

Link to my Dr.’s Note for more information: https://www.dunnavantdelivers.com/post/doctor-s-note-expanding-postpartum-paid-leave

State Pharmacy Benefits Manager (SB568)

Status: Passed the Senate (40-Y 0-N)

Prescription Monitoring Program & ED Information Exchange (SB575)

Status: Passed the Senate (39-Y 0-N)

Pharmacists Scope of Practice (SB1026)

Status: Passed the Senate (38-Y 2-N)

Link to my Dr.’s Note for more information: https://www.dunnavantdelivers.com/post/doctor-s-note-pharmacists-scope-of-practice


Other Legislation:

Virginia Data Commission (SB400)

Status: Passed the Senate (40-Y 0-N)

Mental Health & Public Safety App (SB 569)

Status: Passed the Senate (40-Y 0-N)

Grandparent Visitation (SB571)

Status: Passed the Senate (36-Y 4-N)

Link to my Dr.’s Note for more information: https://www.dunnavantdelivers.com/post/doctor-s-note-grandparent-visitation

Guardianship Supported Decision-Making Act (SB585)

Status: Passed the Senate (39-Y 0-N)

Updating Commonwealth Data Point (SB586)

Status: Passed the Senate (40-Y 0-N)

Individual Income Tax Subtraction for Low- and Middle-Income Students (SB1012)

Status: Passed the Senate (40-Y 0-N)

Kinship Foster Care, Training and Approval Processes

Status: Passed the Senate (40-Y 0-N)

Pet Burial (SB1070)

Status: Passed the Senate (40-Y 0-N)

Link to my Dr.’s Note for more information: https://www.dunnavantdelivers.com/post/doctor-s-note-pet-burial


Two of my bills have been incorporated into the Budget for this year:

Virginia Works Portal (SB363)

Link to my Dr.’s Note for more information: https://www.dunnavantdelivers.com/post/blog-workforce-portal

Student Growth Measurement System (SB367)

Link to my Dr.’s Note for more information: https://www.dunnavantdelivers.com/post/blog-k-12-legislative-update

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Critical Thinking Issues from the First Half of Session


Health Care Costs: The cost of health care continues to be a major issue facing Virginia. To address this, I introduced and co-patroned several pieces of legislation to make healthcare more accessible and affordable, including the bills listed above along with Association Health Plans SB235 and Group Health Plans SB861. However I was disappointed when one of my bills, SB568, did not pass out of committee. This legislation would have ensured that prescription rebates went to patients to lower the costs of prescriptions and not back into corporate pockets. This is why I decided to co-patron SB251, which requires licensure of Pharmacy Benefits Managers. This legislation will allow us to monitor the money and place ourselves in a better position to begin putting profits back into patients’ pockets to lower the costs of prescriptions.


In contrast to this, several bills passed mandating that health plans cover additional benefits. Each additional mandated benefit increases everyone’s health plan premiums. This kind of legislation is not addressing the number one priority stated by Virginians in the polls last year, which is that we need to work to lower health care costs.


Abortion Omnibus Bill: SB733 passed the Senate, with the Lieutenant Governor breaking the tied 20-Y 20-N vote. I did not not vote in support of this bill. People may agree with parts of this bill, but unfortunately everything has been rolled together into one “omnibus” bill. We know from the practice of medicine and even from recent Constitutional challenges to Virginia’s laws that twenty-four hour waiting periods are consistent with all other elective procedures, and according to the courts, not an obstacle to access. I do agree that ultrasound, like all standards of care, should not be required in code. Nurse practitioners cannot manage the severe complications of an abortion and therefore should not be preforming surgical abortions. The courts found again that adding those practitioners was not needed to ensure access. A physician who performs abortions and works with nurse practitioners even testified in our Education and Health Committee Meeting about the inappropriateness of expanding the scope to nurse practitioners, and yet NPs preforming surgical abortions was included in this bill.


I am very happy that the third trimester abortion bill did not come back this year, and I hope that my emphasis on how extreme that bill was became part of the deterrent from presenting it again this year.


Non-Discrimination: I fully believe in non-discrimination and personal freedom, and think that these are inherently Republican principles. You cannot have equal opportunity if you are discriminated against. In Virginia, our non discrimination laws don’t say ”there can be no discrimination,” they only protect the demographics that are explicitly listed. Assuming we all agree that discrimination is not ok, sometimes we need to add to that list so it is clearly defined. We have seen many bills this session to add to that list and I have supported them, including: the Virginia Values Act (SB868) and amendments to the Virginia Human Rights Act (SB712, SB50).


Guns: We are all horrified at the arbitrary loss of life we see with mass shootings. As a doctor, I know that if you do not treat the actual cause of a problem you will never fix it. No one, absolutely no one, knows how to fix this issue. I also know that the most important time to have disciplined critical thinking is when emotions are running high. Emotions are high right now. I keep hearing this session that ”we have to do something.” What we have to do is something that works. Those are two different things.


I support the Second Amendment. I also support the First Amendment and the Fourteenth, well, every amendment. I took an oath to protect the Constitution. I take that seriously.


So what do I think works? Prevention. My bill to create a 24/7 mental health hotline easily accessible on a phone app makes reporting of a threat equally accessible and these will be centrally reviewed 24/7 by our State Police Fusion Center, which is our state based terrorism prevention system.


What should we do if we think someone is a real threat to themselves or others? We remove the person and get them help. This involves entering a TDO (temporary detention order). Removing a gun does not protect someone who wants to hurt themselves or others. Not only did the “red flag” bill that passed the Senate not remove the person, it did not include any requirement or provisions that would ensure that the individual be evaluated or treated. This does not solve the problem.

I believe you also have to look at the harm a bill can cause and the “red flag” bill had the potential to infringe on our Second Amendment rights. A TDO better solves the problem once a risk is identified and the law is already in place and tested.


I also supported the universal background check bill, SB70, because I think it will prevent those who should not possess guns from circumventing protections through a private sale. More importantly, my vote allowed for leverage to make that bill better. If I am able to improve a bill where I can, this is a worthy action. In this case, bipartisan support resulted in an amendment that excluded all language involving transfers from the original bill. Before this amendment, you could not give a gun to family or friends without a background check, and after the amendment, only sales were included. The amendment also lowered the penalty from a felony to a misdemeanor. I also would not support any bill with a registry requirement.


Energy & The Economy:


Collective Bargaining: This session SB939 passed, which gives local governments the authority to pass an ordinance permitting employee groups to engage in collective bargaining. This would also permit strikes by government employees. There are many problems with this legislation, which is why I did not support it. With collective bargaining, counties like Henrico and Hanover will no longer be able to hire and retain the best employees in a fiscally responsible way. The cost burden will be placed on our taxpayers to implement collective bargaining, and it will be catastrophic. Funding solutions will become difficult for our local Board of Supervisors, and their hands will be tied when demands exceed available resources.


Minimum Wage: On a party line vote, the Senate passed legislation to raise the minimum wage to $11.50 by July 1, 2023. From there, the state will be carved into regions that will continue to increase based on median regions wages up to $15 an hour. I support an increase in the minimum wage and amending the bill to provide for regionalization makes it less bad; however, there is strong evidence this will harm incomes instead of helping. This boils down to a simple principle, can the government or the free market better ensure we thrive? I am firmly on the side of the free market, which is accountable to consumers instead of government bureaucracy. The low unemployment rate has organically increased wages in all areas. Government imposed minimum wage has consistently resulted in hourly workers losing hours with no net income gain. I believe we ensure families have economic success by investing in education and connecting low income workers so they qualify for better jobs. No one should have to live or support a family on a minimum wage job. That is the way the government successfully helps those with less advantages access the American dream. Tinkering with wages fails. This is a principle proved by comparing free market economies to those that are government run. How easy is it to get things done when you have to go through a bureaucratic process? I think about the IRS or DMV. I believe a small government is best and I want the government out of my bedroom, business and church.


Right to Work: SB426 was killed in committee, which would have repealed Virginia’s Right to Work law. As it stands, Virginians have the right to decide whether to join a union, and neither an employer nor a union that the worker has declined to join can require payment as a condition of employment. This is good business policy and good for our workers.


Energy: The energy bills that passed the Senate will put the cost of investing in new energy infrastructure on the ratepayers. Those who supported these bills talked about a promise to lower rates in the long run, but when have rates ever been lowered? Energy costs are like food costs, you have to pay them and they are fixed regardless of your income. Increased costs place a greater burden on low income Virginians, and we should not be increasing their costs to further an agenda. I want to develop battery storage for renewable energy and other innovative endeavors, but not at the expense of the ratepayers.


If this is such a great investment with such a high likelihood of return why won’t businesses take the risk instead of placing the burden on the ratepayer? Also, why does this need to be legislated instead of going through the review process undertaken by the State Corporation Commission?


Two years ago we passed an omnibus energy deal that designated solar and wind energy to be in the public interest and initiated a process to modernize the state’s power grid to make adoption of renewable energy easier. This legislation had bipartisan support and the process emphasized review and accountability to the State Corporation Commission (SCC). In fact, there was much debate about that oversight, and now we are circumventing it. The SCC is the advocate for the ratepayer. I cannot support legislation that has been proposed without the advocacy piece. I do, however, support the investments we previously made and will support that as it passes through this year.

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I will keep you updated as we move through the second half of session, and I will continue to post updates on my legislation and critical thinking issues on my website: www.dunnavantdelivers.com. You can also track my legislation as it moves through the House at lis.virginia.gov. Thank you for your continued support, and as always, please do not hesitate to reach out to my Senate office if we can be of help.