2022 General Assembly Legislative Update – Volume 12 Monkeypox, Sales Tax Holiday, New Laws, and More

August 5, 2022

Dear Friend,

It’s hard to believe it’s August already! I hope you are able to stay hydrated and cool this summer.  

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Health declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency, making federal resources available.  

Monkeypox is a virus from the same family as the smallpox virus, but is much less severe. Symptoms typically start with fever, headache, muscle aches, and tiredness. Lymph nodes might become swollen. After a few days, a distinctive rash begins on the face and then spreads over other parts of the body. 

Monkeypox can spread through direct contact with skin lesions or bodily fluids of an infected person, or contact with contaminated clothing or linens. Spread can also occur through respiratory droplets during prolonged, face-to-face contact. 

The Richmond/Henrico Health Department is offering vaccines to anyone who has come into contact with an infected person and individuals who are at higher risk of monkeypox exposure. For more information, visit here. You can also learn more from the CDC here

Virginia Sales Tax Holiday Weekend

We are three weeks away from the start of the 2022-2023 school year! 

This weekend is a good time to get a head start on Back to School shopping, get hurricane-ready, or buy those energy/water efficient appliances you’ve been eying with Virginia’s Annual Sales Tax Holiday. Today through August 7th at 11:59 pm, you can purchase qualifying school supplies, clothing, footwear, hurricane and emergency preparedness items, and Energy Star™ and WaterSense™ products without paying sales tax.

The following items are eligible:

  • School supplies, clothing, and footwear:

    • Qualified school supplies – $20 or less per item; and

    • Qualified clothing and footwear – $100 or less per item.

  • Hurricane and emergency preparedness products:

    • Portable generators – $1,000 or less per item;

    • Gas-powered chainsaws – $350 or less per item;

    • Chainsaw accessories – $60 or less per item; and

    • Other specified hurricane preparedness products – $60 or less per item.

  • ENERGY STAR™ and WaterSense™ products:

    • Qualifying ENERGY STAR™ or WaterSense™ products purchased for non-commercial home or personal use – $2,500 or less per item.

Get more information in the Sales Tax Holiday Guidelines.

New Virginia Laws in Effect

On July 1, new laws passed by the General Assembly took effect, including 10 that I sponsored. Take a look at those likely to impact you here. In case you missed it, you can watch my town hall for a recap of the session. You can also watch my discussion with The Commonwealth Institute For Fiscal Analysis President & CEO Ashley C. Kenneth about wins and missed opportunities for public school funding during the 2022 session, and priorities and challenges going into 2023.    

Vice President Harris Visits Richmond to Discuss Reproductive Rights

Last month, I had the privilege of welcoming Vice President Kamala Harris to SD9 and moderate a discussion with several of my General Assembly colleagues about protecting access to abortion in Virginia, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.

In 2020, I worked with Delegate Charniele Herring to pass the Reproductive Health Protection Act, repealing medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion. Now, Virginia is the safe haven for abortion care in the South – and we are going to keep it that way. 

While abortion remains legal in Virginia, several Republican legislators have proposed plans that would restrict or ban abortion, and the Governor has said he would “gleefully” sign any that get to his desk. So it was great to have Vice President Harris here, not only to hear what we have done and are doing in Virginia, but what she and President Biden can do to protect access to reproductive healthcare. 

You can watch video of the event posted by Blue Virginia here.

August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month

As the first member of the House of Delegates to be pregnant and breastfeed while in office, I’m proud of the work I’ve done to help support breastfeeding mothers, including designating August as Breastfeeding Awareness Month in Virginia. Part of this work is expanding breastfeeding rights! As a result:

  • Virginia law also protects breastfeeding teachers and students by directing all school boards to provide “breaks of reasonable length” and a private space (other than a bathroom) to pump at school. 

Learn more about breastfeeding rights in Virginia here.

In the News

Last month, I joined Dina Weinstein on WRIR’s Open Source RVA to discuss the overturning of Roe. Listen in here.
I also joined Renegade Capital for a conversation on building inclusive economies. Listen in here.

To contact me or my staff, please reach out to district09@senate.virginia.gov or (804) 698-7509. To keep up with all the action at the General Assembly and my work in the community, follow me on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.