It's Monday, Virginia! Here are your Virginia Updates for July 26 📬
Check out your weekly updates and follow us @we_vote_va to stay up to date on your State!
We have news on;
- Health Coverage Expansion
- Marijuana Update
- School Mask Mandate
- Governor's Race Update
- Vaccine Update
🔶Learn more about the COVID-19 and the vaccine @ www.vaccinate.virginia.gov
⚠️FREE COVID-19 TESTING & VACCINES: Counties across Virginia continue to offer free COVID-19 testing and vaccines. As COVID starts to rise again, we will repost all free testing sites and vaccination clinics when they become available on our Instagram and Facebook.
✅Follow us to stay best up to date on all that’s going on in Virginia and find your Virginia Updates every Monday at 5pm!
Health Coverage Expansion
Undocumented pregnant women in Virginia are now eligible for health insurance coverage during their pregnancy and up to 60 days postpartum through Virginian's Medicaid agency.
The new coverage went into effect earlier this month as part of a federal waiver application and $4.9 million in state general funds approved by Virginia lawmakers this year.
Women who make up to 205% of the federal poverty line are eligible for coverage.
Coverage applies to DACA recipients, women with expired visas who’ve remained in the country and women who entered the U.S. without any legal status. Women who receive services face no risk of deportation, according to the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services. DMAS estimates that between 4,000 and 5,000 women are eligible for the new coverage.
Virginia marijuana laws have loosened somewhat, but that hasn't changed much for employers.
Under the law that went into effect July 1, employers can still test as a condition for employment and take disciplinary action against employees for marijuana use, though the change in the law may prompt employers to revisit some of their internal policies.
There are some employment protections for people who use cannabis oil for medical reasons with a doctor’s note. But even with a medical reason, employees still can be prohibited from using cannabis at work.
In more marijuana news, Attorney General Mark Herring says he plans to hire a lawyer dedicated to marijuana law now that Virginia has legalized personal use.
School Mask Mandate
The Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Department of Education released new health mitigation and masking guidance for PreK-12 schools, leaving the decision of which specific masking policies to implement up to individual school systems.
The VDH “strongly recommends” that elementary schools require students, teachers and staff to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status, and that middle and high schools implement indoor mask requirements for students, teachers and staff who are not fully vaccinated.
The updated guidance also urges school systems to implement 3-feet of physical distancing “to the greatest extent possible,” though schools should not reduce in-person learning in order to maintain a minimum distance requirement, according to the VDH press release.
For the first time since 1985, the Virginia Bar Association did not host the debate between Virginia's Gubernatorial Candidates.
Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin announced he wouldn't participate in what would have been the first debate on July 24, but said he is willing to take part in three debates with Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe.
Youngkin accepted to participate in the following debates:
Hampton University, Liberty University, and the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce in late August
Appalachian School of Law in Grundy on September 16
A to-be-determined host and location in mid-October
McAuliffe previously agreed to five debates with Youngkin, and Liberation candidate Princess Blanding has not yet been invited to debate with either gubernatorial candidate.
See you next week!