Virginia Updates for March 8

Happy International Women’s Day! We want to thank all the incredible women across the world doing great work to help our communities everyday 💟

For today, we’re excited to finally share your latest newsletter after yesterday's unfortunate computer mishaps. Thanks to great tech-support, we’re back online to share the latest in Virginia News.


We have updates on the rising Gas Prices across the country, the General Assembly’s last week in Special Session and then we jump into Tax Cuts and Refunds. In other news, we have trending headlines, like legislators looking in Delta-9, and wrap-up with COVID-19 data.


We have news on;

▪️ Gas Prices in VA

▪️ General Assembly Week 8

▪️ Tax Cuts & Refunds

▪️ In other news, Virginia Headlines

▪️ COVID-19 Data

▪️ Vaccine Data

⛽️ Gas Prices in VA


Virginia drivers are paying the highest gas prices they have in history.


The current gas average is $4.10 per gallon as of 3 a.m. Tuesday, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic. That accounts for a 12 cent increase overnight from $3.98 per gallon on Monday.


Speaking to ChamberRVA Monday, Youngkin said there is not much he can do in his role to impact inflation. He said a bad energy policy at the federal level is part of the problem. He then doubled down on his push to suspend Virginia’s gas tax increase for one year.


His proposal is included in the House’s budget for fiscal year 2023 but not in the Senate’s plan. The two sides will have to come to a consensus through closed-door negotiations. A similar bill that aimed to temporarily roll back a gas tax increase of 5 cents-per-gallon was passed in the House but it failed in the Senate last week due to concerns over cutting transportation funding.



🏛 General Assembly Week 8


It's the final week of the General Assembly 2022 Special Session. As legislators begin to wrap-up the budget and more, here are some bills that passed and have been signed by Governor Youngkin.


HB 55: Voter registration; list maintenance. Requires the State Registrar of Vital Records to submit to the Department of Elections a weekly list of decedents rather than monthly as previously required. This bill ensures Virginia’s voter rolls are as up-to-date as possible when issuing mail-in ballots and when heading into election day.


HB 195: Polling places; waiver in certain circumstances. Allow the Department of Elections to issue a waiver and establish a polling place that does not meet the current location requirements that a polling place must be within a precinct or within one mile of a precinct’s borders.


HB 971: Conformity of the Commonwealth's taxation system with the Internal Revenue Code; Rebuild Virginia grants and Paycheck Protection Program loans. Would conform Virginia’s tax code to the federal Internal Revenue Code in part to grant Virginia businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic significant tax relief. This bill would save Virginia individuals and business taxpayers $201 million in taxes.



💵 Tax Cuts & Refunds Coming Soon


Virginia taxpayers will likely get some money back later this year. The General Assembly is expected to approve one-time rebates to eligible state income tax filers but lawmakers are still debating how much.


Here are the two versions and how they compare:


House Bill:

  • Pay individuals up to $300

  • Pay married couples up to $600

Senate Bill:

  • Pay individuals up to $250

  • Pay married couples up to $500


Governor Youngkin will still have a chance to make changes after the House and Senate decide on an amount in budget negotiations. The General Assembly will vote on his amendments during an April veto session. Taxpayers should expect to wait several months for these one-time payments.


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🗞 In other news, Virginia Headlines


Wavy News - Delta will not resume service at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport. In an email, airport officials said, “We maintain a good relationship with Delta and the ball is in their court as far as a resumption of service.” Delta temporarily suspended its air service out of PHF back in 2020 due to COVID-19.


WRIC News - As Virginia puts recreational marijuana sales on hold, lawmakers are cracking down on another widely-sold substance that’s causing safety concerns. Found in THC, Delta-8 is causing concern after poison centers are reporting an increase in calls related to Delta-8, many of which are resulting in hospitalization.


VPM - Youngkin administration blocks release of public record requests. Governor Youngkin’s office has refused to hand over submissions to the “tipline” he created for parents to submit feedback on state schools. Now his administration is also blocking inquiries into who made public records requests, how they were handled and how many the governor’s office received.


Megan Rhyne, executive director of the Virginia Coalition for Open Government, says the administration and other state officials appear to be misinterpreting the Virginia Freedom of Information Act and the governor is not exempt from the FOIA.



COVID-19 & Vaccine Data


The Virginia Department of Health reported Monday that the statewide total for COVID-19 cases is 1,648,179. The 1,648,179 consists of 1,175,830 confirmed and 472,349 probable cases. There are 19,060 COVID-19 deaths, and Virginia’s 7-day positivity rate is now at 6.0%.


Vaccine Summary: As of Monday, March 7

  • Total Doses Administered: 15,452,108

  • People Fully Vaccinated: 6,198,438 or 72.2%

  • % of Adults (18+) Fully Vaccinated: 82.1%

  • People Vaccinated with at least 1 dose: 6,957,471 or 81.0%

  • % of Adults (18+) Vaccinated with at least 1 dose: 91.9%

  • People Vaccinated with Booster / Third dose: 2,830,305

For more information on Virginia's vaccination efforts, please visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA.


 

Thank you for joining us this week! Be kind and take care.


- Maria Reynoso, Editor-in-Chief