Email Updates

9/1/20 Facts from the Floor: Special Session Edition

September 2, 2020
Dear Friend,

As we wrap up week two of our General Assembly Special Session, we continue to change the state of Virginia with one party (the Democrats) having unilateral control over the legislative and executive branches. This past week, the Senate continued to meet in person at the Science Museum of Virginia (despite one senator being quarantined at home due to a positive COVID-19 test last week). We spent many days in heated debate over several issues that no one campaigned on but that have come to light over the past several months of national unrest.

One of the most contentious bills we voted on this past week was SB 5032 which removed the mandatory minimum sentence of six months in jail for assault and battery against a law-enforcement officer. It also allows a judge or jury to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor (from a felony) in cases where an officer is not hurt. The bill passed along party lines with a vote of 21 (D) – 15 (R). I voted against this bill because I believe we should support our law enforcement officers by having stiff penalties in place as a deterrent for assaulting an officer. Especially in today’s climate, the message this bill sends to our law enforcement and to would-be aggressors is not right in my opinion. 

Another bill that passed on a party line vote of 21 (D) – 16 (R) was SB 5120 which is the companion bill to a budget amendment that allocates $2,000,000 for pre-paid absentee ballot stamps and ballot “drop boxes” (among other things). It also mandates the general registrar to notify the absentee voter of any ballot errors within three days of such finding. The absentee voter shall then be entitled to make necessary corrections before noon on the third day AFTER the election and his ballot shall be counted. I voted against this bill as I worry about keeping our elections fair and secure, especially after passing legislation during our regular session eliminating the requirement to show photo ID and allowing for no excuse absentee voting among other changes. I believe everyone has the opportunity to vote in this country and there is no voter “suppression” occurring in the way we currently conduct elections. Opening the door to fraudulent elections is NEVER the answer.

One thing I have heard from many of you since March and the beginning of COVID-19 is the question of why our Governor is able to mandate executive order after executive order with no input from the legislative branch. As it currently stands, Virginia law gives the Governor unilateral authority to declare a state of emergency for an unlimited amount of time without involving the legislature. This past week we voted on FIVE bills in committee which addressed this imbalance of power (SB 5001, SB 5008, SB 5048, SB 5077, SB 5111) including two (which I co-patroned) which proposed that the Governor’s emergency orders be limited to 30 days or 45 days before calling back the General Assembly. I voted in favor of all five bills, but all five were killed one-by-one in committee along party line votes of 8(D)-6 (R). I believe that no matter which party is represented in the Executive branch, the Governor (one person acting independently) should not be allowed to have this much power for an unlimited amount of time. 

Monday morning in my General Laws committee, we voted on a bill adding a civil penalty of not more than $500 as a punishment for people who do not follow the Governor’s executive orders. Currently it is a Class 1 misdemeanor only (which is not often enforced), but adding this fine allows people to be fined fairly easily for not following mandates like mandatory masks or gathering restrictions. I voted against this bill (which passed 9-5) because in my opinion, we should not make it easier to hand out monetary punishments to people and families who are already struggling financially, nor do I feel it is right to fine people for living their lives in a manner they feel is responsible.

From now until we are finished with the business of special session, we will be reporting to Richmond Wednesdays through Fridays. This allows us to do our “other jobs” Monday and Tuesday which is great because I miss my patients and helping people one-on-one. Although representing the Seventh District and having a seat at the table governing the Commonwealth is the honor of a lifetime, it is good to keep up with my regular job as a primary care geriatric nurse practitioner!
I thank you all for being engaged and for following state politics. Now more than ever, I need people to understand what is happening in Virginia and to be vocal and involved. Please forward my email to your friends who are concerned about the direction of our Commonwealth and keep them “in the know”. Let me know if there is anything I or my office can do to help you all navigate through any challenges you may be experiencing. We are here to help! 

Take care,
Jen

Election Reform
The battle in the Virginia General Assembly for fair and unbiased elections (as printed in today’s Richmond Times)……




Navy License Plate: 2021 SessionI’m proud to be the legislative sponsor for a US Navy specialty license plate in Virginia! There have been 210 prepaid plates sold but need to get to 450 before I can introduce it in the General Assembly during regular session. Thank you NAVY PLATE Virginia for helping to make this license plate a reality! Click here for more info:https://www.navyplatevirginia.com


A Tour of Richmond


Steve’s Airplane Build
Most people have cars in their garage but not us! For eleven years Steve has been building a kit airplane in our garage (keeps him out of trouble!) I am so proud of him because this past week he was able to paint it Navy blue and is about ready to stencil on the stars and bars so it looks just like a WWII plane!


If you are overwhelmed or need help finding specific answers to questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office. The email is: district07@senate.virginia.gov and our phone number is: 757-990-3080. As always, it continues to be an honor to serve and represent you all as the State Senator from the 7th district. Stay safe and well out there!

8/25/20 Facts from the Floor: Special Session Edition

August 25, 2020
Dear Friend,

We’re back! The Senate reported for work at noon last Wednesday and dug right in to doing the work of the people to debate and vote on bills related to the budget, criminal justice reform, and COVID-19 issues. Or so we thought. There have been over 200 bills submitted so far for this special session which is now predicted to be at least three weeks long. The first week was off to a rough start…. The House left Richmond after a few hours and decided to work virtually from home (raising a whole host of logistical questions and accountability issues- plus they continued to collect per diem $210/day while at home). The rules for the House and Senate were never agreed upon so many legislators have filed more than 3 bills and many do not deal with the issues defined by the special session. Public comment on bills in committee was taken virtually but many who signed up to speak had technical issues and were not heard. Also of note, our morning prayer which we say after the Pledge of Allegiance has been turned into a “moment of silence” at a time when prayer is more important than ever.

The Science Museum was the same set up as the veto session we held in May. We were spaced about ten feet apart, we had hand sanitizer at each desk, and we were required to wear masks all day. We now have TWO senators in plexi-glass boxes who have health issues and do not wear masks. Interestingly, there were very few press in the room with us as we started this session. Normally, the press sits in a certain area and types away all day while bills are debated and voted on. I’m not sure if they are waiting until we begin the floor session or if they are just afraid to report on all the bad bills out there.

This past week we began the discussion of criminal justice reform. There was much debate between the two parties with Democrats continually pushing for rights of criminals while Republicans continually advocated and defended victims’ rights. Although I do not sit on the Judiciary Committee, I know they have started hearing bills and voting on which ones will make it to the floor of the Senate. A few of the bills they heard this past week include:

–     SB 5010 (Norment- R): Increases the penalty for committing an assault or an assault and battery against a judge, lawyer, law enforcement officer, EMS, or firefighter from a Class 6 felony with a mandatory term of confinement of six months to a Class 5 felony with a mandatory term of confinement of one year. The bill also provides that if such violation occurs during a state of emergency then such person is guilty of a Class 3 felony with a mandatory term of confinement of two years. This bill failed out of committee along a party line vote of 9 (D)- 6(R).

–     SB 5032 (Surrovell-D): Eliminates the mandatory minimum term of confinement for an assault and battery committed against a judge, lawyer, law enforcement officer, EMS, or firefighter and provides that such crime can no longer be committed as a simple assault and must result in a bodily injury. This bill passed out of committee along a party line vote of 9 (D)-5 (R).

–     SB 5035 (Hashmi-D): Establish law enforcement citizen review board (https://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?202+sum+SB5035). This bill passed out of committee along party line vote of 8(D)- 5 (R).

There were several bills to hear in Education and Health including my school nurse bill (see below) and nursing home isolation bill (see picture below). Both of these bills passed out of committee with the school nurse bill headed to the Senate Finance Committee where it will be up to the committee (& Governor) if he wants to prioritize spending for school nurses or not. My nursing home bill addresses the isolation we have placed on our residents in these communities and requires long-term care facilities to provide once/week visits either virtually or socially distant in person with a family member or loved one (following CDC & facility guidelines). The nursing home bill will move to the floor of the Senate to be voted on hopefully this week. Other bills which moved through the committee included a bill for transparency in communicable disease reporting at nursing homes, expansion of tele-health services, and paid sick leave up to 14 days for teachers exposed to COVID-19 (sent to the Senate Finance Committee). Bills that failed included school vouchers, requiring schools to give students technology devices and internet service if virtual learning is required, and making community college dual enrollment courses for students in grades 11 and 12 available through the Virtual Virginia program.

Including my bill (SB 5022), there were four Senators who presented bills to expand worker’s compensation to cover law enforcement, firefighters, and first responders exposed to COVID-19. When more than one legislator has the same idea for a bill, they are all rolled into one bill with normally the senior lawmaker retaining the bill number and authorship. My bill was, therefore, rolled into Senator Saslaw’s SB 5066 and I became chief co-patron. This bill passed out of committee 12-3 and moves to the Senate Finance Committee for debate and a vote before getting to the floor of the Senate. The bill was also expanded to cover healthcare workers and correctional officers.

The list goes on and on but the last bill I’ll mention is SB 5120 which allocates $2,000,000 to spend on stamps for pre-paid absentee ballots for this year’s November election. This bill passed out of the Senate Finance committee yesterday on a party line vote of 11(D) – 5 (R ). Apparently of all the spending priorities in Virginia, this one is at the forefront for the Democrats (not education, healthcare, roads, etc.). In short, your taxes are paying for absentee ballot stamps for everyone. The bill also states that the general registrar must notify the absentee voter of any ballot errors within three days of such finding. The absentee voter then shall be entitled to make necessary corrections before noon on the third day AFTER the election and his ballot shall be counted. Absentee ballots may now be returned via mail, in person to registrar, or to a “drop-off” location (which is new and unprecedented for Virginia). Check out the bill here: https://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?202+sum+SB5120

All the bills I discussed above are beginning their journey and moving through the Senate committee process. They will still need to be voted on by all 40 Senators on the floor of the Senate. Then the bills will need to go to the House committees then House floor then sent to the Governor’s desk for signing before becoming actual laws. I will be sure to keep you posted on their outcome!

If you remember nothing else, remember these two things: 1- the media is selective and is powerful. Make sure you are getting the whole story from an unbiased source every time. 2- Elections have consequences. Where do your priorities align? It is a numbers game up there and there is a unilateral Democratic majority in each lawmaking body in our Commonwealth. This is not good representative government in my opinion and it needs to change. 2021 and 2023 are coming. Vote!
Take care,JenFacebook Updates from Special Session

First Day Back (8/18)And we’re back…. off to a slow start discussing rules and procedures…. #SpecialSession2020




House of Delegates (8/18)Here is a picture of where the House of Delegates met today (VCU Siegel Center). What you need to know is that while the Senate sat and held committeee meetings in person at the Science Museum in Richmond, the House majority voted today to go home and conduct the special session 2020 via Zoom while legislators are paid tax-free per diem ($210/day) from their homes without the need for travel, food, or lodging. I’m not a lawyer but that just doesn’t sound right….!




Click Here to Read News ArticleSchool Nurse Bill (SB5004) (8/19)* Big news! SB5004 – my school nurse bill- was passed by the Health and Education committee! It now heads to Finance committee to be heard. I’m thankful for all the support from both sides of the aisle that we have received for this bill!



Nursing Home Visitation (SB5042) (8/19)* A bill very important to me passed out of Education & Health committee … my bill, SB5042, requires nursing homes to allow virtual or socially distant caregiver visits at a minimum of once per week and to communicate the visitor policy in writing for families. Being able to advocate for our older adults is an honor and I am proud to be their voice! Thank you to all of you who spoke in support of my bill today. It will go to the floor of the Senate in a few days. Please email or call you representatives to continue to support it!


Click Here to Read News ArticleCriminal Justice Reform (8/20)At the end of each day of session, we make time for “Points of Personal Privilege” where any senator can stand and speak their opinion on any subject for as long as they’d like.Last week’s Personal Privilege time was filled with an unscheduled (almost hour long) debate between Democrats defending criminal justice reform and Republicans defending victims rights.
There are many bills (some good but many bad) concerning police and criminal justice reform that are beginning to be heard in committee meetings this week.
Check them out here:https://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?202+sbj+SBJ
Click here to watch session:http://virginia-senate.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3


Election Reform (8/21)What would you do with $2,000,000?! Virginia will be spending that much on prepaid postage for absentee ballots this November if SB 5120 passes in special session. The bill also states that the general registrar must notify the absentee voter of any ballot errors within three days of such finding.
The absentee voter then shall be entitled to make necessary corrections before noon on the third day AFTER the election and his ballot shall be counted. Absentee ballots may now be returned via mail, in person to registrar, or to a “drop-off” location.


Happenings from the Homefront 8/17/2020

August 17, 2020
Hello Friends,

Tomorrow is the big day…. The General Assembly will reconvene by direction of the Governor for the 2020 Special Session. Per the Governor, our discussions and debates are limited to budget adjustments, criminal justice and police reform, and COVID related legislation. For those of you interested in the play-by-play of what will happen in Richmond, check out this link for a list of all the bills proposed thus far: 

https://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?202+lst+ALL

You’ll see that there’s quite a wide range of things both House Delegates and Senators have filed ranging from removal of DMV inspection requirement to ensuring there is a religious exemption for the COVID vaccine. One of the most exciting bills proposed is a bill to limit the executive powers of the Governor and his ability to declare a state of emergency unilaterally without involving the General Assembly. This bill has been proposed by multiple legislators and is an idea that I am very supportive of going into special session. Also filed is a 33-page criminal justice omnibus bill, proposed by Democratic Senator Mamie Locke, which encompasses all of the Democratic police and criminal justice reform ideas into one very long bill (SB 5030).

We have heard we will be limited to introducing three bills. My three bills deal with mandatory school nurses (SB 5004), expanding worker’s compensation for law enforcement and first responders to cover COVID19 related issues (SB 5022), and a nursing home isolation bill which requires virtual or in person visits once/week for nursing home residents and their families (SB 5042).

The Senate will be meeting once again in the Virginia Science Museum where we can socially distance safely. The House will be meeting in the VCU Siegel Center. Proposed bills will be heard in committee meetings first which will be open to public comment virtually. See http://virginia-senate.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3  for more up to date information on how to watch the sessions and/or participate in public comment.

I promise to do my part and keep you all informed as best I can with what happens next week. Stay tuned to social media and look out for next week’s newsletter. I’m sure there will be much to report! Until then, take care and stay safe. I’ll be in touch!

-Jen


Click Here to See Introduced Legislation for Special Session

Second Annual”Soiree on the Bay”with Senator Jen Kiggans
Reserve your spot today
Join us for an evening OUTDOORS on the banks of the Lynnhaven River to see friends and meet people who are interested in the future of Virginia politics and policies. Jen will give a summary of the General Assembly Special Session (to be held August 18, 2020). In addition, we will hear from Republican candidate for the 2nd District U.S. House of Representatives, Hon. Scott Taylor, and the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, LTCOL (Ret) Daniel Gade. We hope you can be a part of this annual event and look forward to seeing you there!


Celebrating our Summer InternsWe celebrated an awesome group of interns who helped us this summer last week! They assembled flags for our July 4th flag project, put up “Hero’s Work Here” signs at law enforcement and medical offices, did a beach clean-up, helped research legislative issues for me, & so much more. We even had them research and do mock debates on many of the issues we voted on during this past session! As they all get ready to head back to school in some form, we thank them for all their hard work and hope we’ve been able to inspire some of them to be involved in their communities and government in the future!


News Updates
Could COVID-19 make a school nurse requirement in Virginia a reality?


I am introducing this “School Nurse Bill” because I want our kids to safely return to school, but I also hear the concerns of staff, parents, and teachers. School nurses are an essential part of health assessment, infection control, and wellness education. They will be key players in ensuring our kids can return to the classroom as soon as possible!
Click here to see the article


Small Business Visit
Last week I toured the new Gather 757 office space in Virginia Beach! This new trend in co-working allows a collection of people who need an office to share a space with other small businesses and employees who might otherwise work separately. This 28,000 sq foot space is located above the Cheesecake Factory in Town Center of Virginia Beach and is stocked with all the office amenities you need and beautiful local beach and bay decor. Check them out!https://workatgather.com/location/virginia-beach/


Community Health Event
Delegate Alex Q. Askew and I joined the Virginia Beach Health Department at a free community-based COVID testing event at Level Green Park! A big thank you to the Virginia Beach Medical Reserve Corps volunteers who came out to do the testing and to everyone who helped make the event a success!



COVID-19 Updates

Cases in Virginia:
The Virginia Department of Health website continues to update the status of cases in Virginia. As of 9 a.m. today August 17th, 103,016 positive cases have been reported here in Virginia with 4,505 probable cases. Additionally, we currently have 5,444 cases in Virginia Beach and 4,002 cases in Norfolk.

New COVID-19 Measures in Hampton Roads Region
Governor Ralph Northam outlined new actions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the Hampton Roads region, which has seen a recent increase in new cases, hospitalizations, and positive tests. 

The new restrictions will apply to the Cities of Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Hampton, Williamsburg, Newport News, Poquoson, James City County, and York County.
Beginning at midnight on Friday, July 31, restrictions will prohibit the on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol in any restaurant, dining establishment, food court, brewery, microbrewery, distillery, winery, or tasting room after 10:00pm. All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms must close by midnight. Indoor dining in these establishments will be limited to 50 percent capacity. Public and private in-person gatherings over 50 people will be prohibited, down from a previous cap of 250 people.

The full text of Executive Order Sixty-Eight and Order of Public Health Emergency Eight is available here. Read the order in Spanish here.

PreK-12 School Reopening Guidelines
Governor Northam announced a phased approach that allows Virginia schools to slowly resume in-person classes for summer school and the coming academic year. 

Detailed information on each phase can be found in the guidance document available here.

VDOE has also developed comprehensive guidance to aid schools in planning for a return to in-person instruction and activities. “Recover, Redesign, Restart” can be found here.

A press release on this announcement can be found here.

Phased Reopening Plans
Governor Northam announced that his Administration has released its Phase 3 Guidelines for all business sectors. 

An online PDF version of that document can be found here.
For more information and detailed guidelines please visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia.

Emergency Temporary Standard Translations
As a reminder, on July 15, the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board adopted COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards, which are the first of its kind in the nation. These standards can be found here, and will be enforced for six months after posting this week (the week of July 27).

DMV Appointments
To schedule an appointment with the DMV, click here. These appointments can be made for up to 3 months out currently.

Additional Opportunity Available to Apply for Real Estate and Personal Property Tax Relief Program
The Department of Human Services will reopen the application portal for the Real Estate and Personal Property Tax Relief Program at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 12. Applications will be accepted through Monday, Aug. 31. The program provides direct relief for households where an occupant has lost their employment, had their work hours reduced or has been furloughed due to COVID-19. Financial relief comes in the form of a check for the approved relief amount to the named recipient. A maximum relief of $500 for residential real estate taxes and $250 for personal property tax has been established for eligible households. The amount of relief will be the billed total, or the benefit maximum, whichever is lower. Each household could potentially receive both benefits for a maximum relief amount of $750. Only one application may be filed per household. 

Any impacted household, whether they have paid their tax bill or not, is encouraged to apply if they meet the eligibility requirements. To be eligible for consideration, potential beneficiaries must:
Provide proof of eligibility criteria
Have established Virginia Beach residency as of March 1, 2020
Be unemployed at any time after March 1, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Provide a copy of their 2020 real estate and/or personal property tax bills Potential beneficiaries may only claim their primary residence for relief – no rental or second properties are eligible. Applications will be processed as they are received. Please note that any accrued late fees, penalties or interest are the responsibility of the bill holder and are not eligible for relief. Additional information, including necessary documents for proof of eligibility and applications, can be found online at VBgov.com/COVID19TaxRelief.

$70 Million Rebuild VA Economic Recovery Fund
The state launched a $70 million grant program for small businesses and nonprofit organizations whose normal operations were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will be made available through Rebuild VA, a new economic recovery fund, and grants of up to $10,000 will be awarded to approximately 7,000 applicants to cover eligible expenses. 
Applications for the Rebuild VA Grant Program will be available beginning on Monday, August 10.

A one-pager on Rebuild VA is available here. See here for a press release on the Rebuild VA program.

Virginia COPES
The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS), in conjunction with Mental Health America of Virginia, has established a COVID-19 Response Non-Emergency Warm Line for those struggling with distress, grief, or trauma caused by COVID-19. Trained staff provide strength-based support, resilience building strategies and community resources and referrals for those in need.

Virginia COPES Warm Line
Call or TEXT Toll Free: 877-349-64289 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday – Friday5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Saturday – Sunday  
You can find more information on Virginia COPES and other resources available to Community Service Boards from state agencies here.

City Services Bill Pandemic Relief Program
Starting July 1, the City Services Bill Pandemic Relief Program will provide financial assistance to qualifying residential customers who are experiencing financial hardship due to the impacts of COVID-19. The Virginia Beach City Services Bill includes charges for solid waste collection, storm water, sanitary sewer, and water services. The pandemic relief program will provide financial assistance to qualifying applicants based on the services charged on their monthly bills. Relief is not guaranteed and is dependent on availability of funding.

Eligibility Requirements:
-Applicant must be a Virginia Beach resident with an active City Services account-Applicant must be listed as an account holder on the requested City Services account-Account must have been active from March 2020 or later-Account must have an unpaid balance due from March 2020 or later (prior balances are ineligible)-Applicant has been unemployed, furloughed or laid off in March 2020 or later-Applications can be submitted online at https://vb311.force.com/cspandemicrelief. Due to anticipated program demand, Public Utilities staff cannot provide application status updates. Customers must use the online application portal to submit and check the status of their application. Customers are encouraged to create an account when submitting their application so that they can easily check their application status.
Customers without internet access can request a mail-in application by phone at (757) 385-4160; however, status updates are not available with this option.
For additional program details and requirements, visit www.vbgov.com/CSPandemicRelief.

Virginia Department of Social Services offering residents cooling assistance
The Virginia Department of Social Services said in a news release Friday it’s accepting applications for cooling assistance during the summer months. Households approved to get cooling assistance will get a one-time payment of $300. One-time payments of $100 will also go to 113,000 households who received fuel or crisis help during the most recent heating season. These payments will go directly to vendors to credit the eligible household’s account, the release said. Those eligible will get notifications in the mail this week. While the cooling assistance program is provided yearly, the $100 payments are new, and part of the CARES Act funding program, said a spokeswoman for the department. The cooling assistance payments are offered through the department’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which pays electric bills, security deposits for electricity, central air conditioning system or heat pump repairs, whole-house fans, ceiling or attic fans and window unit air conditioners. To qualify, households must have a child less than 6 years of age, a person living with a disability or an adult aged 60 or older.There’s also an income requirement. This year, the maximum gross monthly income before taxes for a one-person household is $1,383 and $2,839 for a household of four.The program is accepting applications until Aug. 17. Applications can be filled out online via CommonHelp, or by calling the Enterprise Customer Service Center at 1-855-635-4370, or contacting your local department of social services.

Long-term Care
Governor Northam announced new guidelines and testing requirements for reopening long-term care facilities, and outlined how the Commonwealth will direct $246 million, primarily from federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding, to support long-term care facilities in their response to COVID-19. 
In addition, the Governor is directing the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to make public facility-specific data regarding COVID-19 cases and deaths associated with long-term care facilities. Facility-specific data can be found here.

CVS Drive-thru Testing Locations
Governor Northam announced that CVS would be opening 39 new drive-thru testing locations across Virginia. Please input your location here to find a testing location near you.

Driver’s License Renewal Extension
Governor Northam announced an amendment to Executive Directive Seven (ED 7) to further extend the validity of credentials issued by DMV. The Fourth Amended ED 7 extends the validity of every driver, vehicle, and special identification credential due to expire on or before July 31, 2020 for up to an additional 90 days not to exceed October 31, 2020. This extension is in addition to the prior extension of up to 90 days not to exceed August 31, 2020. This means that a customer whose credential expires between March 15 and April 30 has an additional 90 days added to the prior 90 days, effectively 180 days, beyond the expiration date to renew. Customers whose credential expires between May 1 and July 31 will have up to 180 days beyond the expiration date to renew, not to exceed October 31, 2020. Customers with a credential that expires after July 31 must renew the credential before its expiration date. This extension will give customers with expiring credentials more time to schedule appointments to complete their DMV business.

Housing Resources
Please click here for a comprehensive overview of housing resources available to homeowners, renters, and landlords.
To identify the local Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP) administering organization for a household and to conduct a self-assessment for eligibility, visit dhcd.virginia.gov/eligibility or call 211 VIRGINIA by dialing 2-1-1 from your phone. Tenants and homeowners are encouraged to know their rights and responsibilities and pay their rent and mortgages on time if they are able. Visit StayHomeVirginia.com for additional information and resources.

Mental Health
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Coastal Virginia) is one of our local resources here to provide help. Especially now, check in on those you worry about & be mindful of your own mental health. The NAMI helpline number is: 1-800-950-6264 (M-F, 10am-5pm). The National Suicide Prevention Helpline (available 24/7) is: 1-800-273-8255.NAMI Coastal Virginia also provides the following support:—-Online Support Groups: https://www.namicoastalvirginia.org/online-support-groups
Hampton Roads COVID-19 Resources: https://www.namicoastalvirginia.org/covid-19-resources

Action Alliance Statewide Hotline
Many Virginians are unaware that sexual and domestic violence programs are still open – providing crisis services, emergency shelter, and resource-based support – or that they can still go to the hospital for care after trauma/assault. The Virginia Statewide Hotline is still here (24 hours a day, 365 days a year) and ready to help, and so are sexual and domestic violence programs all over the state. Call: 1.800.838.8238 or Text: 804.793.9999.

Behavioral Health Resources for COVID 19
Community Services Boards (CSBs) across Virginia have transitioned some in-person strategies to work remotely. Many Virginians may be in need of additional mental health or behavioral health support and services. Linked here is a document that is updated periodically with activities and resources from local CSBs.

Frequently Asked Questions from Workers:
Given the substantial economic impact that COVID-19 has had on Virginia’s workforce, the Northam Administration has released a comprehensive FAQ document to address questions that workers may have. That document can be found here.Also available in Spanish: haga clic aquí

Additional Information:For a comprehensive list of actions Governor Northam has announced to combat COVID-19 in Virginia, visit virginia.gov/coronavirus.

The COVID19JIC@vdem.virginia.gov email is now operational. The email address account will be monitored by our Joint Information Center (JIC) staff and relayed to the appropriate subject matter expert. If you have questions, please reach out using the above email.
There are so many resources to help out there. If you are overwhelmed or need help finding specific answers to questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office. The email is: district07@senate.virginia.gov and our phone number is: 757-990-3080. As always, it continues to be an honor to serve and represent you all as the State Senator from the 7th district. Stay safe and well out there! We can get through this together!

For information about best practices from the CDC, Click Here

For updated information from the Virginia Department of Health, Click Here

For updates from the City of Virginia Beach, Click Here



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Like our daily routines, how we conduct politics has changed as well. We have taken a break from political fundraising for many months but are starting to begin to ask for support again in the form of small donations as we go forward. Please consider a small donation if possible to help me defend the values that we hold dear as Virginians.
Donate Here

Happenings from the Homefront 8/3/20

August 3, 2020
Hello Friends,

We finally have a date for a special session for the General Assembly to meet again in Richmond: August 18, 2020. After months of asking to be a part of the conversation, the Governor has asked the legislative branch of Virginia’s government to finally have a say in some of the issues facing Virginians right now. Keep in mind, the Governor has stated that the agenda for this special session will be adopting budget changes based on the revised revenue forecast, criminal and social justice reforms, and legislation related to the emergency of COVID-19. 

Many of you have reached out with specific concerns and issues you would like to see addressed during this special session. I read all of my emails and social media messages and hear your concerns. Expect this session to be short (one week or less is what I’ve heard), but I promise you I will keep you informed about what the majority party will be pushing to accomplish.

At this short session, I will be introducing a few bills of my own. One bill is to require a school nurse to be present in every school in Virginia (it currently is not a requirement and many schools don’t have a healthcare provider in place). In my opinion, this bill is important to facilitate getting our kids back to school in person while assuring the safety of our staff, students, and their families. Another bill I will be bringing is a bill to expand worker’s comp coverage for our law enforcement and first responders to include illness, hospitalizations, and long-term health issues stemming from COVID-19.

My last bill for special session will be a nursing home isolation bill which will require long-term care facilities in Virginia to establish a plan for virtual or socially distant family visitation a minimum of once a week and to communicate that plan in writing to families and residents. I have heard the most heart-breaking stories over the past few months of healthy residents who are deteriorating due to loneliness and lack of family caregiving. Our already over-worked nursing home staff needs that familial support to ensure residents are receiving the proper care they deserve. 

There is also much work to do to in Virginia to support our businesses, restaurants, and tourism industries who have been hit hard economically over the past several months. I am a staunch advocate for our small businesses and continue to work to rebuild and sustain Virginia as a great place to do business, live, and raise a family.

I am always interested in what is important to my constituents and I value those of you who reach out to me to let me know your opinions. Thank you for paying attention to state politics… it is more important now than ever to be engaged and involved!

Take care-
Jen

Click Here to See Introduced Legislation for Special Session



Second Annual”Soiree on the Bay”with Senator Jen Kiggans
Reserve your spot today
Join us for an evening OUTDOORS on the banks of the Lynnhaven River to see friends and meet people who are interested in the future of Virginia politics and policies. Jen will give a summary of the General Assembly Special Session (to be held August 18, 2020). In addition, we will hear from Republican candidate for the 2nd District U.S. House of Representatives, Hon. Scott Taylor, and the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, LTCOL (Ret) Daniel Gade. We hope you can be a part of this annual event and look forward to seeing you there!

Lowering Prescription Drug CostIt was an honor to visit the White House with legislators from several states to watch the President sign four executive orders to lower prescription drug costs including the costs of insulin and Epi-pens. So many of my patients struggle with affording their medications, and I applaud any and all efforts to keep drug costs low. I was happy to represent the Commonwealth with Virginia House Delegate Jay Leftwich & Delegate Will Morefield.


News Updates
Navy hero honored for saving child, caregiver who had fallen into river

It was an honor to thank LT Miller in person and hear his story about rescuing a disabled child and adult caregiver who had fallen in the Elizabeth River. Thank you for your selflessness and courage!

Click here to see the article

Small Business of the Year Awards
Congrats to the Hampton Roads Chamber Small Business of the Year 2020: Hubs Virginia Peanuts! )And to all the city winners: Array DigitalPhillips & Peters, PLLC, Inter-Op, Music Makes You Happy Entertainment, & Warrant Realty Inc!) Thank you for the delicious peanuts and chocolate covered peanut brittle!

Quarantine Summer Camp
Since summer camps were cancelled this year, we had our own life science camp at my house! Yesterday 13 of the 14 duck eggs we incubated for a month hatched, and they are the cutest! (When I was little, we hatched quail eggs) It’s hard work keeping these kids entertained and off electronics during a quarantine!

Happy Anniversary
Happy 10th Anniversary to the Asian Business Association of Hampton Roads – ABAHR! It was an honor to attend your anniversary celebration. I am thankful for the Asian community’s contribution to our local economy!

COVID-19 Updates

Cases in Virginia:
The Virginia Department of Health website continues to update the status of cases in Virginia. As of 9 a.m. today August 3rd, 88,324 positive cases have been reported here in Virginia with 3,458 probable cases. Additionally, we currently have 4,299 cases in Virginia Beach and 3,210 cases in Norfolk.

New COVID-19 Measures in Hampton Roads Region
Governor Ralph Northam outlined new actions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the Hampton Roads region, which has seen a recent increase in new cases, hospitalizations, and positive tests. 
The new restrictions will apply to the Cities of Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Hampton, Williamsburg, Newport News, Poquoson, James City County, and York County.
Beginning at midnight on Friday, July 31, restrictions will prohibit the on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol in any restaurant, dining establishment, food court, brewery, microbrewery, distillery, winery, or tasting room after 10:00pm. All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms must close by midnight. Indoor dining in these establishments will be limited to 50 percent capacity. Public and private in-person gatherings over 50 people will be prohibited, down from a previous cap of 250 people.
The full text of Executive Order Sixty-Eight and Order of Public Health Emergency Eight is available here. Read the order in Spanish here.

City of Virginia Beach Preparing for Hurricane Isaias
Residents and City staff can take a number of simple steps to prepare themselves, including:
Remove and secure objects outside your home and business that may become projectiles during high winds. 
Sign up for VBAlert at http://www.vbgov.com/vbalert/ to get emergency alerts from the City of Virginia Beach via text message and/or email.Visit www.Ready.gov for a good list of supplies to have on hand, including drinking water, a first-aid kit, non-perishable food, a radio, flashlight and batteries, phone charger and blankets.
Have a family emergency plan in place. Plan and practice evacuation routes from home, work and school that are on higher ground.
Be informed. Learn more about steps you can take now to prepare for an emergency. Look for emergency preparedness information at www.ready.gov/severe-weather and www.VBgov.com/beprepared.

PreK-12 School Reopening GuidelinesGovernor Northam announced a phased approach that allows Virginia schools to slowly resume in-person classes for summer school and the coming academic year. 
Detailed information on each phase can be found in the guidance document available here.
VDOE has also developed comprehensive guidance to aid schools in planning for a return to in-person instruction and activities. “Recover, Redesign, Restart” can be found here.
A press release on this announcement can be found here.

Phased Reopening Plans
Governor Northam announced that his Administration has released its Phase 3 Guidelines for all business sectors. 
An online PDF version of that document can be found here.
For more information and detailed guidelines please visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia.

Emergency Temporary Standard Translations
As a reminder, on July 15, the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board adopted COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards, which are the first of its kind in the nation. These standards can be found here, and will be enforced for six months after posting this week (the week of July 27).

City Services Bill Pandemic Relief ProgramStarting July 1, the City Services Bill Pandemic Relief Program will provide financial assistance to qualifying residential customers who are experiencing financial hardship due to the impacts of COVID-19. The Virginia Beach City Services Bill includes charges for solid waste collection, storm water, sanitary sewer, and water services. The pandemic relief program will provide financial assistance to qualifying applicants based on the services charged on their monthly bills. Relief is not guaranteed and is dependent on availability of funding.
Eligibility Requirements:
-Applicant must be a Virginia Beach resident with an active City Services account-Applicant must be listed as an account holder on the requested City Services account-Account must have been active from March 2020 or later-Account must have an unpaid balance due from March 2020 or later (prior balances are ineligible)-Applicant has been unemployed, furloughed or laid off in March 2020 or later-Applications can be submitted online at https://vb311.force.com/cspandemicrelief. Due to anticipated program demand, Public Utilities staff cannot provide application status updates. Customers must use the online application portal to submit and check the status of their application. Customers are encouraged to create an account when submitting their application so that they can easily check their application status.
Customers without internet access can request a mail-in application by phone at (757) 385-4160; however, status updates are not available with this option.
For additional program details and requirements, visit www.vbgov.com/CSPandemicRelief.

Virginia Department of Social Services offering residents cooling assistance
The Virginia Department of Social Services said in a news release Friday it’s accepting applications for cooling assistance during the summer months. Households approved to get cooling assistance will get a one-time payment of $300. One-time payments of $100 will also go to 113,000 households who received fuel or crisis help during the most recent heating season. These payments will go directly to vendors to credit the eligible household’s account, the release said. Those eligible will get notifications in the mail this week. While the cooling assistance program is provided yearly, the $100 payments are new, and part of the CARES Act funding program, said a spokeswoman for the department. The cooling assistance payments are offered through the department’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which pays electric bills, security deposits for electricity, central air conditioning system or heat pump repairs, whole-house fans, ceiling or attic fans and window unit air conditioners. To qualify, households must have a child less than 6 years of age, a person living with a disability or an adult aged 60 or older.There’s also an income requirement. This year, the maximum gross monthly income before taxes for a one-person household is $1,383 and $2,839 for a household of four.The program is accepting applications until Aug. 17. Applications can be filled out online via CommonHelp, or by calling the Enterprise Customer Service Center at 1-855-635-4370, or contacting your local department of social services.

Long-term Care
Governor Northam announced new guidelines and testing requirements for reopening long-term care facilities, and outlined how the Commonwealth will direct $246 million, primarily from federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding, to support long-term care facilities in their response to COVID-19. 
In addition, the Governor is directing the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to make public facility-specific data regarding COVID-19 cases and deaths associated with long-term care facilities. Facility-specific data can be found here.

CVS Drive-thru Testing Locations
Governor Northam announced that CVS would be opening 39 new drive-thru testing locations across Virginia. Please input your location here to find a testing location near you.

Driver’s License Renewal Extension
Governor Northam announced an amendment to Executive Directive Seven (ED 7) to further extend the validity of credentials issued by DMV. The Fourth Amended ED 7 extends the validity of every driver, vehicle, and special identification credential due to expire on or before July 31, 2020 for up to an additional 90 days not to exceed October 31, 2020. This extension is in addition to the prior extension of up to 90 days not to exceed August 31, 2020. This means that a customer whose credential expires between March 15 and April 30 has an additional 90 days added to the prior 90 days, effectively 180 days, beyond the expiration date to renew. Customers whose credential expires between May 1 and July 31 will have up to 180 days beyond the expiration date to renew, not to exceed October 31, 2020. Customers with a credential that expires after July 31 must renew the credential before its expiration date. This extension will give customers with expiring credentials more time to schedule appointments to complete their DMV business.

Housing Resources
Please click here for a comprehensive overview of housing resources available to homeowners, renters, and landlords.
To identify the local Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP) administering organization for a household and to conduct a self-assessment for eligibility, visit dhcd.virginia.gov/eligibility or call 211 VIRGINIA by dialing 2-1-1 from your phone. Tenants and homeowners are encouraged to know their rights and responsibilities and pay their rent and mortgages on time if they are able. Visit StayHomeVirginia.com for additional information and resources.

Mental Health
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Coastal Virginia) is one of our local resources here to provide help. Especially now, check in on those you worry about & be mindful of your own mental health. The NAMI helpline number is: 1-800-950-6264 (M-F, 10am-5pm). The National Suicide Prevention Helpline (available 24/7) is: 1-800-273-8255.NAMI Coastal Virginia also provides the following support:—-Online Support Groups: https://www.namicoastalvirginia.org/online-support-groups
Hampton Roads COVID-19 Resources: https://www.namicoastalvirginia.org/covid-19-resources

Action Alliance Statewide Hotline
Many Virginians are unaware that sexual and domestic violence programs are still open – providing crisis services, emergency shelter, and resource-based support – or that they can still go to the hospital for care after trauma/assault. The Virginia Statewide Hotline is still here (24 hours a day, 365 days a year) and ready to help, and so are sexual and domestic violence programs all over the state. Call: 1.800.838.8238 or Text: 804.793.9999.

Behavioral Health Resources for COVID 19
Community Services Boards (CSBs) across Virginia have transitioned some in-person strategies to work remotely. Many Virginians may be in need of additional mental health or behavioral health support and services. Linked here is a document that is updated periodically with activities and resources from local CSBs.

Frequently Asked Questions from Workers:
Given the substantial economic impact that COVID-19 has had on Virginia’s workforce, the Northam Administration has released a comprehensive FAQ document to address questions that workers may have. That document can be found here.Also available in Spanish: haga clic aquí

Additional Information:For a comprehensive list of actions Governor Northam has announced to combat COVID-19 in Virginia, visit virginia.gov/coronavirus.

The COVID19JIC@vdem.virginia.gov email is now operational. The email address account will be monitored by our Joint Information Center (JIC) staff and relayed to the appropriate subject matter expert. If you have questions, please reach out using the above email.

There are so many resources to help out there. If you are overwhelmed or need help finding specific answers to questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office. The email is: district07@senate.virginia.gov and our phone number is: 757-990-3080. As always, it continues to be an honor to serve and represent you all as the State Senator from the 7th district. Stay safe and well out there! We can get through this together!

For information about best practices from the CDC, Click Here
For updated information from the Virginia Department of Health, 
Click Here
For updates from the City of Virginia Beach, Click Here

 ‌  ‌  ‌
Like our daily routines, how we conduct politics has changed as well. We have taken a break from political fundraising for many months but are starting to begin to ask for support again in the form of small donations as we go forward. Please consider a small donation if possible to help me defend the values that we hold dear as Virginians.
Donate Here

Happenings from the Homefront 7/14/20

August 3, 2020
Hello Friends,

I want to take a few minutes to personally thank those of you who were involved with our First Annual Fourth of July Flag Project! We passed out 7,555 American flags to various neighborhoods, civic leagues, boy scout troops, churches, and residents of the 7th District. We had many of you stop by our office to help assemble flags and to pick up flags to distribute. It was truly a group effort to paint the town “red, white, and blue” and to do our part to celebrate the 244th birthday of our great country. More than ever, it is important to emphasize the things which unite us rather than get bogged down in things that divide. Celebrating our unity as Americans under the flag that symbolizes the freedoms we ALL enjoy is one small way we can remind people we are more alike than different.

We continue to power through the era of COVID-19 one day at a time. Jobs are coming back, unemployment numbers are going down, people are slowly traveling again. and the beaches are still open. I have advocated for our kids to be back in school safely 5 days a week this fall. I know the school boards have been working with their staff and parents to devise a plan that takes into account the safety of students and staff. Although my job is not to dictate school policy, I worry about the social, psychological, and academic impact of not getting our kids back into a classroom setting.

Those of us in the Virginia General Assembly continue to wait for a date for a special session to be called by the Governor. He has hinted several times that it might be in August and has admitted that we need to address budgetary shortfalls, criminal justice and police reform, and COVID related issues. I will keep you all informed as soon as I hear anything and I promise to provide a detailed update of all things discussed during the session. In preparation, please continue to email your opinions and thoughts to my office or call our office M-F 0900-1500 (757-990-3080) if there is anything we can do to help.

Thank you all for reading my newsletters and tuning into my social media if you are able. As I question the accuracy of reporting in the media on a daily basis, it is especially important that you read my personal communication and messaging from your other elected officials to understand what is truly at stake here in Virginia.

Enjoy summer and the beautiful Virginia weather we have been having! I look forward to keeping in touch with you all!

Take care-
Jen





Standby Virginia…. July 1st was the day that new laws passed by the “most progressive legislative session in Virginia history” went into effect. If you thought the last three months of executive orders were rough, welcome to the “New Virginia” elected by the majority of Virginia voters in November, 2019. For the first time since 1993, one party has control over the entire government of Virginia from the Governor, LT Governor, & Attorney General offices to the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate. In my opinion, it is dangerous to have one party with unilateral control over a state government. Now the Democratic progressive agenda becomes law (which dissenting opinions were powerless to stop due to a lack of votes). If you take away nothing else, it should be that “elections matter” and “elections have consequences”. Those of you who feel under-represented living in the state of Virginia as it currently exists must exercise your vote and voices in every election.

https://apnews.com/ec79ec5c93dd92c84789941876790617
http://dls.virginia.gov/pubs/idc/idc20.pdf

*Also- sharing a summary from Virginia Senator Steve Newman (R- Bedford):
GUNS:
Early in January, thousands of 2nd Amendment supporters (including many of YOU) traveled to Richmond to protest the new majority party’s super-liberal legislative agenda to pass restrictive gun control laws. Days ahead of the rally, the Governor called in throngs of Virginia State Police, Richmond City Police, and barriers were erected around the Capitol building. (A stark contrast to the reaction we saw out of the same Governor when the City was being looted and burned a few weeks ago). Despite all of the political posturing ahead of the event, the crowd was peaceful and even left the City cleaner than it was when you arrived. Despite the thousands of protestors, Democrats chose not to hear the message and proceeded to pass some of the Commonwealth’s most strict gun laws in our history.

Starting July 1st, Virginians will see stricter penalties for exposing minors to guns; a requirement to report lost or stolen firearms within 48 hours; a ban on the possession of firearms by anyone subject to a restraining order; expanded local control to allow localities to adopt firearm-related ordinances; universal background checks on all firearm sales; a limit on handgun purchases to one a month; and new power for the courts, which will now have the ability to temporarily remove firearms from anyone deemed to be a threat to themselves or others (aka “red flag law”).As we are seeing what is being deemed “police reform”, it seems more essential than ever for Virginians to be granted their full 2nd Amendment right to bear arms and defend themselves, their family, and their property when law enforcement are not allowed to do so.

GAS TAXES:
You will see an increase of gas tax at the pump. The state will now add a tax of 5 cents/gallon on gasoline. The revenue from this tax goes to the statewide funding formula, where most of it will be sent to Northern Virginia for their transit “needs” (though, right now, very few people are utilizing public transit).

So, when those two taxes are added together, those of us in this part of Virginia will see a 12.6 cent/gallon tax increase on our gasoline at midnight tonight. But, there’s more…next July 1st, the General Assembly has already voted to add another statewide tax of 5 cents/gallon…for a total tax increase of 17.6 cents/gallon.I did not support these taxes. I argued that we already had $2.2 billion of unspent money that a portion could be allocated for transportation projects, if that was our priority. Instead, this new Democrat majority decided they would spend the $2.2 billion on new state employees and new government programs…in addition to raising the gas tax on our hard working Virginia families and businesses.

ABORTION:
New laws will roll back safety measures the Republican-led General Assembly passed between 2012 and 2013. These include removal of the mandatory 24-hour waiting period prior to having an abortion (accompanied by literature to consider alternatives), lowering of abortion clinic safety standards, and allowing individuals other than medical doctors to perform the procedure. The other party claims to be pro-woman, but these new laws lower the safety of women in an abortion clinic.


News Updates
Several Virginia Beach neighborhoods, including my own, had American flags burned, ripped, torn, or stuffed in sewers during the middle of the night on July 4th. The destruction of personal property is never okay and is not the way to effect change. Thank you to WTKR News 3 for covering the story!
Click here or on the photo to see the article

National Clean Beaches Week
Last week, we spent the morning cleaning the beach with some of our summer interns from my Senate office! July 1-7 is National Clean Beaches Week and we wanted to do our part!

Fourth of July Flag Event



COVID-19 Updates
Cases in Virginia:The Virginia Department of Health website continues to update the status of cases in Virginia. As of 9 a.m. today July 14th, 69,610 positive cases have been reported here in Virginia with 2,833 probable cases. Additionally, we currently have 1,993 cases in Virginia Beach and 1,606 cases in Norfolk.

PreK-12 School Reopening Guidelines
Governor Northam announced a phased approach that allows Virginia schools to slowly resume in-person classes for summer school and the coming academic year. 
Detailed information on each phase can be found in the guidance document available here.
VDOE has also developed comprehensive guidance to aid schools in planning for a return to in-person instruction and activities. “Recover, Redesign, Restart” can be found here.
A press release on this announcement can be found here.

Phased Reopening Plans
Governor Northam announced that his Administration has released its Phase 3 Guidelines for all business sectors. 
An online PDF version of that document can be found here.
For more information and detailed guidelines please visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia.

Virginia Beach City Treasurer’s Office Now Open With the Exception of the Lynnhaven Location
Virginia Beach, Va. (June 15, 2020) —​The City Treasurer’s Office is now open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with the exception of the Lynnhaven location. The Lynnhaven Office opening will coincide with the Planning Department’s opening, which has yet to be determined. The Lynnhaven drop box will continue to be picked up daily. 
Strict sanitizing guidelines to protect the public and employees have been implemented. Citizens will be asked to respect the 6 feet social distancing and face covering mandates that are still in effect. We strongly encourage citizens to conduct business online or by phone, email, and fax when possible.Face coverings are required for conducting business inside City Hall, per the Governor’s Executive Order 63.
For more information please contact the City Treasurer’s office at (757) 385-4445 or visit: www.vbgov.com/treas
For the latest information, please visit emergency.vbgov.com/coronavirus and follow us on facebook.com/CityofVaBeachtwitter.com/CityofVaBeach and instagram.com/cityofvabeach.

City Services Bill Pandemic Relief Program
Starting July 1, the City Services Bill Pandemic Relief Program will provide financial assistance to qualifying residential customers who are experiencing financial hardship due to the impacts of COVID-19. The Virginia Beach City Services Bill includes charges for solid waste collection, storm water, sanitary sewer, and water services. The pandemic relief program will provide financial assistance to qualifying applicants based on the services charged on their monthly bills. Relief is not guaranteed and is dependent on availability of funding.
Eligibility Requirements:
-Applicant must be a Virginia Beach resident with an active City Services account-Applicant must be listed as an account holder on the requested City Services account-Account must have been active from March 2020 or later-Account must have an unpaid balance due from March 2020 or later (prior balances are ineligible)-Applicant has been unemployed, furloughed or laid off in March 2020 or later-Applications can be submitted online at https://vb311.force.com/cspandemicrelief. Due to anticipated program demand, Public Utilities staff cannot provide application status updates. Customers must use the online application portal to submit and check the status of their application. Customers are encouraged to create an account when submitting their application so that they can easily check their application status.
Customers without internet access can request a mail-in application by phone at (757) 385-4160; however, status updates are not available with this option.
For additional program details and requirements, visit www.vbgov.com/CSPandemicRelief.

Real Estate and Personal Property Tax Relief Program
The Department of Human Services will begin accepting applications for the Real Estate and Personal Property Tax Relief Program on July 1 and continue through July 31. The program provides tax relief for households where an occupant has lost their employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A maximum relief of $500 for residential real estate taxes and $250 for personal property taxes has been established for eligible households. The amount of relief will be the billed amount, or the benefit maximum, whichever is lower. Each household could potentially receive both benefits for a maximum relief amount of $750. Only one application may be filed per household. An accepted application does not guarantee any benefit disbursement – applications deemed complete will be selected for review on a lottery basis.
To be eligible for consideration, potential beneficiaries must:
-Provide proof of eligibility criteria-Have established Virginia Beach residency as of March 1, 2020-Be unemployed at any time after March 1, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic-Provide a copy of their 2020 real estate and/or personal property tax bills-Potential beneficiaries may only claim their primary residence for relief – no rental or second properties are eligible.
Additional information, including necessary documents for proof of eligibility and applications, can be found online at VBgov.com/COVID19TaxRelief.

Virginia Department of Social Services offering residents cooling assistance
The Virginia Department of Social Services said in a news release Friday it’s accepting applications for cooling assistance during the summer months. Households approved to get cooling assistance will get a one-time payment of $300. One-time payments of $100 will also go to 113,000 households who received fuel or crisis help during the most recent heating season. These payments will go directly to vendors to credit the eligible household’s account, the release said. Those eligible will get notifications in the mail this week. While the cooling assistance program is provided yearly, the $100 payments are new, and part of the CARES Act funding program, said a spokeswoman for the department. The cooling assistance payments are offered through the department’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which pays electric bills, security deposits for electricity, central air conditioning system or heat pump repairs, whole-house fans, ceiling or attic fans and window unit air conditioners. To qualify, households must have a child less than 6 years of age, a person living with a disability or an adult aged 60 or older.There’s also an income requirement. This year, the maximum gross monthly income before taxes for a one-person household is $1,383 and $2,839 for a household of four.The program is accepting applications until Aug. 17. Applications can be filled out online via CommonHelp, or by calling the Enterprise Customer Service Center at 1-855-635-4370, or contacting your local department of social services.

Long-term Care
Governor Northam announced new guidelines and testing requirements for reopening long-term care facilities, and outlined how the Commonwealth will direct $246 million, primarily from federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding, to support long-term care facilities in their response to COVID-19. 
In addition, the Governor is directing the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to make public facility-specific data regarding COVID-19 cases and deaths associated with long-term care facilities. Facility-specific data can be found here.

CVS Drive-thru Testing Locations
Governor Northam announced that CVS would be opening 39 new drive-thru testing locations across Virginia. Please input your location here to find a testing location near you.

Driver’s License Renewal Extension
Governor Northam announced an amendment to Executive Directive Seven (ED 7) to further extend the validity of credentials issued by DMV. The Fourth Amended ED 7 extends the validity of every driver, vehicle, and special identification credential due to expire on or before July 31, 2020 for up to an additional 90 days not to exceed October 31, 2020. This extension is in addition to the prior extension of up to 90 days not to exceed August 31, 2020. This means that a customer whose credential expires between March 15 and April 30 has an additional 90 days added to the prior 90 days, effectively 180 days, beyond the expiration date to renew. Customers whose credential expires between May 1 and July 31 will have up to 180 days beyond the expiration date to renew, not to exceed October 31, 2020. Customers with a credential that expires after July 31 must renew the credential before its expiration date. This extension will give customers with expiring credentials more time to schedule appointments to complete their DMV business.

Housing Resources
Please click here for a comprehensive overview of housing resources available to homeowners, renters, and landlords.
To identify the local Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP) administering organization for a household and to conduct a self-assessment for eligibility, visit dhcd.virginia.gov/eligibility or call 211 VIRGINIA by dialing 2-1-1 from your phone. Tenants and homeowners are encouraged to know their rights and responsibilities and pay their rent and mortgages on time if they are able. Visit StayHomeVirginia.com for additional information and resources.

Mental Health
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Coastal Virginia) is one of our local resources here to provide help. Especially now, check in on those you worry about & be mindful of your own mental health. The NAMI helpline number is: 1-800-950-6264 (M-F, 10am-5pm). The National Suicide Prevention Helpline (available 24/7) is: 1-800-273-8255.NAMI Coastal Virginia also provides the following support:—-Online Support Groups: https://www.namicoastalvirginia.org/online-support-groups
Hampton Roads COVID-19 Resources: https://www.namicoastalvirginia.org/covid-19-resources

Action Alliance Statewide Hotline
Many Virginians are unaware that sexual and domestic violence programs are still open – providing crisis services, emergency shelter, and resource-based support – or that they can still go to the hospital for care after trauma/assault. The Virginia Statewide Hotline is still here (24 hours a day, 365 days a year) and ready to help, and so are sexual and domestic violence programs all over the state. Call: 1.800.838.8238 or Text: 804.793.9999.

Behavioral Health Resources for COVID 19
Community Services Boards (CSBs) across Virginia have transitioned some in-person strategies to work remotely. Many Virginians may be in need of additional mental health or behavioral health support and services. Linked here is a document that is updated periodically with activities and resources from local CSBs.

Frequently Asked Questions from Workers
Given the substantial economic impact that COVID-19 has had on Virginia’s workforce, the Northam Administration has released a comprehensive FAQ document to address questions that workers may have. That document can be found here.Also available in Spanish: haga clic aquí

Additional Information:
For a comprehensive list of actions Governor Northam has announced to combat COVID-19 in Virginia, visit virginia.gov/coronavirus.
The COVID19JIC@vdem.virginia.gov email is now operational. The email address account will be monitored by our Joint Information Center (JIC) staff and relayed to the appropriate subject matter expert. If you have questions, please reach out using the above email.

There are so many resources to help out there. If you are overwhelmed or need help finding specific answers to questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office. The email is: district07@senate.virginia.gov and our phone number is: 757-990-3080. As always, it continues to be an honor to serve and represent you all as the State Senator from the 7th district. Stay safe and well out there! We can get through this together!

For information about best practices from the CDC, Click Here
For updated information from the Virginia Department of Health, Click Here
For updates from the City of Virginia Beach, Click Here
Like our daily routines, how we conduct politics has changed as well. We have taken a break from political fundraising for many months but are starting to begin to ask for support again in the form of small donations as we go forward. Please consider a small donation if possible to help me defend the values that we hold dear as Virginians.
Donate Here

Happenings from the Homefront 6/29/20

June 29, 2020
Hello Friends,

Last week we held our primary elections in Virginia. While there were issues with the Virginia Beach poll books which caused confusion and some frustration among voters on election day, we have been in communication with the Department of Elections and will continue to work to ensure our local elections remain unbiased and fair. Last Tuesday was good practice for November. I hope each of you went to the polls to exercise your voice in government!

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of being involved and staying involved in state politics right now. As we watch on the news and read in the papers, we see division and frustration among groups with good and bad intentions in our communities. While I believe that our government works best when it adapts and evolves to meet the needs of all citizens over time, there is a right way and a wrong way to bring about this change and I’m not sure we are going about it the right way at times.

That’s where I need you all to stay engaged and informed. Be mindful of the messaging the media puts out there and know that there are many elected leaders who are working daily to ensure your voices are heard in all realms of government. I, for one, appreciate all of your support and encouragement and am honored to be the voice of all my constituents in the 7th district. 

Stay well & take care-
Jen




Letter to the Governor: Special Session

I sent a letter to the Governor (I can’t imagine how much mail he must be receiving these days) asking for a specific date for the General Assembly to be called into special session.

I am not alone in my ask and join other frustrated legislators in our petition to be a part of the discussion. The Governor’s unilateral executive orders and mandates continue to be an over-reach of his executive power and Virginians deserve better.






2020 Virtual Virginia Women Veterans Summit

It was a privilege to be a part of the 2020 Virtual Virginia Women Veterans Summit! Thank you to all who participated and contributed to an empowering and successful few days!



Last week I stopped by the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office to drop off some muffins! I want our law enforcement officers know that we appreciate all they do to keep our communities safe. Thank you for being there when we need you!

Small Business Recognition

Small Business Saturday Shout out to Brothers Printing for making 9000+ tags for our Fourth of July flags! Thank you for helping us paint the town Red, White, & Blue for America’s birthday!

many-waving-flags.jpgClick Here4th of July Flag Event – VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
Click the button below to email our office to help us deliver 100% American-made U.S. Flags across Virginia Beach this Fourth of July! My office is happy to celebrate America’s birthday throughout our community. We are working to ensure that even with the current restrictions, we can help spread a little American joy!!



COVID-19 Updates

Cases in Virginia:
The Virginia Department of Health website continues to update the status of cases in Virginia. As of 9 a.m. today June 29th, 59,071 positive cases have been reported here in Virginia with 2,665 probable cases. Additionally, we currently have 1,123 cases in Virginia Beach and 855 cases in Norfolk.

PreK-12 School Reopening Guidelines
Governor Northam announced a phased approach that allows Virginia schools to slowly resume in-person classes for summer school and the coming academic year. 

Detailed information on each phase can be found in the guidance document available here.
VDOE has also developed comprehensive guidance to aid schools in planning for a return to in-person instruction and activities. “Recover, Redesign, Restart” can be found here.
A press release on this announcement can be found here.

Phased Reopening Plans
Governor Northam announced that his Administration has released its Phase 3 Guidelines for all business sectors. 

An online PDF version of that document can be found here.
For more information and detailed guidelines please visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia.

Paycheck Protection Program Loan Information
With the PPP deadline to apply being tomorrow June 30th, I am sharing the form that would need to filled out and submitted to a participating lender. If you need to access a list of participating lenders in Virginia please click here

Virginia Beach City Treasurer’s Office Now Open With the Exception of the Lynnhaven Location
Virginia Beach, Va. (June 15, 2020) —​The City Treasurer’s Office is now open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with the exception of the Lynnhaven location. The Lynnhaven Office opening will coincide with the Planning Department’s opening, which has yet to be determined. The Lynnhaven drop box will continue to be picked up daily. 

Strict sanitizing guidelines to protect the public and employees have been implemented. Citizens will be asked to respect the 6 feet social distancing and face covering mandates that are still in effect. We strongly encourage citizens to conduct business online or by phone, email, and fax when possible.Face coverings are required for conducting business inside City Hall, per the Governor’s Executive Order 63.
For more information please contact the City Treasurer’s office at (757) 385-4445 or visit: www.vbgov.com/treas

For the latest information, please visit emergency.vbgov.com/coronavirus and follow us on facebook.com/CityofVaBeachtwitter.com/CityofVaBeach and instagram.com/cityofvabeach.

Virginia Beach: New Program to Provide Emergency Grants to Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic:
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (May 6, 2020) — Virginia Beach is adding to the list of loan and grant programs available to small businesses by creating a new Economic Development Investment Program (EDIP) offering that provides emergency assistance.

On April 28, 2020, the City Council provided $1.5 million in funding and approved an ordinance to temporarily allow the Virginia Beach Development Authority to make emergency assistance grants to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The EDIP part E fund is designed to help businesses with rent, utility or other business expenses up to $10,000. Qualifications, criteria, application, and associated documents can be found at www.yesvirginiabeach.com. Data from the Virginia Employment Commission and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership indicate that, since April 1, 2020, more than 20,000 new unemployment filings were received from Virginia Beach residents and that the majority of those job losses have been from small businesses. Additionally, respondents to a survey the City of Virginia Beach recently completed that asked businesses about needs indicated that funds to pay rent, utilities and related expenses were their top concern. “The pandemic has exacted high tolls from nearly everyone in one way or another. Our economic recovery depends on the ability of our hardest hit small businesses to survive long enough to begin reopening and attracting customers back,” said Mayor Robert M. “Bobby” Dyer. “The City Council heard very clearly from constituents that emergency assistance is needed to fill critical funding gaps small businesses are experiencing. This will be money well spent.” EDIP is administered by the Virginia Beach Development Authority, which is appointed by the City Council to promote investment, reinvestment and workforce development.

Virginia Department of Social Services offering residents cooling assistance
The Virginia Department of Social Services said in a news release Friday it’s accepting applications for cooling assistance during the summer months. Households approved to get cooling assistance will get a one-time payment of $300. One-time payments of $100 will also go to 113,000 households who received fuel or crisis help during the most recent heating season. These payments will go directly to vendors to credit the eligible household’s account, the release said. Those eligible will get notifications in the mail this week. While the cooling assistance program is provided yearly, the $100 payments are new, and part of the CARES Act funding program, said a spokeswoman for the department. The cooling assistance payments are offered through the department’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which pays electric bills, security deposits for electricity, central air conditioning system or heat pump repairs, whole-house fans, ceiling or attic fans and window unit air conditioners. To qualify, households must have a child less than 6 years of age, a person living with a disability or an adult aged 60 or older.There’s also an income requirement. This year, the maximum gross monthly income before taxes for a one-person household is $1,383 and $2,839 for a household of four.The program is accepting applications until Aug. 17. Applications can be filled out online via CommonHelp, or by calling the Enterprise Customer Service Center at 1-855-635-4370, or contacting your local department of social services.

Long-term Care
Governor Northam announced new guidelines and testing requirements for reopening long-term care facilities, and outlined how the Commonwealth will direct $246 million, primarily from federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding, to support long-term care facilities in their response to COVID-19. 
In addition, the Governor is directing the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to make public facility-specific data regarding COVID-19 cases and deaths associated with long-term care facilities. Facility-specific data can be found here.

CVS Drive-thru Testing Locations
Governor Northam announced that CVS would be opening 39 new drive-thru testing locations across Virginia. Please input your location here to find a testing location near you.

Driver’s License Renewal Extension
Governor Northam announced an amendment to Executive Directive Seven (ED 7) to further extend the validity of credentials issued by DMV. The Fourth Amended ED 7 extends the validity of every driver, vehicle, and special identification credential due to expire on or before July 31, 2020 for up to an additional 90 days not to exceed October 31, 2020. This extension is in addition to the prior extension of up to 90 days not to exceed August 31, 2020. This means that a customer whose credential expires between March 15 and April 30 has an additional 90 days added to the prior 90 days, effectively 180 days, beyond the expiration date to renew. Customers whose credential expires between May 1 and July 31 will have up to 180 days beyond the expiration date to renew, not to exceed October 31, 2020. Customers with a credential that expires after July 31 must renew the credential before its expiration date. This extension will give customers with expiring credentials more time to schedule appointments to complete their DMV business.

Housing Resources
Please click here for a comprehensive overview of housing resources available to homeowners, renters, and landlords.

To identify the local Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP) administering organization for a household and to conduct a self-assessment for eligibility, visit dhcd.virginia.gov/eligibility or call 211 VIRGINIA by dialing 2-1-1 from your phone. Tenants and homeowners are encouraged to know their rights and responsibilities and pay their rent and mortgages on time if they are able. Visit StayHomeVirginia.com for additional information and resources.

Mental Health
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Coastal Virginia) is one of our local resources here to provide help. Especially now, check in on those you worry about & be mindful of your own mental health. The NAMI helpline number is: 1-800-950-6264 (M-F, 10am-5pm).
The National Suicide Prevention Helpline (available 24/7) is: 1-800-273-8255.NAMI Coastal Virginia also provides the following support:—-Online Support Groups: https://www.namicoastalvirginia.org/online-support-groups

Hampton Roads COVID-19 Resources: https://www.namicoastalvirginia.org/covid-19-resources

Action Alliance Statewide Hotline
Many Virginians are unaware that sexual and domestic violence programs are still open – providing crisis services, emergency shelter, and resource-based support – or that they can still go to the hospital for care after trauma/assault. The Virginia Statewide Hotline is still here (24 hours a day, 365 days a year) and ready to help, and so are sexual and domestic violence programs all over the state. Call: 1.800.838.8238 or Text: 804.793.9999.

Behavioral Health Resources for COVID 19
Community Services Boards (CSBs) across Virginia have transitioned some in-person strategies to work remotely. Many Virginians may be in need of additional mental health or behavioral health support and services. Linked here is a document that is updated periodically with activities and resources from local CSBs.

Frequently Asked Questions from Workers:
Given the substantial economic impact that COVID-19 has had on Virginia’s workforce, the Northam Administration has released a comprehensive FAQ document to address questions that workers may have. That document can be found here.Also available in Spanish: haga clic aquí

Additional Information:
For a comprehensive list of actions Governor Northam has announced to combat COVID-19 in Virginia, visit virginia.gov/coronavirus.

The COVID19JIC@vdem.virginia.gov email is now operational. The email address account will be monitored by our Joint Information Center (JIC) staff and relayed to the appropriate subject matter expert. If you have questions, please reach out using the above email.
There are so many resources to help out there. If you are overwhelmed or need help finding specific answers to questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office. The email is: district07@senate.virginia.gov and our phone number is: 757-990-3080. As always, it continues to be an honor to serve and represent you all as the State Senator from the 7th district. Stay safe and well out there! We can get through this together!

For information about best practices from the CDC, Click Here
For updated information from the Virginia Department of Health, Click Here
For updates from the City of Virginia Beach, Click Here


Like our daily routines, how we conduct politics has changed as well. We have taken a break from political fundraising for many months but are starting to begin to ask for support again in the form of small donations as we go forward. Please consider a small donation if possible to help me defend the values that we hold dear as Virginians.
Donate Here

Happenings from the Homefront 6/16/20

June 29, 2020
Hello Friends,

We need our kids back in school five days a week in the fall. Period. The Virginia Beach Public School Superintendent sent out an email last week stating they are considering a two-day per week in-person learning structure with the other days offered digitally. As a mother of four school aged children in three different schools, I’m here to tell you that digital learning is no replacement for in-person education. We can get our kids back in school and we CAN do it safely. Our children are suffering academically and psychologically and we are sitting by idly while it happens waiting for loose guidance yet again from the Governor. Not only are children suffering in homes with less than ideal caregiving situations, food insecurities, or diminished wifi access, but we have also taken away their support systems of teachers, coaches, and friends.

There are many mixed messages out there. The governor mandates that we wear masks inside buildings and that we follow strict random rules at the beach, but he is not giving solid guidance to our localities about the number of days our children will attend school in the fall. At this point we are doing more harm than good by keeping our children isolated. There have been ZERO deaths of children under the age of 20 from COVID-19 statewide since the onset of this pandemic. One of my solutions is to patron a bill to have a certified school nurse be present in every school in our Commonwealth. I need parents to feel that their children are safe and for faculty and staff to feel protected in order for some normalcy to return to our children’s lives. Now I need the Governor to call the General Assembly into special session to allow us to enact legislation and to do our jobs.

I watch what is going on in our country and I am frustrated. I hear and see those of us who push for change, but I also see a new form of discrimination against our law enforcement officers who are not being given the credit, respect, and appreciation they deserve. Yes, there is room for improvement, but the disrespect and egregious actions toward our men and women in blue has been wrong. So many of our law enforcement officers are good, fair, and hard-working individuals that deserve recognition for being there when we call. There is no room for lawlessness in our country and we must ensure those who enforce the law are able to do their jobs properly and safely.

I hope you all have been able to get out and enjoy some of the beautiful warm weather that summer brings. Keep getting out, visiting local businesses, exercising, and planning summer vacations. Please continue to be mindful of the media’s messaging. With this being an election year, I find very opinionated and sided news both on television and in print. Watching that news with a critical eye allows us to decipher what is valid and what is propaganda. I encourage you all to critically watch all media messaging as well.

Thank you all for paying attention to state politics. I think we are all learning how much power some elected offices have and how important it is to elect good and commonsense leaders. Keep in touch! 

Stay well & take care-
Jen


CONGRATULATIONS to the Class of 2020!
🎉CONGRATULATIONS to the Class of 2020!! Wishing you good luck, good health, & all good things in the years to come! We are very proud of you!! 🎓🎉


Virginia Beach ranks as #1 safest large city in America, study shows

Click Here for Article


Small Business Recognition:
Special shout out to the employees of RK Chevrolet & RK Subaru in Virginia Beach for their active role in keeping their business open and safe for customers and staff. Their focus on COVID-19 sanitation, sterilization, and social distancing earned them a company award as a “RK Frontline Hero”, a medallion, & a reward check!


many-waving-flags.jpgClick Here4th of July Flag Event – VOLUNTEERS NEEDEDClick the button below to email our office to help us deliver 100% American-made U.S. Flags across Virginia Beach this Fourth of July! My office is happy to celebrate America’s birthday throughout our community. We are working to ensure that even with the current restrictions, we can help spread a little American joy!!


COVID-19 Updates

Cases in Virginia:
The Virginia Department of Health website continues to update the status of cases in Virginia. As of 9 a.m. today June 16th, 52,917 positive cases have been reported here in Virginia with 2,426 probable cases. Additionally, we currently have 909 cases in Virginia Beach and 681 cases in Norfolk.

PreK-12 School Reopening Guidelines
Governor Northam announced a phased approach that allows Virginia schools to slowly resume in-person classes for summer school and the coming academic year. 
Detailed information on each phase can be found in the guidance document available here.
VDOE has also developed comprehensive guidance to aid schools in planning for a return to in-person instruction and activities. “Recover, Redesign, Restart” can be found here.
A press release on this announcement can be found here.

Phased Reopening Plans
Governor Northam announced that Virginia will be moving into Phase 2, with the exception of Northern Virginia and Richmond, both of which will remain in Phase 1. 
See here for the full text of Executive Order 65, Phase 2 Easing of Temporary Restrictions due to COVID-19. See here for the Spanish translation.
See here for the Phase 2 Guidelines for all Business Sectors. See here for the Spanish translation.
A press release on this announcement can be found here.

For more information and detailed guidelines please visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia.

The full text of E.O. 61 and Order of Public Health Emergency Three can be found here.

Virginia Beach City Treasurer’s Office Now Open With the Exception of the Lynnhaven Location
Virginia Beach, Va. (June 15, 2020) —​The City Treasurer’s Office is now open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with the exception of the Lynnhaven location. The Lynnhaven Office opening will coincide with the Planning Department’s opening, which has yet to be determined. The Lynnhaven drop box will continue to be picked up daily. 

Strict sanitizing guidelines to protect the public and employees have been implemented. Citizens will be asked to respect the 6 feet social distancing and face covering mandates that are still in effect. We strongly encourage citizens to conduct business online or by phone, email, and fax when possible.Face coverings are required for conducting business inside City Hall, per the Governor’s Executive Order 63.

For more information please contact the City Treasurer’s office at (757) 385-4445 or visit: www.vbgov.com/treas

For the latest information, please visit emergency.vbgov.com/coronavirus and follow us on facebook.com/CityofVaBeachtwitter.com/CityofVaBeach and instagram.com/cityofvabeach.

Virginia Beach: New Program to Provide Emergency Grants to Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic:
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (May 6, 2020) — Virginia Beach is adding to the list of loan and grant programs available to small businesses by creating a new Economic Development Investment Program (EDIP) offering that provides emergency assistance.

On April 28, 2020, the City Council provided $1.5 million in funding and approved an ordinance to temporarily allow the Virginia Beach Development Authority to make emergency assistance grants to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The EDIP part E fund is designed to help businesses with rent, utility or other business expenses up to $10,000. Qualifications, criteria, application, and associated documents can be found at www.yesvirginiabeach.com. Data from the Virginia Employment Commission and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership indicate that, since April 1, 2020, more than 20,000 new unemployment filings were received from Virginia Beach residents and that the majority of those job losses have been from small businesses. Additionally, respondents to a survey the City of Virginia Beach recently completed that asked businesses about needs indicated that funds to pay rent, utilities and related expenses were their top concern. “The pandemic has exacted high tolls from nearly everyone in one way or another. Our economic recovery depends on the ability of our hardest hit small businesses to survive long enough to begin reopening and attracting customers back,” said Mayor Robert M. “Bobby” Dyer. “The City Council heard very clearly from constituents that emergency assistance is needed to fill critical funding gaps small businesses are experiencing. This will be money well spent.” EDIP is administered by the Virginia Beach Development Authority, which is appointed by the City Council to promote investment, reinvestment and workforce development.

Face Coverings in Virginia
Governor Northam signed Executive Order 63, requiring Virginians to wear face coverings in public indoor settings to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.  Face coverings do not take the place of public health guidelines to maintain six feet of physical distancing, increase cleaning and sanitation, and wash hands regularly.

See here for a press release on this announcement. See here for the full text of E.O. 63.

CVS Drive-thru Testing Locations
Governor Northam announced that CVS would be opening 39 new drive-thru testing locations across Virginia. Please input your location here to find a testing location near you.

Public Beaches
Governor Northam announced that  public beaches would be allowed to reopen, provided that they follow the social distancing guidelines established in Virginia Beach: no large gatherings of more than 10 people, no tents, no alcohol, no group sports.

Driver’s License Renewal Extension
Given the shutdown of most DMV locations, Governor Northam announced that anyone whose driver’s license is set to expire before July 31, 2020 will have until August 31, 2020 to renew it.

Temporary Moratorium on Evictions
At Governor Northam’s request, Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Lemons suspended all eviction proceedings through June 28. Details of the Governor’s rent relief initiative, supported by federal CARES Act funding, will be announced in the coming weeks. Tenants are encouraged to know their rights and responsibilities and pay their rent on time if they are able. Visit StayHomeVirginia.com for more information and resources on tenant rights.

Housing Resources
Please click here for a comprehensive overview of housing resources available to homeowners, renters, and landlords.

Mental Health
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Coastal Virginia) is one of our local resources here to provide help. Especially now, check in on those you worry about & be mindful of your own mental health. The NAMI helpline number is: 1-800-950-6264 (M-F, 10am-5pm). The National Suicide Prevention Helpline (available 24/7) is: 1-800-273-8255.NAMI

Coastal Virginia also provides the following support:—-Online Support Groups: https://www.namicoastalvirginia.org/online-support-groups
Hampton Roads COVID-19 Resources: https://www.namicoastalvirginia.org/covid-19-resources

Action Alliance Statewide Hotline
Many Virginians are unaware that sexual and domestic violence programs are still open – providing crisis services, emergency shelter, and resource-based support – or that they can still go to the hospital for care after trauma/assault. The Virginia Statewide Hotline is still here (24 hours a day, 365 days a year) and ready to help, and so are sexual and domestic violence programs all over the state. Call: 1.800.838.8238 or Text: 804.793.9999.
Behavioral Health Resources for COVID 19
Community Services Boards (CSBs) across Virginia have transitioned some in-person strategies to work remotely. Many Virginians may be in need of additional mental health or behavioral health support and services. Linked here is a document that is updated periodically with activities and resources from local CSBs.

Frequently Asked Questions from Workers:
Given the substantial economic impact that COVID-19 has had on Virginia’s workforce, the Northam Administration has released a comprehensive FAQ document to address questions that workers may have. That document can be found here.Also available in Spanish: haga clic aquí

Additional Information:
For a comprehensive list of actions Governor Northam has announced to combat COVID-19 in Virginia, visit virginia.gov/coronavirus.

The COVID19JIC@vdem.virginia.gov email is now operational. The email address account will be monitored by our Joint Information Center (JIC) staff and relayed to the appropriate subject matter expert. If you have questions, please reach out using the above email.

There are so many resources to help out there. If you are overwhelmed or need help finding specific answers to questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office. The email is: district07@senate.virginia.gov and our phone number is: 757-990-3080. As always, it continues to be an honor to serve and represent you all as the State Senator from the 7th district. Stay safe and well out there! We can get through this together!

For information about best practices from the CDC, Click Here
For updated information from the Virginia Department of Health, Click Here
For updates from the City of Virginia Beach, Click Here
Like our daily routines, how we conduct politics has changed as well. We have taken a break from political fundraising for many months but are starting to begin to ask for support again in the form of small donations as we go forward. Please consider a small donation if possible to help me defend the values that we hold dear as Virginians.


Donate Here

Happenings from the Homefront 6/5/20

June 29, 2020
Hello Friends,

I think we can all agree that it has been a stressful week. We have all seen the video of the needless death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. His death started a cascade of emotion in our country that resulted in bringing challenging issues to light through peaceful marches but also igniting violent riots resulting in destruction and pain for many. We relied on our members of law enforcement to respond and appreciated their efforts to return peace to our cities and states across America during these dark days. 

The destruction, riots, and looting that have occurred around our great country have been devastating. I watch and read the news and have seen the most heart-breaking stories about individuals of all races who are small business owners who had their shops and stores looted and burned. People already struggling from the economic effects of the COVID-19 shutdowns now have nothing. We are better than that as Virginians and we are certainly better than that as Americans.
I support the First Amendment and have said many times that when you show up on the steps of the Capitol en mass to advocate for your cause, I see you and I listen to you as any representative of the people should. There is strength in numbers and in a peaceful presence. Violence and rioting are not and will never be the answer. Let the discussions begin. Instead of picking a side, choose to be a unifier.

On top of that, COVID-19 still exists (although the scenes from TV might have you believe otherwise!). I am so proud of how our beaches, restaurants, and small businesses have responded with really trying to keep employees and customers safe. I applaud each and every business who has been patient and is re-opening their doors to regular routines again. Thank you!!

Starting today, the gyms are open (at 30% capacity), the restaurants are open inside (at 50% capacity), pools are open for exercise purposes, gardens & zoos can reopen, and gatherings of up to 50 people can be held. I encourage everyone to wear their masks if they are at risk and to be considerate of others who may be at risk by wearing a mask around them. Use commonsense but get out and live life. It’s summer and we live at the beach!

Thank you all so much for your emails, phone calls, & social media support. I am thankful to have constituents who communicate and who are interested in state government. Keep in touch and stay well!

Stay well & take care-
Jen




We remember the twelve lives lost in the Virginia Beach tragedy on May 31, 2019. We pray for their families and friends left behind that God can continue to give them strength and comfort them today and everyday.





The COVID pandemic has silently initiated a few new epidemics without trying…. In addition to a variety of mental illnesses, I can personally attest to the obesity crisis I see in my primary care patients. By closing our gyms and rec centers, many people have put exercise on the back burner. My older adult patients rely on gyms and rec centers (Silver Sneakers!) to keep their instability, muscle weakness, & joint pain at bay. The good news is that as of Friday, the gyms are back open (at reduced capacity), and it’s time to buy new sneakers and lose that COVID weight we’ve gained.
Phase 2 Reopening

Per the Governor, here are the things that Phase Two (starting Friday) allows:
· Gatherings of up to 50 people while practicing social distancing
· Restaurants can have indoor seating at 50% capacity
· Gyms and fitness centers can have indoor workouts at 30% capacity
· Pools can open with restrictions
· Gardens, zoos and other outdoor venues can reopen with some restrictions· Rec centers allowed to open with physical distancing and no shared equipment



PIZZA FOR LOCAL HEALTHCARE WORKERS
I delivered pizza with Tommy Smigiel, Norfolk City Councilman & the Norfolk Fire-Rescue team to long-term care facilities and one emergency room in Norfolk as a way to say “thank you” for all their hard work during the coronavirus pandemic. (Special thank you to Randy Wright for organizing & Azalea Inn Grill and Time Out Sports Bar for the pizza!)

Click Here to see the WAVY10 Story



many-waving-flags.jpgClick Here4th of July Flag Event – VOLUNTEERS NEEDEDClick the button below to email our office to help us deliver 100% American-made U.S. Flags across Virginia Beach this Fourth of July! My office is happy to join with Senator DeSteph and his staff to celebrate America’s birthday throughout our community. We are working to ensure that even with the current restrictions, we can help spread a little American joy!!



COVID-19 Updates

Cases in Virginia:
The Virginia Department of Health website continues to update the status of cases in Virginia. As of 9 a.m. today June 5th, 46,281 positive cases have been reported here in Virginia with 2,251 probable cases. Additionally, we currently have 784 cases in Virginia Beach and 560 cases in Norfolk.

Phased Reopening Plans
Governor Northam announced that on Friday, Virginia will be moving into Phase 2, with the exception of Northern Virginia and Richmond, both of which will remain in Phase 1. 
See here for the full text of Executive Order 65, Phase 2 Easing of Temporary Restrictions due to COVID-19. See here for the Spanish translation.

See here for the Phase 2 Guidelines for all Business Sectors. See here for the Spanish translation.
A press release on this announcement can be found here.

For more information and detailed guidelines please visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia.

The full text of E.O. 61 and Order of Public Health Emergency Three can be found here.

Virginia Beach: New Program to Provide Emergency Grants to Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic:
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (May 6, 2020) — Virginia Beach is adding to the list of loan and grant programs available to small businesses by creating a new Economic Development Investment Program (EDIP) offering that provides emergency assistance.

On April 28, 2020, the City Council provided $1.5 million in funding and approved an ordinance to temporarily allow the Virginia Beach Development Authority to make emergency assistance grants to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The EDIP part E fund is designed to help businesses with rent, utility or other business expenses up to $10,000. Qualifications, criteria, application, and associated documents can be found at www.yesvirginiabeach.com. Data from the Virginia Employment Commission and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership indicate that, since April 1, 2020, more than 20,000 new unemployment filings were received from Virginia Beach residents and that the majority of those job losses have been from small businesses. Additionally, respondents to a survey the City of Virginia Beach recently completed that asked businesses about needs indicated that funds to pay rent, utilities and related expenses were their top concern. “The pandemic has exacted high tolls from nearly everyone in one way or another. Our economic recovery depends on the ability of our hardest hit small businesses to survive long enough to begin reopening and attracting customers back,” said Mayor Robert M. “Bobby” Dyer. “The City Council heard very clearly from constituents that emergency assistance is needed to fill critical funding gaps small businesses are experiencing. This will be money well spent.” EDIP is administered by the Virginia Beach Development Authority, which is appointed by the City Council to promote investment, reinvestment and workforce development.

Face Coverings in Virginia
Governor Northam signed Executive Order 63, requiring Virginians to wear face coverings in public indoor settings to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.  Face coverings do not take the place of public health guidelines to maintain six feet of physical distancing, increase cleaning and sanitation, and wash hands regularly.

See here for a press release on this announcement. See here for the full text of E.O. 63.

CVS Drive-thru Testing Locations
Governor Northam announced that CVS would be opening 39 new drive-thru testing locations across Virginia. Please input your location here to find a testing location near you.

Public Beaches
Governor Northam announced that  public beaches would be allowed to reopen, provided that they follow the social distancing guidelines established in Virginia Beach: no large gatherings of more than 10 people, no tents, no alcohol, no group sports.

Racetracks to Reopen
Governor Northam announced that horse and vehicle race tracks would be allowed to reopen for single-day events. However, spectators will be prohibited from attending the event, and strict social distancing guidelines must be followed.

Driver’s License Renewal Extension
Given the shutdown of most DMV locations, Governor Northam announced that anyone whose driver’s license is set to expire before July 31, 2020 will have until August 31, 2020 to renew it.
Housing Resources
Please click here for a comprehensive overview of housing resources available to homeowners, renters, and landlords.

Mental Health Month
May is mental health awareness month. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Coastal Virginia) is one of our local resources here to provide help. Especially now, check in on those you worry about & be mindful of your own mental health. The NAMI helpline number is: 1-800-950-6264 (M-F, 10am-5pm). The National Suicide Prevention Helpline (available 24/7) is: 1-800-273-8255.NAMI Coastal Virginia also provides the following support:—-Online Support Groups: https://www.namicoastalvirginia.org/online-support-groups

Hampton Roads COVID-19 Resources: https://www.namicoastalvirginia.org/covid-19-resources

Action Alliance Statewide HotlineMany Virginians are unaware that sexual and domestic violence programs are still open – providing crisis services, emergency shelter, and resource-based support – or that they can still go to the hospital for care after trauma/assault. The Virginia Statewide Hotline is still here (24 hours a day, 365 days a year) and ready to help, and so are sexual and domestic violence programs all over the state. Call: 1.800.838.8238 or Text: 804.793.9999.

Behavioral Health Resources for COVID 19Community Services Boards (CSBs) across Virginia have transitioned some in-person strategies to work remotely. Many Virginians may be in need of additional mental health or behavioral health support and services. Linked here is a document that is updated periodically with activities and resources from local CSBs.

Frequently Asked Questions from Workers:Given the substantial economic impact that COVID-19 has had on Virginia’s workforce, the Northam Administration has released a comprehensive FAQ document to address questions that workers may have. That document can be found here.Also available in Spanish: haga clic aquí

Additional Information:For a comprehensive list of actions Governor Northam has announced to combat COVID-19 in Virginia, visit virginia.gov/coronavirus.

The COVID19JIC@vdem.virginia.gov email is now operational. The email address account will be monitored by our Joint Information Center (JIC) staff and relayed to the appropriate subject matter expert. If you have questions, please reach out using the above email.
There are so many resources to help out there. If you are overwhelmed or need help finding specific answers to questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office. The email is: district07@senate.virginia.gov and our phone number is: 757-990-3080. As always, it continues to be an honor to serve and represent you all as the State Senator from the 7th district. Stay safe and well out there! We can get through this together!

For information about best practices from the CDC, Click Here
For updated information from the Virginia Department of Health, Click Here
For updates from the City of Virginia Beach, Click Here



Like our daily routines, how we conduct politics has changed as well. We have taken a break from political fundraising for many months but are starting to begin to ask for support again in the form of small donations as we go forward. Please consider a small donation if possible to help me defend the values that we hold dear as Virginians.



Donate Here

Happenings from the Homefront 5/29/20

May 29, 2020
Hello Friends,

We are certainly living in unique times. I know there are different schools of thought out there surrounding the executive orders and mandates coming out of the Governor’s office. As a healthcare provider, I want Virginians to stay safe and healthy and be mindful of the health of those around you. I’d encourage you to wear a mask if you are at risk or worried but I do not think masks should be made mandatory. I know that all Virginians want to do the right thing and that we will given the chance. I worry constantly about my vulnerable older adult patients, but I trust them to do the right thing by staying home and wearing masks when they go out. I want our businesses to succeed and our economy to rebound. I want people to go back to work, to keep their jobs, and to be able to take care of their families without relaying on the government for handouts.

Let’s talk about fear and the media briefly. I watch and read a variety of news on a daily basis to understand what my patients and constituents are seeing and hearing. The media is doing a fabulous job of inciting fear in all of us. Yes, there is a reason to be mindful of our health and the health of others. But being afraid to do things we can do safely is not healthy. Our country was not made great by a people who were fearful and stayed home. It was made strong and resilient by people who worked smartly, took chances, and made good decisions. We are still that country and still those people. Don’t let a fear take away the quality of life and freedoms that we enjoy as Americans.

I will close by asking those of you with a friend or relative in a long-term care, assisted living, or nursing facility to please check on and call your friend or family member and do it often. We have further isolated a group of people who were already limited in their ability to interact and communicate with the people they have relationships with and love. Call someone you know and call them more than once. A phone call would mean the world to them until they can have visits in person. I will continue to advocate for a phased, safe re-opening of our nursing homes and a path to improving lives for our older Americans who live in these communities.

Thank you for staying in touch with my office through our social media and email. I appreciate your thoughts and comments. I am here to help and represent you to the best of my ability.

Stay well & take care-
Jen




Call with the Governor

We asked for and were able to have a one-on-one call with the Governor last week to discuss a few things important to me and my constituents. It was a pleasant half hour discussion about many of the issues we have all been following and are all concerned about. I continued to advocate for safely opening Virginia Beach and our businesses here & assured him that our residents were ready & able to take the precautions necessary to make that happen.

As two healthcare providers, we spent the majority of our conversation discussing how the COVID crisis has affected our long-term care facilities and home healthcare (PPE, staffing), the need for budget changes going forward to enact improvements in our long-term care communities, and the possibility of a phased reopening of our long-term care facilities to allow loved ones to be reunited with their family members.

I spoke for the Moms (& Dads) of Virginia applauding the Governor’s education task force to begin the process of reopening our schools in the fall and asked that he include school counselors & pediatric mental health specialists in the discussion.I ended by thanking the Virginia Employment Commission for their help with our constituent unemployment concerns & asked for additional support.




BEACH REOPENING
The COVID-19 Beach Regulations include: Keep six feet apart unless family
No groups of more than 10 people
No speakers
No large coolers
No alcohol
No tents OR groups of umbrellas
No group sports (volleyball, football, Frisbee, etc.) 

In addition, no entertainment or programming that generate mass gatherings will be permitted. Public parking garages and surface lots will be limited to 50% capacity. All beach play sets will remain closed. Existing City ordinances already apply to some of these activities in the resort area. Governor Northam stated that he would not hesitate to reinstate additional restrictions or close beaches if people do not follow the rules. For more information about local ordinances, visit: https://library.municode.com/va/virginia_beach/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=CO_CH6BEBOWA_ARTIINGE






DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES UPDATE
DMV Continues to open offices across the Commonwealth & extends expiration dates
The validity of driver’s licenses and identification cards expiring on or before July 31, 2020 is now extended 90 days, not to exceed August 31, 2020. A customer whose credential expires between March 15 and May 31 has 90 days beyond the expiration date to renew. Credentials expiring from June 1 to July 31 must be renewed no later than August 31, 2020. Vehicle registrations that expire in March, April, and May are also extended for 90 days, while those expiring in June are extended for 60 days, and those expiring in July are extended for 30 days. We are alerting customers of the extensions through our website, a news release issued to statewide news media, and social media.

In addition to credential extensions, we continue to reopen customer service centers (CSC) across the state for appointment-only service for specific services. Today, the Richmond Central CSC and the Onancock CSC will reopen. On June 1, the Arlington, Franconia, Leesburg, Prince William/Manassas, and Tysons Corner CSCs will reopen. To make an appointment at any open DMV locations visit www.dmvNOW.com/appt.

The amended Executive Directive Seven also allows Class B Virginia Driver Training Schools to reinstate behind-the wheel training on the date the locality in which the school is located enters Phase One as outlined in Executive Order 61 and Amended Order of Public Health Emergency Four. Those who wish to take behind-the-wheel training must contact a licensed Class B Virginia Driver Training School directly.





4th of July Flag Event – VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
Click the button below to email our office to help us deliver 100% American-made U.S. Flags across Virginia Beach this Fourth of July! My office is happy to join with Senator DeSteph and his staff to celebrate America’s birthday throughout our community. We are working to ensure that even with the current restrictions, we can help spread a little American joy!!

Click Here




Senator Kiggans Social Media Post on Mandatory Mask Order
After the debacle at our beach this past Saturday with the Governor not wearing his mask in a crowd, I am shocked he announced at his press conference Tuesday that face masks inside ALL buildings are now mandatory in Virginia (effective Friday, May 29th). As a public figure, he should know at all times that he is certainly being watched & not forget his mask nor get close to people without one.

His vague statement about mandatory masks not being enforced by law enforcement officers but by the Health Department makes me wonder what he has up his sleeve next. I know for a fact that the state legislators (as one of his “checks & balances”) are not being involved in the decision making processes. It will be the responsibility of the General Assembly when we meet again to attempt to put checks in place to ensure we are directly involved with decisions which impact our constituents and limit the direct power given to one individual at the Executive level.

As a healthcare provider who sees at-risk geriatric patients, I, too, look at the science and watch the numbers of who this disease affects & encourage those at risk to wear masks and limit their outings. I worry everyday about our nursing homes and how much work we have to do to protect this vulnerable group so they can be eventually reunited with their families. I also watch the numbers for how much money our large and small businesses have lost & how the unintentional consequences are affecting other facets of life. (Professionally, I see an average of four or five patients a day who are struggling with depression concerns or who have gained ten or more pounds.)

The Navy taught me the importance of leadership by example, and our Governor clearly has not done that. Masks should be encouraged for all but making them mandatory inside ALL establishments is going too far. Now is the time to be encouraging people to get Back to Business, not giving them another reason to not leave their homes.




COVID-19 Updates

Cases in Virginia:The Virginia Department of Health website continues to update the status of cases in Virginia. As of 9 a.m. today May 29th, 40,447 positive cases have been reported here in Virginia with 2,056 probable cases. Additionally, we currently have 680 cases in Virginia Beach and 470 cases in Norfolk.

Phased Reopening Plans
Phase 1 includes:
Safer at Home (especially if you are vulnerable)
No social gatherings of more than 10 people
Continued social distancing
Continued teleworking
Face coverings recommended in public
Easing limits on businesses and faith communities
You can find the Governor’s full slideshow presentation here.

Phase 1 Business and Religious Services Guidelines
Governor Northam rolled out an overview of guidelines applicable to businesses and religious services when Virginia enters Phase 1 of the Virginia Forward Blueprint. For more information and detailed guidelines please visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia.

The full text of E.O. 61 and Order of Public Health Emergency Three can be found here.

Virginia Beach: New Program to Provide Emergency Grants to Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic:
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (May 6, 2020) — Virginia Beach is adding to the list of loan and grant programs available to small businesses by creating a new Economic Development Investment Program (EDIP) offering that provides emergency assistance.

On April 28, 2020, the City Council provided $1.5 million in funding and approved an ordinance to temporarily allow the Virginia Beach Development Authority to make emergency assistance grants to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The EDIP part E fund is designed to help businesses with rent, utility or other business expenses up to $10,000. Qualifications, criteria, application, and associated documents can be found at www.yesvirginiabeach.com

Data from the Virginia Employment Commission and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership indicate that, since April 1, 2020, more than 20,000 new unemployment filings were received from Virginia Beach residents and that the majority of those job losses have been from small businesses. Additionally, respondents to a survey the City of Virginia Beach recently completed that asked businesses about needs indicated that funds to pay rent, utilities and related expenses were their top concern. “The pandemic has exacted high tolls from nearly everyone in one way or another.

Our economic recovery depends on the ability of our hardest hit small businesses to survive long enough to begin reopening and attracting customers back,” said Mayor Robert M. “Bobby” Dyer. “The City Council heard very clearly from constituents that emergency assistance is needed to fill critical funding gaps small businesses are experiencing. This will be money well spent.” EDIP is administered by the Virginia Beach Development Authority, which is appointed by the City Council to promote investment, reinvestment and workforce development.

Face Coverings in Virginia
Governor Northam signed Executive Order 63, requiring Virginians to wear face coverings in public indoor settings to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.  Face coverings do not take the place of public health guidelines to maintain six feet of physical distancing, increase cleaning and sanitation, and wash hands regularly.

See here for a press release on this announcement. See here for the full text of E.O. 63.

Workplace Safety Regulations
Governor Northam announced that he is directing the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) to develop emergency temporary standards to prevent workplace exposure to COVID-19. 
These occupational safety standards will require the approval by vote of the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board and must address personal protective equipment, sanitation, record-keeping of incidents, and hazard communication. Upon approval, the Department of Labor and Industry will be able to enforce the standards through civil penalties and business closures.

Housing Resources
Please click here for a comprehensive overview of housing resources available to homeowners, renters, and landlords.

Mental Health Month
May is mental health awareness month. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Coastal Virginia) is one of our local resources here to provide help. Especially now, check in on those you worry about & be mindful of your own mental health. The NAMI helpline number is: 1-800-950-6264 (M-F, 10am-5pm). The National Suicide Prevention Helpline (available 24/7) is: 1-800-273-8255.NAMI Coastal Virginia also provides the following support:—-Online Support Groups: https://www.namicoastalvirginia.org/online-support-groups
Hampton Roads COVID-19 Resources: https://www.namicoastalvirginia.org/covid-19-resources

Action Alliance Statewide Hotline
Many Virginians are unaware that sexual and domestic violence programs are still open – providing crisis services, emergency shelter, and resource-based support – or that they can still go to the hospital for care after trauma/assault. The Virginia Statewide Hotline is still here (24 hours a day, 365 days a year) and ready to help, and so are sexual and domestic violence programs all over the state. Call: 1.800.838.8238 or Text: 804.793.9999.

Behavioral Health Resources for COVID 19Community Services Boards (CSBs) across Virginia have transitioned some in-person strategies to work remotely. Many Virginians may be in need of additional mental health or behavioral health support and services. Linked here is a document that is updated periodically with activities and resources from local CSBs.

Hiring Contact TracersThe Virginia Department of Health will be hiring 1,300 individuals to conduct and oversee the contact tracing process. Interested applicants will find a listing of the number of open positions in the orange box on the left hand side of the page, and a link to the staffing agencies who will conduct the hiring process. You can find a link to that information here.

Frequently Asked Questions from Workers:Given the substantial economic impact that COVID-19 has had on Virginia’s workforce, the Northam Administration has released a comprehensive FAQ document to address questions that workers may have. That document can be found here.Also available in Spanish: haga clic aquí

Additional Information:For a comprehensive list of actions Governor Northam has announced to combat COVID-19 in Virginia, visit virginia.gov/coronavirus.

The COVID19JIC@vdem.virginia.gov email is now operational. The email address account will be monitored by our Joint Information Center (JIC) staff and relayed to the appropriate subject matter expert. If you have questions, please reach out using the above email.

There are so many resources to help out there. If you are overwhelmed or need help finding specific answers to questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office. The email is: district07@senate.virginia.gov and our phone number is: 757-990-3080. As always, it continues to be an honor to serve and represent you all as the State Senator from the 7th district. Stay safe and well out there! We can get through this together!

For information about best practices from the CDC, Click Here
For updated information from the Virginia Department of Health, Click Here
For updates from the City of Virginia Beach, Click Here
Like our daily routines, how we conduct politics has changed as well. We have taken a break from political fundraising for many months but are starting to begin to ask for support again in the form of small donations as we go forward. Please consider a small donation if possible to help me defend the values that we hold dear as Virginians.
Donate Here

Update from Senator Jen Kiggans 5/11/2020

May 11, 2020
Update on Coronavirus (COVID-19) 5/11/20

Hello Friends,

For the past two months, we have all stayed home as directed, going out only for essential trips and the occasional take-out meal.  We have put on homemade masks, carried hand sanitizer, and stayed 6 feet apart from others while we turned into home school parents and teleworkers.  We have done our part because we care about preventing the spread of a unknown and potentially fatal virus and because we want to protect our families, neighbors, and friends.  Due to our efforts, our hospitals were not overwhelmed, we have enough PPE now, we have the ability to test the people who need testing, and we better understand COVID-19 and those who are most at-risk.  We now know this virus is primarily deadly for vulnerable, older adults because over half of all deaths in Virginia can be attributed to people over the age of 70 with over a third of deaths occurring in our long-term care communities.  We have changed our routines to live with COVID-19 but it is time to get back to life and, most importantly, back to work.

Our Commonwealth is on the verge of permanent damage to our businesses and the livelihood of most Virginians if we do not re-open soon.  Many have received stimulus money and financial help from the government to keep their doors partially open during this crisis.  Although the government assistance has been necessary and appreciated, it is meant to be temporary. Our country was founded by hard work and independence from overbearing government along with the promise of opportunity for all. It is against what we believe as Americans to become reliant on big government to provide for our families.  Our beaches (some of the safest places in our state with plenty of space and UV light) must re-open immediately.  It is time for our tourism to rebound and our churches to hold services in person again.  We can safely follow guidelines while protecting our most vulnerable. Re-opening our state sooner rather than later is imperative before the economic impact of COVID-19 is irreversible.

Virginia is not a one-size-fits-all state.  The southwestern parts of our state who have had little to no COVID outbreaks have suffered in greater proportion due to the Governor’s state-wide executive orders.  There has been no regional approach to re-opening which I fear has done permanent damage to the rural and less economically advantaged parts of our Commonwealth.  General Assembly members from all over Virginia, including myself, have written letters to the Governor, have offered to be a part of the discussion, and have requested a legislative special session be called. The Governor has not been receptive to any of our requests or suggestions and is, per our constitution, able to make unilateral decisions which do not include the legislative branch.  From the very beginning, the General Assembly should have been included in the decision-making process to have the priorities of all Virginians represented at the table. 

I will continue to do my part to advocate for the 7th district and my constituents.  Our office remains available to assist with any and all government related issues as needed.  Please continue to do your part by staying home if you are sick, following CDC guidelines, and taking care of each other and yourselves.  If we learn anything from the response to this crisis, let it be the lesson of what defines good government and how important it is to elect good leaders. Virginia needs a common-sense, non-biased, broad thinker as a leader. Get ready to vote in 2021 and exercise your voice. The future of our Commonwealth depends on it.

Take care & stay well!
-Jen



Thank you to the wonderful volunteers from Eastern Virginia Medical School who dropped off beautiful homemade masks! They will be given to staff at local long-term care facilities in our community and are so appreciated!
Press Release from Sen. Jen Kiggans

COVID-19 Opens the Door for Geriatric Healthcare Reform
Long before COVID-19, our long-term care facilities have struggled with staffing, funding, and substandard living conditions. Families are frustrated by their loved one’s care and staff feel overworked, underpaid, and under-appreciated. The residents in these facilities, especially those who rely on Medicaid, live in small rooms with multiple people, share the attention of a stressed nurse or care assistant, and are isolated from a society who chooses to lock them away where we don’t have to see them nor be reminded of their inconveniences.  

As a geriatric nurse practitioner, Virginia State Senator, and member of the Governor’s COVID-19 Long-term Care Task Force, I am pleased to see the state government responding and supporting the long-term care community in countering this pandemic, but the work has only begun. Not surprisingly, staffing shortages (including recruitment and retention issues) continue to be at the top of the list for areas for improvement. Although the Governor has increased state Medicaid reimbursement $20 per patient per day and has loosened some restrictions for certification of nursing assistants, facilities are still struggling as staff become ill, fearful, or quarantined themselves.

Prioritizing testing for these facilities early on would have allowed for symptomatic and asymptomatic patients to be sectioned into positive and negative care areas including isolation and quarantine rooms. Staff should have been given sufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) sooner to facilitate better infection control. Instead, long-term care facilities are only recently being made a priority for PPE while starting to test all residents and new admissions from hospitals with the help of emergency staffing from outside sources such as the Medical Reserve Unit.

The infection and fatality numbers associated with the COVID-19 crisis and this susceptible age group have been staggering: out of 244 outbreaks in Virginia, 143 have been at long term care facilities, which have had 2,902 cases or 14% of the state’s total cases. 405 of the 713 deaths in Virginia as of May 5th were also in these facilities. As the rest of the country talks about drive-thru testing and antibody results and how essential these things are to re-opening our Commonwealth, my priority and point of focus remains the same: our vulnerable elderly. As of May 5th, of the 713 total deaths in Virginia, 368 were people age 80 and above, 164 of people age 70-79, and 116 of people age 60-69 (age 50-59: 42; age 40-49: 17, age 30-39: 4, and age 20-29: 2). One thing that the majority of people age 70 and above have in common is that they usually have multiple chronic health issues and an already fragile immune system.  

The response to the long-term care crisis pandemic should factor into our plans to re-open our Commonwealth for business. Since the majority of our workforce is less than age 70, most of us should be able to safely return to our jobs with the following safeguards such as wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, following good hand hygiene, and remaining home while you are not well or in poor health. Keeping all of Virginia in quarantine with our fragile economy on the verge of collapse does not justify mandating our younger healthy adults and pediatric population to stay home. It makes sense to take an age and vulnerability-based approach to re-opening as not all Americans present with the same risk level and should not all be treated as such.

Perhaps it is time to reconsider how we do geriatric healthcare overall in Virginia. With many alternatives to crowded understaffed facilities, Virginia has a chance to think outside the box and set an example for other states. State funding for group care homes, financial reimbursement for caregivers who leave jobs to care for their elderly family members, and increased access to telehealth are some underutilized vehicles for improved geriatric care. There needs to be a paradigm shift in how we view our most vulnerable but most precious members of society. Heaven forbid we have another crisis such as this that turns our long-term care facilities into battlefields where our doctors, nurses, and staff are out-numbered and ill-prepared to fight an unseen enemy. We already have an extreme shortage of geriatric-trained providers as the pay is low, the work is hard, and the competition for better healthcare jobs is great. We owe it to the care providers to compensate them with better pay and working conditions along with tangible gratitude for a sometimes thankless but always rewarding profession. I believe the silver lining of this crisis is that this oftentimes voiceless group now has people listening. We can do better Virginia, and we must do it now.  

State Senator Jen Kiggans



HAPPY BELATED MOTHER’S DAY!


COVID-19 Updates
Cases in Virginia:The Virginia Department of Health website continues to update the status of cases in Virginia. As of 9 a.m. today May 11th, 23,889 positive cases have been reported here in Virginia with 1,181 probable cases. Additionally, we currently have 505 cases in Virginia Beach and 308 cases in Norfolk.

Phased Reopening Plans
Governor Northam announced he was extending E.O. 53 to expire May 15. Barring another extension, this will begin Phase 1 of the relaxation of social distancing policies. Phase 1 calls for:

Safer at Home (especially if you are vulnerable)No social gatherings of more than 10 people Continued social distancing Continued teleworking Face coverings recommended in public Easing limits on businesses and faith communities

You can find the Governor’s full slideshow presentation here.
Governor Northam rolled out more detailed guidance on Phase 1 regulations for individuals, businesses, and places of worship. Please see pages 11 – 15 of the attached slide deck for details on the changes that will come, if Virginia moves to Phase 1 on May 15. 

The full text of E.O. 61 and Order of Public Health Emergency Three can be found here.

Virginia Beach: New Program to Provide Emergency Grants to Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic:
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (May 6, 2020) — Virginia Beach is adding to the list of loan and grant programs available to small businesses by creating a new Economic Development Investment Program (EDIP) offering that provides emergency assistance.

On April 28, 2020, the City Council provided $1.5 million in funding and approved an ordinance to temporarily allow the Virginia Beach Development Authority to make emergency assistance grants to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The EDIP part E fund is designed to help businesses with rent, utility or other business expenses up to $10,000. Qualifications, criteria, application, and associated documents can be found at www.yesvirginiabeach.com

Data from the Virginia Employment Commission and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership indicate that, since April 1, 2020, more than 20,000 new unemployment filings were received from Virginia Beach residents and that the majority of those job losses have been from small businesses. Additionally, respondents to a survey the City of Virginia Beach recently completed that asked businesses about needs indicated that funds to pay rent, utilities and related expenses were their top concern. 

“The pandemic has exacted high tolls from nearly everyone in one way or another. Our economic recovery depends on the ability of our hardest hit small businesses to survive long enough to begin reopening and attracting customers back,” said Mayor Robert M. “Bobby” Dyer. “The City Council heard very clearly from constituents that emergency assistance is needed to fill critical funding gaps small businesses are experiencing. This will be money well spent.” 

EDIP is administered by the Virginia Beach Development Authority, which is appointed by the City Council to promote investment, reinvestment and workforce development.

Mental Health Month
May is mental health awareness month. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Coastal Virginia) is one of our local resources here to provide help. Especially now, check in on those you worry about & be mindful of your own mental health. The NAMI helpline number is: 1-800-950-6264 (M-F, 10am-5pm). The National Suicide Prevention Helpline (available 24/7) is: 1-800-273-8255.NAMI Coastal Virginia also provides the following support:—-

Online Support Groups: https://www.namicoastalvirginia.org/online-support-groups

Hampton Roads COVID-19 Resources: https://www.namicoastalvirginia.org/covid-19-resources

Action Alliance Statewide Hotline
Many Virginians are unaware that sexual and domestic violence programs are still open – providing crisis services, emergency shelter, and resource-based support – or that they can still go to the hospital for care after trauma/assault. The Virginia Statewide Hotline is still here (24 hours a day, 365 days a year) and ready to help, and so are sexual and domestic violence programs all over the state. Call: 1.800.838.8238 or Text: 804.793.9999.

Testing Workgroup
Governor Northam announced the creation of a Testing Workgroup, to make sure all of Virginia’s public and private testing efforts are coordinated. Dr Karen Remley and Dr. Lillian Peake will head up the workgroup. Dr. Remley is the former Virginia Commissioner of Health, and Dr. Peake is our state epidemiologist.

Executive Action on DMV
Governor Northam extended the closure of public-facing DMV offices to May 11, and directed Virginia State Police to continue suspending the enforcement of motor vehicle inspections and take several additional measures through July 31. The full text of Executive Directive Seven can be found here.

COVID-19 Business Task Force
Governor Northam announced a diverse group of leaders participating in the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Business Task Force, which will continue to provide advice and guidance to the Cabinet on a safe, responsible strategy for easing restrictions on businesses and individuals.

A full press release on the Business Task Force can be found here.

Local May Elections
Governor Northam announced that he is using his executive authority to delay the May 5 local elections by 14 days to May 19. Given health concerns, the Governor is strongly encouraging anyone who plans to vote in that election to vote absentee by mail. 

Safe Absentee Voting
Attorney General Mark Herring announced that the Commonwealth has reached an agreement that will help ensure safe absentee voting for the upcoming June 23 primaries. Under the terms of a proposed consent decree, the Commonwealth will accept absentee ballots without the signature of a witness “for voters who believe they may not safely have a witness present while completing their ballot.” The order is proposed to the court and will not be final and effective until entered by the court. A copy of the brief in support of the agreement is available here.

As a reminder, the Governor postponed the local general and special elections from May 5th to May 19th. Absentee ballots must be requested by May 12th. Voted ballots must be received no later than May 19th at 7pm. Voters can request online that an absentee ballot be mailed to them by visiting elections.virginia.gov/voterinfo or by downloading and printing a request form at elections.virginia.gov/forms and returning the completed and signed form to their local General Registrar’s office by mail, fax, or scanned attachment to an email. Forms are also available in Spanish, Vietnamese, and Korean.

Payment Relief for Student Loans
Virginia has secured relief options for more than 200,000 Virginians with privately held student loans. The payment relief is the result of a new initiative by Virginia and several other states to work with the major private student loan servicers to expand on protections for federal student loan borrowers through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. For more information see the press release linked here

Frequently Asked Questions from Workers:
Given the substantial economic impact that COVID-19 has had on Virginia’s workforce, the Northam Administration has released a comprehensive FAQ document to address questions that workers may have. That document can be found here.
Also available in Spanish: haga clic aquí

Additional Information:
For a comprehensive list of actions Governor Northam has announced to combat COVID-19 in Virginia, visit virginia.gov/coronavirus.
The COVID19JIC@vdem.virginia.gov email is now operational. The email address account will be monitored by our Joint Information Center (JIC) staff and relayed to the appropriate subject matter expert. If you have questions, please reach out using the above email.

There are so many resources to help out there. If you are overwhelmed or need help finding specific answers to questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office. The email is: district07@senate.virginia.gov and our phone number is: 757-990-3080. As always, it continues to be an honor to serve and represent you all as the State Senator from the 7th district. Stay safe and well out there! We can get through this together!

For information about best practices from the CDC, Click Here
For updated information from the Virginia Department of Health, Click Here
For updates from the City of Virginia Beach, Click Here