It’s hard to believe that we’re already more than halfway through July. There’s a lot going on right now, so I wanted to reach out and share information on the upcoming General Assembly committee meetings, the August 18th special session, job hiring events, the current heatwave, and more.
Before I do any of that, I want to take a minute to discuss the rising COVID-19 case numbers we’re seeing here in Virginia, and the spike we’re experiencing in Hampton Roads in particular. The increasing case numbers in our region are concerning and we have to take action now to get those numbers down. We need to be smart and take care of each other. That means wearing a mask when we’re around other people, washing our hands frequently, avoiding large social gatherings, and continuing to social distance. Remember, for a mask to be effective it needs to cover your mouth and your nose. This has been a difficult year, but we need to stay strong and continue following public health guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19.
August 18th Special Session
The General Assembly has been called back to Richmond for a special legislative session that will begin on August 18th. During this special session, we’re going to tackle several issues, starting with the budget. You might remember that when the General Assembly returned to Richmond for Reconvene Session back in April we unallotted, or froze, 2.2 billion dollars worth of spending in the biennial budget. We froze that spending because we didn’t know exactly how the COVID-19 pandemic would impact state revenues. We will return to Richmond on August 18th with a clearer idea of the state’s revenue forecast in hand and we will pass a budget that aligns with the revised revenue forecast.
Also on the table during the special session will be several pieces of legislation dealing with criminal justice and policing reform. The Senate held a joint hearing on this topic on July 10th. You can watch the recording of that meeting here. On the House side, there will be three joint meetings of the House Courts of Justice and Public Safety Committees where we will hear expert testimony as well as input from the public on several criminal justice and policing reform issues.
Joint House Courts of Justice and Public Safety Meetings
Like I said above, there will be three virtual joint meetings of the House Courts of Justice and Public Safety Committees to hear expert testimony and public comment on several criminal justice and policing reform issues. The first of these hearings will take place tomorrow, July 22nd, at 10 AM and will run until 1 PM. You can click here to find the meeting agenda, submit a comment, and access the meeting livestream
Following tomorrow’s meeting, there will be two additional meetings at 10 AM on Wednesday, July 29th and Thursday, August 6th. You can find information on these meetings here
I’m sure you’ve noticed the high temperatures in recent days. We’re in the middle of a heatwave here on the Peninsula, so please be sure to take precautions. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids, check on family and neighbors, avoid strenuous outdoor activities, watch for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, and don’t leave people or pets in the car. You can find more information on how to stay safe in extreme heat here.
To help seniors on the Peninsula stay cool during these hot summer months, the Peninsula Agency on Aging (PAA) is providing box fans and AC units to eligible seniors. You can find the eligibility requirements in the graphic below. To apply, you can call the PAA at (757) 873-0541.
Virtual Hiring Events and Job Fairs
There are several virtual job fairs and job hiring events taking place this month. The Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce is presenting a virtual job fair that runs from July 20th to July 23rd and continues from August 3rd to August 4th. You can find more information on this virtual job fair here.
The Virginia Employment Commission and Virginia Career Works are hosting a statewide virtual hiring event on Tuesday, July 28th from 1 PM to 5 PM. The first hour will be reserved for veterans only. You can register for the July 28th virtual hiring event here. Additional resources can be found on the Virginia Workforce Connection website.
Rent Relief and Energy Assistance
The Virginia Rent Relief and Mortgage Assistance Program (RMRP) launched at the end of June and will provide $50 million in CARES Act funding to assist households facing eviction or foreclosure to due COVID-19. You can find information on the program, eligibility, and more by clicking here.
The Virginia Department of Social Services is accepting applications from households for cooling assistance through August 17th. Folks who need help paying for their energy needs can find more information on this program and how to apply here
This email has been a long one and I appreciate you reading it through to the end. Don’t hesitate to reach out if I can be of assistance. Stay safe and stay healthy.
Delegate Michael P. Mullin