It’s been an incredibly busy couple of weeks, so there’s plenty of information to cover in this month’s newsletter. In this email, we’ll cover updates on the vaccine distribution effort in Virginia, the General Assembly’s Reconvened Session, updates from the Governor, and more.
COVID Vaccine Updates
Virginia is continuing to make strides in our vaccination efforts. More than one in three adults have received at least one dose and one in five have been fully vaccinated. That’s not the only good news on the vaccination front. The Peninsula Health District has moved on to vaccinating individuals in group 1C, which includes most essential workers. Additionally, starting on April 18th, any Virginian over the age of 16 will be eligible to get the vaccine in Virginia. If you qualify for a vaccine at this time you can look for available vaccines in your area using this link.
Last month, our local health districts, the Peninsula localities, and local health systems teamed up to create a unified vaccination command structure. The new plan, called “Operation Vaccinate the Peninsula”, has made it easier for Peninsula residents to get information about and access available vaccine doses as they become available. As a part of this system anyone in 1A or 1B who wants a vaccine and has yet to get one can email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance scheduling an appointment – make sure to include your phone number in the email!
If you have not done so already I highly encourage you to pre-register for a vaccine at the VDH website. Once you’ve pre-registered, you’ll be contacted when an appointment slot opens up, plus pre-registering will help Virginia get a better idea of how many Virginians have been vaccinated.
Reconvene Session Update
This past Wednesday we closed the book on one of the most productive legislative sessions in recent memory. We reconvened for one day to vote on Governor Northam’s proposed amendments to our legislation. Some highlights from these votes include moving up the marijuana legalization deadline to July of 2021 and approving some technical amendments to the Virginia Voting Rights Act.
Now that the legislative session is officially over, I wanted to reflect on the work we managed to accomplish this year. Despite unique circumstances, we passed over 600 pieces of legislation including my bills to fight elder abuse, prevent overtime wage theft, establish youth courts and abolish the death penalty. We also passed legislation to enact the Virginia Voting Rights Act, stand up our vaccine distribution effort, and give teachers a long overdue pay raise. I am truly proud of what we’ve done, but there’s still more to do.
Vaccine Clinic Visit
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the Greater Williamsburg Vaccine Clinic at the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center. This operation is an incredible success thanks to the work of community partners including the City of Williamsburg, James City County, York County, members of local fire and EMS departments, as well as the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps. They administered almost 15,000 doses the week I visited and look to continue their important work until the entire Peninsula is vaccinated.
Updates from the Governor
The Governor announced the launch of a new advising service to help Virginian’s fill out Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Found on this website this service allows students and parents to schedule 1-1 virtual meetings with advisors who can walk them through the FAFSA process. It will be available to Virginians through June 30th. It is very important that anyone who is eligible for FAFSA benefits applies, so they can receive financial help including through Pell Grants and aid from the new G3 program.
The Governor also announced the individual income tax filing and payment deadline has been extended to May 17th. This extension was granted in order to better align Virginia’s tax deadlines with the Department of Treasury which also announced an extension to their filing deadline.The Department of Taxation strongly recommends electronic filing, which is easy, secure, and free to use.
College Creek Cleanup
Next Saturday on April 17th, Senator Mason will be leading his 7th annual cleanup of College Creek. The event will be socially distanced and volunteers will clean up however they know best from picking up candy wrappers to wading into the creek to find larger pieces of debris. Water and food will be provided and it will be a great chance to help out the community while also enjoying our recent spate of nicer weather.
That’s all for this newsletter, thank you for reading! Don’t hesitate to reach out if I can ever be of assistance.
Stay safe and take care,
Michael P. Mullin