Dear VICPP Supporter,
Tuesday is one of the biggest days of the year for the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy! It is our annual advocacy day event, the Day for All People.
This year should be very exciting, with two special guest speakers – newly inaugurated Governor Ralph Northam to kick things off at 8:30 a.m., and new Secretary of Health and Human Resources Dr. Dan Carey at lunchtime. Healthcare is our priority issue this year and who better than two physicians to talk about the importance of healthcare access for all Virginians?
We’ve had overwhelming response to the Day for All People this year. You can still register here. The cost is $30, which includes light breakfast and lunch. The morning is reserved for meetings with Senators and Delegates at the Pocahontas Building. Then after lunch there will be workshops on Healthcare Expansion, Sanctuary Congregations, on two VICPP programs – Witness at the Capitol and Living Wage Certification – and on how to join our Social Media Team. Adjournment is set for 3 p.m.
VICPP has rented two buses departing from Northern Virginia and Tidewater. The NOVA bus will leave from Annandale United Methodist Church, 6935 Columbia Pike, Annandale, 22003. Cars should be left in the lower parking lot, near the tree line. Water, light refreshments and a bathroom on the bus. Email Stephanie Niedringhaus (email@example.com) if you would like to be on the bus, and include your cell phone number. If you are interested in riding the Tidewater bus, email or call Yugonda Sample Jones (Yugonda@virginiainterfaithcenter.org (757) 214-4843. Both buses will depart early in the morning and then leave Richmond at 3 p.m.
With peace and justice,
Executive Director, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy
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RICHMOND LIVING WAGE CERTIFICATION LAUNCH EVENT POSTPONED
Inclement weather forced a postponement of the Living Wage Certification program launch for businesses in Richmond that had been scheduled for this morning. The Richmond Area Living Wage Certification Program is a joint program of the VICPP Richmond Chapter and the City of Richmond Office of Community Wealth Building. The program has three levels of certifications: $16 an hour or more for the Gold Star Certification; $12.50 or more for the Silver Star Certification, and $11 or more for the Aspiring Living Wage Certification. This pilot program and similar initiatives in Charlottesville and Alexandria highlight the Center’s effort to mobilize the business and the faith communities to support fair wages for working families throughout the Commonwealth. Check out the program’s new website:https://livingwagerichmond.org/.
ACTION ALERT! THURSDAY IS A BIG DAY FOR VIRGINIA DREAMERS
Tomorrow is a big day for Dreamers and DACA recipients at the General Assembly. At 8 a.m. in Senate Room B, the Senate Committee on Education will hear SB810, which extends instate tuition to all Virginia students regardless of federal immigration status. If you are near Richmond and able to attend the hearing, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for details. Then at 4 p.m., NAKASEC and CASA will be holding vigils at Senator Kaine and Senator Warner’s offices all over the state. They have asked clergy and friends to stand and pray with them. “Our senators have a chance to be champions for the community by resolving to fight for a clean DREAM act,” said Lana Heath de Martinez, Welcoming All Coordinator for VICPP. “Sign up here to join us at the vigil, bring your signs showing solidarity for our neighbors who are immigrants, wear your clergy attire and spread the word.”
JOIN OUR SOCIAL MEDIA TEAM
During the legislative session, VICPP will create action alerts for our priority issues. In order to be effective, these alerts must be shared widely and quickly. We are asking VICPP social media volunteers to commit to five minutes a day to share an action alert via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. It’s one way to join our advocacy without being physically present at the General Assembly. If you want to be part of this team it is important to register so that you will receive the daily emails with the alert and instructions! Use the hashtags #Witness2018 and #vainterfaith. Sign up at https://tinyurl.com/actionteam2018; and if you know someone who might be interested, please share the link.
BE A ‘WITNESS AT THE CAPITOL’
You can still sign up for our “Witness at the Capitol” program. The Witness at the Capitol team is comprised of volunteers who serve as faithful citizen advocates on the VICPP priority issues during the legislative session. We would like volunteers to commit for at least a week. At the beginning of the session, the work “week” is usually Monday through Thursday, but sometimes there are events on Friday as well. Volunteers should be people of faith and comfortable talking about the faith dimensions of the issues. Retired clergy, deacons, student campus ministry leaders and laypersons are sought. If you are interested but have questions, contact Kim Bobo at Kim@virginiainterfaithcenter.org.
VIRGINIA JEWISH ADVOCACY DAY IS JAN. 30
Tuesday, Jan. 30, is the Jewish Advocacy Day at the General Assembly in Richmond, with Gov. Northam, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Attorney General Mark Herring all speaking. The top priorities this year include maintaining the separation of church and state, expanding healthcare to all and combating bias. There will be a bus departing from the JCC of Northern Virginia at 6:30 a.m. The registration deadline is Jan. 26. For more information contact Darcy L. Hirsh.
UNITED METHODIST DAY AT GENERAL ASSEMBLY SET FOR FEB. 1
United Methodist Day at the General Assembly will be held Thursday, Feb. 1 from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Registration for this event is now open. A briefing session will be held Wednesday, Jan. 31, at Bon Air UMC in North Chesterfield at 7:30 p.m. Questions may be directed to the Rev. Barbara Lewis at BarbaraLewis@vaumc.org or (434) 594-6241. A block of rooms have been reserved at the Hyatt Place on Arboretum Place in Bon Air.
RALLY TO ‘END RACISM’ SCHEDULED ON APRIL 4 IN WASHINGTON
n April 4 there will be a “Act Now: Unite to End Racism” rally on the National Mall in Washington sponsored by the National Council of Churches, the Conference of National Black Churches, the African American Clergy Network, and Sojourners. On the evening of April 3, there’s a worship service scheduled at St. Sophia’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral. At 7:30 am on the morning of April 4, there will be an interfaith service at the Lincoln Memorial, then at noon a rally on the National Mall. Finally, on April 5 there will be a national day of advocacy on Capitol Hill. For more information visit http://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/actnow/.
EXPANDING HEALTHCARE ACCESS NEWS
“A new poll finds that about 83 percent of Virginians are in favor of expanding Medicaid — that includes nearly 72 percent of Republicans. The support also crosses regional boundaries with more than 80 percent support in all areas of the state. The poll, released Tuesday and paid for by the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, was conducted by Republican-leaning Public Opinion Strategies of Arlington. It interviewed 600 likely voters via landline and cell phone in mid-December.”
Northam Tells Legislators Medicaid Expansion is ‘A Matter of Basic Economic Justice’
The Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Gov. Ralph Northam used his first speech to the General Assembly to seek common ground with Republicans on workforce training, education and economic development, but he also forcefully called for expansion of the state’s Medicaid program as ‘a matter of basic economic justice’ and challenged them on hot-button Democratic political priorities. Northam reminded lawmakers assembled in the House of Delegates Monday that the General Assembly was transformed by an election in November that turned the GOP’s once impregnable 32-seat majority in the House into a two-vote advantage. ‘We all recognize the extraordinary changes that voters made to his assembly in November,’ he told legislators. ‘They expect us to deliver on the mandate they sent.’ Foremost, he said, that means expanding Medicaid with federal money under the Affordable Care Act.”
Number of Americans Without Health Insurance Grows In Trump’s First Year
The Los Angeles Times
“The number of Americans without health coverage, which declined for years after passage of the Affordable Care Act, shot up in President Trump’s first year in office, according to data from a new national survey. At the end of 2017, 12.2% of U.S. adults lacked health insurance, up from 10.9% at the end of 2016. The increase of 1.3 percentage points, although modest, marks the first time since at least 2008 that the share of adults without insurance increased from the previous year, according to the report from Gallup, which conducts a widely followed survey asking Americans about their health coverage. The increase indicates that 3.2 million Americans lost health coverage in 2017.”
Individual Mandate Now Gone, G.O.P. Targets The One For Employers
The New York Times
“Having wiped out the requirement for people to have health insurance, Republicans in Congress are taking aim at a new target: the mandate in the Affordable Care Act that employers offer coverage to employees. And many employers are cheering the effort. While large companies have long offered health benefits, many have chafed at the detailed requirements under the health law, including its reporting rules, which they see as onerous and expensive. Now that relief has been extended to individuals, some companies believe they should be next in line.”
CRIMINAL JUSTICE NEWS
The Associated Press
“A bill designed to soften penalties in Virginia for stealing smaller dollar items is moving through the state Senate. A Senate panel voted Monday for SB105 to raise the felony threshold from $200 to $500. Virginia has kept its felony bar at $200 since 1980 and is the lowest in the country. Most other states have raised the dollar minimum for felony charges to keep pace with inflation. The Republican-led committee voted to increase the threshold but rejected a push by newly sworn-in Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam to raise the limit to $1,000. The real test will be in the House, which has repeatedly killed any increase.”
WELCOMING ALL NEWS
“The Trump administration is seeking a fast track to the Supreme Court in hopes of reversing a federal judge’s order that it restart a popular program that has enabled young, undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States. The Justice Department announced Tuesday that it will appeal U.S District Judge William Alsup’s decision both to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and to the Supreme Court — an unusual move.”
“Partisan finger-pointing over immigration policy on Tuesday left the U.S. Congress and the White House stumbling closer to a … Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned that a government funding bill should not be held “hostage” to the immigration debate.”
PREDATORY LENDING NEWS
The Washington Post
“A federal judge in Philadelphia on Tuesday rejected Wells Fargo’s bid to dismiss that city’s lawsuit accusing the largest U.S. mortgage lender of predatory lending targeting black and Hispanic borrowers.”