2019 General Assembly Priorities
Welcoming All: The U.S. is not a very welcoming place for immigrants and minority faith traditions right now. VICPP opposes anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies and advocates policies in Virginia that can make the Commonwealth more welcoming. In the 2019 General Assembly, VICPP will support two important policies sought by immigrant communities:
- Driver’s Privilege Cards. In Virginia, people who are undocumented or fall into 12 categories of lawful presence are denied access to driver’s licenses. One of the primary ways that people end up in deportation proceedings is through traffic stops. Creating a Driver’s Privilege Card would be good for immigrants and good for all drivers on the Many other states have such policies.
- In-state tuition for DACA students. Currently, DACA holders have access to in-state tuition, but if the DACA students were to lose their DACA status due to capricious federal policy shifts, these students would lose in-state tuition. We want these students to continue their education and help Virginia
Wage Theft: Virginia needs to strengthen its laws against wage theft by reforming the Virginia Minimum Wage Act and the Payment of Wages Act. In 2019, VICPP will support reforms to:
- Remove some of the “Jim Crow” language in the law. Virginia’s wage laws exempt most categories of workers that were historically held by African
- Remove the exemption on piece work. Currently, if workers are paid “by the piece,” they are exempt from the law. Only one other state still has this
- Cover all workers. Currently, the Virginia Minimum Wage Act only covers businesses with four or more persons employed at any one time. Most states cover all
- Provide paystub information to workers. Many workers are cheated of wages because they are not given a paystub or online accounting that shows how they are
- Offer protection against retaliation. VA workers can be fired for filing a wage complaint.
- Give DOLI the ability to investigate. DOLI can only investigate for an individual complainant, not for all workers who may be victims of wage theft in a
- Create a private cause of action. Workers should be able to take their claims to court. TheVA Consumer Protection Act provides for a similar cause of action. If consumers have this right, so too should
Earned Income Credit:
Governor Northam has proposed making the Virginia Earned Income Credit refundable. VICPP will support this.
Criminal Justice Reform:
VICPP will support reforms making the criminal justice system more humane and fair.
Virginia Interfaith Power & Light (VAIPL) is a program of VICPP. VAIPL is the state affiliate of a national organization, Interfaith Power & Light, which is dedicated to bringing together all faith communities to mobilize a religious response to climate change through energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.
VICPP works with VAIPL to promote environmental justice. VAIPL advocates the following bills to grow healthy communities and advance climate justice:
- Codify the Advisory Council on Environmental Justice
- Adapt our coasts to rising seas and limit carbon pollution from power plants
- Safe and responsible closure of toxic coal ash ponds
- Increase access to clean solar energy for homes, congregations, and communities