CHARLOTTEVILLE, Virginia (WVIR) – The General Assembly will soon be reconvened for the 2023 session, and legislators are beginning to introduce legislation.
This year’s session will be short, and some delegates are not expecting as many bills to be introduced, but they are still pushing forward and trying to make a difference.
“We said, ‘Okay, there’s clearly a problem here, but please help us find a solution that doesn’t create new problems,'” said Rob Bell of District 58 ( R) said Thursday, January 5th.
Del. Bell represents Albemarle County. Mental health is the focus of the session, in part because Gov. Glenn Youngkin has proposed a $200 million budget that includes measures to free up space in hospitals. There is a bill to allow it to be done outside the facility. He says this will provide more space for more people in need.
“We have to increase our capacity, so if it’s just for the patients to be safe, we have to have beds. Please,” Bell said.
It starts at school. Del. Bell wants to ensure a smooth transfer of student records to the Community Service Board after graduation. He said that if students currently receive mental health support services at school, the record of the support they received makes it impractical to transition to CSB after leaving school. He says he wants a seamless transfer so the person can get help as an adult and benefit from all the work done through the school.
“It’s something I’ve been working on for years and the Youth Commission has finally issued a recommendation. We’re so excited that it might actually happen,” Bell said.
Bell is also trying to address legal loopholes in domestic violence cases.
“Sometimes the protection order wanted an extension, and we weren’t ready. “I’m trying to find a way,” he said.
Sally Hudson (Democrat), representing the 57th District, represents Charlottesville.
“Many of the people who call this place home are being evicted every day, so they come back to Richmond with the bills to focus on affordable housing,” said Del Hudson.
Hudson said it would do so with a bill to expand existing housing units.
“We are working bipartisanly to ease these restrictions and make it easier to build more in the right places. We’re doing some good work to make it easier to cover our expenses.
Hudson, a Democrat, and Bell, a Republican, say it’s important to look for bipartisan compromises when drafting legislation.
Delegates tell them to contact them if they have any feelings about any of the bills or would like your voice heard through state law. Begins at noon on Wednesday the 11th.
Have an idea for a story?Send us your news tips here.
Copyright 2023 WVIR. all rights reserved.