Letter to Governor McAuliffe

SALT Message:

Dear Governor McAuliffe:

Social Action Linking Together (SALT) is a grassroots social justice organization  We believe in rehabilitation, not retribution. The justice of a society can be measured by how the most vulnerable are faring and being treated.  SALT looks forward to working with you in advancing the common good for Virginian citizens, especially the most vulnerable.

Our 1200 SALT members aim to help pass fair and commonsense policies and legislation to aid vulnerable children and families statewide. We largely work in coalition with other prison advocacy groups to propose and advocate for common sense public social policies. To that end, We have been in conversation with SALT partners to join us in Strongly Urging you to “Veto” Bills Abolishing Geriatric Parole for Inmates Who Were Subject to a Protective Order in Favor of the Victim of Their Offense.

As voices for the voiceless in prison, we bring to your attention very serious and troublesome legislation, I would like to make sure you are aware of HB 868 and SB 561, which passed the House and Senate and are now sitting on your desk.  These Bills are about Abolishing Geriatric Parole for Inmates Who Were Subject to a Protective Order in Favor of the Victim of Their Offense. We want you to veto both of these bills and we want to support the McAuliffe Administration in this veto issue.

Your administration has voiced its interest in encouraging and supporting more geriatric parole but we feel that these bills subjecting eligible inmates to a protective order in favor of victims  would kill geriatric parole.  Not withstanding the lack of attention or opposition, there are serious constitutional flaws (see below) in these bills, some of which your office flagged with proposed amendments, which were rejected by the General Assembly in its April 23 session.  The bills are now back.  We urge you to act on them by vetoing both.

We strongly urge your veto and wish to work with your office on the introduction a common sense, clean and fair bill we can all support in the next session of the General Assembly.

You have our support.
John Horejsi, Coordinator
Social Action Linking Together (SALT)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(703) 255-7074

cc: Paul Reagan

Letter to Editor - FairfaxTimes

Delegate’s Medicare math way off the mark

After reading Del. Dave LaRock’s letter in the June 13-15 edition of the Fairfax Times, I was of two minds as to whether it was written out of ignorance or dishonesty. After reflection I’d have to say it was evenly split between both.

LaRock states the Affordable Care Act will add to the national debt. This is flatly untrue. The Congressional Budget Office determined that limited cost reductions in Medicare, increased taxes on the wealthy, and small tax increases on industries that gain the most from the ACA (e.g., drug companies) will more than pay for its provisions. He has to know the individual tax increases (a 0.9 percent increase in the payroll/medicare tax for couples with incomes over $250,000 and a 3.8 percent increase on investment income for those earning above that threshold) will affect a tiny portion of Virginians. Yet, he ignores this along with the fact that CBO predicts the ACA will reduce the budget deficit $143 billion by 2019.

As for trying to scare people about Medicare cuts, the ACA ends overpayments to private insurers that cover people on Medicare. It also reduces hospital payments that rise every year due to inflation. Such payments put no pressure on hospitals to deliver services at lower costs. At any rate, hospitals generally support the ACA!

Finally, he states there is no guarantee tax increase dollars “will be managed responsibly or returned to Virginia.” Duh, since the Republicans have killed Medicaid expansion in our state Virginia absolutely will not see any of those dollars we are now paying in taxes. Thanks, Dave. You’ve kept Virginia citizens and businesses from benefiting from an established law while shunting millions of our dollars to other states. Quite a triple play.

Philip Church, Fairfax

SALT LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS--2014

Statement in Arlington Before Members of the Virginia
Senate and House of Delegates

Delegation Chairperson and all elected officials of the General Assembly present here today, Social Action Linking Together (SALT) – a network that promotes positive social policy for the most vulnerable individuals and families in Virginia -thanks you for the opportunity to speak and urges your support for:
 
SALT Priority #1: Medicaid ExpansionSALT supports the Medicaid expansion for 400,000 of uninsured working poor Virginians. This would enable Virginia to take advantage of the $2 billion/year of federal funding to pay for 100% of the cost for the first 3 years, then 95% from 2017-2020, and 90% after 2020.
 
SALT Priority #2: End Supplantation of Federal TANF Dollars--The ability of Virginia to use Federal TANF funds to replace previous State expenditures for low-income families corrupts the intent of TANF.  The goal  is to maximize the resources available to serve low-income children and families and ensure that Federal TANF funds are used to supplement, not supplant, existing State and local spending.
 
SALT Priority #3: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Automatic Adjustment for Inflation -This is clearly a fairness issue. Virginia has enacted only one TANF benefit increase since 1985. Currently a family of three receives a benefit of about one-fifth of the federal poverty level.
 
SALT Priority #4: Rescinding the Federal Lifetime Ban of TANF - SALT is in support of rescinding the Federal lifetime ban on TANF welfare benefits for ex-offenders convicted of felony drug crimes. This ban penalizes children of drug felons and has more to do with vengeance than with justice.
 
SALT Priority #5: Support of Operation Backpack for TANF Families We propose that this be made an annual event to assist destitute school children, grades Pre-K through High School. The allowance would permit children living in poverty to acquire some of the needed school supplies and clothing essential for returning to school & to help equip them for learning.
 
SALT Priority #6: Work Sharing: An Employer Tool that Helps Save Jobs and Diminishes Poverty in Communities SALT is in support of Virginia utilizing compensated work-sharing, a form of unemployment insurance--already adopted by many states--that enables businesses to avoid layoffs and keep workers on the job.

SALT Priority#7: Ban the Box--This ban prohibits automatically disqualifying job applicants. Job applicants with a prior conviction will no longer have to check a box disclosing that they have been convicted of, or pled guilty to, a crime. Following an employers evaluation of the applicant on his or her abilities and experiences and asked the applicant, the employer can then inquire about the applicants conviction history during the job interview process.

 
The following issues may come up again (carry over) from last session:
 
SALT Priority #1A: VA Prisons to Ban Shackling of Pregnant Women SALT supports the prohibition of shackling pregnant inmates in Virginia’s prisons. While there has been progress to prohibit shackling through the regulatory process, legislation is needed to strenghten the ban.  
 
SALT Priority #2A: Reasonable Rates for Inmate Telecommunications Systems - SALT proposes legislation to mandate that phone rates at correctional facilities be the lowest available rates. Permitting additional financial burdens to be placed on prisoners and their families is unwarranted, having more to do with vengeance than with justice.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify.  SALT wishes you a successful session.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact John Horejsi,SALT Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Member Name District Party Capitol Office District Office
***Alexander, Kenneth C. 5 D (804) 698-7505 (757) 223-1333
***Barker, George L. 39 D (804) 698-7539 (703) 303-1426
***Black, Richard H. 13 R (804) 698-7513 (703) 406-2951
Carrico, Charles W., Sr. 40 R (804) 698-7540 (276) 236-0098
***Colgan, Charles J. 29 D (804) 698-7529 (703) 368-0300
Cosgrove, John A. , Jr. 14 R (804) 698-7514 (757) 547-3422
Deeds, R. Creigh 25 D (804) 698-7525 (434) 296-5491
***Ebbin, Adam P. 30 D (804) 698-7530 (571) 384-8957
***Edwards, John S. 21 D (804) 698-7521 (540) 985-8690
***Favola, Barbara A. 31 D (804) 698-7531 (703) 835-4845
Garrett, Thomas A., Jr. 22 R (804) 698-7522 (434) 944-7770
Hanger, Emmett W., Jr. 24 R (804) 698-7524 (540) 885-6898
***Herring, Mark R. 33 D (804) 698-7533 (703) 729-3300
***Howell, Janet D. 32 D (804) 698-7532 (703) 709-8283
Locke, Mamie E. 2 D (804) 698-7502 (757) 825-5880
Lucas, L. Louise 18 D (804) 698-7518 (757) 397-8209
***Marsden, David W. 37 D (804) 698-7537 (571) 249-3037
Marsh, Henry L., III 16 D (804) 698-7516 (804) 698-7516
Martin, Stephen H. 11 R (804) 698-7511  (804) 674-0242
McDougle, Ryan T. 4 R (804) 698-7504 (804) 730-1026
***McEachin, A. Donald 9 D (804) 698-7509 (804) 226-4111
McWaters, Jeffrey L. 8 R (804) 698-7508 (757) 965-3700
Miller, John C. 1 D (804) 698-7501 (757) 595-1100
Newman, Stephen D. 23 R (804) 698-7523 (434) 385-1065
Norment, Thomas K., Jr. 3 R (804) 698-7503 (757) 259-7810
Northam, Ralph S. 6 D (804) 698-7506 (757) 818-5172
Obenshain, Mark D. 26 (804) 698-7526 (540) 437-1451
***Petersen, J. Chapman 34 D (804) 698-7534 (703) 349-3361
Puckett, Phillip P. 38 D (804) 698-7538 (276) 979-8181
***Puller, Linda T. 36 D (804) 698-7536 (703) 765-1150
Reeves, Bryce E. 17 R (804) 698-7517 (540) 645-8440
Ruff, Frank M., Jr. 15 R (804) 698-7515 (434) 374-5129
***Saslaw, Richard L. 35 D (804) 698-7535 (703) 978-0200
Smith, Ralph K. 19 R (804) 698-7519 (540) 206-3597
Stanley, William M., Jr. 20 R (804) 698-7520 (540) 721-6028
Stosch, Walter A. 12 R (804) 698-7512 (804) 527-7780
***Stuart, Richard H. 28 R (804) 698-7528 (804) 493-8892
***Vogel, Jill Holtzman 27 R (804) 698-7527 (540) 662-4551
Wagner, Frank W. 7 R (804) 698-7507 (757) 671-2250
Watkins, John C. 10 R (804) 698-7510 (804) 379-2063