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.