2024 Session Week Two

It’s our second week here in Richmond and things are really ramping up. On one day this week, I had 5 committee meetings and presented 2 bills! In this week’s newsletter I’ll cover what’s happened so far– my swearing in ceremony, successes in subcommittee, the disability advocacy groups that I had the privilege of introducing on the House floor, visits with constituents and upcoming events happening back home in Norfolk.

Swearing In

Last Saturday, I was joined by my family and friends for my formal swearing in ceremony. The dean of our Norfolk Delegation, Senator Williams-Graves, did the honors.

Success in Subcommittee

On Wednesday, I presented two bills to the Education Subcommittee on Early Childhood. HB 407 and 408, which I discussed in last week’s newsletter, both aim to improve the Child Care Subsidy Program and help working families afford child care. HB 407 passed out with unanimous support and HB 408 passed out on a 6-1 vote. Next, they will go to the full Education Committee, where I expect to see continued bipartisan support. 

Check out the clip below of me talking about these bills at a press conference by clicking here!

Our Voices & Hope House

This week I had the honor to introduce Our Voices and Hope House on the House floor. Our Voices is a developmental disability advocacy organization composed of individuals who live independently in their own homes. Hope House Foundation is an organization that supports 125 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Hampton Roads. 

Both groups came to town to participate in Arc of Virginia’s DD Rally in Richmond. The rally was organized to demonstrate support in ending the Priority 1 waitlist for medicaid waivers. They also called for additional funding to help individuals with developmental disabilities live with dignity and opportunity. It was a privilege to recognize the 35 members of Our Voices and Hope House who joined us, and applaud them on their work to improve quality of life for Virginians with disabilities.

Visitors from the 757

Several visitors came by this week, including folks from the 94th district. I am always happy to make room in my schedule for my constituents.

A meeting with members of the American Federation of Teachers from Norfolk.

We discussed the importance of teachers having a seat at the bargaining table.

The Local 68 of the Norfolk Professional Firefighters stopped in for a talk on Thursday.

Sally Gudas, a long-time advocate from Norfolk, represented the Virginia Interfaith Center.

Happening in the District

  • Hampton Roads Community Action and the FACES Coalition is hosting their annual Earned Tax Credit Awareness Day on Saturday, January 27th. The event will take place between 10:00am – 2:00pm at the Hampton Pinewood Plaza Building. This is a great opportunity to receive help with your taxes. In addition, there will be presentations, vendors, workshops, entertainment, and much more.

  • Engage Norfolk is hosting their 7th Annual Engage Norfolk event on Saturday, February 3rd from 9:30am – 12:30pm in the SCOPE Exhibition Hall. It’s free and open to the public!

  • The Rise Up Scholarship is open for applications from now until April 15th. It is open to applicants under 25 years of age, attending a 4-year college or university, who advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community. One main recipient will receive $1,000 each year to go towards tuition, room and board, or books and supplies. Multiple other recipients may receive a one-time award. You can learn more about the Rise Up Scholarship here.

More Scenes from the Capitol

A meeting with CASA.

Virginia Community Health Workers Association stopped by for a meeting.

The Hampton Roads delegation came together to celebrate Senator Angela Williams-Grave’s birthday.

An informative discussion with the Virginia Hemp Coalition.

As always, thank you for the opportunity to serve as your delegate. Stay tuned for updates from week three of session!


Phil Hernandez