Delegates Will Be Scored on Their Votes on 5 Affordability Bills That Passed Senate
RICHMOND, Va. — Freedom Virginia — a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to building a Commonwealth where all families have the financial freedom to thrive — today announced the top five post-crossover votes on which it will evaluate delegates in its upcoming post-session Affordability Scorecard.
The five bills would all make life more affordable for Virginians by lowering the cost of medicine, lowering electricity bills, providing paid medical leave to protect economic security in the event of health and family emergencies, and expanding access to affordable housing.
“Virginians deserve to know who has their backs when it comes to battling rising costs,” said Rhena Hicks, executive director of Freedom Virginia. “Today, we are announcing our Affordability Scorecard for House votes post-crossover. We encourage House members to vote to lower costs for Virginians on their medicines, bills, health needs and housing – and we will be keeping score on how they vote on these five popular bills.”
Delegates will be scored on their votes on the following five bills that were passed by the Senate, in addition to other economic security measures under consideration this session:
SB 957: Prescription Drug Affordability Board Will Lower The Cost of Medicine
The Senate took a major bipartisan step forward for Virginians and delivered a big win for patients and consumers by voting to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board, which will lower the cost of medicine for all Virginians. SB 957 passed the Senate with bipartisan support by a 26-13 margin. A 2022 Mason-Dixon poll showed that 82% of Virginians – including wide bipartisan majorities – support the establishment of a PDAB, while 56% of Virginians have personally felt the negative effect of the rising cost of medicine. Virginians deserve financial freedom from the crippling cost of lifesaving medicine.
SB 1321: Make Energy More Affordable by Stopping Utilities’ Price-Gouging
SB 1321, the Affordable Energy Act, passed the Senate unanimously and would restore the SCC’s authority to protect families from price-gouging by big utility companies. In the SCC’s most recent review of Dominion Energy’s rates, evidence showed the company was overcharging customers by more than $200 million per year between 2017 and 2020. Virginia ratepayers deserve fairness in how they get theirelectricity.
SB 1101: Paid Family and Medical Leave
SB 1101 passed the Senate by a 22-18 margin and would set up a self-funded Paid Family and Medical Leave program. A portion of the cost would be paid by employers and the other portion would be paid by the employee (similar to how unemployment insurance is structured). Families should be able to take paid time off to care for a new child, themselves or a family member when they are facing a serious health condition – without sacrificing economic security, and 84 percent of voters agree. All hardworking people should have the opportunity to not choose between their family’s health and their income.
SB839, SB1141: Expanding Access to Affordable Housing
SB839 passed the Senate unanimously (40-Y 0-N) and would require Virginia to develop a statewide housing plan to address the housing crisis. SB1141 passed the Senate with bipartisan support, (23-Y 17-N) and would empower localities to alter zoning to create affordable housing programsThe cost of housing has increased faster than the rate of inflation in the past five years, and it’s causing strain on our communities. In 2022, one in every three Virginians spent over thirty percent of their hard-earned income on housing. Hardworking people deserve to keep more of their paychecks, and the Commonwealth should prioritize working with local communities to invest in lowering costs for renters and homeowners, not helping boost profits for developers.