Delegate Freitas' House Bill 306 (summary below) has been referred to the Senate Committee on Education and Health. If passed, this bill would prevent the health commissioner from overriding religious exemptions during a public health emergency. Senate Education and Health meets Thursday at 8:00 am and HB 306 could be on the docket this week.
Please take a moment to call and/or email (examples below) the members of Senate Education and Health and urge them to VOTE YES ON HB 306!
Senators on the Senate Committee on Education and Health:
L. Louise Lucas (Chair)
Richard L. Saslaw
Janet D. Howell
Stephen D. Newman
Mamie E. Locke
George L. Barker
J. Chapman Petersen
John A. Cosgrove, Jr.
Lynwood W. Lewis, Jr.
Siobhan S. Dunnavant
David R. Suetterlein
Mark J. Peake
John S. Edwards
Ghazala F. Hashmi
Todd E. Pillion
Immunizations; authority of the Commissioner of Health, religious exception.
Exempts a person, including a parent or guardian on behalf of a child, who objects to administration of a vaccine on religious grounds from mandatory immunization requirements during an epidemic. Currently, exemption from mandatory immunization requirements during an epidemic is available only to those persons to whose health the administration of the vaccine would be detrimental, as certified in writing by a licensed physician.
A phone call could sound like:
"Hi my name is (your name) and I am calling to urge Senator (their last name) to vote yes on House Bill 306. Thank you!"
The legislative aide will likely ask if you are a resident of their district and will record your support.
A quick email can be as simple as:
“Dear Senator (their last name),
I am a Virginian respectfully encouraging you to vote in favor of House Bill 306. Overarching health policies are problematic for those with certain religious and philosophical issues. We should be careful not to discriminate against these individuals and be proactive in protecting their rights. No public emergency should negate religious freedom.
Please consider voting YES during the hearing of HB 306.
Thank you for your dedication to your district.
(street address and/or zip code)”
You will likely receive an automated response.
If you happen to be a constituent of any of these senators, meaning you reside in their district, please emphasize this when you contact them! Whether you are a constituent or not, including your street address or at least, your zip code helps their staff to verify that you are a resident of Virginia and ensures they take your concerns seriously. If you choose to email, please include a clear subject line such as “SUPPORT HB 306”. Remember, you will be emailing/calling legislative aides who record your sentiments and relay it to the senator- they are very receptive to your feedback and reaching out only takes a couple of minutes.
Thank you so much for your ongoing participation and contributing to HB 306 being passed through the House- now, let's spread the word and get HB 306 passed through the Senate!