FINAL AND EXTREMELY IMPORTANT CALL TO ACTION- please read!
Delegate Freitas' House Bill 306 is on the Senate Committee on Education and Health docket for Thursday, March 3, 2022 at 8:00 am. If passed, this bill would prevent the health commissioner from overriding religious exemptions during a public health emergency (currently, only medical exemptions are valid in those circumstances).
After a riveting seven weeks of monitoring proposed legislation, HB 306 is the only bill standing that could have significant impact on medical and religious freedom in Virginia- this is our last chance for a win this session.
Please take a moment to call and/or email (scroll to bottom for call/email examples and mass email address list to copy) members of Senate Education and Health and urge them to VOTE YES ON HB 306 this week!
Two senators on the Senate Education and Health Committee are possible swing votes:
Senator Lewis, Democrat
District 6 (Accomack County and Northampton County on the Eastern Shore, Mathews County on the Middle Peninsula, and parts of the Hampton Roads cities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach)
Senator Petersen, Democrat
District 34 (City of Fairfax and parts of Fairfax County in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., including some or all of Vienna, Dunn Loring, Merrifield, Oakton, Fair Oaks, Chantilly, and Centreville)
If you are not calling/emailing all senators listed, please prioritize contacting Senators Lewis and Petersen and respectfully urge them to uphold the medical and religious freedom of Virginians by voting YES on HB 306 (especially if you are a resident of Senate District 6 or Senate District 34- please emphasize that you are a constituent voicing your concern).
Sign up to speak during the Senate Committee on Education and Health meeting:
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.
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
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 (feel free to personalize if sending to senators individually):
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.
Copy and paste to email all senators on the Senate Committee on Education and Health:
If you happen to be a constituent of any of these senators, meaning you reside in their district, please contact them individually and emphasize this! 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.