News & Views | June 2021

Tuesday, June 01, 2021 8:26 PM | Anonymous

Judy Ratliff and Wayne Martin, Co-Chairs, VA Legislation and Advocacy Committee


Information contained in this article has been taken from communications from the Governor’s office, Delegate Ken Plum and our lobbyist, Sue Roland.

  • There will be no telehealth coverage for mental health under Medicaid. We, our lobbyist, Sue Roland, and the VSCSW board will be working to get it included in the next legislative session.
  • The legislature approved an amendment proposed by Governor Ralph Northam that decriminalizes the possession by adults of a small amount of marijuana, effective July 1, 2021....Selling, buying or driving with marijuana remains illegal at this time. Retail sales of marijuana will not begin until January 1, 2024. Many complex issues remain to be resolved as to who will be certified to sell the product, how an illicit market will be controlled, and what the limitations on purchasing will be.
  • The Legislature passed a bill that creates a Behavioral Health Commission. It’s purposes are to study and make recommendations for improvement of behavioral services and the behavioral services system in the Commonwealth.
  • Virginia ended the death penalty.
  • Virginia passed the Voting Rights Act of Virginia.  Included in it are:  the repeal of a voter identification law; the enactment of a 45-day no excuse absentee ballot voting period that permits early voting, made Election Day a holiday; and established a system for automatic voter registration for anyone who receives a Virginia driver’s license.  The Virginia Voting Rights Act follows some of the provisions of the earlier federal law but applies to localities in the state to ensure that voting remains accessible. “The Voting Rights Act of Virginia prohibits discrimination in elections administration, requires local election officials to get feedback or pre-approval for voting changes, allows individuals to sue in cases of voter suppression and allows access to early voting on Sunday.
  • A law was passed that extends eviction protections for renters experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic through July 1, 2022.
  • Governor Northam signed legislation creating tuition-free community college programs for low and middle income students.  The goal is to connect these students with the skills, training and resources that they need to secure jobs in high-demand fields and be financially independent without having mountains of student debt.  The idea is that they will be able to develop the skills needed in areas like healthcare and information technology.
  • The Virginia Agriculture Food Assistance Program and Fund was established to allow Virginia farmers and food producers to directly donate or sell their food products to food banks, increasing the availability of fresh produce for food-insecure families.
  • Medicaid recipients can receive up to a 12-month prescription for birth control, increasing access to contraception for those who need it.
  • A bill for expungement of records of convictions for several misdemeanor crimes passed as did a bill to establish a process for seeking expungement through the courts for other crimes.
  • Bills passed to remove the prohibition on abortion coverage in any qualified health insurance plan offered through the Virginia state-based exchange.
  • Governor Northam announced that any Virginians released from incarceration will qualify to have their civil rights restored, even if they remain on community supervision.


The Board will cease making hard-copy licenses, certifications and registrations.  During the next renewal, a final hard copy that contains the expiration date will be issued.  The renewal period for the Board of Social Work will begin in early May and the Board will send out email notices at that time. This final copy should be maintained, carried or posted in accordance with relevant applicable laws and regulations.  State health regulatory boards, insurance providers and citizens seeking verification of current licensure status in the Commonwealth of Virginia may obtain this information via “License Lookup”.

Judy Ratliff, LCSW, (recently retired from work but not from GWSCSW or from life). She is the Co-Chair, VA Legislation and Advocacy Committee.
PO Box 711 | Garrisonville, VA  22463 | 202-478-7638 |

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software