I don’t know about you, but I feel like since the November election we are living in a whole different world. The bills that are being filed for the General Assembly session that begins January 8 are giving me life right now! Not only are some legislators getting ready to work on passing some awesome progressive bills, but there is a good chance that these bills will actually pass and become law! Read below to check out what is coming in January.
First up is raising the minimum wage. We are watching a few bills including SB7 and SB73 that will raise the minimum wage to $15, and we know more are coming. If you’ve seen those 10 year challenge memes, you know that the minimum wage hasn’t been increased in 10 years, both federally and in Virginia. It’s way past time Virginians got a raise!
We need to raise the minimum wage up to $15 an hour so that everyone can put food on the table, keep a roof over their heads, and raise their families with dignity. If we raise the wage to $15, people will be able to live with dignity without having to work two or even three jobs at once.
We’ll keep you posted as to which bill is the best and ensures that the most people as possible get a raise as quickly as possible.
Next up is no-excuse absentee voting. If these bills pass, it would mean that anyone can vote before Election Day without needing to have one of the narrow set of excuses that are required for absentee voting now. That means if you are going to be busy on Election Day, no worries. Just vote any time in the 45 days before the election and you’re good to go.
It may sound like no big deal, but making it easier and more convenient to vote is crucial if everyone in our community is going to make their voice heard in our democracy. Expanding absentee voting will ensure every eligible Virginia voter, including working and single parents, has the opportunity to vote and have their say without waiting for Election Day.
Don’t worry, you can probably get an extra sticker to wear on Election Day to be on-trend.
Got student loan debt? These bills are for you. Have you ever had one of those super frustrating conversations with your loan servicer where you don’t get any answers and you’re convinced that they’re out to make your life as difficult as possible? If this bill passes, that frustration will be a thing of the past.
The Borrower’s Bill of Rights would make sure that people with student loan debt have the same protections from unscrupulous lenders as people with credit card debt or mortgages. Plus, it will ensure that servicers are required to give you accurate information about your loans and help you find the right repayment programs for your needs.
People with student loan debt want to work hard and pay their loans back, but that’s impossible when they keep getting screwed by their loan servicers. The Borrowers’ Bill of Rights will help protect borrowers and make sure services are applying payments properly.
Time to Get to Work
All of these bills sound great, and I know more great bills are coming! But they aren’t going to pass just because Democrats are in control. We have to get to work to hold our legislators accountable to their campaign promises and make sure they vote the right way when these bills come up.
That means we have to call them now and tell them we are watching and waiting for good things to come. One way to let your legislators know you mean business is to sign on to the Virginia for All of Us campaign as a citizen co-sponsor.
Then, when session starts, you can join us in Richmond for our Women’s Equality Lobby Day on January 13. We’ll train you on how to lobby your legislators and send you to appointments with them so you can tell them directly how you feel. Sign up here!