Delegate Ibraheem S. Samirah Introduces First Bills for 2020 Legislative Session; Focus on Maternal Health, Mental Health, and Discrimination

Press Release / November 20, 2019

Contact: Rob Cline, robert@samirah4virginia.com

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Delegate Ibraheem S. Samirah (D-86) has introduced six new bills in the House of Delegates dealing with issues of maternal health, mental health, and discrimination. The bills are the first of many to come that are aimed at improving public health and ensuring justice for all. 

“The throughline here is lifting the marginalized—in each of these policy areas, low-income people and people of color are affected the most. While my proposals are certainly first-steps to larger solutions, I’m confident as a medical professional that they can lead to a healthier Virginia. A healthier Virginia means more folks can go to work, stay in school, or care for a child, contributing to a more productive and more prosperous economy for all.”

Maternal Health

  • HB39 would require that health insurance companies allow pregnant individuals to enroll in a plan at any time after the beginning of the pregnancy, regardless of enrollment periods, with coverage effective as of the first of the month in which the individual receives certification of pregnancy.
  • HB42 would require that doctors who deliver primary, maternity, obstetrical, or gynecological care services complete a training program on prenatal and postnatal depression in patients who are or were pregnant. Those providers would be required to screen all patients who are pregnant or were pregnant within the previous five years for prenatal or postnatal depression or other depression.

Mental Health

  • HB40 would require that public schools in Virginia create and maintain a student mental health break space within the school. The Board of Education would be required to collaborate with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services to create appropriate regulations for design, student usage, and staffing of the mental health break spaces.
  • HB41 would require that primary care providers screen new patients for adverse childhood experiences that could affect both mental and physical health and provide patients with important information about the impact of adverse childhood experiences. 

Discrimination

  • HB11 would ensure that the Virginia Division of Human Rights follow through on every eligible complaint that alleges unlawful discriminatory practices. This would stop future Attorneys General from being selective in which cases are investigated and enforced.
  • HB12 would direct the Virginia Department of Education to establish a procedure for receiving, investigating, and resolving all student complaints alleging discrimination on any basis that is prohibited by state or federal law, including discrimination based on sex.

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