Legislation codifying new elements for local and interjurisdictional emergency operations plans has passed the Senate by a vote of 36-3.
HB 2085 (Askew) adds a requirement to § 44-146.19(E) of the Code of Virginia, stipulating that a local or interjurisdictional emergency operations plan shall “contain provisions to ensure that the plan is applied equitably and that the needs of minority and vulnerable communities are met during emergencies.” Such measures could include messaging in additional languages, targeted outreach, and more.
Most localities already include such provisions in their emergency planning, and according to Delegate Alex Askew, HB 2085 simply seeks to codify what is already standard practice. Moreover, recognizing the differing realities and needs of localities across the Commonwealth, Delegate Askew intentionally kept the new wording as simple and generic as possible, in order to not overly constrain a locality or impede any planning they have already done.
HB 2085 previously passed the House of Delegates by a vote of 87-11. The bill will now head to the Governor’s desk.
VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.