A bill codifying certain elements of local and interjurisdictional emergency operations plans has been approved by the House of Delegates and will now head to the Senate.
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.
In speaking to the bill, Delegate Alex Askew noted that most localities already include such provisions in their emergency planning, and this bill seeks to codify what is already standard practice. Moreover, recognizing the differing realities and needs of localities across the Commonwealth, Delegate Askew noted that the language of his bill was intentionally designed to be simple and generic so as to not overly constrain a locality or impede the planning they have already done.
HB 2085 was reported favorably out of the House Public Safety Committee and ultimately passed the full House by a vote of 87-11. The bill now awaits committee referral in the Senate.
VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.