2021-8-10

ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING CALLS FOR FASTER IMPLEMENTATION OF ANTI-ROBOCALL TECHNOLOGY

~ Herring is urging the FCC to accelerate deadline for STIR/SHAKEN adoption ~

RICHMOND(August 9, 2021) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to fight back against the scourge of illegal robocalls by moving up the deadline for smaller telephone companies to implement caller ID technology. Attorney General Herring joined a bipartisan coalition of 51 attorneys general have in submitting comments to the FCC.

“Virginians continue to be plagued by illegal robocalls that are not only annoying but can also potentially scam consumers out of hundreds or even thousands of dollars,” said Attorney General Herring. “This technology has proven to be effective in reducing the number of robocalls that consumers receive, which is why I am calling on the FCC to move up the implementation date for smaller phone companies. My colleagues and I have worked tirelessly to put a stop to these annoying and illegal robocalls and protect consumers, but it’s imperative that tech companies doe their part as well.”

Under the TRACED Act, which became law in 2019, phone companies are required to implement STIR/SHAKEN technology on their networks. This caller ID authentication technology helps ensure that telephone calls are originating from verified numbers, not spoofed sources. Large companies were required to implement the technology by June 2021, and smaller phone companies were given an extension until June 2023.

However, some of the same smaller phone companies that are benefitting from this extension are also responsible for originating or facilitating high volumes of illegal robocalls that spam Americans and lead to financial or personal data loss. And without the STIR/SHAKEN technology in place, these smaller companies are failing to take a necessary step to minimize the continued onslaught of illegally spoofed robocalls that harm residents.

Attorney General Herring and his colleagues are asking the FCC to require these companies to implement the STIR/SHAKEN technology as soon as possible and no later than June 30, 2022.

Joining Attorney General Herring in submitting today’s comments are the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Virginia House and Senate Reach Agreement on Historic Court of Appeals Nominees

House Courts and Senate Judiciary to Certify Candidates During Committee Meetings Tuesday

RICHMOND, Va.: Leadership in the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate announced agreement today on eight candidates to be nominated for certification and election to the Virginia Court of Appeals. 

With unprecedented cooperation between both chambers and in-depth review and vetting of all the candidates by the Virginia State Bar and several of the commonwealth’s top legal associations—including the Women’s Bar and Old Dominion Bar Associations—this historic agreement will diversify the Court to more adequately reflect the makeup of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The nominees also reflect a diverse makeup of legal practice, experience, and geographic representation, and include four women and four African-American nominees.

The agreed-upon list of eight candidates for certification include:

  • Dominique A. Callins of Front Royal
  • Doris Henderson Causey of Henrico
  • Vernida R. Chaney of Alexandria
  • Frank K. Friedman of Roanoke
  • Junius P. Fulton of Norfolk
  • Lisa M. Lorish of Charlottesville
  • Daniel E. Ortiz of Fairfax
  • Stuart A. Raphael of Arlington

On Tuesday both the House Courts Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee will meet to certify these candidates. They will then be put before the both chambers for election to the position.

Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn said: “The unprecedented review, and coordination between the House and the Senate has resulted in the selection of the most diverse and highly qualified candidates to be elected to the Court of Appeals in Virginia history. 

“I want to thank my colleagues in the House and Senate, especially Majority Leader Herring and Chairman Edwards, for their dedication and work in conducting a thorough process that resulted in the selection of these candidates. I would also like to thank the Virginia State Bar and other legal associations for the months of work that went into interviewing and vetting each of the candidates who applied to provide us with their crucial feedback and reviews which contributed to our selections.”

Majority Leader Dick Saslaw and Caucus Chair Mamie Locke said: “Expanding the Court of Appeals was a major victory for justice in the Commonwealth earlier this year. I’m proud to see the work we’ve put in coming to fruition, enabling Virginians to appeal any case to the Court一making sure every person has the right to a fair trial.

“Senate Democrats applaud the hard work of the Senate Judiciary and House Courts of Justice Committees on their collaboration, providing the Commonwealth with an experienced, diverse, knowledgeable, and forward-thinking bench.”

Majority Leader Charniele Herring, Courts of Justice Chair said: "We are taking a historic step forward in making our legal system more equitable, expanding people's rights, as the Court of Appeals comes in step with state appellate courts across the country. We are bringing forward an opportunity for an unprecedented level of diversity to the bench, as we move to certify these candidates. Asking for input from experts across the Commonwealth, we have a great combination in race, gender, practice area, and geography."

Judiciary Chair John Edwards said: “With eight vacancies on the Virginia Court of Appeals and many qualified applicants, the decisions made for nominations depended on thorough vetting and a respect to racial, gender, geographical and practice diversity. The new judges for the Virginia Court of Appeals will provide the kind of justice Virginians deserve in the 21st century.”

Caucus Chair Rip Sullivan, Chair of Judicial Subcommittee said: "Working collaboratively with our colleagues, we have narrowed an impressive field of applicants to some of the best legal minds Virginia has to offer.  Our process was inclusive and exhaustive, and included public input and merit-based decision making. As these nominees work their way through the public process of certification and election, the depth of legal knowledge and strength of conviction for public service that each of these individuals possess will be apparent. In the end, we will have a stronger judiciary and a stronger Commonwealth for their election.”

Senator Scott Surovell said: “Expanding the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals means every case, civil or criminal, can be heard again by a three-judge panel. This once-in-a-generation opportunity will change the Court for many years to come, ensuring Virginians attain justice. Further, expanding the Court’s jurisdiction will help maintain the Commonwealth’s rating as the #1 state for business.

“Appointing a diverse slate of judges brings in points of view from varying areas of practice, geographic locations, and life experiences. When our judicial system more closely represents the people it serves, it can be more effective and fair in the administration of justice.”

Virginia Department of Health Announces Significant Increases in Delta Variant in Virginia

(Richmond, Va.) — Today, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced a significant increase in the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) throughout the Commonwealth. The Delta variant is  dominant nationwide and is the most common variant in Virginia. The Delta variant spreads more than twice as easily as earlier strains of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.  Eighty percent of infections that occurred during the week ending July 10th that were caused by a variant of concern and reported to VDH were the Delta variant. This is an increase of 45% since the week of June 19th. The more infectious delta variant is contributing to a surge of cases in Virginia.

Currently a subset of COVID-19 positive specimens are available for the specialized testing that is required to see which variant type they are. The Delta variant has been identified in all of Virginia’s five health regions.

“The Delta variant is here in Virginia, and it is hitting our unvaccinated population especially hard,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, M.D, M.A. “We have a very effective tool to stop transmission of COVID-19: vaccination. There is no question that COVID-19 vaccination is saving lives and preventing and reducing illness. I urge everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Do it for your families, your friends, your neighbors, yourself, and join the millions of others who are protected.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), infections in fully vaccinated people, also known as breakthrough infections, happen in only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated. Moreover, when these infections occur among vaccinated people, they tend to be mild. However, preliminary evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people who do become infected with the Delta variant may be infectious and might spread the virus to others.

COVID-19 variants have emerged and circulated around the world throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States are effective at protecting persons  from circulating variants of the COVID-19 virus. To protect yourself and others, get vaccinated for COVID-19. 

VDH advises Virginians to: 

  • wear a mask in indoor settings even if you are vaccinated,
  • get fully vaccinated, 
  • stay at least six feet from others outside of your household, 
  • avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, 
  • wash your hands often 
  • stay home if you are infected with COVID-19, and
  • stay separate from others and get tested if you have had close contact with someone with COVID-19. 

The best way to stop variant strains from developing in the first place is to stop the spread of COVID-19.  Please see the Variants of Concern (VOC) dashboard for more information about all variants of concern identified in Virginia.

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Visitation Update

South Hill, VA (8/9/21) – Two recent changes to visitation at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) include allowing an additional adult visitor for pediatric patients and opening visitation by advanced scheduling back up at The Hundley Center. 

General Visitation Rules

  • • All visitors must be screened and provided a visitor badge or armband.
  • • All visitors must be always masked.
  • • Visitors must comply with physical distancing guidelines in all common areas.
  • • The second-floor lobby waiting area is reserved for outpatient surgical patients and their support person only, all other visitors will be asked to return to their car.
  • • All visitors will be encouraged to use hand sanitizer upon entering the facility and frequently during their stay.
  • • If patient clinical needs dictate no visitors (i.e. chemotherapy), visitors may be redirected to waiting areas.

Inpatients

• Visiting Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
• One visitor (18 or older) allowed at a time per patient for all non-COVID patients. COVID-positive patients are still not allowed to have visitors, unless they are pediatric patients.
• Labor and Delivery unit: 1 adult visitor (18 or older) at a time, allowing 1 to spend the night.
• Pediatric patients in all units: 2 adults (18 or older) visitor at a time, allowing 1 to spend the night. Parent/POA/guardian may trade off. COVID-positive pediatric patients may have 1 parent or caregiver at a time.
• Patients who are at the end of life: The number of visitors is determined by the patient’s care team.
• Special needs patients that require 24/7 assistance may have a caretaker stay with them if in the best interest of patient care.
To reach a patient, please dial (434) 584-****, followed by the four digits of the patient's room number.

Outpatients and C.A.R.E. Building Appointments

• Surgery patients may be accompanied by one adult companion.
• Patients arriving for doctor’s appointments, evaluation, or diagnostic or therapeutic procedures may be accompanied by one adult companion.

Emergency Department Patients

Visitation is currently suspended except for the following circumstances:

  • Pediatric patients: Up to 2 parents and/or legal guardians.
  • Patients who are at the end of life or critical condition: The number of visitors are determined by the patients’ care team.

Hundley Center

  • Two visitors are allowed at a time for 30 minutes, and it must be scheduled in advance. Please call (434) 584-4570 or (434) 584-4579 between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to schedule a visit for 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

It is very important that all visitors maintain appropriate physical distancing in all waiting areas.  The health and safety of all patients and staff will continue to be of the utmost importance through this pandemic. Your best defense is to make sure you and your family are vaccinated. Look for further updates as VCU Health CMH continues to make progress in the fight against COVID.

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