A Virginia Senate subcommittee recommended against a bill that would have allowed terminally ill people to request a medically-assisted death after Senator John Edwards (D-Roanoke City) joined with Republicans in opposition; the bill will still go before the full Senate Education and Health Committee for consideration.Read More
RICHMOND, Virginia — Governor Glenn Youngkin is asking legislators to expand the 2022 Virginia Literacy Act to fifth grade; the program currently provides literacy curriculum, materials, testing, and intervention for kindergarten through third grades.
“We know that K through third graders, if they’re behind in reading, it’s really hard to catch back up,” Youngkin said at a Thursday press conference at George W. Carver Elementary School. “And that’s why we’re working to extend the Virginia Literacy Act support into fourth and fifth grade. It’s such an important effort for us. And the great thing is this is all being done on a bipartisan basis.”Read More
Senate Democrats killed legislation to repeal law that links Virginia’s emissions standards to California regulations on Tuesday, while a similar bill advanced out of committee in the House of Delegates on Wednesday. The Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Conservation Committee bundled several similar bills from Republicans into a vote on Senator Stephen Newman’s (R-Bedford) SB 779 and voted eight to seven to kill the legislation after about an hour of discussion of the bills with legislators and the public.Read More
Attorney General Jason Miyares announced Wednesday a civil rights investigation into Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology amid allegations that school officials suppressed student merit awards until after college early application periods.
“My office will investigate whether the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology administration’s withholding of National Merit Scholarship honors from students violated the Virginia Human Rights Act,” he wrote in a letter to Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid and TJ Principal Ann Bonitatibus, warning that he planned to issue subpoenas if the officials don’t cooperate.Read More
Governor Glenn Youngkin has asked Attorney General Jason Miyares to investigate the administration at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology after allegations that officials downplayed student National Merit awards until after early selection college deadlines.
“We need to get to the bottom of what appears to be an egregious, deliberate attempt to disadvantage high-performing students at one of the best schools in the country,” Governor Glenn Youngkin said in a Tuesday press release. “Parents and students deserve answers and Attorney General Miyares will initiate a full investigation. I believe this failure may have caused material harm to those students and their parents, and that this failure may have violated the Virginia Human Rights Act.”Read More
The Youngkin administration asked the Virginia Board of Education to delay reviewing new history and social science standards, a necessary first step that includes public hearings. On Wednesday, in the first meeting with a majority of Youngkin-appointed members, the board agreed to delay accepting the standards for first review until September, although board President Daniel Gecker expressed concern about falling behind on a timeline to approve the standards.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow asked for the delay, saying that would allow the five new Youngkin-appointed members more time to get up to speed and to address technical errors like the accidental omission of language that referred to George Washington as the “Father of Our Country.”Read More
McKenzie Snow, a former aide to Trump’s U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, is Virginia’s new Deputy Secretary of Education appointee. Snow is Youngkin’s latest education appointee, and continues Youngkin’s pattern of conservative picks for the Department of Education.
“The Governor has built a team who have been leaders and change agents in their fields. McKenzie knows first hand what it takes to build a best in class education system and we are thrilled to have McKenzie join the administration,” Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter said.
Democrats reacted with alarm after The Virginia Mercury reported the pick.Read More
Governor Glenn Youngkin campaigned on creating 20 new charter schools in Virginia, but the Virginia Senate Education and Health Committee killed Republican-led charter school legislation. As a result, Republicans are pivoting to lab schools — schools that are part of the local district operated as partnerships with education programs at local higher ed institutions. Legislation to expand Virginia’s lab schools to institutions with programs beyond education is currently in conference committee with negotiators from the House of Delegates and the Senate to try to create a compromise to send to Youngkin.
“It’s going to be an opportunity for us to move some charter-schools-lite through,” House Majority Leader Terry Kilgore (R-Scott) told The Virginia Star during a discussion of top priorities at the beginning of the 2022 special session.Read More
Former Delegate Lashrecse Aird announced her candidacy for the 2023 Democratic nomination in the new Senate District 13, setting up a primary battle with State Senator Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond), who intends to move into the district and run for the seat. “In just one month, I’ve watched our Commonwealth torn…Read More
Wednesday was a good day for Governor Glenn Youngkin, who received two major education policy wins from the Democrat-controlled Virginia Senate, which passed Senator Siobhan Dunnavant’s (R-Henrico) bill requiring parental notification of sexually explicit instructional material in public school classes. Senators Lynwood Lewis Jr. (D-Accomack) and Montgomery “Monty” Mason (D-Williamsburg) voted with all the Republicans to pass the bill 20 to 18.
Dunnavant said, “Senate Bill 656 is a bill that we discussed and passed out of this body before that seeks to inform parents when controversial, sexually explicit material is being discussed in the classroom. It has nothing to do with libraries. It has an enactment clause that specifically protects books and ensures that it does not censor books.”Read More
Two Democratic senators voted with Republicans in committee to advance Senator Siobhan Dunnavant’s (R-Henrico) SB 656 requiring Virginia public schools to notify parents about sexually explicit instructional material, allow parental review, and provide non-explicit alternatives. The bill instructs the Department of Education to create model policies; if passed, school boards would be required to pass similar policies.
“This is the opportunity for parents to have a conversation with their child,” Dunnavant said in the Senate Committee on Education and Health on Thursday.Read More
RICHMOND, Virginia — The Senate Education and Health Public Education Subcommittee recommended killing two bills from Senator Jen Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach): SB 766 which would ban transgender girls from playing girls’ sports, and SB 570, which would codify Governor Glenn Youngkin’s “inherently divisive concept” ban. In its Thursday afternoon meeting the subcommittee also recommended killing Senator Travis Hackworth’s (R-Tazewell) SB 20 to eliminate a requirement that school boards adopt policies for the treatment of transgender students.
Kiggans, who is running for Congress, told the subcommittee that she was carrying SB 570 on behalf of the Youngkin administration.
“I said yes to carry this bill because I heard the voices of parents that spoke in November. You know, I was one of those parents as well,” Kiggans said, noting that Youngkin frequently talked about teaching kids how to think, not what to think.Read More
Delegate John McGuire (R-Henrico) has introduced several bills that would repeal Democratic criminal justice reforms. McGuire’s proposals include bills to lower thresholds for felony larceny, make it easier to execute search warrants, and end local governmental authority to establish law enforcement civilian oversight bodies. Chief on the list is HB 59, which requires school principals to report misdemeanors to law enforcement and to the victim’s parents.Read More
Tina Ramirez has scrubbed her campaign for the GOP nomination for congressional district seven, due to redistricting. On Wednesday, she announced that she will run for state Senate District 12 in 2023. That sets her up for a primary battle with self-proclaimed Trump-in-heels Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield), whose own CD 7 ambitions were smashed by redistricting.
“The 12th Senate District is a wholly new district, which is exciting because we need new voices and fresh ideas,” Ramirez told The Richmond-Times Dispatch. “This is what I bring to the conservative movement.”Read More
Compromised legislation that gives localities the authority to establish law enforcement civilian review boards (CRB) successfully passed final votes in the Senate and House of Delegates Wednesday afternoon, and now goes to the governor’s desk for final approval.
Joint conference committee reports for Senate Bill 5035 passed the Senate (21-Y 17-N) and for House Bill 5055 passed the House (53-Y 35-N), mostly along the party lines of both chambers.Read More