Youngkin Adds Former DeVos Aide to Conservative Department of Education Administration

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.

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With Charter School Bills Dead, Virginia Republicans Turn to Lab Schools, but Democrats Are Wary

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.

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Former Del. Aird Announces Campaign for Senate District 13, Will Face Sen. Morrissey

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…

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State Senate Gives Virginia Gov. Youngkin Another Education Win, Passes Sexually Explicit Classroom Material Notification Bill

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.”

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State Senators Petersen, Lewis Provide Path for Republicans to Pass Sexually Explicit Educational Materials Bill out of Virginia’s Democratic Senate

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.

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Senate Public Education Subcommittee Recommends Blocking Youngkin’s ‘Inherently Divisive Concepts’ Ban Introduced by Sen. Kiggans

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.

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Delegate McGuire Introduces Repeals of Democratic Criminal Justice Reforms

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.

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Tina Ramirez Announces Run for Senate District 12, Setting Up Likely Nomination Battle with State Sen. Amanda Chase

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.”

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Legislation Allowing Localities to Establish Law Enforcement Civilian Review Boards Heads to Governor’s Desk

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.

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