2022 General Assembly Legislative Update – Volume 4
February 7, 2022
We are barreling towards “Crossover” on February 15th – the date by which each house must finish work on its bills and send them over to the other house for consideration. That means this week is the last week the Senate committees can act on Senate bills and the House committees can act on House bills. That also means we are in for some long days this week!
Time is also running out to complete my legislative survey before Crossover, so be sure to do so and make your voice heard!
This past week also saw a number of organizations and advocacy groups come to the General Assembly to speak to legislators. Local government officials from across Virginia came for the Virginia Municipal League/Virginia Association of Counties Local Government Day, and it was good to catch up with friends such as Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson and Prince William Supervisor Andrea Bailey.
Last week, the Senate unanimously passed four of my bills, which now move to the House for consideration:
SB 480 clarifies that signed originals of final agency case decisions may be retained in an electronic medium under the Administrative Process Act. This bill is a recommendation of the Virginia Code Commission.
SB 485 strengthens the Delinquency Prevention and Youth Development Act (DPYDA). Passed in 1979, the DPYDA provides an opportunity for interagency planning and service coordination by focusing exclusively on grants for prevention services, such as services for at-risk youth before they enter the juvenile justice system. I have also put in a budget amendment to fully fund the DYPDA, which has not been funded since 2008.
SB 476 adds a representative of Richmond International Airport as a member of the Central Virginia Transportation Authority (CVTA). The CVTA currently includes ex-officio members from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Virginia Port Authority, the airport Greater Richmond Transit Company, and the Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Adding the airport provides the CVTA a more complete picture of regional transportation needs and issues.
SB 488 establishes The Transit Transportation Program and Fund to award competitive grants to assist local, regional, and state entities with transitioning public transit bus fleets and infrastructure to zero-emission bus fleets and infrastructure.
That makes it a total of ten of my bills that have passed the Senate so far! You can track all my legislation here.
In addition, the Senate unanimously passed a bill carried by Senator Jeremy McPike that was a recommendation of the Commission on School Construction and Modernization that I chair. SB 238 requires the Department of Education, in consultation with the Department of General Services, to develop or adopt and maintain a data collection tool to assist each school board to determine the relative age and restoration costs of each public school building.
Court Blocks Governor Youngkin’s Mask Order
Friday afternoon, an Arlington Circuit Court judge granted a temporary injunction to block Governor Youngkin’s Executive Order seeking to overturn local school board mask requirements. The judge ruled that the state constitution vests the authority over supervision of schools in the local school board, including decisions regarding the safety and welfare of students. Moreover, the judge ruled that the Governor does not have the authority to override a state law that requires schools to adhere to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s (“CDC’s”) COVID-19 guidelines “to the maximum extent practicable. The judge’s ruling comes in a lawsuit brought by seven Virginia school districts: Alexandria City, Arlington County, City of Richmond, Fairfax County, Falls Church City, Hampton City and Prince William County.
Black History Month 2022: Black Health and Wellness
Have you ever wondered why Black History Month is celebrated in February? Did you know each year has a theme? You can thank Dr. Carter G. Woodson, “The Father of Black History,” for both.
In 1915, Dr. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), to address the dearth of information on the accomplishments of Blacks. Under Woodson’s leadership, the Association created research and publication outlets for Black scholars.
In 1926, Dr. Woodson initiated the celebration of Negro History Week, choosing February to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, this celebration was expanded to the entire month of February. You can learn more about the origins of Black History Month here.
When Dr. Woodson established Negro History week, he realized the importance of providing a theme to focus public attention on important developments related to that theme. Since 1928, ASALH has selected annual themes.
The theme for 2022 focuses on the importance of Black Health and Wellness, examining “the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (e.g., birthworkers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) throughout the African Diaspora. The 2022 theme considers activities, rituals and initiatives that Black communities have done to be well.”