Bill Will Allow Students An Excused Absence to Participate in Civic Event
Today, the Virginia Senate passed Senator Jennifer McClellan’s (D-Richmond) civic youth engagement bill (SB 1439), which will allow middle and high school students an excused absence per year in order to participate in a civic event. The bill passed the Senate 25-14 on final passage, accepting a technical amendment from the House.
Del. Sam Rasoul’s (D-Roanoke) companion bill passed on Wednesday. The bills are now on the way to Governor Ralph Northam’s desk.
The bills will allow students to get involved in government and communities and learn the importance of civic engagement. This bipartisan bill was the result of a collaboration between the Virginia Young Democrats Teen Caucus and the Teenage Republican Federation of Virginia.
“This bill will give students the opportunity to explore and learn more about our democracy and will help them understand the importance of civic engagement at all levels of government.” Sen. McClellan said. “By passing this bill, the Virginia General Assembly is taking steps to help young people engage with their communities. I applaud the Virginia Young Democrats Teen Caucus and Teenage Republican Federation of Virginia for their collaboration on this bipartisan effort to increase civic engagement for young people across Virginia.”
“We were very pleased to see the civic engagement legislation pass the General Assembly with bipartisan support,” said “Matthew Savage, Chair of the Virginia Young Democrats Teen Caucus. “It’s refreshing to see that our government can actually put partisan politics aside and do the work of the people. This historic legislation will make our Commonwealth a national leader in student civic engagement; our work on this area makes me proud to be a Virginian.”
“The Teenage Republican Federation of Virginia is proud of the work and legislation we fought so hard to pass this session with the VAYD Teen Caucus,” said Brady Hillis, Chairman of the Teenage Republican Federation of Virginia. “Not only did we fight to pass historic bipartisan legislation in the Commonwealth, but we learned that teen Republicans and teen Democrats are not polar opposites. That our groups can come together and fight for legislation not only because we believe in it but because every student in the Commonwealth will benefit from becoming more civically engaged. We look forward to making this an annual tradition to show bipartisanship is still alive and well.”
Jennifer McClellan was elected to the Senate of Virginia in 2017 after serving 11 years in the House of Delegates. She has been a leader on fighting climate change, strengthening public education and dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline, protecting voting rights, enacting criminal justice reform, combating domestic and sexual violence, and fighting discrimination of all kinds.