Northam Signs McClellan/Rasoul Civic Youth Engagement Bill

Bill Will Allow Students An Excused Absence to Participate in Civic Event

RICHMOND, Va. –  Today, Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) and Del. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke) attended the ceremonial signing of their civic youth engagement bills (SB 1439 and HB1490). The bills require school divisions to allow middle and high school students at least one excused absence per year to participate in a civic event, facilitating youth civic engagement. 

This bipartisan effort was the result of a collaboration between the Virginia Young Democrats Teen Caucus and the Teenage Republican Federation of Virginia. 

“This new law will help foster civic engagement for young Virginians in all communities,” Sen. McClellan said. “My interest in government was sparked in 6th grade, and I’m proud to have worked with Democratic and Republican student leaders and with Del. Rasoul to make this bill a reality and encourage a new generation of civic leaders. At this time of challenge for our democratic systems, this bill is a step towards young Virginians getting involved in their communities to make a difference.”

“What we saw from the Virginia Young Democrats Teen Caucus and  Teenage Republican Federation of Virginia serves as a reminder that we can work together to make change happen,” said Del. Sam Rasoul. “This civic engagement bill will allow the newest generation to actively participate in the lawmaking process, and teach students and parents that some of the best lessons happen outside of the classroom. I can’t wait to see what they do next.”

“We were happy to join Senator McClellan and Delegate Rasoul alongside our friends in the VAYD Teen Caucus today for Governor Northam’s ceremonial signing ceremony for HB1940/SB1439,” said Brady Hillis, Chairman of Teenage Republican Federation of Virginia.  “We look forward to continuing to work with the VAYD Teen Caucus to continue to work towards more student involvement and engagement in civics and politics. We appreciate the time Governor Northam took to sit down with us and discuss our efforts. Thanks to Senator McClellan and Delegate Rasoul for their leadership on this bipartisan legislation.”

“It was a great show of bipartisanship to have Governor Northam host students from two competing political parties for a down-to-earth conversation on how to help students get involved in the political process,” said Matthew Savage, Chair of the Virginia Young Democrats Teen Caucus. “We started working with the teenage Republicans in the immediate aftermath of the January 6 Capitol insurrection, so while adults were divided, students were united in a common cause.  It’s still astonishing that an idea we had last July as imaginative Young Dems has become a national framework for civic engagement, and to see Governor Northam literally put pen to paper is an extraordinarily high honor.”