Advocacy 2020: Bills of Interest

Posted By: Jennifer Thomas News & Announcements,

As the General Assembly gets underway for the 2020 Session, here are some bills that Virginia museums may want to follow as they work their way through the legislative process.  Remember to check on bills often—the links provided below will get you to a full description of each bill, along with who sponsored the bill, and how it is moving through the GA.

Note: To check on the status of any bill, go to and put the bill number into the bill tracker on the bottom right corner of the home page.

If you’d like to see our review of the Governor’s budget, including listings of included museums, click here.

This list is not an exhaustive one; if you have been following a bill, and would like it added to our list of “Bills to Watch”, please let me know the bill number. 

And be sure to join us at Virginia Museum Advocacy Day on February 5! Learn more and sign up!

Employment-Related Bills to Watch

HB418: This would require employers to provide specific amounts of earned sick leave, and would institute a penalty for non-compliance

HB433: Would increase the minimum wage for hourly workers from $7.25 to $9.00 in 2021, and higher in years to follow

HB581:  This would require completion of an online training module about LGBTQ cultural competency by all state employees (including our state agency museums)

HB591: Would change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day

HB615: Another bill related to minimum wage, this one raises the wage to $10.10, with no additional incremental increases designated

HB1147: This bill would require public places like museums to have epinephrine available, and a staff person trained to administer it to a visitor.  There is some liability protection included in the bill.

History-Related Bills to Watch

HB1159: Would designate the month of June as Black Women’s Heritage Month

HB1305: Would direct the removal of the Harry F. Byrd statue from Capitol Square

HB1406: Considers the removal of the Robert E. Lee Statue from National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol

In addition to these bills, the Governor recently announced a Historic Justice and Equity Agenda, which includes funding for the City of Alexandria to restore their new historic property Freedom House, as well as funding for the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia and the American Civil War Museum to support educational programming.

Historic Preservation Bills to Watch

HB665: This would lay out requirements on reviewing the potential adverse effects to historic resources and “scenic assets” before approving construction of power lines

HB1523: This would create an Historical African American Cemeteries and Graves Fund, administered by the Department of Historic Resources

Education-Related Bills to Watch

HB223: This bill would require the DOE to develop recommendations for improving civic education in schools.

HB634: Would allow school districts, when applying for “School Division of Innovation” status, to replace Virginia Studies standards test with performance assessment.

HB753: Would add “social-emotional learning and development” to the current Standards of Learning

HB1110: This bill would add gender identity and sexual orientation to the study of “contributions to society of diverse people” for the Standards of Learning in Social Studies