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Legislative Update 2020: Update on Bills we are Watching

Posted By: Jennifer Thomas News & Announcements ,

The General Assembly session is officially underway, and bills are making their way through the chambers.  If you are new to the process, any bill that is introduced as a House bill goes all the way through the House first, then during session crossover in February, would move to the Senate for review and a vote.  Same process with Senate bills, starting in their chamber of origin, then moving to the other.  Crossover, the day when all active bills cross to the other house for review, is February 12 this session.

Below, find updates on some of the bills we are watching this session (these updates are as of Friday, January 24):

Employment-Related Bills to Watch

All of these bills have been assigned to a committee, and remain there at this point. To find out which committee is reviewing each bill, click on the link with the bill number.

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

These have also been assigned to committees.

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

These have also been assigned to committees.

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.  STATUS: this bill died in committee, and will not reach the floor for a vote.

HB634: Would allow school districts, when applying for “School Division of Innovation” status, to replace Virginia Studies standards test with performance assessment. STATUS: this bill has passed committee, and is on to the next step.

HB753: Would add “social-emotional learning and development” to the current Standards of Learning  STATUS: this bill passed, with amendments, through its committee, and moves to the next step.

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 STATUS: still in committee