2021 General Assembly Session

Buses, Buildings, and Safety Related Legislation

2021 General Assembly Summary – Final Report
Buses, Buildings, and Safety Related Legislation
Fairfax County Public Schools, Office of Government Relations

This report describes the Buses, Buildings, and Safety related legislation considered during the 2021 General Assembly Regular, Special, and Reconvened Sessions.  Bills are listed as having Passed or Failed.  Any legislation labeled as Passed was signed by the Governor and will go into effect on July 1, 2021 unless otherwise specified in the legislation itself.

Summaries are linked to the Division of Legislative Services’ web pages for text, up to date summary information, and fiscal impact statements. If a bill of interest is not found in one category, please check another as legislation often can fit under multiple categories.

UPDATED: 04/21/2021


Apprenticeship Training Programs, Report HB 1849 (Simonds) directs the Virginia Board of Workforce Development (the Board), the Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI), and the Department of General Services (DGS) to review the availability of registered apprenticeship programs in the Commonwealth and evaluate the capacity to build a program that will require contractors engaged in construction contracts with public bodies to participate in apprenticeship training programs for each trade or classification of employees engaged in the construction contract. The bill also requires the Board, DOLI, and DGS to evaluate whether a requirement to limit public procurements to bidders with registered apprenticeship programs would assist the construction industry in meeting its workforce needs. The bill permits the Board, DOLI, and DGS to convene a stakeholder advisory group as part of its review. The bill requires the Board, DOLI, and DGS to complete its review and complete any advisory group meetings by September 1, 2021, and to submit to the Governor and the General Assembly an executive summary and a report of its findings and recommendations no later than December 1, 2021.

Building Standards for Certain State and Local Buildings HB 2001 (Helmer) requires that any executive branch agency or institution or locality entering the design phase for the construction of a new building greater than 5,000 gross square feet in size or the renovation of a building where the cost of the renovation exceeds 50 percent of the value of the building ensure that such building has sufficient electric vehicle charging infrastructure, defined in the bill, and has features that permit the agency or institution to track the building's energy efficiency and carbon emissions. The bill authorizes the Director of the Department of General Services to grant exemptions to such standards, in writing and with certain terms. The bill requires agencies to annually report to the Governor the energy efficiency and carbon emissions metrics for each such building built or renovated.

The bill requires localities to design such building projects according to the same or similar standards, or more stringent standards if adopted by ordinance. The bill also requires that localities incorporate appropriate resilience and distributed energy features. The bill requires that any exemption from the standards granted by resolution of the governing body of a locality be made in writing and explain the basis for granting the exemption.  The provisions regarding building projects in localities with a population of less than 100,000 become effective on July 1, 2023.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors Required HB 1823 (Askew) requires each building that was built before 2015 and that houses any public school classroom for students, licensed child day program, or other program that serves preschool-age children to be equipped with at least one carbon monoxide detector.

Crosswalk Design Working Group HB 1841 (Keam) directs the Commissioner of Highways to convene a working group to determine whether there should be model policies for crosswalk design and installation and, if so, establish recommendations for such model policies. The bill directs the working group to monitor and provide input to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration as updates to crosswalk designs in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways are considered. The working group is required to submit to the Governor and the General Assembly a report on its findings and recommendations by November 1, 2021.

Electric Vehicle Grant Fund and Program; Creation; Workgroup Report HB 2118 (Keam) establishes the Electric Vehicle Grant Fund and Program for the purpose of (i) awarding grants on a competitive basis to public school divisions for (a) assisting with costs of replacing diesel school buses with electric school buses; (b) the implementation of recharging infrastructure or other infrastructure needed to charge or maintain such electric school buses; and (c) workforce development and training to support the maintenance, charging, and operation of such electric school buses and (ii) projects by public, private, and non-profit Virginia entities to assist with replacing diesel-fueled vehicles and machinery with electric vehicles.  No allocation of funds will be made to the Fund or the Program unless federal or nonstate funds are available to cover the entire cost of such allocation. The bill contains provisions that relate to grant applications, priority, awards, and uses.  The Department of Environmental Quality will convene a stakeholder workgroup to develop recommendations for establishing and administering the Fund and Program and will report the workgroup findings to the General Assembly.

Emergency Services and Disaster Law; Local and Interjurisdictional Emergency Operations Plans HB 2085 (Askew) requires local and interjurisdictional agencies to include provisions in their emergency operations plans to ensure that such plans are applied equitably and that the needs of minority and vulnerable communities are met during emergencies.

Gun-Free Zone, School Board Establishment Permitted HB 1909 (Subramanyam) permits any school board to deem any non-school zone building or property that it owns or leases where employees of such school board are regularly present for the purpose of performing their official duties as a gun-free zone and prohibit any individual from knowingly possessing, purchasing, transferring, carrying, storing, or transporting firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof while such individual is upon such property, except certain individuals such as law-enforcement officers and qualified retired law-enforcement officers.

Lock-Down Drills; Annual Requirement HB 1998 (Murphy) reduces from three to two the minimum number of mandatory annual lock-down drills in each public elementary and secondary school in the Commonwealth.

Virginia Public Procurement Act; Construction Contracts; Requirement to Submit List of Subcontractors HB 2288 (Graves) requires bidders or offerors on contracts for construction of $250,000 or more to submit along with their bid or proposal a list of all subcontractors, regardless of tier, that the bidder or offeror intends at the time of submitting the bid or proposal to use on the contract to perform work valued at $50,000 or more, including labor and materials. The bill requires such a list to include certain information about each contractor. The bill also requires the bidder or offer to submit a statement declaring that the bidder or offeror has reviewed the qualifications and performance history of each subcontractor and found such qualifications and performance history to be sufficient to qualify the subcontractor to perform the subcontract work and a statement indicating that the bidder or offeror has received a written statement from each subcontractor verifying that such subcontractor has not defaulted on any projects within the last three years is not currently suspended or disbarred by any public body, and is not currently in bankruptcy. The bill allows the public body to disqualify any listed subcontractors but requires the public body to notify the bidder or offeror of such disqualification and allow the bidder or offeror reasonable time to find a qualified replacement. The bill provides that any bidder or offeror that does not submit the required list and statements may have its bid or proposal disqualified, and any bidder or offeror that is found to have knowingly provided false information pursuant to this section shall be debarred from contracting with any public body for a period of up to one year. The bill requires compliance with its provisions for bids or offers on contracts for construction of $250,000 or more with localities with a population in excess of 50,000, but provides that compliance is optional for bids or offers on contracts for construction of $250,000 or more with any other locality. The provisions of this bill will not become effective unless reenacted by the 2022 Session of the General Assembly.

Virginia Public Procurement Act; Preference for Energy-Efficient and Water-Efficient Goods HB 1811 (Helmer) provides that in the course of procuring goods, if a public body receives two or more bids for products that are Energy Star certified, meet Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) designated efficiency requirements, appear on FEMP's Low Standby Power Product List, or are WaterSense certified, such public body may only select among those bids.


Electric School Bus Projects, Electric Utilities SB 1380 (Lucas) would have authorized electric utilities to partner with school divisions to implement projects designed to encourage the proliferation of school buses that are fueled in whole or in part by electricity, along with associated charging and other infrastructure, for the purpose of transporting students and that may also serve as electric grid stabilization or peak-shaving resources. The bill would have provided that if an electric school bus project meets the requirements in the bill, then it is in the public interest and may constitute an energy storage resource. The bill would have required an electric school bus project and its corresponding agreement to include a provision to compensate a participating school division for the use of the school bus battery by the electric utility as a grid stabilizing or peak-shaving resource and a provision that the electric school buses shall be titled under the participating school division, but the utility would have owned the associated batteries and charging stations. The bill also would have provided a tax exemption for electric school buses and associated charging and other infrastructure that is related or incidental to an authorized electric school bus project.

Firearm-Free Zones Designated by the Commonwealth or a Locality; Waiver of Sovereign Immunity HB 1757 (McGuire) would have provided that if the Commonwealth designated any property owned by it as a firearm-free zone or any locality designates such locality or any part of such locality as a firearm-free zone, the Commonwealth or such locality waived its sovereign immunity as it relates to any injuries sustained by persons lawfully present in such firearm-free zone.

Green New Deal Act HB 1937 (Rasoul) would have established a moratorium, effective January 1, 2022, on approval by any state agency or political subdivision of any approval required for electric generating facilities that generate fossil fuel energy through the combustion of a fossil fuel resource; import or export terminals for fossil fuel resources; certain maintenance activities relating to an import or export terminal for a fossil fuel resource; gathering lines or pipelines for the transport of any fossil fuel resource that  require the use of eminent domain on private property; certain maintenance activities relating to such gathering lines or pipelines; refineries of a fossil fuel resource; and exploration for any type of fossil fuel, unless preempted by applicable federal law. The measure would have also required that at least 80 percent of the electricity sold by a retail electric supplier in calendar years 2028 through 2035 be generated from clean energy resources. In calendar year 2036 and every calendar year thereafter, 100 percent of the electricity sold by a retail electric supplier is required to be generated from clean energy resources. The clean energy mandates would have applied to a public utility or other person that sells not less than 1,000 megawatt hours of electric energy to retail customers or generates not less than 1,000 megawatt hours of electric energy for use by the person.

Local Control of Firearms; Concealed Handgun Permit HB 1793 (Davis) would have provided that any local ordinance that prohibits the possession, carrying, or transportation of any firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof on specified public property would not apply to a person who had a valid concealed handgun permit.

Public School Assistance Fund and Program Created SB 1106 (Stanley) would have created the Public School Assistance Fund and Program, to be administered by the Department of Education, for the purpose of providing grants to school boards to be used for the purposes of repairing or replacing the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, electrical, or plumbing systems or the roofs of public elementary and secondary school buildings in the local school division, including financing costs for such repairs and replacements. The bill would have permitted any school board in the Commonwealth to apply for Program grants but would have required the Department of Education to give priority in the award of grants to school boards that demonstrated the greatest need based on the condition of existing school building roofs and the ability to pay for the repair or replacement of such roofs.

Required Local Effort for Basic Aid; Debt Service on Projects in Certain School Divisions HB 1924 (Kilgore) would have permitted any local school board that governed a school division in which the locality was designated as fiscally at-risk or fiscally distressed by the Appalachian Regional Commission in the most recent fiscal year or is determined to have above-average fiscal stress or high fiscal stress by the Virginia Commission on Local Government in its most recent "Report on Comparative Revenue Capacity, Revenue Effort, and Fiscal Stress of Virginia Counties and Cities" and for which the composite index of local ability to pay is less than or equal to 0.2000 to expend up to 25 percent of the required local effort for basic aid for debt service on school building capital renovation or construction projects.

School Construction Fund and Program HB 2093 (O’Quinn) would have established the School Construction Fund as a special nonreverting fund in the state treasury and requires the Department of Education to establish the School Construction Program for the purpose of providing grants from the Fund, subject to certain conditions, to school boards that leverage federal, state, and local programs and resources to finance the design and construction of new school buildings and facilities or the modernization and maintenance of existing school buildings and facilities.

School Facility Modernization SB 1109 (Stanley) would have provided for a statewide referendum on the question of whether the General Assembly would issue state general obligation bonds in the amount of $3 billion for the purpose of K-12 school building construction, repair, or other capital projects related to the modernization of school facilities. The results would have been advisory only and intended only to demonstrate the preference of the citizens of the Commonwealth on the issuance of such bonds. The bill would have provided that the referendum be held at the November 2022 general election.

Virginia Public Procurement Act; Construction Contracts; Subcontractor Workforce Requirements SB 1305 (McPike) would have required all public bodies in a locality with a population in excess of 25,000 and covered institutions, defined in the bill, to include in every construction contract of more than $500,000 certain provisions related to the outsourcing of subcontracted work, which a contractor would agree to during the performance of such contract. Such provisions would have mandated that a contractor would only utilize subcontractors that certify in writing to the contract that they would outsource no more than 10 percent of the cost of the work subcontracted for, excluding the provision of materials, with specified exceptions.

Virginia Public Procurement Act; Contract Clause Requiring Subcontractor Reporting of Payments to Employees and Independent Contractors HB 1741 (Campbell) would have required any contract awarded by a state agency or an agency of local government to require the contractor to include in each of its subcontracts a provision requiring the subcontractor to report to the contractor on a monthly basis payroll records for all of the subcontractor's employees; records of all payments made by the subcontractor to individuals classified as independent contractors; and the total number of individuals on the jobsite, including the number classified as employees and the number classified as independent contractors. The bill would have required the contractor to compile such information and submit it in a monthly report to the Department of Labor and Industry.

Virginia Public Procurement Act; Determination of Responsibility; Local Option to Include Criteria in Invitation to Bid HB 1996 (Murphy) would have allowed localities to include in the Invitation to Bid criteria that may be used in determining whether any bidder, not just any bidder who is not prequalified by the Virginia Department of Transportation as under current law, is a responsible bidder.

Virginia Public Procurement Act; Local Arbitration Agreements SB 1384 (Surovell) would have allowed a participating locality, for any procurement solicitation or contract exceeding $10,000 for goods and nonprofessional services, to require the bidder or offeror to disclose certain information regarding pre-dispute arbitration clauses, defined in the bill, in employment and civil rights disputes, and provide that a locality may consider the policies and practices related to arbitration of each bidder and offeror. The bill also would have provided that a participating locality shall require the bidder or offeror to provide written or electronic submissions to allow the locality to ascertain (i) whether the bidder or offeror requires persons with whom it is in a work relationship or prospective work relationship to sign or otherwise enter into a contract containing a pre-dispute arbitration clause that could require arbitration for an employment or civil rights dispute and (ii) whether the bidder or offeror requires end users, in carrying out the contract, to sign or otherwise enter into a contract containing a pre-dispute arbitration clause as a condition of downloading a mobile application or using a website, if the subject of the contract is to allow such end user to use such mobile application or website to pay a school district for goods or services related to education. If the bidder or offeror does require such clauses, the bidder or offeror would have been required to provide additional information including a copy of its pre-dispute arbitration clauses and information arising out of employment or civil rights disputes for the past five years. The bill would not have applied to arbitration provisions in certain contracts, as identified in the bill. The bill would authorize a participating locality to cancel, terminate, or suspend, in whole or in part, the contract of any contractor that has violated a provision of the bill and to declare the contractor ineligible for further contracts with such locality for up to five years, if the contractor does not cure any such violation within 30 days of being notified.

Virginia Public Procurement Act; Purchase of Personal Protective Equipment SB 1222 (DeSteph) would have required a state agency, whenever purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) for public use, to purchase such PPE from a Virginia-based company or manufacturer or a manufacturer that uses materials made in the United States. The bill would have provided that if a state agency is unable to purchase PPE from such company or manufacturer, it may purchase from another company or manufacturer, pending the results of independent laboratory testing of the PPE.

Virginia Retirement System; Retired Law-Enforcement Officers Employed as School Security Officers HB 2195 (Leftwich) and SB 1137 (Cosgrove) would have provided that if a retired law-enforcement officer was employed by a local school division as a school security officer on January 1, 2020, and had a bona fide break in service of at least one month between retirement and employment as a school security officer, such person would not be required to establish a 12-month break in service that would otherwise be required by law.