2021 General Assembly Session

Instructional Technology Related Legislation

2021 General Assembly Summary – Final Report
Instructional Technology Related Legislation
Fairfax County Public Schools, Office of Government Relations

This report describes the Instructional Technology 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: 04/26/2021

PASSED

Broadband Capacity Pilot Program HB 1923 (Ayala) and SB 1334 (Edwards)  expands an existing pilot program under which Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power are authorized to provide or make available broadband capacity to Internet service providers in areas of the Commonwealth that are unserved by broadband to include municipal Internet service providers. The current program is restricted to nongovernmental Internet service providers.

Broadband Capacity by Phase I or Phase II Electric Utilities HB 2304 (Tyler) and SB 1413 (Boysko) make permanent the pilot program under which a Phase I or Phase II electric utility is permitted to petition the State Corporation Commission to provide broadband capacity to unserved areas of the Commonwealth and consolidate the petition approval process into a single hearing. The bills expand the program to allow for the participation of municipalities and government-owned broadband authorities. The bills also provide that investor-owned electric utilities may recover costs of and revenue generated from providing broadband capacity that serves as an electric grid transformation project in areas unserved by broadband, as defined in the bills.

Broadband Services, Expansion of Services SB 1225 (Boysko)  authorizes school boards to appropriate funds for the purposes of promoting, facilitating, and encouraging the expansion and operation of broadband services for educational purposes. The bill  authorizes school boards to partner with private broadband service providers to promote, implement, and subsidize broadband for educational purposes to the households of students who will qualify for a child nutrition program or any other program recognized or adopted by the local school board as a measuring standard to identify at-risk students.

Consumer Data Protection Act HB 2307 (Hayes) and SB 1392 (Marsden) establish a framework for controlling and processing personal data in the Commonwealth. The bills apply to all persons that conduct business in the Commonwealth and either (i) control or process personal data of at least 100,000 consumers or (ii) derive over 50 percent of gross revenue from the sale of personal data and control or process personal data of at least 25,000 consumers. The bills outline responsibilities and privacy protection standards for data controllers and processors. The bills do not apply to state or local governmental entities and contains exceptions for certain types of data and information governed by federal law. The bills grant consumer rights to access, correct, delete, obtain a copy of personal data, and to opt out of the processing of personal data for the purposes of targeted advertising. The bill provides that the Attorney General has exclusive authority to enforce violations of the law, and the Consumer Privacy Fund is created to support this effort. The bills will direct the Joint Commission on Technology and Science to establish a work group to review the provisions of this act and issues related to its implementation, and to report on its findings by November 1, 2021. The bills will not be effective until January 1, 2023.

Data Governance; Office of Data Governance and Analytics; Chief Data Officer; Virginia Data Commission; Report SB 1365 (Barker)  creates the Office of Data Governance (the Office) in the Office of the Secretary of Administration, to be directed by the existing Chief Data Officer of the Commonwealth. The Office will be charged with overseeing general data governance in the Commonwealth, as well as developing and managing the Commonwealth Data Trust, a multi-stakeholder data exchange and analytics platform. A multi-level governance structure will be established to govern the Trust. The bill also establishes the advisory Virginia Data Commission to advise the Office on issues relating to data sharing.

Workforce Development Data Sharing HB 1876 (Subramanyam) expands the type of workforce development data that state agencies may share with the Virginia Workforce System to support workforce program evaluation and policy analysis. The bill removes the requirement that all personal identifying information be removed before being shared among other state agencies and with the Workforce Development System and instead requires the identifying attribute information necessary to match entities across programs, support the coordination of services, and evaluate outcomes to be shared among agencies that enter into the memorandum of understanding supporting the Virginia Workforce Data Trust.

FAILED

Public Schools; Mandatory Virtual Learning; Provision of Required Technology and Internet Service; Emergency SB 1434 (Chase) would have provided that if a school board requires students to engage in virtual learning for any reason, whether full time or part time, and a computer and Internet service to connect to the curriculum is required, the school board must provide appropriate technology devices to every student enrolled in the school system so they may access the learning platform. The bill would have required school boards to provide adequate Internet service to a student's household at no cost if the student's household income is below 125 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. The bill would have contained an emergency clause.

Virginia Digital Equity Pilot Program and Fund SB 1462 (Mason) would have required the Department of Social Services to establish a pilot program to provide a fixed reimbursement for the costs of broadband services to households currently participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The bill would have had an expiration date of July 1, 2024.