2021 General Assembly Weekly Update
February 19, 2021
2021 General Assembly Update
Key Education-Related Subjects
Week ending Friday, February 19, 2021
Fairfax County Public Schools, Office of Government Relations
Additional information regarding the education-related legislation described below, as well as for all other bills related to education can be found in the thirteen subject categories located on the web pages of the FCPS Office of Government Relations at https://www.fcps.edu/about-fcps/departments-and-offices/government-relations/virginia-general-assembly. Bills in these categories are linked to the Virginia Division of Legislative Services web pages, which provide up-to-date summary, fiscal impact and bill status information.
The House and Senate have both named budget conferees who will meet to resolve differences between the budgets passed in each chamber. Fairfax delegation members Delegates Mark Sickles and David Bulova and Senators Janet Howell and George Barker were all named conferees, with Senator Richard Saslaw named as an “advisor” to the Conference. Final budget action continues to be anticipated by the scheduled end of the Special Session on Monday March 1.
K-12 Education Related Bills – Key Unresolved Issues
The following bills continue to proceed in different forms between the House and Senate. Should those differences persist and each chamber insist on their own version, legislation can be sent to a conference committee made up of the bill patron and two other members of each chamber to resolve the differences in the bills for final up-or-down consideration by each chamber.
In Person Learning - SB 1303 (Dunnavant) as adopted by the Senate would require each local school division to make virtual and in-person learning available to all students by choice of the student's parent or guardian and would make such offerings a permanent requirement.
The House Education SOL/SOQ subcommittee reported a substitute of this bill for consideration by the full House Education Committee which would require the provision of fully in person or a combination of in person and remote virtual instruction to each student during the 2021-2022 school year, consistent with guiding principles and mitigation strategies from the CDC, with school divisions being required to define what is meant by in person instruction. School divisions would retain the ability to choose to provide fully virtual instruction to students upon their parent’s request or if certain health-related conditions warranted more substantial school closures. All teachers and school staff would be required to be offered the COVID-19 vaccine prior to the start of the 2021-2022 school year from their local health district and the bill would specifically preserve the rights of teachers and staff under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Finally, the legislation would expire effective August 1, 2022.
Special Education JLARC Recommendations - HB 2299 (Carr) and SB 1288 (Dunnavant) continue to take different approaches to the implementation of various recommendations from the Virginia Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) related to special education policies and procedures.
HB 2299 (Carr) as adopted by the House would require the Department of Education to (i) provide training and guidance documents to local school divisions on the development of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for children with disabilities, (ii) develop a training module for each individual who participates in an IEP meeting, with the exception of parents, (iii) annually conduct structured reviews of a sample of IEPs from a sufficiently large sample of local school divisions to verify that the IEPs are in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations, (iv) develop and maintain a statewide plan for improving (a) its ongoing oversight of local practices related to transition planning and services for children with disabilities and (b) technical assistance and guidance provided for postsecondary transition planning and services for children with disabilities, (v) develop and maintain a statewide strategic plan for recruiting and retaining special education teachers, and (vi) (a) conduct a one-time targeted review of the transition sections of a random sample of students' IEPs in each school division; (b) communicate its findings to each local school division, school board, and local special education advisory committee; and (c) ensure that local school divisions correct any IEPs that are found to be out of compliance no later than the end of the 2021-22 school year.
SB 1288 (Dunnavant) as adopted by the Senate includes similar provisions as HB 2299, with the addition of at least 12 other JLARC recommendations beyond those included in HB 2299, including a requirement that the Department of Education develop policies and procedures for tracking, investigating, and resolving allegations of violations of special education law and regulations that do not meet the current regulatory standard for state complaints, as well as a provision that was not discussed by JLARC which would require the Department of Education to amend its Individualized Education Program (IEP) Prior Notice and Parent Consent form to include an option for partial parental consent to initial implementation of the IEP.
Note that as of now, HB 2299 has been amended by the Senate to look like SB 1288, while the House has done the opposite (making SB 1288 look like HB 2299). Both bills await final action, and should each chamber insist on its own version they will end up in a Conference Committee. Also note that both the House and Senate budget proposals include language that parallel some of the bill language mentioned above, which will help to inform the final form that the legislation ends up taking.
Electric utilities; electric school bus projects SB 1380 (Lucas) would authorize 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 provide 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 require 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 shall own the associated batteries and charging stations. The bill also would provide 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. Note that House amendments would reduce the scope of the proposed project to 1,000 buses (down from 1,250), would require prioritization of school divisions with schools serving Title I students for participation, and would clarify that buses would not be prioritized for use for electric grid stabilization when needed otherwise needed for student transportation. The bill is still pending on the House floor.
Electric Vehicle Grant Fund and Program; HB 2118 (Keam) would establish 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 would 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 relating to grant applications, priority, awards, and uses. The Department of Environmental Quality would convene a stakeholder workgroup to develop recommendations for establishing and administering the Fund and Program and shall report the workgroup findings to the General Assembly. Note that the Senate has proposed to replace the existing language in HB 2118 with language that would parallel SB 1380 (Lucas). The amended bill is still pending on the Senate floor. Also note that if passed in amended form by the Senate, the House would still have to approve of the changes.
Through-Year Growth Assessment System; HB 2027 (Coyner) and SB 1357 (Dunnavant) have now been conformed and would require the Board of Education to establish, in lieu of a one-time end-of-year assessment and for the purpose of providing measures of individual student growth over the course of the school year, a through-year growth assessment system, aligned with the Standards of Learning, for the administration of reading and mathematics assessments in grades three through eight. The bills would require such through-year growth assessment system to include a beginning-of-year, a mid-year, and an end-of-year assessment in order to provide individual student growth scores over the course of the school year, provided that the total time scheduled for taking all such assessments shall not exceed 150 percent of the time scheduled for taking a single end-of-year proficiency assessment. The bills would require the Department of Education to ensure adequate training for teachers and principals on how to interpret and use student growth data from such assessments to improve reading and mathematics instruction in grades three through eight throughout the school year. The bills would require such through-year growth assessment system to be fully implemented in each local school division no later than the 2021-2022 school year, except for the mid-year assessment, which would be implemented for the 2022-2023 school year. Note that HB 2027 was reported from Senate Education and Health and was re-referred to Senate Finance and Appropriations, while SB 1357 was reported from House Appropriations and awaits action by the full House.
Guidelines on Excused Student Absences, Civic Engagement HB 1940 (Rasoul) and SB 1439 (McClellan) have been conformed and would now require, subject to guidelines established by the Department of Education, each school board to permit one school day-long excused absence per school year for any middle school or high school student in the local school division who is absent from school to engage in a civic event and may permit additional excused absences for such students who are absent for such purpose. Local school boards may also require that the student provide advance notice of the intended absence and that the student provide documentation of participation in a civic event Note that HB 1940 has now passed both the House and Senate, while SB 1439 is pending Senate approval of the House adopted amendments.
JLARC Study of the Costs of Education SJ 294 (Lewis) would direct the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) to study the true cost of education in the Commonwealth and provide an accurate assessment of the costs to implement the Standards of Quality. The study resolution would require a mid-report update prior to the start of the 2023 General Assembly Session and a final report prior to the 2024 Session. Note this legislation passed the House Rules Committee and now awaits action on the House floor.
Seizure Management and Action Plans, Biennial Training, Effective Date SB 1322 (DeSteph) would provide for the submission and utilization of seizure management and action plans for students with a diagnosed seizure disorder. The bill would require that school nurses and certain school division employees biennially complete Board of Education-approved training in the treatment of students with seizure disorders. The bill would provide immunity from civil liability for acts or omissions related to providing for the care of a student under a seizure management and action plan. The bill would have a delayed effective date of July 1, 2022. Note: The House Education Committee reported this bill as amended with a delayed effective date of July 1, 2022. The House will now consider this bill.
Standards of Quality; School Board to Provide at Least Three Specialized Student Support Positions SB 1257 (McClellan) would modify a school personnel requirement in Standard 2 of the Standards of Quality. It would require each school board to provide at least three specialized student support positions, including school social workers, school psychologists, school nurses, licensed behavior analysts, licensed assistant behavior analysts, and other licensed health and behavioral positions, per 1,000 students. The provisions of the bill would be contingent on funding in a general appropriation act. Note: The House Appropriations Committee reported this will with the clause “with such funds as are available” removed. The full House will now consider this bill.
School Board Policies; School Meal Debt; Enforcement HB 2013 (Roem) would require each school board to adopt a policy that prohibits the board from filing a lawsuit against a student or the student's parent because the student cannot pay for a meal at school or owes a school meal debt. Note: The Senate Education and Health Committee reported this bill for consideration by the Senate.
Reading Intervention Services HB 1865 (Delaney) would require reading intervention services for students in kindergarten through grade three who demonstrate deficiencies based on their individual performance on the Standards of Learning reading test or any reading diagnostic test that meets criteria established by the Department of Education to be evidence-based, including services that are grounded in the science of reading, and include explicit, systematic, sequential, and cumulative instruction, to include phonemic awareness, systematic phonics, fluency, vocabulary development, and text comprehension as appropriate based on the student's demonstrated reading deficiencies. The bill would require the parent of each student who receives such reading intervention services to be notified before the services begin and the progress of each such student to be monitored throughout the provision of services. Note: The Senate Education and Health Committee reported this bill for consideration by the Senate.
Possession and Administration of Undesignated Stock Albuterol Inhalers and Valved Holding Chambers HB 2019 (McQuinn) would require each local school board to adopt and implement policies for the possession and administration of undesignated stock albuterol inhalers and valved holding chambers in every public school in the local school division, to be administered by any school nurse, employee of the school board, employee of a local governing body, or employee of a local health department who is authorized by the local health director and trained in the administration of albuterol inhalers and valved holding chambers for any student believed in good faith to be in need of such medication. The bill would require the Department of Health, in conjunction with the Department of Education, to develop and implement policies for the administration of stock albuterol in public schools. Note: The Senate Education and Health Committee reported this bill for consideration by the Senate.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors Required, Public Schools, Child Day Programs, and Certain Other Programs; HB 1823 (Askew) would require 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. Note: The Senate Education and Health Committee reported this bill for consideration by the Senate.
Certain School Board Property; Establishment of Gun-Free Zone Permitted HB 1909 (Subramanyam) would permit any school board to deem any non-school zone property that it owns or leases 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. Note: The Senate Education and Health Committee amended the bill to limit its scope to administrative buildings and reported it for consideration by the Senate.
Abusive Work Environments, Definitions in School Board Policies HB 2176 (Torian) would define, for the purposes of mandatory school board policies relating to abusive work environments, the terms "abusive conduct," "abusive work environment," "physical harm," and "psychological harm." The bill would clarify that the requirement to adopt such policies shall not be construed to limit a school board's authority to adopt policies to prohibit any other type of workplace conduct as the school board deems necessary. The Senate Education and Health Committee reported this bill for consideration by the Senate.
Children's Services Act; Special Education Programs SB 1313 (Mason) would require that funds expended for private special education services under the Children's Services Act only be expended on educational programs that are licensed by the Board of Education or an equivalent out-of-state licensing agency. The bill would also provide that as of July 1, 2022, such funds may only be expended for programs that the Office of Children's Services certify as having reported their tuition rates. The bill would add children and youth previously placed in approved private school educational programs for at least six months who will receive transitional services in a public school setting to the target population for eligibility for the state pool of funds. The bill would provide that state funds shall be allocated for no longer than 12 months for transitional services. The bill would require the Secretaries of Education and Health and Human Resources, in conjunction with the Office of Children's Services and the Department of Education, to establish a work group (the Work Group) with appropriate stakeholders to develop a detailed plan to direct the transfer of Children's Services Act funds currently reserved for children requiring an educational placement in a private special education day school or residential facility to the Department of Education, as well as several other topics. The bill would require that the Work Group submit its plan and recommendations to the Chairmen of the House Committee on Appropriations and Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations by November 1, 2021, as well as a final plan and recommendations by November 1, 2022. Note that the House Education Committee reported this bill for consideration by the House. Also note that that HB 2117 (Van Valkenburg) was conformed to the language of SB 1313 and was reported by the Senate Education and Health Committee for Senate consideration.
Department of Education and Board of Education; Special Education and Related Services for Students with Disabilities HB 2316 (Mundon-King) would require the Department of Education to update its special education eligibility worksheets as necessary, including clarifying any ambiguity or vagueness in eligibility criteria, and provide to each local school division the appropriate level of guidance on eligibility determinations for special education and related services. The bill would require the Board of Education to amend its regulations to ensure that each education preparation program graduate in a K-12 general education endorsement area demonstrates proficiency in understanding the role of general education teachers on the individualized education program (IEP) team. Note: The Senate Education and Health Committee reported this bill for consideration by the Senate.
Public School Assistance Fund and Program SB 1106 (Stanley) would create 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 permit any school board in the Commonwealth to apply for Program grants but requires the Department of Education to give priority in the award of grants to school boards that demonstrate 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. Note: The House Education Committee reported this bill and referred it to House Appropriations.
Broadband Services; School Boards to Appropriate Funds for Expansion of Services for Education SB 1225 (Boysko) would authorize 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 would authorize school boards to partner with private broadband service providers to promote, implement, and subsidize broadband for educational purposes to the households of students who would qualify for a child nutrition program or any other program recognized or adopted by the local schoolboard as a measuring standard to identify at-risk students. Note: The House Education Committee reported this bill for consideration by the House.
Health Standards of Learning; Advanced Directive Education for High School Students SB 1190 (Kiggans) would direct the Board of Education to include advanced directive education in its curriculum framework for the Health Standards of Learning for high school students. Note: The House Education Committee reported this bill for consideration by the House.
Participation in the Afterschool Meal Program HB 2135 (Roem) would require each school board that governs a local school division that has a student population that qualifies for free and reduced-price meals at a minimum percentage of 50 percent in the prior school year and simultaneously offers educational or enrichment activities and is consequently eligible to participate in the Afterschool Meal Program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Child and Adult Care Food Program to apply to the Department of Education to participate in the Afterschool Meal Program for each such school to subsequently and simultaneously serve federally reimbursable meals and offer an afterschool education or enrichment program, pursuant to FNS guidelines and state health and safety standards. The bill would require the Department of Education to administer the Afterschool Meal Program on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The bill would provide that the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall issue a waiver to this requirement upon determination that participation is not financially viable for a school or group of schools. The bill requires the Department of Education to develop a process and criteria for evaluating such waivers. The bill would have a delayed effective date of July 1, 2022. Note: The Senate Education and Health Committee reported this bill for consideration by the Senate.
Virginia Freedom of Information Act; meetings held through electronic communication means during a state of emergency SB 1271 (McPike) would allow a public body, or a joint meeting thereof, to meet by electronic communication means without a quorum of the public body physically assembled at one location when a locality in which the public body is located has declared a local state of emergency, provided that (i) the catastrophic nature of the declared emergency makes it impracticable or unsafe to assemble a quorum in a single location and (ii) the purpose of the meeting is to provide for the continuity of operations of the public body or the discharge of its lawful purposes, duties, and responsibilities. Under current law, public bodies may only meet in such manner when the Governor has declared a state of emergency, and only for the purpose of addressing the emergency. Finally, the bill would require public bodies meeting through electronic communication means during a local or state declaration of a state of emergency to (a) make arrangements for public access to such meeting through electronic communication means, including videoconferencing if already used by the public body, and (b) provide the public with the opportunity to comment at such meetings when public comment is customarily received. Note the legislation passed the Senate General Laws Committee and awaits final Senate action.
Early Childhood Education; Quality Rating and Improvement System Participation; School Readiness Committee HB 2105 (Bulova) would delay until the 2022 - 2023 school year the requirement for all publicly funded early childhood education providers to participate in a quality rating and improvement system to be established by the Board of Education by July 1, 2021. The bill would also delay from the fall of 2023 to the fall of 2024 the publication of initial quality ratings for such providers. The bill would reinstate the School Readiness Committee and alters the composition and scope of the work of the School Readiness Committee. Note: The Senate Education and Health Committee reported this bill for consideration by the Senate.
Child Care Providers; Background Check Portability; Subsidy Pilot Program; Report SB 1316 (McClellan) would exempt prospective employees and volunteers of certain child care providers from statutory background check requirements where the individual completed a background check within the previous five years, provided that such background check was conducted after July 1, 2017; the results of such background check indicated that the individual had not been convicted of any barrier crime and was not the subject of a founded complaint of child abuse or neglect; and the individual is an employee or volunteer of a child care provider that is subject to background check requirements or has been separated from such employment or volunteer position for not more than 180 days. The bill would require such child care providers, prior to hiring or allowing to volunteer any individual without the completion of a background check, to obtain written certification that such individual satisfies all such requirements and is eligible to serve as an employee or volunteer. Note: This bill was reported by the House Appropriations Committee for consideration by the House.
Loudoun County School Board; Staggered Terms HB 1838 (Reid) would enable the Loudoun County school board to stagger the terms of its members at the November election immediately preceding the end of the board's term and upon the board's prior vote for staggered terms. Note: The Senate Education and Health Committee reported this bill for consideration by the Senate.
Licensed Private Schools for Students with Disabilities; Accreditation HB 2238 (Kory) would direct the Board of Education to require, pursuant to regulation, any private school for students with disabilities that is licensed by the Board, as a condition for renewal of its initial license to operate, to obtain accreditation from an accrediting agency recognized by the Virginia Council for Private Education within three years of the issuance of its initial triennial license by the Board. The bill would provide that, notwithstanding the foregoing requirement, any private school for students with disabilities that is licensed to operate by the Board as of July 1, 2021, shall obtain accreditation from an accrediting agency recognized by the Virginia Council for Private Education no later than July 1, 2024. Note: The Senate Education and Health Committee reported this bill for consideration by the Senate.
Standards of Learning Assessments; Reduction; Report SB 1401 (Pillion) would reduce the total number and type of required Standards of Learning assessments to the minimum requirements established by the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended. The bill would require the Department of Education to annually report on the estimated projected and actual savings from the implementation of the bill and report the amount of such savings to the Governor and the Chairmen of the House Committee on Appropriations and the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations no later than the first day of each Regular Session of the General Assembly. The bill would also require that such amount be included in the total for Direct Aid to Public Education in any general appropriation act. Note: The House Education SOL/SOL subcommittee failed to report this bill on a tie vote, which leaves open the possibility it could be discussed by the full Committee before Session ends. Either way, the Committee agreed that the contents of this bill should be discussed before next year’s Session.
Local Arbitration Agreements SB 1384 (Surovell) would allow a participating locality, for any procurement solicitation or contract exceeding $10,000 for goods and services, to require the bidder or offeror to disclose certain information regarding pre-dispute arbitration clauses, defined in the bill, in employment, civil rights, and consumer disputes, and provides that a locality may consider the policies and practices related to arbitration of each bidder and offeror. The bill also would provide 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 would cover an employment or civil rights dispute and (ii) whether the bidder or offeror requires consumers to sign or otherwise enter into a contract containing a pre-dispute arbitration clause that would cover a consumer or civil rights dispute as a condition of purchasing products or services, downloading mobile applications, or using websites. 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. Note: The House Courts Civil Subcommittee failed to report this bill on a tie vote, which leaves open the possibility that it could be discussed by the full Courts Committee before Session ends.
K-12 Education Related Bills – Passed House and Senate
All bills that have passed both the House and Senate will be forwarded to the Governor. The Governor has the option to sign, amend, or veto bills passed by the General Assembly. Legislation approved by the Governor becomes effective July 1, 2021 unless otherwise specified in the legislation, either via an “Emergency” clause (which accelerates a bill’s effective date to the date it is signed by the Governor) or via a “Delayed Enactment” clause (which moves back the date on which that policy becomes effective.
Public Schools; Lock-Down Drills; Annual Requirement HB 1998 (Murphy) would reduce from three to two the minimum number of mandatory annual lock-down drills in each public elementary and secondary school in the Commonwealth.
Student Driver Education Program; Parent Participation Exemption HB 2119 (Keam) would exempt students who are at least 18 years old, emancipated minors, or unaccompanied minors who are not in the physical custody of their parent or guardian from the requirement to participate in the parent/student component of a school's driver education program.
Virginia Freedom of Information Act; Electronic Meetings HB 1931 (Levine) would authorize a public body to conduct through electronic communication means a meeting for which, on or before the day of the meeting, a member of the public body holding the meeting notifies the chair that such member is unable to attend the meeting due to a family member's medical condition that requires the member to provide care for such family member, thereby preventing the member's physical attendance. The bill would also clarify that participation in an electronic meeting by a member of a public body due to the inability to attend because of a personal matter is limited each calendar year to two such meetings, which is current law, or 25 percent of the meetings held that calendar year rounded up to the next whole number, whichever is greater.
Teachers and Other Licensed School Board Employees; Cultural Competency HB 1904 (Jenkins) and SB 1196 (Locke) would require teacher, principal, and division superintendent evaluations to include an evaluation of cultural competency. The bills would require every person seeking initial licensure or renewal of a license from the Board of Education to complete instruction or training in cultural competency and with an endorsement in history and social sciences to complete instruction in African American history, as prescribed by the Board. The bills also would require each school board to adopt and implement policies that require each teacher and any other school board employee holding a license issued by the Board to complete cultural competency training, in accordance with guidance issued by the Board, at least every two years.
Temporary extension of certain licenses HB 1776 (Ward) would require the Board of Education to grant a two-year extension of the license of any individual licensed by the Board whose license expires on June 30, 2021, in order to provide the individual with sufficient additional time to complete the requirements for licensure.
Public Schools; Severe Weather Conditions and Other Emergency Situations; Unscheduled Remote Learning Days HB 1790 (McNamara) and SB 1132 (Suetterlein) would provide that when severe weather conditions or other emergency situations have resulted in the closing of any school in a school division for in-person instruction, the school division may declare an unscheduled remote learning day whereby the school provides instruction and student services, consistent with guidelines established by the Department of Education to ensure the equitable provision of such services, without a reduction in the amount paid by the Commonwealth from the Basic School Aid Fund. The bills would prohibit any school division from claiming more than 10 unscheduled remote learning days in a school year unless the Superintendent of Public Instruction grants an extension.
High School Student Parking Passes; Valid Driver's License or Driver Privilege Card Required HB 1918 (Muglar) and SB 1169 (Norment) have been conformed and would each now require (i) driver education programs to include instruction on the dangers of distracted driving and speeding and (ii) a student to submit a standard application form developed by the Department of Education by which the student provides evidence that he possesses of a valid driver's license or driver privilege card before being issued a pass to park a vehicle on high school property.
Public Institutions of Higher Education; Certain Students; Financial Assistance Programs HB 2123 (Lopez) and SB 1387 (Boysko) would provide that students who meet the criteria to be deemed eligible for in-state tuition regardless of their citizenship or immigration status shall be afforded the same educational benefits, including financial assistance programs administered by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, the State Board for Community Colleges, or a public institution of higher education, as any other individual who is eligible for in-state tuition. The bills would have a delayed effective date of August 1, 2022 and would direct the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, in coordination with institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth, to promulgate regulations to implement the provisions of the bill.
Department of Medical Assistance Services; school-based health services; telemedicine SB 1307 (Dunnavant) would direct the Board of Medical Assistance Services to amend the state plan for medical assistance services to provide for payment of medical assistance services delivered to Medicaid-eligible students when such services qualify for reimbursement by the Virginia Medicaid program and may be provided by school divisions, regardless of whether the student receiving care has an individualized education program or whether the health care service is included in a student's individualized education program. The bill would specify that such services shall include those covered under the state plan for medical assistance services or by the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment benefit as specified in § 1905(r) of the federal Social Security Act, and shall include a provision for payment of medical assistance for health care services provided through telemedicine services. The bill also would require the Department of Medical Assistance Services to provide technical assistance to the Department of Education and local school divisions to facilitate their understanding of and compliance with federal ordering, referring, and prescribing provider screening and enrollment requirements.
Department of Education; Comprehensive Review of Computer Science Standards, Courses, and Pathways in Public Schools; Report HB 1885 (Simonds) would require the Department of Education to perform a comprehensive review of the ongoing implementation of mandatory computer science standards in elementary schools and middle schools and the alignment of middle school and high school computer science courses and course pathways. The bill would require such review to include recommendations for implementation processes at the local level, profiles of implementation processes that have been successful for school divisions, a description of opportunities for enhanced collaboration with relevant computer science stakeholders to expand computer science education opportunities for all students in the Commonwealth and for relevant professional development for teachers, and examining methods of data collection annually from local school divisions pertaining to computer science implementation.
Economic Education and Financial Literacy Required in Middle and High School Grades; Employment Arrangements HB 1905 (Cole, J.G.) would add to objectives developed and approved by the Board of Education for economics education and financial literacy at the middle and high school levels the implications of various employment arrangements with regard to benefits, protections, and long-term financial sustainability. Employment arrangements is defined in the bill as full-time employment, part-time employment, independent contract work, gig work, piece work, contingent work, day labor work, freelance work, and 1099 work.
Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back (G3) Fund and Program established HB 2204 (Filler-Corn) and SB 1405 (Saslaw) would establish the Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back (G3) Fund and requires the Virginia Community College System to establish the G3 Program for the purpose of providing financial assistance from the Fund to certain low-income and middle-income Virginia students who are enrolled in an educational program at an associate-degree-granting public institution of higher education that leads to an occupation in a certain high-demand field. The bills contain provisions for student eligibility, financial assistance award amounts, and data reporting.
Provision of Broadband Capacity by Phase I or Phase II Electric Utilities SB 1413 (Boysko) would 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. The bill would expand the program to allow for the participation of municipalities and government-owned broadband authorities. The bill would 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 bill. The bill would also consolidate the State Corporation Commission petition approval process into one hearing.
Definition of "Traumatic Brain Injury" HB 2182 (Wilt) would requires the Board of Education to amend its regulatory definition of "traumatic brain injury," for the purpose of the provision of special education for children with disabilities, to include an acquired injury to the brain caused by a medical condition, including stroke, anoxia, infectious disease, aneurysm, brain tumors, and neurological insults resulting from medical or surgical treatments.
DMAS; Work Group to Study Options for the Permanent Use of Virtual Supports and Increasing Access to Virtual Supports and Services; Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities HB 2197 (Runion) would direct the Department of Medical Assistance Services to study and develop recommendations for the permanent use of virtual supports and increasing access to virtual supports and services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities by promoting access to assistive technology and environmental modifications and to report its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly by November 1, 2021.
Special Education, Board of Education Regulations;; Amendment HB 2314 (Mugler) would require the Board of Education to amend a certain regulation relating to special education to remove the word "component" following the word "evaluation," thereby ensuring compliance with the relevant federal regulation and clarifying that the parent of a child with a disability has the right to an independent educational evaluation at public expense if the parent disagrees with an evaluation obtained by the local educational agency.
Board of Education; Membership; Geographic Representation HB 1827 (Austin) would require the nine-member Board of Education to include at least five members, appointed by the Governor, who each reside in different superintendent's regions in the Commonwealth.
Virginia Board of Workforce Development, Department of Labor and Industry, and Department of General Services; Apprenticeship Training Programs; Report HB 1849 (Simonds) would direct 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 would 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.
Virginia Human Rights Acts; Discrimination on the Basis of Disability HB 1848 (Sickles) would add discrimination on the basis of disability as an unlawful discriminatory practice under the Virginia Human Rights Act. The bill would also require employers, defined in the bill, to make reasonable accommodation to the known physical and mental impairments of an otherwise qualified person with a disability, if necessary, to assist such person in performing a particular job, unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer. The bill would also prohibit employers from taking any adverse action against an employee who requests or uses a reasonable accommodation, from denying employment or promotion opportunities to an otherwise qualified applicant or employee because such employer will be required to make reasonable accommodation to the applicant or employee, or from requiring an employee to take leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided to the known limitations related to the disability.
Active Military or a Military Spouse; Prohibits Discrimination in Public Accommodations, etc. HB 2161 (Tran) would prohibit discrimination in public accommodations, employment, and housing on the basis of a person's military status, defined as a member of the uniformed services of the United States or a reserve component thereof or a spouse or other dependent of the same. The bill would also prohibit terms in a rental agreement in which the tenant agrees to waive remedies or rights under the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act prior to the occurrence of a dispute between the landlord and the tenant.
K-12 Education Related Bills – Failed Legislation
Board of Education; Guidance on the Governance of Academic Year Governor's Schools HB 2305 (Tyler) would have required the Board of Education to issue guidance on the governance of academic year Governor's Schools, including communication and outreach practices, admissions policies, and guidelines on diversity, equity, and inclusion training. The bill would have required such guidance to focus on the importance of increasing access to Governor's Schools for historically underserved students and to include best practices on conducting information sessions about the school and the availability of gifted, advanced, and specialty education program opportunities for feeder public middle schools; strengthening the student pipeline in feeder public middle schools, prioritizing the most underserved and underrepresented students and public middle schools; and conducting programs related to and evaluations of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The bill would have required the Board of Education, in developing such guidance, to collaborate with relevant stakeholders representing the geographical areas served by the Regional Governor's Schools, including local school boards representing the geographical areas served by the Regional Governor's Schools, Regional Governor's School boards, and Governor's School directors.
Advertising Related to School Quality, Consumer Protection Act; prohibited practices HB 2003 (Samirah) would have added as a prohibited practice under the Consumer Protection Act the use in any advertising any information regarding the quality of any public or private elementary or secondary school other than information derived from the school quality indicators contained in the School Quality Profiles established by the Department of Education or information derived from the school's website or the website of the school's district, unless such advertising contains a statement, displayed on its face in a conspicuous manner, that such school quality information is not derived from the school quality indicators contained in the School Quality Profiles established by the Department of Education or endorsed by the Department of Education. The bill would have provided that such provisions shall not become effective unless reenacted by the 2022 Session of the General Assembly. The bill also would have required the Department of Law's Division of Consumer Counsel (the Division), to make recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly for any legislation that the Division deemed necessary to prevent the misleading or deceiving of consumers by the use of information in advertising regarding the quality of any public or private elementary or secondary school other than information derived from the school quality indicators contained in the School Quality Profiles established by the Department of Education or information derived from the school's website or the website of the school's district. The bill would have required such recommendations by November 1, 2021.
Constitutional Amendment; Public Schools in the Commonwealth; Equitable Educational Opportunities SJ 275 (Stanley) would have required the General Assembly to provide for a system of public schools in the Commonwealth with equitable educational opportunities for all children and to ensure that all school-age children are provided with equitable educational opportunities.
School Nurses; Nomenclature HB 1736 (Adams) would have prohibited any individual who provides nursing services in a public elementary or secondary school as a school board employee or through a contract with the local health department from using the title of school nurse unless such individual is a registered nurse who possesses an active license to practice in the Commonwealth.
Employment; Retaliatory Discharge of Employee; Workers' Compensation HB 1754 (Carter) would have prohibited an employer or other person from discharging or taking other retaliatory action against an employee if such action is motivated by the knowledge or belief that the employee has filed a claim or taken or intends to take certain actions under the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act.
Health Insurance; Cost-Sharing Payments for Prescription Asthma Inhalers HB 1822 (Askew) would have prohibited health insurance companies and other carriers from setting an amount exceeding $50 per 30-day supply of a tier one or tier two prescription asthma inhaler that a covered person is required to pay at the point of sale in order to receive a covered prescription asthma inhaler unless the carrier is prohibited from providing the additional benefits under state or federal law. The measure also would have prohibited a provider contract between a carrier or its pharmacy benefits manager and a pharmacy from containing a provision authorizing the carrier's pharmacy benefits manager or the pharmacy to charge, requiring the pharmacy to collect, or requiring a covered person to make a cost-sharing payment for a covered prescription asthma inhaler in an amount that exceeds such limitation. The provisions would have applied with respect to health plans and provider contracts entered into, amended, extended, or renewed on or after January 1, 2022.
Virginia Digital Equity Pilot Program and Fund SB 1462 (Mason) would have require 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. The provisions of the bill would have been contingent on funding in a general appropriation act.
Unemployment Compensation; Benefits; Suitable Work; Benefits Charges HB 2037 (Tran) would have provided that, under specific conditions related to the COVID-19 virus, work will not be deemed suitable and benefits will not be denied to any otherwise eligible individual for refusing to accept new work if the individual presents satisfactory evidence that such individual has tested positive for COVID-19, has been otherwise directed by a physician to quarantine due to COVID-19, or is providing care for an immediate family member who has tested positive for COVID-19; or the individual has a reasonable belief, based on satisfactory evidence, that the workplace is unsafe because it does not meet governmental-mandated COVID-19 health and safety standards for the workplace, including standards issued by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Department of Labor and Industry, or the Department of Health, or through an executive order or directive issued by the Governor. The bill would have provided, that for individuals who refuse to accept an offer of work based on such conditions, no benefits charges will be deemed to be the responsibility of the previous employer, unless the individual has refused an offer to return to work to his previous employer because the individual has a reasonable belief that the workplace is not in compliance with the Department of Labor and Industry's standards for the prevention of COVID-19. The provisions of the bill would have expired 30 days after the expiration or revocation of all states of emergency declared by the Governor related to the COVID-19 pandemic.