Virginia House Health, Welfare, and Institutions Committee Shoots Down Two VDH Sex-Ed Hotline Bans

The Virginia House of Delegates killed legislation that would have banned the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) staff from reaching out to minors about topics including sex, family matters, and unwanted pregnancy without parents’ permission. On Thursday, the Health, Welfare, and Institutions Committee voted to table SB 1235 after it passed in the Senate with narrow bipartisan support.

“This a parental rights [bill],” SB 1235 sponsor Senator Mark Peake (R-Lynchburg) said in subcommittee on January 28. “It just says that before anyone can contact our children anonymously, that they have to get parents permission.”

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Bill Allowing Religious Exemptions for COVID-19 Vaccines to be Considered Again by General Assembly

With multiple COVID-19 vaccines now being distributed and administered across the Commonwealth of Virginia, a Republican state Senator is looking to revisit the topic of religious exemptions to immunizations when the General Assembly convenes for its regular session in ten days.

Senator Mark Peake (R-Lynchburg) has introduced and pre-filed Senate Bill 1116, which would allow for a parent or guardian to object to the vaccination of a child on the grounds that immunization conflicts with their religious practices or tenets, even during an emergency declared by the state board of health.

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Virginia Undocumented Immigrants Allowed to Legally Drive in 2021 Under New Law

Beginning January 2nd, 2021, undocumented immigrants living in Virginia will be able to apply for official driving credentials, called a driver privilege card, with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), allowing non-citizens to lawfully drive within the Commonwealth for the first time.

The change in the state code stems from legislation the Democratic-controlled General Assembly passed earlier this year during the 2020 regular session and signed into law by Governor Ralph Northam.

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Virginia Senate Gives Governor Power to Oust Police Officers

The Criminal Justice Services Board (CJSB) will have the responsibility of decertifying officers engaged in misconduct or criminally charged and implementing statewide conduct standards for law enforcement, if the Senate’s omnibus policing and reform legislation is signed into law.

Last Friday, the president of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Delegates both signed the legislation, and on Wednesday the bill was communicated to Governor Ralph Northam for final approval.

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