General Assembly Passes Dog-Breeder-for-Testing Oversight Bills; Sen. Stanley Celebrates with Puns

Both the House of Delegates and the Senate unanimously passed several of Senator Bill Stanley’s (R-Franklin) bills on Monday and Tuesday to regulate dog breeders, the result of bipartisan work spurred by dramatic reports at a Virginia beagle-breeder-for-medical-testing Envigo. The bills are now headed to Governor Glenn Youngkin’s desk. An outright ban on the practice sponsored by Senator Jennifer Boysko (D-Fairfax) is set to die in the House Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources Committee after being passed by the Senate. Oversight bills from Bosyko and Senator David Marsden (D-Fairfax) are also doomed in the same committee.

“I want to thank all of you for the hard work that y’all did. We had the Envigo incident and Senator Boysko, Senator Marsden, Senator [Barbara Favola (D-Arlington)], Senator [Travis Hackworth (R-Tazewell)], Delegates [Rob Bell (R-Albemarle)] and [Bobby Orrock (R-Carolina)] worked very hard to make sure that we’re going to hold those people that breed dogs, especially beagles, for scientific purposes, accountable,” Stanley said.

In one of his floor-speech comedy routines, on Monday, Stanley exhorted senators to adopt beagles rescued from the facility. Stanley said that there were 480 beagles that were overbred during the pandemic and that Envigo was allowing them to be adopted instead of euthanized. Half of those have already been adopted.

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State Senators Petersen, Lewis Provide Path for Republicans to Pass Sexually Explicit Educational Materials Bill out of Virginia’s Democratic Senate

Two Democratic senators voted with Republicans in committee to advance Senator Siobhan Dunnavant’s (R-Henrico) SB 656 requiring Virginia public schools to notify parents about sexually explicit instructional material, allow parental review, and provide non-explicit alternatives. The bill instructs the Department of Education to create model policies; if passed, school boards would be required to pass similar policies.

“This is the opportunity for parents to have a conversation with their child,” Dunnavant said in the Senate Committee on Education and Health on Thursday.

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Senate Public Education Subcommittee Recommends Blocking Youngkin’s ‘Inherently Divisive Concepts’ Ban Introduced by Sen. Kiggans

RICHMOND, Virginia — The Senate Education and Health Public Education Subcommittee recommended killing two bills from Senator Jen Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach): SB 766 which would ban transgender girls from playing girls’ sports, and  SB 570, which would codify Governor Glenn Youngkin’s “inherently divisive concept” ban. In its Thursday afternoon meeting the subcommittee also recommended killing Senator Travis Hackworth’s (R-Tazewell) SB 20 to eliminate a requirement that school boards adopt policies for the treatment of transgender students.

Kiggans, who is running for Congress, told the subcommittee that she was carrying SB 570 on behalf of the Youngkin administration.

“I said yes to carry this bill because I heard the voices of parents that spoke in November. You know, I was one of those parents as well,” Kiggans said, noting that Youngkin frequently talked about teaching kids how to think, not what to think.

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State Senator Hackworth Introduces Bill to Repeal Requirement that Virginia Schools Pass Transgender Policies

Senator Travis Hackworth (R-Tazewell) is seeking to repeal a requirement that Virginia school districts pass policies consistent with the Virginia Department of Education’s (VDOE) Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students. Alongside policy debates about COVID-19, equity, and accelerated learning, the transgender policies were a major source of contention in 2021 as local school boards were forced to comply with state law — even when local officials didn’t agree with the policy.

“Senator Hackworth believes that education decisions are always best made when handled locally among those closest to the children and families served in those schools,” Hackworth Legislative Aide Tom Lester said in a statement to The Virginia Star.

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New Virginia Gov. Youngkin Announces More Transition Officials

Glenn Youngkin announced a 113-member list of legislators, law enforcement, business owners, and Republican Party of Virginia officials that will be part of his transition “landing teams” — separate from the transition steering committee he announced earlier in November. The teams will coordinate with Governor Ralph Northam’s cabinet.

“In order to change the trajectory of our great Commonwealth, our transition team is utilizing the vast experience of business owners, law enforcement officials, veterans, healthcare providers, industry experts, and—most importantly—parents to determine how government can begin to serve Virginians better and start delivering on our Day One promises of better schools, safer streets, a lower cost of living, and more jobs,” Youngkin said in a Wednesday press release.

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