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Legislative Update: 19 February 2023

February 19, 2023

Disdain was shown last week by various public servants in the General Assembly for increased parental involvement in K-12 education and alterative education opportunity options. “While we are in favor of parental involvement, some of these bills were just a bridge too far,” Senator Lucas, the Senate Education and Health Committee Chair said. “Our trash can is full because we have dispensed with a lot of those bills today.” See below for details of some of the bills that filled the senate trash cans last week. Of note, in addition to bills killed, a Senate budget amendment was put forward to cut the only school choice program in Virginia, the Education Improvement Scholarship Tax Credit. This cut would exclude from the current program 700 student participants from low and middle income families.

In other news, Monday is the last day for Committees to meet in the 2023 legislative session. The session is scheduled to adjourn Sine Die this Saturday, February 25th.

2023 Session Overview Numbers
(Total # of bills and resolutions)

The report below includes bills that fall into alignment with Virginia Institute’s policy recommendations, either for good policy or bad policy, and received a vote in a committee or on the House or Senate Floor last week.

K-12 EDUCATION

HB 1821: Expansion of Education Improvement Scholarship Tax Credit – DEAD
This bill expands the Education Improvement Scholarship Tax Credit (EISTC) program, which provides education grants to children from low income families.

  • Bill status: Previously, this bill passed on the House Floor. Last week, it was killed in the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee.
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE
  • Video about the EISTC program

HB 1507: Parental Rights and School Transparency – DEAD
This bill reiterates and protects parental rights and provides parents with more education transparency in schools.

  • Bill status: Previously, this bill passed on the House Floor. Last week, this bill was killed in the Senate Education and Health Committee.
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

HB 1909: Opportunity Classrooms  – DEAD
If passed, this bill would establish the Opportunity Classroom program for schools. It would allow a teacher or a parent (with the support of a teacher) to establish an agreement with the school board to teach an alternative curriculum in a classroom designated for that purpose in a school.

  • Bill status: Previously, this bill passed on the House Floor. Last week, this bill was killed in the Senate Education and Health Committee.
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

ELECTIONS

HB 1444: Requirement for Photo ID – DEAD
This bill seeks to establish a variety of measures to increase the security of elections, including requiring an excuse for absentee voting, better voter ID requirements, requiring mailed ballots to be returned on or before the close of polls on election day, and reducing the number of in-person early voting days to 7 days prior to an election.

  • Bill status: Previously, this bill passed on the House Floor. Last week, this bill was killed in the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee.
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

HB 1680: Same Day Voter Registration – DEAD
This legislation would require individuals who register to vote on Election Day or soon before Election Day to sign a statement affirming they will only cast one ballot.

  • Bill status: Previously, this bill passed on the House Floor. Last week, the bill was killed in the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee.
  • Bill text, history, and informationClick HERE

HB 1693: Ballot Drop Box Ban – DEAD
This bill would prohibit the use of Drop Box locations to return a mailed ballot.

  • Bill status: Previously, this bill passed on the House Floor. Last week, the bill was killed in the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee.
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

HB 1793: DMV Voter Information Transfer – DEAD
This bill would help maintain accurate voter information that is collected from voter visits to the DMV. It proposes to require permission from the DMV customer before any relevant voter information is transferred from the DMV to the Department of Elections.

  • Bill status: Previously, this bill passed on the House Floor. Last week, the bill was killed in the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee.
  • Bill text, history, and informationClick HERE

HB 1877: Reduced Early In-Person Voting – DEAD
This bill would reduce the in-person absentee voting timeframe from 45 days to 14 days.

  • Bill status: Previously, this bill passed on the House Floor. Last week, the bill was killed in the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee.
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

HB 1947: Repeal Permanent Absentee Ballot List  – DEAD
This bill would replace the permanent absentee ballot list with an annual absentee ballot list. An application would need to be completed annually to receive mailed ballots.

  • Bill status: Previously, this bill passed on the House Floor. Last week, the bill was killed in the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee.
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

HB 1948: Absentee Ballot Verification Method
This bill would replace the current witness signature requirement on a completed absentee ballot with the last four digits of the voter’s Social Security Number (SSN). Although more work needs to be done to ensure that SSNs are verified to belong to the voter, this method would be an improvement to the currently unverified witness signatures on absentee ballots. It also makes it easier for proper completion of an absentee ballot for individuals who live alone.

  • Bill status: Previously, this bill passed on the House Floor. Last week, it passed in the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee and the Senate Floor.
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

HB 2234: Repeal of Same Day Voter Registration – DEAD
If passed, this bill would eliminate the practice of registering to vote on Election Day and casting a ballot the same day, with a few exceptions (including uniformed service members).

  • Bill status: Previously, this bill passed on the House Floor. Last week, the bill was killed in the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee.
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

HB 2454: Voter Roll Maintenance | Voter Address Information
Updates –
DEAD
If passed, this legislation would require that local registrars receive information monthly about voters who have moved to a new address or who need their voter registration changed or removed. This would be a positive change to enable a more accurate voter roll on a consistent basis.

  • Bill status: Previously, this bill passed on the House Floor. Last week, the bill was killed in the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee.
  • Bill text, history, and informationClick HERE

SB 1180: Private Interests Funding Elections – DEAD
This legislation seeks to repeal critical aspects of the prohibition on private funding in elections that the General Assembly passed on a bipartisan basis last year. It would allow local registrars to solicit grants from non-governmental entities to fund election administration and train election officials.

  • Bill status: Previously, this bill passed on the Senate Floor. Last week, it was killed in the House Privileges and Elections Committee.
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE

DONOR PRIVACY

SB 854: Nonprofit Donor Names Disclosure – DEAD
This bill would require nonprofit donors’ names to be displayed on public ads when they support a referendum and in certain cases if the nonprofit has a score card for legislators. Online public documents already disclose these donors, but displaying their names on ads would make them exceptionally more vulnerable to be targeted and doxed.

  • Bill status: Previously, this bill passed on the Senate Floor. Last week, this bill was killed in the House Privileges and Elections Subcommittee #2.
  • Bill text, history, and information: Click HERE
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