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Virginia General Assembly Bills to Watch With Fairfax County Ties

The Virginia General Assembly has been debating a range of legislation since convening for its 2021 session on Jan. 13.

Here are some notable bills introduced or co-sponsored by Fairfax County legislators that have passed either the House of Delegates or state Senate and are now awaiting approval by the other chamber:

HB 1842

Introduced by Del. Mark Keam (D-35th District), House Bill (HB) 1842 would give legal authority to owners of condominiums and other multi-dwelling units to ban smoking within their premises.

“As Virginians continue to shelter at home due to COVID, I hear from constituents who live in apartments or condos concerned that their neighbors who smoke are making things even worse for their physical and mental health,” Keam said in a press release.

The bill is currently being considered by the Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology after passing the House of Delegates 72-27 on Jan. 19.

“My bill offers new tools for property owners to tackle this public health issue by requiring smoking residents to stop second-hand toxins from spreading on their premises and harming neighbors,” Keam said.

SB 1157

Senate Bill (SB) 1157 would move all local elections for city and town council and school board from May to November. The bill’s language would put the change in effect with elections held after Jan. 1, 2022.

The bill was introduced by Senator Lionell Spruill (D-5th District) and counts Del. Rip Sullivan (D-48th District) among its patrons. It passed the Senate on Jan. 21 after Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax broke a 19-19 tie by voting in favor of the bill.

“It will create a more streamline, school safe, cost-saving, and inclusive election for all,” Spruill said on Twitter following the Senate vote.

HB 1909

Del. Kathleen Murphy (D-34th District) is a chief co-patron of HB 1909, which permits any school board to deem any non-school zone property it owns or leases as a gun-free zone. The bill passed the House on Wednesday (Jan. 27) on a 55-44 vote and is now pending review by the Senate.

HB 1736

Del. Kaye Kory (D-38th District) is the chief co-patron of HB 1736, which would require local school boards to employ at least one full-time equivalent school nurse position at each elementary school, middle school, and high school.

The bill defines a school nurse as a registered nurse engaged in the specialized practice of nursing that protects and promotes student health, facilitates optimal development, and advances academic success.

The House passed the bill 68-31 with one abstaining vote on Jan. 25. It now awaits Senate review.

HB 1848

HB 1848 would protect individuals from discrimination on the basis of disability as an unlawful employment practice under the Virginia Human Rights Act. Del. Mark Sickles (D-43rd District) introduced the bill, and Del. Mark Levine (D-45th District) and Kathy Tran (D-42nd District) are among the chief co-patrons.

The bill passed the House unanimously on Jan. 22. It is now pending review from the Senate.

SB 1445

SB 1445 would permit any qualified and available health care provider in Virginia to volunteer to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.

Qualified health care providers would include any person who is licensed, registered or certified and in good standing with the Department of Health, retired health care providers who were in good standing within the last five years, and emergency medical services providers who are certified by the Department of Health.

The bill also extends to health professions students enrolled in an accredited program in Virginia, provided they are in good academic standing with their school and the school certifies that the student is properly trained in the administration of vaccines.

The bill passed the Senate 38-0 on Jan. 22. It now is pending review from the House.

Photo via Virginia General Assembly/Flickr

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