With the third week of session now complete, the House is fully immersed in its work. My days begin with either committee or subcommittee meetings, followed by meetings with constituents and advocacy groups. The House convenes at noon for debate and floor votes with additional committee meetings taking place in the afternoon.
In this week’s email newsletter, I’ll share some of the major points of this past week. I hope that you find this information both helpful and informative.
On Monday, I presented House Bill 135 before a Courts of Justice subcommittee where it gained unanimous support. My bill would provide for the transfer of a person subject to an emergency custody order or temporary detention order from a law enforcement officer to an alternate transportation provider. The bill is good policy because it allows law enforcement to return to their primary duty and treats individuals experiencing a mental health crisis as someone in need of medical attention rather than as someone in trouble with the law. House Bill 135 is now under consideration by the House Appropriations Committee so that they can review the bill’s potential fiscal impact.
Many readers will recall House Bill 257 from 2020 that ended the mandatory reporting of certain crimes in schools and the cover up that subsequently occurred in Loudoun County. As a member of the Education Committee, I am proud to have voted this past week in support of House Bill 4 to reinstate the mandatory reporting requirement to law enforcement of serious crimes taking place in schools, including sexual assault. The bill is expected to be considered by the full House next week.
Here’s what my colleague Delegate Carrie Coyner (R-Chesterfield) had to say about the issue:
EXECUTIVE BRANCH UPDATE
On Thursday, college and university presidents joined Governor Youngkin in signing a collaborative agreement to promote expanded lab school legislation. Lab schools are established in partnership with universities and focus particularly on STEM, literacy, or other marketable skills. Lab schools aim to give parents a choice in their child’s education and expand our high standards of excellence to ensure that more Virginia children have access to a world class education.
To read Governor Youngkin’s press release on lab schools click here.
On Friday, Attorney General Jason Miyares issued his first official opinion clarifying that public colleges and universities cannot require students to receive the COVID vaccine as a condition for enrollment or attending in-person classes. Existing law already lays out which vaccines are required for college students–the COVID vaccine is not on that list. The previous Democratic majority certainly had the opportunity to add the COVID vaccine to the list, yet did not take such action. This opinion does not prevent any Virginian from receiving the vaccine if they wish.
To read the Attorney General’s opinion, click here.
My team and I are now settled and welcoming visitors to our new office in the Pocahontas Building. If you’d like to make an appointment to meet with me, reach out at DelMCherry@house.virginia.gov or call my office at (804) 698-1066.
IN THE NEWS
Here’s a few news articles that you may find interesting:
- In split vote, Chesterfield School Board approves parental choice for masking children in schools
- Youngkin’s charter schools agenda gets the backing of university leaders
- Miyares: Colleges cannot legally mandate COVID vaccines for students
It is an honor to represent you and your family in the Virginia House of Delegates. Please reach out to me with concerns on any bills making their way through the legislative process or if you need assistance with a state agency. My staff and I stand ready to assist you in any way possible.