Education and Health Committee

Education and Health Committee


Meets on: Meets on Thursday at 8:00 a.m. in Senate Room A, Pocahontas Building

Members:  Louise Lucas (Chair) – George Barker – John Cosgrove – Siobhan Dunnavant – John Edwards – Ghazala Hashmi – Janet Howell – Lynwood Lewis – Mamie Locke – Steve Newman – Mark Peake – Chap Petersen – Dick Saslaw – Dave Suetterlein

(9 Democrats and 6 Republicans)


  • Certificate of Public Need
  • Health
  • Health Professions
  • Higher Education
  • Public Education


OnAir Post: Education and Health Committee



Note: Details on bills passed below are in the Heading “Bills passed”)

  • SB 1121 Birth certificates; amending certificate, review of request. Birth certificates; amendments.
  • SB 1132 Public schools; severe weather conditions and other emergency situations.
  • SB 1147 Nurse Loan Repayment Program; certified nurse aide.
  • SB 1154 Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, Commissioner of; reports to designated protection.
  • SB 1169 Student driver safety; driver education program shall include dangers of speeding.
  • SB 1175 Removes the Brunswick County school board from the list of approved member salaries for appointed school boards.
  • SB 1178 Genetic counseling; repeals conscience clause. Genetic counseling; conscience clause.
  • SB 1187 Physical therapy; extends time allowed for a therapist to evaluate and treat patients. Department of Health Professions; practice of physical therapy.
  • SB 1189 Authorizes Virginia to become a signatory to the Occupational Therapy Interjurisdictional Licensure Compact.
  • SB 1190 Health Standards of Learning; advanced directive education for high school students.
  • SB 1205 Career fatigue and wellness in certain health care providers; programs to address, civil immunity.
  • SB 1220 State facilities; admission of certain aliens.
  • SB 1221 Loudoun County; operation of local health department.
  • SB 1227 Hormonal contraceptives; payment of medical assistance for 12-month supply.
  • SB 1257 SOQ; school board to provide at least three specialized student support positions.
  • SB 1276 Essential health benefits; abortion coverage.
  • SB 1288 Special education; Department of and the Board of Education to develop new policies and procedures.
  • SB 1302 Crisis Call Center Fund; created, collection of 988 charges.
  • SB 1303 Local school divisions; availability of virtual and in-person learning to all students.
  • SB 1304 Community services boards; discharge planning.
  • SB 1307 School-based health services; Bd. of MAS to amend state plan for services to provide for payment.
  • SB 1313 Children’s Services Act; funds expended special education programs.
  • SB 1320 Licensed certified midwives; clarifies definition, licensure, etc.
  • SB 1322 Public schools; seizure management and action plans, biennial training, effective date.
  • SB 1333 Pharmaceutical processors; permits processors to produce & distribute cannabis products.
  • SB 1338 Telemedicine services; remote patient monitoring services.
  • SB 1356 Hospitals, nursing homes, etc.; visits by clergy.
  • SB 1357 Standards of Learning; reading & mathematics assessments for students in grades three through eight
  • SB 1387 Students; eligibility for in-state tuition.
  • SB 1405 Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back (G3) Fund and Program; established.
  • SB 1408 Health Care, Joint Commission on; repeals sunset provision.
  • SB 1421 Brain injury; clarifies definition.
  • SB 1436 Eligible Health Care Provider Reserve Directory; established.
  • SB 1439 Students; guidelines on excused student absences, civic engagement.
  • SB 1464 Drug Control Act; adds certain chemicals to Schedule I of Act.
  • SB 1465 Illegal gambling; skill games, definitions, enforcement by localities and Attorney General.
Education and Health 2021 Committee Hearings
Virginia Senate Live Session Video Stream

Standing Committee: 1/14 1/21 1/28 2/11 2/18 

Subcommittee on Health: 1/19 2/16 

Subcommittee on Health Professionals: 1/15 2/2 2/12 

Subcommittee on Higher Education: 1/18 1/28 2/3 2/15 

Subcommittee on Public Education: 1/15 2/2 2/12 

Makya Little was helping her fourth-grade daughter review for the Virginia Studies SOL, a standardized test on state history, when she found herself taken aback by one of the questions on the study guide.

“She gets to this one question that says ‘What’s the status of the early African?’” said Little, who lives in Prince William County. The correct answer, according to the class materials, was “unknown. They were either servants or enslaved.”

“I got really, really upset,” Little said. While historians widely agree that the first Africans to arrive at the Jamestown settlement were enslaved, there’s been contentious discussion on the topic — some of the state’s own study materials also state that it’s “unknown” whether they arrived as slaves or indentured servants. The school division didn’t provide any of that context, and Little said multiple thoughts flashed through her head. The information was “misleading,” she added, and seemed designed to “soften how early Americans treated Black and Indigenous people” (another prompt on the study guide stated that native people and English settlers had a “trade relationship”).

In late September, when Virginia health officials launched a dashboard that detailed outbreaks in K-12 schools across the state, it was applauded as a long-needed step toward more transparency — and a relief for parents hesitant over the prospect of sending their children back to the classroom.

Six months later, the data on reopening has gained even more importance amid a state and nationwide push to return students to the classroom. But there are limits on what it can and can’t tell officials, parents and others looking for answers on the relative risks of in-person school.

In early February, Gov. Ralph Northam directed local divisions to begin offering in-person instruction by March 15. Three weeks later, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation — with bipartisan support — that mandates a return to the classroom by July 1.

As a result, only three of the state’s 132 local school divisions were operating fully remotely as of March 22, according to data from the Virginia Department of Education. Thirty-eight are fully in-person — defined by the agency as providing at least four days of in-person instruction for all students.

Low-income students in Virginia will soon be getting financial help with all the costs of getting an education.

Gov. Ralph Northam on Monday signed into law the “Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back” program, which will provide full tuition for community college for low-income students in certain majors, as well as incidental expenses such as food and transportation.

The bill, which passed the legislature overwhelmingly last month, budgets $36 million a year over the next two years.

The bill covers education that leads to in-demand jobs in fields such as technology, skilled labor and health care. Officials gathered at Northern Virginia Community College for the signing Monday said the bill would open doors to people who were considering higher education.

“I am so incredibly proud of this initiative,” said House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn. “This has been something that we’ve been working on for a number of years.” She said there was a lot of bipartisan support for the bill even before COVID-19, but with a lot of lower-skill jobs disappearing because of the pandemic, “It’s more important now than ever.”

A few months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Nichole Wardlaw opened her own midwifery practice in Chesapeake.

A certified nurse-midwife, or CNM, Wardlaw was taking advantage of an emergency order signed by Gov. Ralph Northam, which allowed certified-nurse midwives and nurse practitioners to treat patients without an agreement with a licensed physician — something that’s typically required in Virginia.

But she was also trying to fill a need in her community. Wardlaw said she’s now the only Black certified nurse midwife in the Hampton Roads region to open an independent practice, spurred by concerns she heard from expecting mothers throughout the early months of the pandemic.

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Two Virginia bills that would have allowed a parent or guardian to refuse a COVID-19 vaccine for their child citing religious practices will not advance.

The Senate Education and Health Committee killed the two bills Thursday morning.

When Virginia senators passed a bill requiring local school divisions to provide in-person instruction by the summer, some anticipated the legislation would face an uphill battle in the House.

Nearly a month later, though, the same legislation is now on the verge of passing both chambers after several rounds of revisions — and mounting pressure to return children to school buildings.

Just a few days after the Senate vote, Gov. Ralph Northam directed Virginia’s 132 local divisions to begin offering in-person classes by March 15, saying that months of remote learning was “taking a toll on our children and our families.” Northam’s announcement followed a pledge from President Joe Biden to reopen schools within his first 100 days of office, and new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on safely reopening schools and mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in buildings.


From Senate Rules: “A Committee on Education and Health, 15 Senators, to consider matters concerning education; human reproduction; life support; persons under disability; public buildings; public health; mental health; mental retardation and health professions”.

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    • #25004
      Scott Joy
    • #26794
      Samuel Strathmann

      I think SB1320, the licensed midwifes bill, is a good thing for women in Virginia. Natural and at home births are rising, so a safe way to move forward is to officially license midwives.

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