RICHMOND — Schools will continue to operate in Virginia on Election Day.
The Senate Education and Health Committee on Thursday killed HB 1752 from Del. Paul Krizek, D-Fairfax, that would have required all public schools in the state to treat Election Day in November as a school holiday. The bill came as a recommendation from a special committee formed after the deadly Parkland school shooting, which happened a year ago Thursday.
Krizek said he was “disappointed” that it didn’t make it out of committee.
“It’s a simple thing. It’s about doing what’s right for our children and protecting them,” Krizek said in an interview after the vote. “It does make it safer for students to not have strangers walking around their schools on Election Day.”
The bill cleared the House of Delegates in a 97-1 vote last month. It met a different fate Thursday when 11 Senators voted to kill the bill compared to four who supported the idea.
Each of the four districts in the Richmond area currently has special schedules on Election Day. Krizek said about 30 of the state’s 133 districts don’t have a set policy on holding class on Election Day.
Krizek’s bill was one of 24 recommendations made by the House Select Committee on School Safety, which Speaker of the House Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, convened after last year’s Parkland shooting. Many of those recommendations, such as improving access to mental health resources and improving school safety training, have gone through the legislature without much opposition.
“It’s not as cut and dry,” Krizek said about his bill compared to the others. “It’s a tougher sell.”
The school safety committee also recommended changing the date of the June primary from the second Tuesday to the third Tuesday of the month. That bill passed the House and is now set to be taken up by the full Senate.
The Senate committee also killed a bill that would have allowed school systems to sell commercial advertising on their buses.
HB 2222 from Del. Israel O’Quinn, R-Washington , died in a 9-6 vote.
The bill, which made it through the House, would have let districts rent out the back quarter panel of their school buses to bring in additional revenue.
The bill put limitations on the advertising. For instance, prohibited ads would include any that are sexually explicit or feature alcohol or tobacco.