Existing Law

House Bill 817 – Guidelines for use of digital devices in public schools.

VA House Bill 817
Sponsors: Del. Patrick Hope [D], Del. Dan Helmer [D], Del. Karrie Delaney [D].

Media Literacy Now considers this legislation to be parallel and complementary to our work on media literacy. As with Maryland’s HB1110, it brings attention to the serious potential physical health effects of the use of technology in the classroom, and demands that policymakers pay attention to those risks.

This bill directs the Department of Education to develop and implement health and safety best practice guidelines for the effective integration of digital devices in public schools no later than the 2021/2022 school year.

The guidelines shall be based on peer-reviewed, independently funded studies and will address digital device use for different age ranges and developmental levels, the amount of time spent on digital devices in the classroom, appropriate break frequency from the use of digital devices, physical positioning of digital devices in the classroom, the use of digital devices for homework, and recommended teacher training to ensure best practice implementation.

VA House Bill 817

Jan 7, 2020 – House: Prefiled; Referred to Committee on Communications, Technology and Innovation.
Jan 27, 2020 – Reported from Communications, Technology and Innovation with amendment (19-Y 3-N).
Jan 31, 2020 – Read third time and passed House (85-Y 13-N 1-A).
Feb 3, 2020 – Senate: Referred to Committee on Education and Health.
Feb 24, 2020 – Passed Senate with amendments (27-Y 13-N).
Feb 26, 2020 – House: Senate amendments agreed to by House (83-Y 13-N); Vote: Adoption (83-Y 13-N).

Recent Legislation

House Bill 1978 – Establishment of the Digital Citizenship, Internet Safety, and Media Literacy Advisory Council.

VA House Bill 1978
Sponsor: Del. Richard Sullivan [D].

This bill would have required the Superintendent of Public Instruction to establish and appoint no more than 12 members to the Digital Citizenship, Internet Safety, and Media Literacy Advisory Council, including at least one teacher, librarian, representative of a parent-teacher organization, school administrator, and individual with expertise in digital citizenship, Internet safety, and media literacy.

The bill would have required the Council to (i) develop and recommend to the Board of Education for adoption a model policy for local school boards that would enable such school boards to better support the digital citizenship, Internet safety, and media literacy of all students in the local school division; (ii) develop and recommend to the Board for adoption model instructional practices for the safe, ethical, and responsible use of media and technology by students in public elementary and secondary schools; (iii) design and post on the Department of Education’s website a page with links to successful instructional practices, curricula, and other teacher resources used in school divisions within and outside of the Commonwealth for the safe, ethical, and responsible use of media and technology by students…

VA House Bill 1978

Jan 7, 2019 – House: Referred to Committee on Science and Technology.
Jan 21, 2019 – Passed by Science and Technology, with amendment, on a 15-7 bipartisan vote; Referred to Committee on Appropriations; Assigned subcommittee: Elementary & Secondary Education.
Jan 25, 2019 – Subcommittee failed to recommend reporting (2-Y 5-N).
Feb 5, 2019 – Left in Appropriations; died in committee.

House Bill 1693 – High school family life education curricula; students with intellectual/developmental disabilities.

VA House Bill 1693
Sponsor: Del. Debra Rodman [D].

HB1693 would have required any high school family life education curriculum, offered by a local school division, to include (at least four times during grades 11 and 12) instruction for students with intellectual or developmental disabilities on a variety of topics, including social skills, self-esteem, sexuality, and rights and responsibilities.

VA House Bill 1693

Dec 11, 2018 – Referred to Committee on Education.
Jan 11, 2019 – Assigned Education sub: Subcommittee #1.
Jan 14, 2019 – House subcommittee amendments and substitutes offered; Subcommittee recommends reporting with substitute (7-Y 1-N).
Jan 21, 2019 – Reported from Education with substitute (16-Y 6-N).
Jan 25, 2019 – Re-referred to Education.
Feb 5, 2019 – Left in Education; died in committee.

House Bill 199 – Establishes the Digital Citizenship, Internet Safety, and Media Literacy Advisory Council.

VA House Bill 199
Primary sponsors: Del. Richard Sullivan [D], and Del. Chris Hurst [D].

The bill, based on Media Literacy Now’s national model, would have required the the Superintendent of Public Instruction to establish and appoint members to the Digital Citizenship, Internet Safety, and Media Literacy Advisory Council (‘the Council’), including at least one teacher, librarian, representative of a parent-teacher organization, school administrator, and individual with expertise in digital citizenship, Internet safety, and media literacy.

The bill required the Council to (i) develop and recommend to the Board of Education for adoption a model policy for local school boards that would enable such school boards to better support the digital citizenship, Internet safety, and media literacy of all students in the local school division; (ii) develop and recommend to the Board for adoption model instructional practices for the safe, ethical, and responsible use of media and technology by students in public elementary and secondary schools; and (iii) design and post on the Department of Education’s website a page with links to successful instructional practices, curricula, and other teacher resources used in school divisions within and outside of the Commonwealth for the safe, ethical, and responsible use of media and technology by students.

VA House Bill 199

January 29, 2018 – Subcommittee recommends reporting with amendments (8-Y 0-N).
January 31, 2018 –  Reported from Education (21-Y 1-N); referred to Committee on Appropriations.
February 7, 2018 – Elementary & Secondary Education subcommittee recommends laying on the table (5-Y 3-N).
February 13, 2018 – Left in Appropriations; died in committee.