End to the obligation of masks in schools

And Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin’s campaign promise came true: On Wednesday, he signed a law banning the use of masks in state schools.

The bill, SB739, allows parents to “choose what [sus] children do not wear a mask while at school,” regardless of COVID-19 protection mandates approved by local school boards or issued by state agencies.

At the signing ceremony in Richmond, Youngkin said of the measure, “We’re reaffirming the rights that we know all parents have,” citing “the rights that parents have to make decisions for their children.”

Also at the signing ceremony, student Breonna McAllister stated that although “my teacher has been there to help… it’s hard to breathe with [una] face mask. It’s hard to listen to my teacher and it’s been hard to connect and make friends.”

The bill passed the Virginia Senate on a bipartisan 21-19 vote last week and on a 52-48 vote in the House on Monday.

Under usual rules, the bill wasn’t supposed to go into effect until July 1, but the General Assembly passed a Youngkin amendment that allows the law to go into effect immediately, giving school districts until March 1 to fulfill it.

In an interview with local media, Youngkin said Democrats were the key to getting the bill passed and he was glad it had bipartisan support.

“If you decide that your child should not wear a mask, you can make that decision, and if you want your child to wear a mask, you can make that decision as well. And that’s what Virginia means,” she said.

In the tribunals

The bill’s constitutionality has been challenged in court as it removes powers that have traditionally been given to locally elected school boards.

The House of Delegates briefly debated on Wednesday whether it is constitutional to enact emergency laws by simple majority.

A 4/5 super-majority of each body of the General Assembly is generally required to enact a law on an urgent basis for immediate effect. But if the legislature passes a bill and the governor changes it, those changes are adopted by a simple majority vote.

Youngkin attempted to ban mask mandates via executive order last month, on his first day in office. The move was immediately met with demands from parent groups and school boards across the Commonwealth. An Arlington County judge has sided with those groups against the executive order, and the matter remains stuck in court.

Turncoat Democrats

Under those circumstances, moderate Democratic Senator Chap Petersen joined Republicans in passing legislation that would give parents the final say on whether their children wear masks to school.

Petersen and two other Democrats joined Republicans in pushing the legislation through the Senate, where Democrats hold a narrow 21-19 lead.

In a statement Wednesday, Petersen said, “I listened carefully to my colleagues in the Democratic Caucus and spoke with the governor directly about incorporating their comments into the final version of SB 739. We achieved some of the requested edits, but not all.” .

Petersen said he was “glad that the Petersen Amendment on ‘parental option’ for student masking was kept in the bill,” adding that the final bill “allows the governor to reimpose measures mandatory mitigation measures if absolutely necessary.”

Wednesday’s final approval in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives came in a 52-48 vote.

And Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin’s campaign promise came true: On Wednesday, he signed a law banning the use of masks in state schools.

The bill, SB739, allows parents to “choose what [sus] children do not wear a mask while at school,” regardless of COVID-19 protection mandates approved by local school boards or issued by state agencies.

At the signing ceremony in Richmond, Youngkin said of the measure, “We’re reaffirming the rights that we know all parents have,” citing “the rights that parents have to make decisions for their children.”

Also at the signing ceremony, student Breonna McAllister stated that although “my teacher has been there to help… it’s hard to breathe with [una] face mask. It’s hard to listen to my teacher and it’s been hard to connect and make friends.”

The bill passed the Virginia Senate on a bipartisan 21-19 vote last week and on a 52-48 vote in the House on Monday.

Under usual rules, the bill wasn’t supposed to go into effect until July 1, but the General Assembly passed a Youngkin amendment that allows the law to go into effect immediately, giving school districts until March 1 to fulfill it.

In an interview with local media, Youngkin said Democrats were the key to getting the bill passed and he was glad it had bipartisan support.

“If you decide that your child should not wear a mask, you can make that decision, and if you want your child to wear a mask, you can make that decision as well. And that’s what Virginia means,” she said.

In the tribunals

The bill’s constitutionality has been challenged in court as it removes powers that have traditionally been given to locally elected school boards.

The House of Delegates briefly debated on Wednesday whether it is constitutional to enact emergency laws by simple majority.

A 4/5 super-majority of each body of the General Assembly is generally required to enact a law on an urgent basis for immediate effect. But if the legislature passes a bill and the governor changes it, those changes are adopted by a simple majority vote.

Youngkin attempted to ban mask mandates via executive order last month, on his first day in office. The move was immediately met with demands from parent groups and school boards across the Commonwealth. An Arlington County judge has sided with those groups against the executive order, and the matter remains stuck in court.

Turncoat Democrats

Under those circumstances, moderate Democratic Senator Chap Petersen joined Republicans in passing legislation that would give parents the final say on whether their children wear masks to school.

Petersen and two other Democrats joined Republicans in pushing the legislation through the Senate, where Democrats hold a narrow 21-19 lead.

In a statement Wednesday, Petersen said, “I listened carefully to my colleagues in the Democratic Caucus and spoke with the governor directly about incorporating their comments into the final version of SB 739. We achieved some of the requested edits, but not all.” .

Petersen said he was “glad that the Petersen Amendment on ‘parental option’ for student masking was kept in the bill,” adding that the final bill “allows the governor to reimpose measures mandatory mitigation measures if absolutely necessary.”

Wednesday’s final approval in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives came in a 52-48 vote.