Legislative Campaigns 2020

VCHR visiting Jennifer Boysko

VCHR members meet with Senator Jennifer Boysko on January 31, 2020.

Virginia General Assembly 2020 - SB 206

What is SB 206?

SB 206 establishes a nine-member Virginia-Korea Advisory Board in the executive branch of state government to advise the Governor on ways to improve mutually beneficial trade relationships between the Commonwealth and the Republic of Korea (South Korea), with a focus on the areas of commerce and trade, art and education, and government. The bill provides that the Board sunsets on July 1, 2023.

Why did we oppose SB 206?

By representing the trade interests of Korea, the Virginia Korea Advisory Board (VKAB) will follow the model established by the Virginia Israel Advisory Board (VIAB), namely that of a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) board funded by the Virginia taxpayer. Establishing FDI boards as state agencies grant the business interests of a foreign country direct access to the grants and loan awards that other businesses (Virginian, U.S. and other foreign companies) do not enjoy. This access bypasses the planning, coordination and oversight of economic development that the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) is expected to provide. Without VEDP oversight the direct access that an FDI board gives a foreign country can be abused to advance the business and political interests of the that country.

FDI boards appear to have missions that are superficially the same as other advisory boards like the Virginia Asian Advisory Board (VAAB) and the Virginia Latino Advisory Board (VLAB). But these boards have been established to advise the governor on issues of concern to Virginia constituents from their respective ethnic communities and are not dedicated to the economic and political interests of the countries of origin.

What was the outcome?

In addition to the Virginia Coalition for Human Rights, the VAAB mounted a lobby effort to defeat SB206. The bill was left in the Appropriations Committee.

Virginia General Assembly 2020 - SB 853/HB 916

What is SB 853/HB 916?

SB 853 requires the Department of Education to establish and appoint such members as it deems appropriate to a Culturally Relevant and Inclusive Education Practices Advisory Committee for the purpose of providing (i) standards recommendations to the Department of Education that shall be considered by the Board of Education during the 2021-2022 review of the history and social science Standards of Learning and (ii) recommendations on meaningful professional development with school personnel related to culturally relevant and inclusive education practices. The bill requires the Committee to report its recommendations to the Board of Education, the Governor, and the Chairs of the House Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Education and Health no later than July 1, 2021.

Why did we request that SB 853/HB 916 be amended?

We requested that “Islamophobia” be added to “slavery” and “anti-Semitism” under paragraph B, as “[a] form[s] of historical dehumanizing injustice and discrimination” for which the Advisory Committee is to provide history and social science Standards of Learning to the Virginia Department of Education. The prevalence of Islamophobia in our country dictates that our educational system raises awareness of this injustice and discrimination.

What was the outcome?

The House version, HB 916, was amended and sent to the Senate, where the House amendments were agreed to.