The Virginia State Senate passed two bills on Wednesday that are set to give parents more control over public schools across the Commonwealth.

First, the issue of mandatory mask wearing in schools is another step closer to being in our rear-view mirror with the passage of Senate Bill 739, which passed with a vote of 21 Y to 17 N.

After the Senate took their steps in passing the bill, Virginia House Speaker Todd Gilbert chimed in on the issue, signaling that he is ready to usher this legislation through his chamber.

“Kids can’t wait any longer. The science finally needs to be followed. The moment I receive SB 739, which now rescinds statewide mask mandates in schools, a special House Education Committee meeting will be convened to get it to the Governor for his immediate action.”

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin also reconfirmed his support for the legislation with the following statement:

“Kids across the Commonwealth win with this bipartisan vote today. Parents are now empowered to decide whether their children should wear a mask in schools. I promised that as governor, Virginia would move forward with an agenda that empowers parents on the upbringing, education, and care of their own children. I am proud to continue to deliver on that promise.

Youngkin also called schools that are currently punishing students for resisting mandatory mask orders “stunningly detached from reality.”

Another win on Wednesday was the passage of Senate Bill 656, which requires parents to be notified if educational materials with sexually explicit content will be used in the classroom and also gives them the option of opting their children out of lessons with these materials.

SB 656 would also require schools to provide children with alternative “nonexplicit instructional material.”

The legislation passed the Senate on a vote of 20 Y to 18 N.

Neither Governor Youngkin nor Speaker Gilbert shared their reactions to the passage of SB 656.

However, Youngkin did focus heavily on the issue of sexually explicit content in schools during his campaign.

In October 2021, his team released an ad hitting his opponent, former Governor Terry McAuliffe, for vetoing a a similar bipartisan bill when it reached his desk during McAuliffe’s tenure.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of The Republican Standard.