FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Today the Virginia House of Delegates voted 62-37 on a bipartisan basis to pass our bill to allow middle and high school students to take an excused absence once a year to participate in a civic or political event. This milestone is the cumulation of months of hard work by Virginia Teen Democrats excited to make a difference in the world.
The bill, HB1940, is carried by Delegate Sam Rasoul and has 20 co-patrons from both sides of the aisle. In addition to support from both the Teen Caucus and the Virginia Teenaged Republican Federation, this initiative has been endorsed by the 8th Congressional District Democratic Committee, the Fairfax County Democratic Committee and the Democratic Party of Virginia Central Committee.
“This bill started as a random idea I had during a FaceTime call way back in July,” Teen Caucus Chairman Matthew Savage said. “I started researching the Code of Virginia to see if it was possible, we started meeting and emailing with legislators to bring this idea into a bill. It was extremely difficult, but to see this initiative passed by the oldest lower-house state legislature in the country is a testament to how committed Virginia teen Democrats are in being involved in the political process.”
“Working on this piece of legislation with local organizations, leaders, and lawmakers has restored my faith in using politics as an agent for change,” Teen Caucus Vice Chairman Adrian Klaits said. “Constantly seeing the inability of our federal government to enact needed legislation has certainly depressed my faith in the system, and many of my friends share this sentiment. I’m excited to see this bill enacted so that many of my friends will be encouraged to participate in local politics, and maybe show them that their voice can make a difference too.”
In recent weeks, the Teen Caucus has been working alongside the Virginia Teenaged Republican Federation of Virginia and have testified together at committee meetings in support of HB1940.
“After everything that’s happened this month in national politics — the insurrection to try to halt the electoral college certification and impeachment — it’s reassuring to find proof that Democrats and Republicans can work together,” Savage said. “Perhaps if national figures in Washington would follow teenager’s example of bipartisanship, politics wouldn’t be so divisive.”