House Republican Leader Gilbert: Democrats Use ‘Virtual’ Session to Silence Opposing Witnesses

gshipley2021 General Assembly, Press Releases

Earlier this morning, a House subcommittee took up House Bill 2305, which would give the Department of Education instructions to effectively change the admissions process at Governor’s Schools around Virginia. After lengthy testimony from supporters of the bill, parents waiting to express their opposition were shut out of testimony.

House Republican Leader Todd Gilbert issued the following statement:

“Parents have every right to be upset. They came to the ‘virtual’ session in good faith, logging on well before the 7 a.m. start time to ensure their place in line. But it appears that Chairman Schuyler VanValkenburg only wanted to hear from people who were in favor of the bill. He allowed extended testimony from supporters, but cut off testimony from opponents after only one witness.”

“Situations like this are the reason Republicans cautioned against ‘virtual’ sessions in the first place. Had this been a normal session these witnesses would have been seen by the public, had a chance to talk with legislators afterward, or at least get the attention of a Republican member who could plead their case to the Chairman.”

“Virtual sessions make it easy to silence opposition. And that should scare anyone who believes in democracy.”