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Lawmakers to Take Second Stab at Killing King's Dominion Law

Senate version may be dead, but the House version will be headed to the Senate.

Map depicts school districts approved for pre-Labor Day opening due to weather waivers.

Map depicts school districts approved for pre-Labor Day opening due to weather waivers. Map courtesy of the Virginia Department of Education

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Del. David Englin (D-45)

For those keeping score, mark one for King’s Dominion. That’s the popular and powerful amusement park that holds a strange power over school officials across Virginia. Since the 1980s, school divisions across the commonwealth have been forbidden from beginning classes before Labor Day because of a mandate known as the King’s Dominion Law. Although Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell expressed support for ending the longstanding requirement, a Senate panel rejected the idea early in the session.

But Del. David Englin (D-45) says the fight is not over yet.

“We have another bite at the apple when the House version goes to the Senate,” said Englin. “Not only is it a priority for Alexandria and it’s one of my priorities going in the session, but it also happens to be a priority of the governor.”

The House version of the bill has a huge list of legislators who have signed up to be co-patrons of the bill, indicating widespread and bipartisan support for the measure. Englin said that may mean it will have some momentum if it can get to the other side of the Capitol.

“The folks I talk to in the administration are hopeful that we can get the House version out and over to the Senate,” he said. “And they’re hopeful that when the House version goes over there, we’ll be able to still get it passed.”