Bill will require Virginia’s Colleges and Universities to establish violence prevention committee policies and procedures

February 10, 2014 (Richmond, VA) – Delegate Tim Hugo’s (R-40th) HB 1268, which encourages the establishment of policies to report threatening behavior on college campuses, unanimously passed the House of Delegates.

This legislation will require the violence prevention committee of each public institution of higher education to establish policies and procedures to encourage all faculty and staff to report threatening or aberrant behavior that may represent a threat to the community to members of the campus community. It aims to create a safer and more supportive environment for students and may prevent future tragedies.

Delegate Hugo crafted the legislation with Angel Fund Board members, Lu Ann McNabb and Greg Richter. The Angel Fund, created in the memory of Reema Samaha, one of the 32 victims killed at Virginia Tech, is dedicated to creating a community that takes action against bullying, addiction, depression and suicide through education, programs and advocacy.

A recent study conducted by the Virginia College of Mental Health stated that, "Based on national data as well as the data available in Virginia, it is likely that at least 46,000 of Virginia’s college students are experiencing significant mental health concerns and are in need of psychological assistance at any given time."

"While we continue to address the issue of mental health reform in Virginia, this bill will ensure a safer environment and help prevent future tragedies," said Delegate Hugo.

Delegate Tim Hugo has championed several bills that strengthen the relationship between higher education institutions and mental health facilities in Virginia. Most recently in 2013, he sponsored HB 1609, which required that all four-year public colleges and universities have the mechanisms in place in order to expand services available to students seeking treatment. In 2012, he authored HB 1075, which required Community Service Boards provide hospitals with informational materials on substance and alcohol abuse services to minors.

As the third ranking member in the Virginia House of Delegates leadership, Delegate Hugo currently serves as the Majority Caucus Chairman for the House Republican Caucus. He is the Vice Chairman of the Finance Committee and also serves on the Commerce and Labor, Transportation, and Privileges and Election Committees. Delegate Hugo represents Centreville, Clifton, Fairfax, and Fairfax Station in Fairfax County as well as Catharpin, Gainesville, Haymarket, and Manassas in Prince William County.