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Virginia 2022 Session HB 258: Hotels; human trafficking legislation and mandatory training

Read more about this bill and how it is being reported in the news in these clips.

The bill and its relevant sections are included below the articles.

Hotel workers required to complete training to combat human trafficking

RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) — After a few lawmakers missed time during the session due to COVID-19, Del. Shelly A. Simonds (D-Newport News) said she was thrilled to see all 100 members of the House unanimously pass a bill requiring hotels to provide human trafficking training for employees. 

“It was really exciting for me to watch the vote because I didn’t know how it was going to go,” Simonds said. “We haven’t had 100 to zero very often.” 

House Bill 258 will authorize the Department of Criminal Justice Services to create a online mandatory course to help hotel employees better recognize and report human trafficking. After passing through the House in February it passed the Senate 36-4 on March 11. 

Anyone employed by a hotel as of July 1 has to complete the required training course by Dec. 31. 

Read more here

Human trafficking legislation and mandatory training within Virginia 2022 Session HB 258 Del. Shelley Simonds (Photo by Will Schermerhorn)
Human trafficking legislation and mandatory training within Virginia 2022 Session HB 258 Del. Shelley Simonds (Photo by Will Schermerhorn)

Va. could require training for hotel workers to spot human trafficking

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia lawmakers have passed a bill that would require hotels operating in the commonwealth to provide employees with training on how to better recognize and report human trafficking.

House Bill 258, authored by Del. Shelly Simonds, a Democrat from Newport News, would authorize the state’s Department of Criminal Justice Services to create a mandatory online training course that would be free to hotel employees. The bill has been sent to Governor Glenn Youngkin for his signature by 11:59 p.m. on April 11.

Read more here

Human trafficking legislation and mandatory training within Virginia 2022 Session HB 258

HB 258 Hotels; human trafficking training

From Virginia General Assembly’s website

Department of Criminal Justice Services; hotels; human trafficking training 

Directs the Department of Criminal Justice Services, under the direction of the Criminal Justice Services Board, to develop an to train hotel proprietors and their employees, as defined in the bill, to recognize and report instances of suspected human trafficking. The bill provides that such online course shall be provided at no cost to the hotel proprietors and their employees. The bill requires that every hotel proprietor require its employees to complete such human trafficking training course developed by the Department or an alternative online or in-person training course approved by the Department within six months of being employed by a hotel and thereafter at least once every two years, for as long as the employee is employed by the hotel.

The relevant section is below

1. That § 9.1-102 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted and that the Code of Virginia is amended by adding a section numbered 35.1-15.1 as follows:

65. Develop an online course to train hotel proprietors and their employees to recognize and report instances of suspected human trafficking; and

66. Perform such other acts as may be necessary or convenient for the effective performance of its duties.

§ 35.1-15.1. Required human trafficking training.

A. As used in this section:

“Employee” means any person employed by a hotel that (i) has frequent or regular interactions with guests, such as front desk staff, hotel porters, hotel concierge, restaurant waiting and bartending staff, or room service staff; (ii) is in a management position; or (iii) has access to the guest’s room, including housekeeping staff.

“Hotel” does not include a short-term rental property as defined in § 58.1-3510.4.

B. Every hotel proprietor shall require its employees to complete a training course on recognizing and reporting instances of suspected human trafficking. Such training course shall be an online course provided by the Department of Criminal Justice Services at no cost to the hotel proprietor and its employees pursuant to § 9.1-102 or an alternative online or in-person training course approved by the Department of Criminal Justice Services. The Department of Criminal Justice Services shall approve or disapprove of the use of any alternative online or in-person training course within 60 days of the submission of such training course for approval.

C. Each hotel employee shall complete the required training course described in subsection B within six months of being employed by a hotel and thereafter at least once during each consecutive period of two calendar years commencing with the date on which he last completed the required training course, for as long as he is employed by a hotel.

2. That the Department of Criminal Justice Services (the Department) shall approve or disapprove of the use of any alternative online or in-person training course submitted to the Department on or before July 1, 2022, by July 15, 2022.

3. That, notwithstanding subsection C of § 35.1-15.1 of the Code of Virginia, as created by this act, any individual employed by a hotel as of July 1, 2022, shall complete the required training course on recognizing and reporting instances of suspected human trafficking no later than December 31, 2022.

Human trafficking legislation and mandatory training within Virginia 2022 Session HB 258
Virginia General Assembly