Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wild Day at the Capitol

The Senate Committee on Education and Health could not have been crazier. The docket was loaded with controversial bills from abortion to the 65% solution.

There was even a contingent of nuns favoring a bill for the benefit of “Little Sisters for the Poor,” a wonderful organization that provides for the impoverished elderly.

With you help, HB 1416, the 65% Solution bill, failed to report.

YEAS--Quayle, Martin, Newman, Ruff, Blevins--5.

NAYS--Houck, Saslaw, Lucas, Howell, Edwards, Whipple, Locke, Barker, Northam, Miller, J.C.--10.

HB 1483, a narrowly crafted Labor Day bill, which provides a level playing field to the students of Roanoke City, a location surrounded by a county with a Labor Day waiver, was reported on a 10-5 vote. County students have two more weeks of instruction before IB and SOL tests than their city neighbors. This bill will fix that.

YEAS--Houck, Lucas, Howell, Quayle, Edwards, Whipple, Blevins, Locke, Northam, Miller, J.C.--10.

NAYS--Saslaw, Martin, Newman, Ruff, Barker--5.

HB 1548 is a bill that will unnecessarily burden teachers and other school personnel with additional reporting requirements. It requires the reporting of every act which singularly or in cumulative effect is likely to result in the student’s suspension or the filing of a court petition.

The removal of professional discretion as to when to report infractions to parents undermines the position of the classroom teacher and imposes an unnecessary burden on those already overburdened. This bill reported on an 8-7 vote and heads to the full Senate.

YEAS--Saslaw, Lucas, Howell, Quayle, Martin, Edwards, Whipple, Barker--8.

NAYS--Houck, Newman, Ruff, Blevins, Locke, Northam, Miller, J.C.--7.

HB 2494 is that this bill could be used to reduce planning time, increase class sizes, and reduce access to school nurses, guidance counselors, and libraries. This bill reported on a 8-7 vote as well and is headed to the full senate.

Please write your Senator now urging support of 1483 and opposition to 1548 and 2494. Click on write now.

Having passed the Senate on a 25-12 vote, Senator Marden’s SB 805 failed to report from the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Compensation and Retirement on a 3-1 vote. Delegate O. Ware moved to report. There was no second. Delegate Ingram moved to table, and Delegate C. Jones and Delegate Poindexter joined him in voting to table. Delegate Tata was not in the room. Thanks to VRTA for rising with VEA in support of the bill.