Monday, January 16, 2012

The Legislative Committees Swung Into Action Today

MLK Day was business as usual at the General Assembly. The Committees and subcommittees began their work, and motorcyclists, gun rights advocates, Soil and Water Conservation Boards, and the Family Foundation all had their legislatives days.

The House Appropriations Committee took up Delegate Massie’s tuition tax credit bill (HB 321) to provide the new entitlement of tax-payer financed tuition to private schools, only to re-refer the bill. It is not clear where the bill is headed at this time.

The Public Education Subcommittee of the Senate Education and Health Committee took up a number of bills. Senator John C. Miller’s SB 185, which calls for eliminating the science and social studies testing at the third grade level was reported. This bill was recommended by the JLARC study of Third Grade Reading Performance in Virginia. This study had recommended that:

“To help schools bring greater focus to reading skill development in third grade, the Board of Education should limit the SOL tests taken by third grade students to reading and math.”

The subcommittee favorably reported SB 185 to the full committee.

The Subcommittee also took up Senator Charles W. Carrico’s SB 329. This bill would have required parents of children participating in pre-school programs to satisfactorily complete “all parenting classes.” If the parents did not do this the child would have been removed from the program. VEA joined others in testifying against this bill, which punishes the child for the actions of his parents, and the subcommittee recommended passing the bill by indefinitely on a 3 to 2 vote.

These two bills should be heard by the full committee on Thursday.

Please check in tomorrow.