Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Good the Bad and the Ugly

One good thing happened at the General Assembly today! Senator Wagner’s SB 597, the Amazon Tax bill, which will make online merchants collect the same sales tax that retail outlets must collect, passed in the Senate Finance Committee unanimously. This bill will end the unfair advantage online providers have over local merchants. It will also generate $139 million in FY 2012-2013 – needed funds for our cash-strapped state. This is a major victory for the Better Choices Coalition, a coalition that includes VEA. That’s good!

This morning’s meeting of the Teacher and Administrative Action Subcommittee of the House Education Committee took up a number of bills, including the Governor’s bill to end continuing contract, HB 576. Other controversial bills were on the agenda, so by the time we got to this very controversial bill, time was in short supply. This past Thursday, proponents of the bill were given one hour and forty minutes to speak in favor of the bill and there was no time afforded to opponents. VEA President-elect Meg Gruber spoke in opposition as did Sam Eure of York County and others. In what was a shocking end to the meeting – no vote was taken on the bill. That’s bad. The bill will now be taken up by the Education Committee tomorrow morning.

What’s ugly? Did you know that all other government workers have access to a fair dismissal procedure? Local government employees too! State workers even have binding arbitration. Governor McDonnell has singled out teachers and principals. They are the only workers who will be denied a fair dismissal policy – that’s ugly.

Please click here to send a letter to your delegate and senator asking them to vote against HB 756/SB 438.