Thursday, January 30, 2014

Lactation Support Bill Reports, A-F Delayed, Labor Day Bills Report, Digital Divide Action Postponed

Long day!  First subcommittee meeting started at 7:30, and the last one ended at 7.
Let me discuss the last meeting first.  A VEA Legislative Agenda item, Delegate McClellan’s HB 720, reported on a 7-0 vote from the Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee of House Education.  Meg Gruber testified on VEA’s behalf, and  Sarah Anzelmo who teaches in Richmond spoke in support of the bill as well.  Del. Morrisey amended the bill to include students.  Thanks to Delegate McClellan!

In the Senate SB 465, which I discussed yesterday, went by for the day again.  Please call your Senator urging opposition (see yesterday’s post).
The House Education Subcommittee on Education Reform met at 7:30 this morning and took action on the Labor Day bills and the A-F bills.

On A-F, all bills were tabled except Chairman Landes’ HB1229, which delays implementation for one year to allow time for the formation and work of a committee “to study, review, and make recommendations on the Board of Education’s implementation of the system ….”
This action sets the stage for a battle between the Senate, which is supporting a 3 year delay, and the House, which is supporting a 1 year delay.

On the Labor Day issue, all bills except three were tabled.
Delegate Stolle’s HB 577 is a narrow bill allowing schools that have not achieved full accreditation to start prior to Labor Day.

The committee substitute for Delegate Robinson’s HB 610 was reported, and it is an interesting bill.  It returns calendar control to localities, but it offers a concession to the tourism industry by requiring that the Labor Day weekend be a four day weekend to encourage tourism.
The third bill reported was Subcommittee Chairman Greason’s bill, HB 333, which would allow local control of the school calendar.

The other substantive discussion was in regard to Delegate Kory’s HB 742 and Delegate Surovell’s HB 936.  These two bills, along with Delegate Taylor’s HB 1255, address the “digital divide.”  As school divisions shift to electronic texts, students without computers and internet access at home are at a distinct disadvantage as they try to complete homework and study.  These bills were carried over.