Friday, January 31, 2014

Update on the Progress on VEA Initiated Legislation

As we complete day 24 of the 60 day session, let’s look at where we stand in regard to VEA initiated legislation.

State share of a 6% salary increase for public school employees

Budget amendments have been submitted, and we’ll have to see what the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees include in their respective budgets when they report on February 16th.

House   Del. Chafin         136 11h Salary Supplement for Instructional and Support Positions

Year 1 - $241,300,000      Year 2 - $242,300,000

Senate Sen. Puckett      136 24s                 Teacher Compensation – 6% Increase

Year 1 - $241,336,885      Year 2 - $242,332,445

Repeal of A to F school grading

It appears that although repeal is unlikely, there will be a delay.  In the House Delegate Landes’ HB 1229 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 ….”  In the Senate, Senator Miller’s SB 324 delays implementation for three years.  Both bills appear to be on the fast track, and they set up a conflict between House and Senate.  Will the resulting compromise be a two year delay?

Implementation of statewide health insurance option

It appeared that Delegate Yost’s HB 463 was on the road to easy passage, but questions regarding the fiscal impact of the bill have arisen, and it was sent to the House Appropriations where the fate of the measure is unsure. 
VRS fiscal impact statements to include impact on employees and retirees

Senator Hanger’s SB 420 passes the Senate 38 to 0, and there is reason to believe we can get this bill through the House.

Adherence to the General Assembly’s proposed phase-in contribution rates for the teacher plan to the VRS board-certified rates (79.69% funding effective July 1 2014, 89.84% effective July 1, 2016, and full funding by July 1, 2018)

The introduced budget adheres to the schedule, and there seems to be a true bi-partisan commitment to move in the right direction and properly fund the VRS pension system.

Amend the teacher dismissal grievance timeline to allow 10 rather than 5 days to file a grievance contesting the dismissal

Senator Favola’s SB 43 has passed the Senate 38-0, and Delegate Rust’s HB 977 passes the House 99-0.

Require local school boards to provide lactation support programs

Delegate McClellan’s HB 720 reported form subcommittee on a unanimous vote.

Amend the Child Protective Services section of the Code of Virginia to make the 45-day reporting deadline mandatory and to allow the school board to return an accused teacher to the classroom if the school division’s investigation reveals that the teacher is not a threat to the well-being of students.

It appears that our chances of making progress on this issue are slim.  The delegate we were working with to introduce the bill did not do so, and the House did not amend the only legislative vehicle suitable for our amendment.