Friday, January 24, 2014

VEA Lobby Day

Monday is VEA Lobby Day.  It looks like the weather will be good – partly cloudy with a high of 48.  Plus it will be the first day in the Senate for the newly elected Jennifer Wexton of the 33rd Senate District, and the recount for the 6th Senate District should be completed.  We will know by day’s end whether the Republicans hold their majority, or the Democrats become the new majority party in the Senate.  Quite a day!
For those of you who are coming in for Lobby Day, you may wish to see in advance the message we will be asking you to take to the General Assembly as you meet with your legislators:

Lobby Day – Orders for the Day

                1.        Urge Support for the Salary Amendments
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

                All Members

               2.       Medicaid Expansion

Medicaid Expansion will free up $1.3 billion dollars in General Fund dollars over the next 7 years, some of which can be used for funding our schools

·         33,000 additional Virginia jobs

·         Cover 191,000 uninsured Virginians

·         End the hidden tax – higher insurance premiums to pay for the uninsured

All Members

3.  Statewide Health Insurance

House Delegate Yost – HB 463 State health plan; participation by employees of local school divisions.

Moving to a statewide insurance option for local school divisions could save millions of dollars in the years ahead. These savings could be used to provide needed school funding. The Commonwealth would have much greater leverage in rate negotiations with insurance providers than any one of the 132 individual school divisions.  JLARC estimates savings of $44 to $66 million annually.

                All Members of the House

                4.       CPS Investigation Timeline (floor amendment required)

House Del. Gilbert – HB 709 Child abuse and neglect investigations; time for determination

Amend the Child Protective Services section of the Code of Virginia to make the 45-day reporting deadline mandatory.  Non-compliance to the 45-day limit causes several problems:

·         Teachers are out of the classroom too long.

·         Local school divisions are paying both the teacher and the substitute.

·         Students are empowered to “take the teacher out.”

All Members of the House

5.  Lactation Support

House Del. McClellan – HB 720  School board policy, local; lactation support

In recognition of the well-documented health advantages of breastfeeding for infants and mothers, this bill requires local school divisions to provide a supportive environment to enable lactating employees "reasonable break times" and private, non-restroom locations to express their milk during the work day for the first year of the child's life.

           All Members of the House

            6.  Increase from 5 days to 10 days to request a dismissal hearing

House Del. Rust – HB 977 Teachers; extends deadline to request hearing after receiving notice of dismissal

Senate Sen. Favola – SB 43 Teachers; extends deadline to request hearing after receiving notice of dismissal

In passing revisions to the teacher dismissal policies, the General Assembly overreached by allowing only 5 days to file a dismissal grievance.  This brief window has the unintended consequence of causing teachers to file before having the opportunity for thoughtful reflection.  Previously, 15 days had been allowed.  VEA sees 10 days as a reasonable compromise.

All Members of the House                  Thank Senate – SB 43 passed 38-0

Have a great weekend, and I hope to see you Monday.