Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Senate Effort to Privatize VRS Thwarted in the Senate/House Labor Day Bills Advance/House Bill Delays A-F Implementation by 1 Year/House SOL Reform Advances

There was a flurry of legislative activity as each chamber had one last day to advance bills from their respective chambers.  All bills that passed in their chamber or origin “cross over” after session today, and tomorrow each chamber begins working on the bills from the other body.


In a come-from-behind effort, VEA's lobby effort scored a major victory when the Senate voted 22-18 in favor of Senator Saslaw's motion to re-refer SB 422 to committee and the carry over the bill to the 2015 session.  The bill had been reported from the Senate Finance Committee with only two votes against it (Deeds and Edwards).

This bill would have begun the privatization of VRS by allowing local school boards to contract with corporate vendors to manage the defined compensation portion of the VRS hybrid plan, a plan for employees hired after 1/1/14 and those hired prior to then who opted-in to the hybrid.


I thank each of you who sent cyber-lobby messages on this bill, and I thank our Lobby Cadre for their good work on this bill.


In the weeks ahead, we will have to bring the Senate to oppose the House companion bill, Delegate Jones’s HB 877.


Three bills related to the Labor Day school opening policy were reported from the House today (HB 333, HB 577, HB 610).  Please see the previous posting concerning these bills.  HB 577 may have the best chance in the Senate as it only extends calendar flexibility to underperforming schools.

Delegate Landes’ HB 1229, which delays implementation of A-F school grading for one year gained final House passage.  Efforts to amend the bill to increase the delay to three years were abandoned when Landes threatened to strike his bill.

Finally, Delegate Greason’s HB 930, the SOL reform bill, gained final passage on a 99-0 vote.