Wednesday, February 26, 2014

VRS Privatization Bill Carried Over, Diabetes Bills Remain a Concern, 1 Year Delay of A-F Passes House

In a remarkable turnaround (see previous posts), reflective of some very hard and effective work on the part of the VEA Lobby Cadre, HB 877, the bill which would have allowed local school boards to privatize the optional portion of the hybrid VRS retirement plan was carried over by the Senate Finance Committee.  Few of the teachers hired after January 1, 2014, who must go into the hybrid plan, will ever know what VEA did for them today, but many years from now, when they retire, they will have a more adequate and secure retirement because we won this battle.  Senator McEachin's motion to carry HB 877 over to the 2015 session prevailed on a 13-4 vote.  We had no better champion on this issue than Senator Creigh Deeds, who spoke effectively on behalf of Virginia's future school employees. 

Our work is not over on the diabetes bills.  Our concerns have been addressed in Delegate Cole's HB 134, but Senator Stuart's SB532 still has troublesome training and reporting requirements.  The House Education Committee reported and re-referred SB 532 to the House Appropriations Committee today without conforming it to HB 134.

 Delegate Greason effectively spoke to the bill, pointing out that the improper administration of insulin can be fatal.  Greason asserted that "we are going to have to start drawing the line on what we hold teachers accountable for and what we ask them to do."

VEA has long contended that we need nurses in all of our schools.  We cannot endlessly expand the responsibility of instructional personnel to perform medical procedures, especially when an error in administration can lead to the death of a child.

 The delay of the A-F delay is over.  Today the House conformed Sen. Miller’s SB 324 to Del. Landes’ HB 1229 and passed it 99-0.  So the House still says A-F implementation should be delayed 1 year.  The Senate will take up HB 1229 on the Senate Education and Health Committee tomorrow morning.  My guess is that they will conform HB 1229 to SB 324, so the Senate will still say implementation should be delayed 3 years.  The bills would then head to a committee of conference.  Is anyone betting on a two year delay?