Saturday, March 8, 2014

Final Action on Key Bills is Pleasing/Budget Session Starts on March 24th

This was it!  The final day of the regular session, and the General Assembly decided on the final fate of five bills of interest to VEA.

Del. Greason's HB 930 and Sen. Deeds' SB 306, now identical, are the SOL reform bills.  Final action came down to the final day, not over policy issues, but over how many Senator and Delegates will sit on the SOL Innovation Committee.  The conference committee reports were approved by both chambers, and the bills now head to the Governor's desk.

Del. Hope's HB 1106, which calls for a review and report on the use of seclusion and restraint in public and private schools.  The final controversy was over which agency would take on this charge:  The Joint Commission on Health Care, the Department of Education, or the Commission on Youth.  The Commission on Youth will conduct the review and issue the report.  Both chambers adopted the conference report, and the bill awaits the Governor's signature.

Landes' HB1229 and Miller's SB 324 address the delay of A-F school grading implementation.  The conference reports, adopted by both chambers, call for a two year delay.  These bills await the Governor's action.

Del. O'Quinn's HB 1242 addresses how school boards with "tie breaker" provisions select the tie breaker.  This is obscure to most of us, but some Southwest Virginia school boards have an even number of members, and they appoint a tie breaker to resolve tie votes.  This individual has sometimes been the crony of the power structure, and this bill requires that the tie breakers be elected rather than hand-picked.  The conference committee report was adopted by both chambers, and this bill is headed for the Governor's desk.

 Although 2014 Session adjourned Sine Die, it did so without adopting a budget.  Consequently, the Governor is calling for a special session beginning on March 24th.