Friday, February 20, 2015

Redistricting 2015 RIP, Teacher Turnover Study Reported

The Virginian-Pilot (the daily paper in South Hampton Roads) entitled a recent article “It's 7a.m.: Another redistricting bill is about to die.”  Today was a much kinder day, they waited until 9 a.m.  The Summary of Senator Jill Vogel’s SJ284, reads, “Establishes the Virginia Redistricting Commission that will conduct the decennial reapportionment of the election districts for the House of Representatives and the General Assembly. The amendment also establishes the criteria and process to be used for each decennial reapportionment.”  It was the last survivor of a package of redistricting bills to survive, but it died today when it was never taken up by the Privileges and Elections Committee.

The bill passed the Senate 27-12, but was never heard in the Senate.  Again, this is not the way our government, specifically the legislative branch, is supposed to work.

Despite the fact that all redistricting bills are now dead, the OneVirginia2021 Coalition was successful in increasing the profile of the issue and generating enough heat to make the legislators squirm.  That was the goal for this session.  We have two more sessions to pass legislation in time for the 2021 redistricting.

The good news of the day was House Rules reporting Senator Janet Howell’s SJ218.  This resolution “Requests the Department of Education to study the feasibility of implementing a program in the Commonwealth to track teacher turnover by developing exit questionnaires and other means.”  Leadership of the House and Senate indicate that the funding for this will be provided.  Cuts to DOE staff over the past years have left us with no demographic information regarding the teacher workforce, and this study may provide very useful information for teacher advocacy.  In addition to Senator Howell, two Delegates, Lee Ware and Bobby Orrock, have been especially helpful with this issue.

One more week until Sine Die.