Thursday, February 19, 2015

Statewide Health Insurance Bill Killed Without a Hearing

A cold and troubling day at the General Assembly began at the 7 AM meeting of the Elections Subcommittee of the House Committee on Privileges and Elections.  Delegate Mark Cole moved to table Senator John Watkins’ SB840, a bill to prohibit the use of political data in the redistricting process.  The motion carried on a 4-3 vote (NAY is a right vote).

YEAS--Ransone, Landes, Fowler, Cole--4.

NAYS--Minchew, Sickles, Futrell--3.

The last chance for passage of a redistricting bill this session will come tomorrow when the House Committee on Privileges and Elections takes up Senator Jill Vogel’s SJR284, a Constitutional amendment (first resolution) to establish a Redistricting Commission.

The last meeting of the Senate Education and Health Committee followed at 7:45 AM.  The committee reported Delegate Peter Farrell’s HB1320, which prohibits requiring teachers to pay for college courses to satisfy license renewal requirements.
They also reported Delegate Tag Greason’s HB1672 which repeals A-F.

In a very disappointing party-line vote the committee reported and re-referred to the Senate Finance Committee, Delegate Dave LaRock’s HB2238, a public-money to private and home-school bill.  Actually, the money can even go to car dealers – read the bill.  If we are unsuccessful in killing this bill in the Finance Committee on Monday, you will be hearing much more about it as we head into the floor fight.
The major disappointment of the day, came when Senator Ben Chafin’s SB866, the bill to provide local school divisions with a statewide health insurance option, suddenly disappeared from the docket of the last meeting of the Compensation and Retirement Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.  When I asked why, I was told the House Appropriations Chair had made the decision.  After coming out of the Senate on a 38-0 vote, the bill was never heard in the House.  That is not the way government should work!