Thursday, January 28, 2016

Progress on Student Debt Delayed, Tebow Bill Clears Senate Committee, VEA Hearing Officer Bill Advances

The Senate Committee Education and Health met this morning and acted on two bills of note.

First, Senator Janet Howell's SB52, a bill to establish a mechanism to facilitate refinancing of student debt, was carried over for a year.  Hopefully in the year ahead legislators will work together to come up with a plan to reduce the burden of student debt for college graduates who come into low paying jobs such as teaching.  Delegate Simon’s House bills on the same issue , HB400 and HB401, were carried over later in the afternoon in House Commerce and Labor Subcommittee #2.

Second, on a 8Y to 7Y vote the committee reported the Tebow bill, Senator Garrett's SB612.

VEA initiated SB660, sponsored by Senator Barbara Favola, reported from the Senate Committee on Education and Health Subcommittee on Public Education.  This bill is intended to ensure that the hearing officer in teacher dismissal cases is impartial. The vote is yet to be posted.  It was amended to remove all language relating to the appointment of the hearing officer and retaining the language guarding against nepotism.  A half a loaf is better than none.  This bill will be heard by the full committee on Thursday.

The Lobby Day weather forecast is improving – 68F and sunny.