Monday, February 29, 2016

HB524 Heads for the Governor's Desk, Honor Your Oath or Play Politics?

Another VEA initiated bill, HB524, Delegate LeMunyon’s  bill to shield teacher performance data from FOIA requests, gained final passage in the Senate on a 38-Y 0-N vote.  Thanks to Delegate Jim LeMuyon.  This bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.

The Senate Finance Committee will take up Delegate LeRock’s HB389 in the days ahead. 
The bill defines a “qualified school” as, “"a private, sectarian or nonsectarian elementary or secondary school…..”

The bill then says parents can use the funding from the state to, “for … tuition, fees, or required textbooks at a qualified school.”

Article VIII, § 10 of the Constitution of Virginia limits the appropriation of funds “for educational purposes which may be expended in furtherance of elementary, secondary … education of Virginia students in public and nonsectarian private schools.”

Both the Constitution of Virginia and the relevant case law clearly reveal that HB389 is unconstitutional.

We said the same thing years back about Governor McDonnell’s  Opportunity Educational Institution, OEI, and the courts struck it down following the waste of state dollars to set up and defend OEI.

Will the Senate Finance Committee ignore us again?  We have provided the office of each member of the committee a clear explanation of the unconstitutionality of the bill.

When the members of the General Assembly take office, they raise their right hands and say this oath office:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge all the duties incumbent upon me as ...................., according to the best of my ability (so help me God)."

In the days ahead, we’ll find out whether this oath is more important than politics.

There will be no post tomorrow, as I will be performing my duties as an election official in Richmond City.