Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Two Wins/Two Loses/Two Heroes

In the final day for the House and Senate to act on their own bills, we lost two battles and won two.

The House passed HB8, Delegate Dickie Bell's Virtual School Bill, on a 58-Y 40-N vote. 

Delegate LaRock's HB389, the Parental Choice Savings Account Bill, also passed on a 53-Y 46-N vote.

We will be working to kill these two bills in the Senate after Crossover, midnight tonight.

Our wins were a bit anticlimactic, as both bills were pulled by their sponsors.  Delegate Lingamfelter, apparently aware that he did not have the votes, re-referred his Charter School bill, HB565, to the House Education Committee which will not meet again before Crossover.  This bill had been defeated yesterday, but was back before the House for reconsideration.  I imagine that Lingamfelter will seek to conform Senator Obenshains SB734 to his bill.  SB734 passed the Senate yesterday on a  21-Y 19-N party-line vote.  SB734 is the last chance to rewrite the charter sections of the Code in this session.

Finally, in the Senate, where the Republicans were without their majority for a day due to the absence of Senator Newman, Senator Obenshain pulled SB737, his bill to deny teachers, police and firefighters their ability to take leave for lobbying, conferences, conventions and other reasons.

The last chance to give the Virginia Board of Education the power to override local school boards by approving charter schools is the passage of H.J.R. 1 in the Senate after Crossover.  This resolution will next be considered in the Senate Privileges and Elections  Committee.  Our goal will be to kill the bill in Committee.

Regular readers will understand when I say that for the first half of the 2016 session, Senators Chafin and Hanger are the Profiles in Courage Award nominees.  Not the first time for Hanger.  VEA is very lucky to have friends on both sides of the aisle.