Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Action on Bills of Interest

Things are starting to get into a rhythm here at the General Assembly. The VEA is lucky to have a solid group of staff and leadership on our Lobby Cadre. This dedicated group covers every single committee and sub-committee during session- we currently cover 50 of them. Our good work would not be possible without them. In the coming says you will hear more about them in this blog, but know how much they are doing for our members during these busy days.

The minimum wage bills all went down in the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor. The House bills have not yet been heard, but I can assume their fate will likely be the same. 

The House Privilege and Elections Sub Committee on Elections killed bills the VEA supported that would have allowed some flexibility on voter photo IDs. So, quick action on some important bills the VEA supported.

This morning the House Education Sub-Committee on Innovation started their very early meetings. There was only one bill of interest to VEA on the docket and it needs a little more work before the sub-committee is ready for it to go to the full committee. HB1414 (Austin) would allow for partial credit on SOL test questions where the students must identify multiple “right” answers. Right now, even if a student gets 4 out of 5 “right” answers, but don’t get the 5th, they get no points for the question. It’s all “right” or all “wrong” and we know that is not the way we should grade tests. Of course Pearson’s is going to charge VA for this effort, so there is a possibility this bill may die when it is referred to House Appropriations. But if we are willing to do the work in small pieces and wait until 2021, Pearson’s said they may be able to mitigate the costs. So lots of good discussion with some hope for change. There were many groups there to support this bill including the Superintendents. 

Busy day tomorrow in the House Education full committee and the sub-committee immediately after. President Livingston is ready to carry our position to the legislators on these committees. Please make sure you are making your appointments for Lobby Day. If you aren't able to come to Richmond, call your legislators' offices and tell them your story!