Friday, January 20, 2017

An Inauguration, Quick Floor Action, and We Have a Hearing Officer Bill

We must acknowledge the peaceful transition of power that took place today and that takes place every four years. We honor our nation’s history and traditions. However, we must also acknowledge a divided country that has healing to do. We must acknowledge the fear and uncertainty many of our students are feeling. And we must acknowledge the very clear position of the new administration on public education. We must work to make sure every child in this country has the opportunity to attend a high quality, well-funded public school. We will not allow this promise to fade. #strongpublicschools

As is generally the rule, the floor action in the House and Senate wrapped up quickly. A VEA supported bill did pass the House and, frankly, we need to celebrate any small victory. HB1451 that directs the Department of Social Services to develop a survey to gather feedback from children aging out of foster care passed the House without a single “no” vote.

Senator McClellan has filed the VEA initiated hearing officer bill. This bill would require the Department of Education to develop and make available training for hearing officers in teacher dismissal cases. The DOE would then maintain a list of trained hearing officers. We will face a fight on the “maintain a list” portion of this bill, but the Superintendents and the School Boards will not fight the training. Click here to follow our bill as it makes its way through the GA.

I look forward to seeing many of you at Lobby Day on Monday. We have a briefing Sunday evening and Monday morning. You only need to attend one. Please remember that the weather looks dreary. Please come prepared for the weather. 

Monday is a busy day. As you are planning your day, please keep the following committee meetings in mind:

7:00 a.m.         House Privileges and Elections - Constitutional Subcommittee; House Room C, General Assembly Building- We will testify on VEA’s support of Redistricting Reform in VA. It is also Virginia2021’s Lobby Day, so that room should be packed. Click here to see the full docket.
8:00 a.m.         Senate Courts of Justice; Senate Room B, General Assembly Building- No VEA bills on the docket, but all sorts of bills to legalize marijuana if you are interested.
8:30 a.m.         House Education; House Room D, General Assembly Building- An obvious choice for our members. The docket is long and bills on local control of calendar, school nurses, and teacher licensure are all up. Click here to see the full docket.
12:00 noon       The House of Delegates and the Senate go into session. You can watch the proceedings from the Galleries. You enter the Capitol through the Visitor’s Entrance all the way down the hill on Bank Street.
1:00-4:00pm    Open House at VEA Headquarters! Please come by to visit.