Monday, February 6, 2017

Hours and Hours and Hours of Floor Action

We have less than 36 hours until crossover and, in typical fashion, the House and Senate floor calendars were very long. All committee work was cancelled as both bodies worked to complete debate on all of their own bills by midnight tomorrow.

The House passed VEA’s HB2332 unanimously. Delegate Roslyn Tyler carried legislation to add language to Virginia’s teacher compensation goal. This bill adds language that would put, as a state policy, the goal that teachers in Virginia be paid at or above the National Average. We are very grateful to Delegate Tyler for carrying this bill for us and we look forward to getting it through the Senate as unscathed as it was in the House. We have tried in past sessions to get this language into Code, and this may be the year we make it happen!

In an interesting twist in the Senate, the Parental Choice Education Savings Account Bill from Senator Dunnavant (SB1243) passed on its last read along a party line vote of 21-19. A few minutes later, the body asked that the bill be reconsidered and the vote was 20-20 allowing Lieutenant Governor Northam to cast the tie-break vote. He voted NO and the bill failed! This is a big victory against VOUCHERS! Thank you to Lt. Governor Northam for breaking the tie. It will be interesting to see what happens when HB1605 comes over to the Senate. Delegate LaRock’s bill is much more broadly drawn, but it is the same voucher scheme that failed today. Time will tell.

Many bills that VEA opposes are still on the floor and will all be taken up for final passage tomorrow in what will surely be another long day of floor action.