Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Workplace Bully Bill Passes

Today the House accepted the Senate amendments on House Bill 1044. This bill requires every school division in the Commonwealth to adopt policies and procedures to educate school employees about bullying and to create a bully-free environment. The bill requires each school board to adopt policies that:

  1. Prohibit abusive work environments in the school division;
  2. Provide for the appropriate discipline of any school board employee who contributes to an abusive work environment; and 
  3. Prohibit retaliation or reprisal against a school board employee who alleges an abusive work environment or assists in the investigation of an allegation of an abusive work environment.

This bill was carried by Delegate Luke Torian from Prince William County. The VEA worked closely with the patron and the PWEA President, Riley O'Casey, traveled to Richmond to testify on the bill in the House Education Committee. A few session ago the VEA worked to pass legislation that added a definition of bullying to the Code and to require that school divisions implement policies to prohibit it. Unfortunately, the legislation did force school divisions to make changes to the Student Codes of  Conduct, but it did not translate into policies for school employee protection and healthy workplaces. This bill will now require school divisions to establish those policies.

I won't lie, when Delegate Torian send me a draft of his bill back in November, I loved it, but was worried about it getting very far. Delegate Torian carried this bill masterfully and, as he is known to do, worked with both sides of the aisle to get a bill that most could get behind. The VEA is grateful to Delegate Torian for patroning the bill and for working with us the whole way through.

The Senate passed the bill unanimously.

Here is the vote in the House to pass the bill:

YEAS--Adams, D.M., Aird, Austin, Ayala, Bagby, Bell, John J., Bourne, Boysko, Bulova, Carr, Carroll Foy, Carter, Convirs-Fowler, Delaney, Edmunds, Filler-Corn, Garrett, Gooditis, Guzman, Hayes, Helsel, Heretick, Herring, Hodges, Hope, Hurst, James, Jones, J.C., Jones, S.C., Keam, Knight, Krizek, Leftwich, Levine, Lopez, McQuinn, Miyares, Morefield, Mullin, Murphy, Peace, Plum, Price, Ransone, Rasoul, Reid, Rodman, Roem, Sickles, Simon, Stolle, Sullivan, Torian, Toscano, Tran, Turpin, Tyler, VanValkenburg, Ward, Watts, Wilt, Yancey--62.

NAYS--Adams, L.R., Bell, Richard P., Bell, Robert B., Bloxom, Brewer, Byron, Campbell, Cline, Cole, Collins, Davis, Fariss, Fowler, Freitas, Gilbert, Habeeb, Head, Hugo, Ingram, Kilgore, Landes, LaRock, Marshall, McGuire, O'Quinn, Orrock, Pillion, Pogge, Poindexter, Robinson, Rush, Thomas, Ware, Webert, Wright, Mr. Speaker--36.

NOT VOTING--Kory, Lindsey--2.