Tuesday, January 22, 2019

ERA Goes Down in the House, Senate Passes Anti-VEA Bill

Not a great day in the General Assembly today.

All of the Equal Rights Amendment bills were killed today on a party line vote in the House Privileges and Elections (P &E) subcommittee. The Senate versions of these bills all passed last week, so this is a real blow to to the bipartisan efforts in the House to get this passed. The P&E subcommittee took up the House bills but also killed the Senate bill that was carried by Republican Glen Sturtevant. Here is how the members of the subcommittee voted. Since the motion was to kill the bills, a NO vote was the RIGHT vote:

YEAS--Ransone, Ingram, Fowler, McGuire--4.
NAYS--Sickles, VanValkenburg--2.

It seemed as though this might be the year that Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the ERA, but the vote of 4 members of this small committee killed this effort. Recent polling showed that more than 70% of Virginians support ratifying the ERA, but it only took 4% of the House of Delegates to take it down.

In other disappointing news, the Virginia Senate passed Senate Bill 1236 from Senator DeSteph on another party-line vote 20-19. Senator Chafin wasn't in the chamber at the time, so he didn't vote.  This is the bill that is designed to be anti-VEA and anti- teacher union. It is also a huge overstep by the General Assembly over the local control granted to local school boards to run their schools. The VEA was hoping enough of our friends on both sides of the aisle would understand our argument, but, sadly, only the Democrats voted with us. We are grateful tot he Democratic Caucus of the Senate for standing with us on this vote. We are also glad that the School Board's Association and the School Superintendents also opposed this bill. It now goes to the House where we will try again to defeat it. Thank you to everyone who sent an email to your Senator. If your Senator voted the wrong way on this bill, make sure you follow up with them and ask why.

Tomorrow there are all sorts of interesting bills up in the House Education Committee and the subcommittee that will meet after the full committee adjourns. Tebow, vouchers, a bad charter school bill, and two of the VEA's bills are all up. Look for a full debrief here tomorrow.