Friday, February 1, 2019

Teacher Reprimand Bill Passes House, All Eyes on Money Committees

Today HB2325, the Teacher Reprimand bill patroned by Delegate Bob Thomas, passed the House 95-0. This bill is a direct result of a new business item from the VEA Convention. This bill expands the options available to the VA Board of Education when they are deciding what action to take on a teacher's license in a discipline hearing. Right now their only options are to revoke or suspend the license, today we are one big step closer to adding the less punitive option of a reprimand. The work begins on Monday as we prep the Senators who will hear the bill first. If the bill follows the same path in the Senate that it did in the House, it will go to the Senate Education and Health Subcommittee on Elementary and Secondary Education. The members of this committee are Senators Carrico, Dunnavant, Peake, Locke, and Howell. We will make sure they all understand the intent and purpose of the bill and answer any questions they may have ahead of the subcommittee meeting.

Today is the last day that full committees have to send bills to the floor of the originating body for debate. In Virginia, all bills are on the floor for three days and each body must complete work on their own bills by midnight on Tuesday. That is the official point of crossover. All bills that passed from their originating body will cross over to the other body and the whole process starts over. In good news, it gives your lobby cadre some slower days as all of the action is on the floor. There are no subcommittee or committee meetings.

The Sunday before crossover is always Budget Sunday. The money committees (House Appropriations and Senate Finance) will release their budget amendments to the full committees. These are regular committee meetings, so they are live streamed. You can watch them on the VA General Assembly web site. The VEA will also spend Sunday and Monday crunching numbers and preparing our report that will compare the Governor's, the House, and the Senate budget amendments. All signs look good that the House and Senate will include the additional state support for the 2% salary increase for SOQ funded positions matching the Governor's investment. We will have to see how each body does it once we see budget language on Sunday.

For now, we celebrate HB2325 and get ready for the real fight- budget.