Thursday, January 16, 2020

Yes, Elections DO Matter. 3 VEA Bills Pass Subcommittee

January 16, 2020

Elections matter for teachers, too!

In a late subcommittee meeting delayed by the Senate's debate on guns, 3 of VEA's priority bills passed and will head to the full committee!

One bill returns teacher probation to three years, a second removes the language that allows a teacher to be dismissed based on one negative performance evaluation, and the third restores the three person panel in grievance proceedings. All of these polices were implemented when there was full Republican control of the VA government. Now the pro-public ed majority WE helped elect is on its way to reversing reversing the horrible legislation that was put on teachers in 2012! Our patrons were awesome! Senator John Bell carried the three person panel bill, Senator Barbara Favola carried the one evaluation bill, and the remarkable Senator Mamie Locke carried our restoration of the three-year probation bill. She took the time to remind the committee that the actions of the General Assembly were nefarious. She reminds the committee that during that session, a member of the General Assembly stood on the floor of the Senate and called teachers lemons. That Senator is still serving, but it is a new day in Virginia!!

In earlier action, Virginia's Senators debated three common-sense gun violence prevention bills. In the end, the Senate passed bills to restore universal background checks and the limit on gun purchases to one a month, along with one that grants local governments the authority to ban guns from their municipal buildings. That last one might seem odd, but Virginia is a Dillon Rule state, which means that localities only have the rights specifically granted to them by the General Assembly. After the mass shooting in Virginia Beach, some members of its City Council wanted to ban guns from all their municipal buildings. Without action of the General Assembly, they couldn’t do that. This bill will change that for all localities. It doesn’t mean guns are banned in all municipal buildings; it means that local governments can ban them if they choose to. Gun violence prevention was a big issue this election cycle and, clearly, Virginia voters want change. The ones made today remind us, once again, that elections do matter.

Interestingly the Dillon Rule is part of the issue with any repeal of the ban on collective bargaining by public sector employees. Simply repealing the ban, in a Dillon Rule state, won’t allow public sector employees the right to bargain. The General Assembly will also need to grant local governments the authority to do. As you read the collective bargaining bills, remember that.