Monday, January 23, 2012

Highlights from Public Education Subcommittee of Senate Education and Health Committee

SB168 (Petersen) would have prohibited school divisions from using closed circuit cameras to monitor student conduct unless necessary to protect the physical safety and security of students. We, along with VASS and several others opposed the bill.  At the patron's suggestion, the bill was carried over for the year.   

SB119 (Marsh), which places restrictions on the hiring of temporarily employed teachers in the core subjects of English, mathematics, science and history in middle and secondary schools, was recommended for reporting in a close (and unusual) 3-2 vote.  Subcommittee members Locke, Carrico, and Black had left to attend other meetings.  Senator Howell voted in favor of the bill and she also voted in favor of the bill for Senator Locke, by proxy.  Senator Blevins, the subcommittee chair, voted against the bill.  He also voted no for Senator Black, by proxy.  Senator Blevins apparently had Senator Carrico's proxy but without an indication of which way Senator Carrico wished to vote on the bill.  So as not to send the bill to Committee with a negative recommendation, Senator Blevins voted Senator Carrico's proxy in favor of the bill.  It will be interesting to see how the vote turns out in the full Committee later this week.

SB256 (Miller) would have required school divisions to provide at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily to students in grades K-12.  Senator Miller indicated that he preferred Senator Northam's SB471, which requires the Board of Education to adopt regulations governing physical education requirements.  Therefore, at the patron's request, the subcommittee voted to recommend that the bill be stricken with a request that the Chairman of the Senate Education and Health Committee write a letter to the Board of Education on the subject. 

SB261 (Ebbin) which would create a grant fund for unexpended VPI funds (identical to HB144), was recommended for reporting by the subcommittee.