Thursday, February 20, 2014

Updates from Senate Education and Health

This morning the Senate Education and Health Committee met to vote on a lengthy docket of House Bills. Most notably, the “Tebow” bill was heard by the full committee.

After much discussion and debate from the proponents and opponents, HB63 (R. Bell) was defeated by the committee on a 9-6 vote. VSBA, along with many other education stakeholder groups, spoke in opposition to the legislation. The bill prohibits a public school from joining an organization governing interscholastic activities that does not allow student receiving home school instruction to participate in such activities. Effectively it forces VHSL to deem home school students eligible to participate in interscholastic activities. 

HB134 (Cole) was conformed to SB532 (Stuart) and reported on a unanimous vote. The bill requires training for certain staff in the administration of insulin and glucagon and the certification of the Superintendent that the requirements of Board’s Manuel for Training Public School Employees in the Administration of Insulin and Glucagon have been met. Additionally the bill requires that a student with diabetes, with written parental and prescriber consent, be allowed to carry and use supplies and equipment for immediate treatment of their diabetes. 

HB198 (Landes) was unanimously reported from the committee. The amended bill clarifies that in cases of weapons and drug offenses, the school board may, but is not required to expel the student.

HB307 (Lingamfelter) unanimously reported. The bill allows local school boards to provide after-school hunter safety education program for students in grades seven through twelve. Students would be required to pay for the cost of participation in the programs and local school board would be required to provide information about the programs to parents and students. Each program must be taught by a certified hunter safety instructor. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries would establish a uniform curriculum.

HB388 (Davis) was carried over to the 2015 session. Additionally, the patron requested that the Committee Chair send a letter to the Superintendent of Public Instruction to study this issue. The bill required each local school board to reimburse each public charter school in the school division in an amount equal to the difference between (i) the proportionate share of all state and federal resources allocated for students with disabilities and school personnel assigned to special education programs in the public charter school and (ii) the actual cost to the public charter school to educate such students, as determined by the local school board.

HB449 (R. Bell) prohibits school board members or employees or the Department of Education from transmitting personally identifiable information from a student’s record to the federal government except as required by federal law or regulation. This bill unanimously reported from the full committee.

HB484 (Kory) unanimously reported from the committee. The bill requires local school boards to develop and implement policies to prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes on a school bus, on school property, or at a school-sponsored activity. Additionally, local school board must include the prohibition against electronic cigarettes in the student code of conduct. 

HB526 (Pogge) would allow local school boards to include the participation in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program as an option to satisfy all health and physical education requirements for high school students. At the request of the patron the bill was stricken from the docket. 

HB720 (McClellan) requires local school boards to set aside a non-restroom location that is shielded from public view to be designed as an area for any mother, who is employed by the local school board or enrolled as a student, to take breaks during the school day to express milk to feed her child until the child reaches the age of one. The bill reported unanimously from the committee.  

HB725 (McClellan) increases the membership of the Advisory at a Board on Teacher Education and Licensure from 19 to 21 and requires that four of the members serve as faculty members in a teacher preparation program at a public of private college or university. The bill reported unanimously from the committee. 

HB752 (Rust) was conformed to SB441 (Garrett) which clarifies that the law does not require that students be expelled in cases of weapons and drug offenses. The bill, as conformed, was reported unanimously by the committee. 

HB1054 (Loupassi) was reported 14-1 with the amendment from the subcommittee. The bill requires the Board of Education to consider all computer science course credits earned by students to be science course credits, mathematics course credits, or career and technical education credits in establishing course and credit requirements for a high school diploma. Additionally, it requires the Board of Education to develop guidelines addressing how computer science courses can satisfy graduation requirements. 

HB1096 (Filler-Corn) requires the Board of Education to amend its guidelines for school division policies and procedures on concussions in student-athletes to include “Return to Learn Protocol.” The bill was unanimously reported from the committee.


HB1242 (O’Quinn) requires that the tie-breaker of any elected school board be elected in the same manner as the other members of the school board. The bill was unanimously reported and referred to the Privileges and Elections committee.

Tomorrow morning the Senate Public Education subcommittee will hold its final meeting of the session. Check back tomorrow for updates on the subcommittee’s action.