Monday, February 1, 2016

A busy Monday at the General Assembly

We started the day with the House Education committee where a handful of public education bills were on the docket. Below is a quick summary of the committee’s actions.

HB279 (Byron) directs the Board of Education to establish a Virginia career and technical education adjunct faculty provisional license and a Virginia STEM adjunct faculty renewable license for qualified individuals to teach high school career and technical education courses on a part-time basis. The bill prescribes requirements for such licenses. HB279 was unanimously reported from the committee with a substitute.
HB357 (Loupassi) requires at least 20 minutes of physical activity per day or an average of 100 minutes per week during the regular school year for students in grades kindergarten through five beginning with the 2018-2019 school year. The current requirement for a program of physical activity available to all students in grades six through twelve with a goal of at least 150 minutes per week remains unchanged. The committee recommended reporting the bill on an 18-4 vote.

HB942 (Wilt) requires local school boards to provide reasonable access to school property to any youth group listed as a patriotic and national organization in 36 U.S.C. Subtitle II, Part B, such as the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, to provide written materials and speak to students at times other than instructional time during the school day to encourage such students to participate in the activities and programs provided by such organization. The bill was reported from the subcommittee on a 16-6 vote.

HB516 (Landes) requires the Board of Education to establish a policy to require each public elementary or secondary school to (i) notify the parent of any student whose teacher reasonably expects to provide instructional material that includes sexually explicit content, (ii) permit the parent of any student to review instructional material that includes sexually explicit content upon request, and (iii) provide, as an alternative to instructional material and related academic activities that include sexually explicit content, nonexplicit instructional material and related academic activities to any student whose parent so requests. The bill was unanimously reported from the committee.

HB487 (McClellan) removes language in § 9.1-110. pertaining to school resource officers employed by the School Resource Officer Grants Program from the obligation to enforce school board rules and codes of student conduct as a condition of their employment. The committee reported the bill on a 20-2 vote.

After the committee meeting the education team was diligently meeting with legislators to share VSBA's opposition to the charter school constitutional amendment. On the House side, it is anticipated that the constitutional amendment will be on the floor tomorrow for a vote. In the Senate, the constitutional amendment will be taken up tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday) in the Privileges and Elections committee at 4:00p.m. If you have not reached out to your legislators yet we would encourage you to do so.

The afternoon was busy with several committee meetings and legislators meetings for bills coming up later in the week.

In Senate General Laws, SB500 (Sturtevant) was heard by the committee. The bill requires every locality and school division to post on the public government website of the locality a register of all funds expended, showing vendor name, date of payment, amount, and a description of the type of expense, including credit card purchases with the same information. The bill also provides for the Commonwealth Data Point website administered by the Auditor of Public Accounts to include the same information for each state agency and institution, including each independent agency. Currently, the website includes such information for major state agencies. The bill will not be moving forward as it was passed by indefinitely on an 11-4 vote.

On the House side, the Courts Civil Law subcommittee was scheduled to hear HB168 (LaRock). However the bill was taken by for the day and will be heard on Wednesday. The bill allows a locality that has authorized the installation and operation of a video-monitoring system on school buses for recording violations of unlawfully passing a stopped school bus to execute a summons for such violation by mailing a copy of the summons to the owner of a vehicle that unlawfully passed a stopped school bus.

Thank you for your continued advocacy on behalf your board and VSBA. Check back tomorrow for more updates from Richmond!