RICHMOND, VA – House Republican leaders highlighted the success of their policy agenda at crossover in a press conference today. Following crossover, the House will take up bills passed by the Senate and vice-versa.
Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) said, “At the start of session, House Republicans laid out a bold policy agenda to reform our schools, make government work more efficiently, make higher education more affordable and accessible, and invest in the core functions of government without raising taxes. It is a serious, governing agenda that addresses the issues Virginians care about most. Many of these policies gained bipartisan support or passed unanimously in the House. We addressed difficult and complicated issues like ethics reform and protecting students from sexual assault with meaningful policy changes on a bipartisan basis. I’m grateful for my colleagues in the House for their good work so far this year and I look forward to working with the Senate to send these measures to Governor McAuliffe’s desk for his signature.”
Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) said, “In 2011, we passed legislation with a long-term plan to make Virginia colleges and universities more affordable and accessible. We continued that work this year with budget proposals targeted to opening up additional enrollment slots and passing legislation with bipartisan support that would hold down costs. We passed a bill allowing colleges and universities to offer a discounted “flat-fee degree” for high-demand jobs and legislation that would make less expensive online degrees more accessible for Virginia students. And we passed legislation that would further hold down college costs by capping athletic fees at Virginia schools.”
Del. S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk), Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said, “Over the years the House has taken a very conservative and prudent approach in producing a structurally balanced budget. This year we have continued with that approach. The House and Senate budgets proposed this week are as similar as I can remember in my years on appropriations. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to craft a compromise budget that reflects our shared priorities.”
Del. Steve Landes (R-Weyers Cave) said “The House proposed a conservative budget that rejects more than $10 million in fees on Virginia families and small businesses proposed by the governor, that puts $99.5 million in Virginia’s rainy day fund, and that pays for building projects with existing revenues, rather than Governor McAuliffe’s proposed $42.5 million in debt. We rejected the Governor’s proposed new health care entitlement program and Medicaid expansion, instead targeting additional support to existing safety net programs for those in the most need.”
Del. Tag Greason (R-Loudoun) said, “We passed more than a dozen K-12 bills to increase accountability and to encourage innovation. We increased funding targeted to classrooms, not additional school bureaucracy. But funding is just one piece of the puzzle for classroom success. I’m particularly excited about school choice measures we passed, enabling education savings accounts for special needs students and passing a charter school constitutional amendment. We passed legislation to prevent any gubernatorial administration from bypassing the General Assembly to adopt Common Core in Virginia and passed several reforms to improve Virginia’s Standards of Learning Assessments. The policies adopted by the Virginia House of Delegates will give all Virginia students access to a high quality education, so they can graduate ready for college or a career.”
Del. David Albo (R-Fairfax) said, “House Republicans led efforts this year to make state government work more efficiently. Our ABC reorganization bill structures the Alcoholic Beverage Control more like a business, with more accountability and less political influence. House Bill 1887 reforms the way we fund transportation, making the funding more transparent and responsive to local needs. And we passed legislation that prevents state agencies from spending beyond their means with IOUs or debt that bypasses General Assembly approval. The result of these policies is a more accountable, efficient state government.”
HB 1400 (Jones) – The House budget proposal sets aside $99.5 million for the state’s rainy day fund, eliminates $42.5 million in debt and $10.2 million in fees proposed by Governor McAuliffe, and rejects Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. Status: In House.
Teacher Pay Raise – The House budget includes $55 million in state funding for a 1.5 percent teacher pay raise. This is the second teacher pay raise offered by the General Assembly in three years.
Teacher Professional Development – The House budget includes $1.1 million in state funding to support teacher, principal and school board members’ professional development.
HB 1674 (Greason) – Reforms the standards of accreditation to provide flexibility in how often schools are accredited. Today, every school must endure the lengthy accreditation process every year. Under this proposal, schools with a track record of success would be able to apply for a waiver allowing them to seek an alternative accreditation cycle of three or five years, depending on their past accreditation performance. This legislation is based on a recommendation of the Standards of Learning Innovation Committee. Status: Passed House 95-0.
HB 1490 (Habeeb) – Streamlines the state’s Standards of Learning retake process for all students at all grade levels. Students who nearly pass a standardized test would be given an additional opportunity to take the test during the same school year, giving them an additional opportunity to succeed. Status: Passed House 98-0.
HB 1307 & 1334 (Landes) – Creates additional safeguards to protect the privacy of student information. HB 1307 prohibits the collection of student social security numbers. HB 1334 requires the Department of Education to develop uniform policies related to the collection, storage and use of student’s personally-identifiable information. Status: Passed House 98-0.
HB 1616 (Greason) – Requires Career & Technical education courses to be aligned with national certification requirements for a subject area if those requirements exist. Status: Passed House 98-0.
HB 1336 (Landes) – Requires the State Council of Higher Education to develop a standardized system for granting college credits to students who have successfully completed one or more Advanced Placement, Cambridge Advanced (A/AS), College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) or International Baccalaureate courses. Status: Passed House 95-3.
HB 1361 (D. Bell) – Establishes the Board of the Virginia Virtual School to govern a full-time virtual school available to all students in the Commonwealth. The legislation requires the school to provide instruction that meets the state’s standards of quality for grades K-12. Status: Passed House 62-38.
HB 2238 (LaRock) – Creates Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts for eligible special-needs students. The Education Savings Accounts would be administered by local governments. Qualified students would receive 90 percent of the state’s share of funding, which could be accessed through a debit card to use on educational expenses. Status: Passed House 62-38.
HJ 577 (R. Bell) – Constitutional amendment to grant the Board of Education authority to develop charter schools subject to criteria developed by the General Assembly. Status: Passed House 58-41.
HB 1897 (Cox) – Caps the student athletic fees that colleges and universities may charge as a percentage of overall athletic revenue. The caps are applied differently to Virginia’s Division I, Division II and Division III schools. Institutions will have five years to incrementally reduce these fees. Status: Passed House 97-0.
HB 1895 (Rush) – Gives public, four year, higher education institutions in Virginia an incentive to offer a “Flat-Fee Degree” or discounted tuition and reduced fees for students seeking degrees that prepare them for employment in high-demand fields. Status: Passed House 96-0.
HB 2320 (Cline) – Establishes a degree program whereby an undergraduate student in Virginia may complete, through the use of online, community college, or public or private college or university courses, the course credit requirements to receive a bachelor’s degree at a tuition cost not to exceed $4,000 per academic year, or a total of $16,000. Status: Passed House 98-0.
HB 1980 (Hugo) – Requires each four-year public institution of higher education in the Commonwealth to maintain on the home page of its website and annually update no later than September 30 a tab or link that includes information related to undergraduate retention and graduation rates, tuition and mandatory student fee increases, the use of student fees, postsecondary education and employment, and the institution’s finances. Status: Passed House 98-0.
HB 1400 (Jones) – The House budget proposal includes $19.8 million targeted to additional enrollment slots at Virginia schools and to increasing graduation rates. The budget proposal continues to build on the 2011 “Top Jobs of the 21st Century” legislation, which mapped out a plan to increase access to higher education in Virginia and to hold down costs for families.
HB 2070 (Gilbert) – The omnibus ethics reform bill that creates a $100 gift cap, significantly strengthens the independent advisory panel created in 2014, prohibits the Governor from accepting campaign contributions from companies seeking grants from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund and limits the personal friend exemption to exclude personal friends who have or are seeking business relationships with state or local government. Status: Passed House 93-6.
HB 1776 (Albo) – Eliminates the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC) and replaces it with the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority. The bill provides for the appointment of the Board of Directors of the Authority by the Governor and confirmed by the General Assembly, and the appointment by the Board of Directors of a Chief Executive Officer of the Authority. Status: Passed House 100-0.
HB 1887 (Jones) – Streamlines and reforms the transportation funding allocation formula. Under this legislation 40% of funding will be spent to fix bridges and pavements, 30% will be sent to local districts for local projects, and 30% will be spent on key statewide needs. Status: Passed House 96-2.
HB 1470 (LaRock) – Eliminates the exemption for transit projects, requiring transit projects funded by the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority to be evaluated on the same performance-based standard as all other transportation projects. Status: Passed House 97-0.
HB 1969 (Jones) – Directs the Virginia Retirement System to analyze the use of “cash balance” retirement plans and develop a proposal for offering those plans as part of the state retirement system. VRS must submit the plan to the General Assembly by November 1, 2015. Status: Passed House 100-0.
HB 1790 (Massie) – Prohibits the use of short term IOUs to fund the operations of state government without an appropriations act. Status: Passed House 100-0.
HB 1275 (Cox) – Provides $32.5 million in previously-authorized state funding for the construction of a Veterans Care Center in Hampton Roads. Status: Passed House 99-0.
HB 1276 (Cox) – Provides $32.5 million in previously-authorized state funding for the construction of a Veterans Care Center in Northern Virginia. Status: Passed House 99-0.
HB 2397 (Taylor) – Significantly improves the Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act by requiring the State Department of Elections provide servicemen and women with information about the upcoming election, permitting localities to use paper ballots for UMOVA voters and repealing outdated code sections. Status: Passed House 100-0.
HB 1641 (Stolle) – Provides that all agencies in the executive branch of state government and all public institutions of higher education shall, to the maximum extent possible, be certified in accordance with the Department of Veterans Services as part of its Virginia Values Veterans Program. Status: Passed House 96-0.
HB 2354 (Yancey) – Requires community colleges to develop a policy for offering academic credit to military members who have completed military training that can be applied to certificate or degree requirements. Status: Passed House 99-1.
HB 1964 (Hugo) – Establishes Virginia’s first standalone sex-trafficking offense statute and provides that any person who engages in human sex trafficking is guilty of a Class 5 felony. The new crime was added to the definition of violent felony for the purposes of the sentencing guidelines, the Virginia Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization Act, multijurisdiction grand jury, and asset forfeiture and if a minor is solicited, the Sex Offender Registry. Status: Passed House 100-0.
HB 1928 (R. Bell) – Adds certain violent and sexual crimes that have a high propensity of recidivism to be included in the state DNA database. Status: Passed House 72-27.
HB 1930 (R.Bell) – Requires colleges to provide independent counseling services to victims and to inform them of all their legal options, requires mandatory reporting of sexual assaults where necessary to protect the health or safety of the public, and requires that all cases be confidentially reviewed by a team that includes law enforcement. Status: Passed House 97-3.
HB 1785 (Massie) – Requires that mutual aid agreements between a campus police force and a law-enforcement agency contain provisions requiring campus police to notify the local Commonwealth’s Attorney within 48 hours of any investigation involving felony criminal sexual assault occurring on campus property or other property related to the institution of higher education that is victim-initiated or is required to be reported to the campus community. Status: Passed House 100-0.
HB 1366 (Campbell) – Requires sex offenders who are seeking circuit court approval to enter school or child day care center property to publish the notice of their hearing once a week for two successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation. Status: Passed House 98-0.
HB 2040 (R. Bell) – Increases the penalty for pandering a minor from a Class 4 felony to a Class 3 felony. Status: Passed House 100-0.