House of Delegates passes key pieces of ‘Practical Solutions’ agenda

HouseGOP2018 General Assembly

The House of Delegates has now passed the three major pieces of the “Practical Solutions to Everyday Issues” agenda. In November, House Republicans filled the first three bills of the 2018 General Assembly Session with the purpose of advancing practical solutions to everyday issues. House Bills One, Two, and Three have now all made it through the House of Delegates and are headed to the Senate for consideration.

“As I said back in November, our caucus is committed to advancing policies that help people in practical ways with the problems that matter most to them,” said Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights). “With the passage of these three practical solutions, we have sent a clear signal to our constituents that we care about kitchen table issues that affect them on a daily basis.”

All three bills passed with bipartisan support. House Bill 1 will protect sensitive data, such as the email address and telephone number, of students enrolled in Virginia public colleges and universities from being released to the public without their consent. Media outlets across Virginia last fall brought to light a shady practice being used by some political campaigns to target students by accessing their personal contact information without their knowledge. With the passing of HB1, students must provide consent before their personal information can be shared with any outside individual or group.

“This year it was important to me to address the concerns brought to me by students and families who were worried about the way their personal information was being handled,” said Delegate Tony Wilt (R-Rockingham), who carried HB1. “Protecting personal student information is more important than furthering any political campaign, political activist group, or marketing effort.”

House Bill 2 will allow a spouse of any member of the armed forces, who has a valid out-of-state teaching license, to enjoy licensure reciprocity in Virginia. This means that an individual who is currently a licensed teacher in another state and married to a member of the military could seamlessly transition into a Virginia classroom if their family is transferred to Virginia.

“One of our first and foremost responsibilities to improve our education system must be ensuring we have enough teachers to limit class sizes and allow for all students to receive the best education possible,” said Delegate Dickie Bell (R-Staunton), a teacher, veteran, and the patron of HB2. “With the passage of HB2 we show our commitment to fixing our teacher shortage while remaining the most military friendly state in the U.S. We should be welcoming our military members with open arms by helping them cut through the bureaucratic red tape that keeps them from continuing to educate our children.”

House Bill 3 will require the State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV) to establish quality standards for dual enrollment courses, including standards for instructors, materials, and content. Courses that meet or exceed these quality standards will be certified as “Universal Transfer Courses” and satisfy course credit at any public institution of higher education. This legislation will save students time and money by ensuring dual enrollment programs are working as intended and allowing students to earn college credits while in high school and apply those credits to a 2-year or 4-year degree.

“I appreciate my colleagues support in doing what we can to rein in the cost of higher education because it’s no secret college is expensive,” said House Education Committee Chairman R. Steven Landes (R-Augusta), who carried HB3. “This bill ensures that students who attempt to cut down on the cost of college by completing dual enrollment courses in High School will actually receive the credit they are due. There should be less secrecy surrounding what colleges will and won’t accept as transfer credits.”