House Rules Committee passes resolution calling for Article V convention of the states

The Virginia House of Delegates Committee on Rules passed a resolution Tuesday calling for a convention of the states pursuant to Article V of the U.S. Constitution. The resolution, HJ 497, now proceeds to the full House for a final vote. “The size and scope of the federal government has gone unchecked for too long,” said House Speaker William J. Howell. “The federal debt has exploded to over $18 trillion, our long-term unfunded liabilities exceed $93 trillion and the federal government continues to overreach and exceed constitutionally-established limitations. A convention of the states will allow the people and the states to amend the Constitution to place real limits on federal power. I am pleased to see this measure pass the House Rules committee and look forward to its final passage on the floor later this week.”

HJ 497 was introduced by Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William). This resolution represents Virginia’s formal application to Congress for a convention of the states to consider amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Under this resolution, the convention would consider amendments that impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress.

“More than two-thirds of Americans think our country is headed in the wrong direction,” said Delegate Lingamfelter. “From spending to federal power to judicial overreach, Americans are concerned about the erosion of checks and balances and other constitutional limitations. They’re worried about skyrocketing debt and the long-term fiscal challenges faced by our nation. A convention of the states will allow the states and the people to check federal spending, limit congressional authority and stop executive overreach.”

Article V of the U.S. Constitution requires Congress to call a convention of the states to consider amendments to the Constitution upon receiving applications from thirty-four state legislatures. If passed, Virginia will become the fourth state behind Alaska, Florida and Georgia to pass a resolution calling for a convention on these topics. Eleven other states have filed identical measures this year and 20 more are expected to do the same. The resolution does not require the Governor’s signature.

The committee also passed HJ 499, introduced by Delegate Jim LeMunyon, which calls for a convention of the states specifically limited to a balanced budget amendment.

 

Peace Leads Coalition to Protect Community Health against Potential Negative Effects of Industrial Sludge

-- HB 1364, Monitoring Bill Passes Unanimously in the House of Delegates ---- Measure provides for local control and resources for testing and monitoring of these industrial waste residuals, also known as “industrial sludge”--

Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R -97th House District) reports the unanimous passage of House Bill (HB) 1364 by the House of Delegates today. HB 1364 will allow local governments to provide for greater testing and monitoring of the land application of industrial residual waste, receive funds for this enforcement, and remit the fee to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). This program is built upon the existing monitoring practice for biosolids.

“We must guarantee the citizens of my District and the Commonwealth that land application of industrial sludge is safe and monitored for potential on-going environmental impacts. The 97th District is a rural area with sensitive natural resources and an aquifer that must be protected. We are also a community with a strong farming heritage. Many residents depend on wells for water so it is vital that we take measures to protect our water resources including surface water and wells from contaminates that are applied to the surface,” asserted Peace.

Unfortunately, Peace’s HB 1363 legislation to place a moratorium on industrial residuals application failed to be reported from the House Agriculture subcommittee to which it was assigned despite having a motion to advance the bill. Peace said “While I am disappointed that my legislation to place a moratorium on the application of industrial residuals failed, I am confident that local governments can successfully establish the process to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of residents and our community.”

HJ 516, patroned by Del. Buddy Fowler, which would have directed the Department of Environmental Quality to study the long-term effects of the storage and land application of industrial wastes and sewage sludge on public health, residential wells, and surface and ground water, also failed to report from committee.

Del. Ware’s bill, HJ 506, to direct the Department of Environmental Quality to study the long-term effects of the storage and land application of industrial wastes and sewage sludge on public health, residential wells, and surface and ground water reported from subcommittee by a vote of 4-0 and will be heard by the full committee.

Delegate Chris Peace is frequently rated one of Virginia’s most business-friendly conservatives. Peace’s voting record shows a consistent focus on opposing tax increases, protecting family values defending the Constitution and promoting job creating and a high quality of life in Hanover, King William, and New Kent counties.

House of Delegates Passes Bills to Make College More Affordable

The House of Delegates passed two bills today aimed at making college more affordable in Virginia. House Bill 1897 (Cox) puts a cap on the athletic fees that Virginia colleges and universities can charge students. House Bill 1895 (Cox) gives small and medium-sized Virginia schools additional flexibility to cut wasteful spending and reduces burdensome reporting requirements. Speaking about the legislation, Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) said, “Virginia students now borrow more than a billion dollars every year to pay for education. This legislation will help ensure that those academic costs are paying for academics and that we aren’t pricing students out of college with unaffordable athletic fees. As a former basketball and baseball coach, I understand the value of athletic programs, but I also see the skyrocketing amount of student debt taken on by today’s college students. This legislation will cap athletic fees, generating meaningful cost savings for students and their families.”

Delegate Jimmie Massie (R-Henrico) said, “Giving small and medium-sized schools additional flexibility to improve operating efficiencies makes sense for the schools and makes sense for students. This is flexibility we already have given our larger schools and they have proven its value in holding down costs. House Bill 1895 would allow some of the same flexibility we now give to Level III schools to Level II schools - George Mason University, James Madison University, Old Dominion University, Radford University, Virginia Military Institute and all community colleges. Letting Virginia universities cut wasteful spending so they can hold down tuition costs is another step to best prepare our university graduates for the 21st century job market and expand economic growth in our Commonwealth for years to come.”

Background on School Levels from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia:

Institutions are classified into one of three levels of financial and administrative operational authority. All institutions enter Level I authority as a result of the Boards of Visitors resolution in 2005. Level I institutions receive minimum operational authority.

Level II criteria were established by the 2008 General Assembly. Level II institutions receive additional authority in two of three areas – capital outlay, information technology, and procurement. Institutions enter Level II through a “memorandum of understanding” with the Governor and, respective cabinet Secretaries. Memoranda of understanding were signed with George Mason University, James Madison University, Old Dominion University, Radford University, and Virginia Military Institute in 2008. Unlike Level III institutions, the Memoranda of understanding does not grant Level II institutions authority to issue debt or withdrawal from any risk management or insurance programs.

The highest level of financial and administrative operational authority is granted to a select group of institutions through a “management agreement” between the institution’s Board of Visitors, the Governor, and the General Assembly. Level III institutions have operational authority in the areas of capital outlay, information technology, procurement, human resources, and finance. The College of William and Mary, the University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech signed management agreements in 2005 which were approved by the 2006 General Assembly. Virginia Commonwealth University’s management agreement was approved by the 2008 General Assembly.

Bills to Fund Veterans Care Centers in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads Advance from House Appropriations Committee

Legislation to provide $66.7 million in state funding for new Veterans Care Centers in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads advanced from the House Appropriations Committee Wednesday. The bills, HB1275 and HB1276, fund Virginia’s share of construction for the centers, which provide affordable, long-term nursing care for veterans. Care centers are built with 65 percent federal funding and 35 percent state funding. Speaking about the legislation, House Majority Leader M. Kirkland Cox (R-Colonial Heights) said, “Virginia currently has only two veterans care centers with a combined 400 beds to serve the 781,000 veterans who reside in the Commonwealth. Legislation funding new veterans centers will meet a critical need for the men and women who have honorably served our country. Not only will the new centers give veterans with family members in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads a chance to be near loved ones, but it will also allow our existing care centers in Richmond and Salem to better meet the regional needs of their veteran population. The bipartisan support for this important legislation in the House puts us one step closer to giving veterans in Virginia the quality care that they deserve.”

Virginia currently has Veterans Care Centers in Salem and Richmond. Veterans Care Centers are state-of-the-art facilities that provide high quality, long-term care to veterans. Virginia is home to nearly 800,000 veterans but ranks near the bottom in the ratio of veterans to available care centers. Virginia first authorized funding for the Hampton Roads care center in 2006, and the Northern Virginia care center in 2008.

“Maine has a bed in a veterans care center for every 200 veterans in the state. Virginia has a bed for every 2,000 veterans,” said Chris Stolle (R-Virginia Beach). “Working with our local partners in Virginia Beach last year, we identified land for the new veterans center to serve Hampton Roads. These two new regional veterans care centers in the population centers of Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads will make it easier for those who have served to get the care they need.”

The Virginia Beach City Council voted last year to reserve 15 to 25 acres of city land as the site of a proposed Veterans Care Center in Hampton Roads. House Bill 1275, introduced by House Majority Leader Kirk Cox and Delegate Chris Stolle, dedicates funding for a proposed 230-bed long-term care facility to be located in the Hampton Roads area.

Through the efforts of Del. Rich Anderson (R-Prince William) two sites have been identified for a 230-bed Northern Virginia Care Center, one in Innovation Park, Prince William County and another site on George Mason University’s Prince William County Campus.

Delegate Rich Anderson said, “There are about 200,000 veterans living in Northern Virginia alone, yet a Manassas resident faces a two hour drive to visit a family member or loved one in the nearest Virginia Veterans Care Center. Moving this legislation forward puts us that much closer to breaking ground and living up to our promise to be the most veteran-friendly state in the country.”

Delegate Christopher K. Peace excited to Announce Support from Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation

Delegate Christopher K Peace (R-Hanover) was glad to see that the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation has included their support of three pieces of his legislation for the 2015 Session on their legislative priorities. Peace’s bills included are House Bill (HB) 1363, HB 1364, and HB 2081. HB 1363 would make it unlawful to apply industrial wastes to land located in the County of Hanover, King William, or New Kent. It places a complete moratorium on the practice.

HB 1364 allows localities to adopt ordinances that provide for the testing and monitoring of the land application of industrial wastes. The bill requires the State Water Control Board (the Board) to adopt emergency regulations, requiring persons that land apply industrial wastes to collect a fee from the generator of the industrial wastes and remit the fee to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The fee cannot exceed the direct costs to localities of testing and monitoring the land application of industrial wastes. The bill requires the Board's regulations to include procedures for (i) collection of the fees by DEQ, (ii) deposit of the collected fees into the Sludge Management Fund (the Fund), and (iii) disbursements from the Fund to localities for the testing and monitoring of the industrial wastes.

HB 2081 prohibits an employer from requiring, requesting, or causing a current or prospective employee to disclose the username and password to the current or prospective employee's social media account. The measure also prohibits an employer from (i) requiring an employee to add an employee, a supervisor, or an administrator to the list or contacts associated with the employee's social media account or (ii) changing the privacy settings associated with the employee's social media account.

Speaking about the support Peace said, “It is great that the Tea Party has chosen to support these measures, especially measures that are concerned with the health of constituents.”

Delegate Christopher K. Peace is frequently rated one of Virginia’s most business-friendly conservatives. Peace’s voting record shows a consistent focus on opposing tax increases, protecting family values, defending the Constitution and promoting job creating and a high quality of life in Hanover, King William, and New Kent Counties.

House and Senate leaders highlight human trafficking legislation

House and Senate leaders held a press conference Wednesday to highlight legislation to combat human trafficking in Virginia. House Bill 1964 (Hugo) and Senate Bill 1188 (Obenshain) would for the first time in Virginia create a standalone statute for sex trafficking. Delegates Rob Bell (R-Albemarle), Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) and David Yancey (R-Newport News) also attended the press conference. HB1964, introduced by Delegate Hugo, will define and establish the offense of sex trafficking as a class 2 felony, which includes sex trafficking of a minor. It establishes mandatory minimum sentencing for a perpetrator when a minor becomes the victim of sex trafficking, and would criminalize the recruitment of minors and adults for commercial sex.

Commenting on the legislation, Delegate Hugo said, “We must continue to send traffickers, buyers, and facilitators the message that they are not welcome in our state. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the General Assembly, the Courts of Justice Committees, and Delegates Rob Bell and Todd Gilbert, who have been leaders on this issue, to continue the fight against this abhorrent crime. Those who would seek to harm our children will know that our kids are not for sale in Virginia. Not now, and not ever.”

This will be the fourth piece of legislation in four years introduced by Delegate Hugo aimed at human trafficking. HB1898, introduced by Delegate Hugo in 2011, passed into law, making abduction for the purposes of child prostitution a felony. HB1606, which became law in 2013, increased the punishment for those soliciting minors for prostitution. Most recently in 2014, he passed HB485, which empowers law enforcement to better track down and arrest suspected traffickers.

General Assembly appoints Court of Appeals Judge D. Arthur Kelsey to Virginia Supreme Court

The Virginia General Assembly on Tuesday appointed Court of Appeals Judge D. Arthur Kelsey as a Justice to the Virginia Supreme Court. Kelsey has served on the Court of Appeals since 2002 and prior to that served as a Circuit Court judge in the Fifth Circuit, which includes Suffolk, Southampton County and Isle of Wight County. Kelsey was elevated to the Supreme Court on a unanimous vote in the House of Delegates and Senate of Virginia. “Judge Kelsey is an experienced, widely-respected and accomplished jurist who will faithfully interpret and defend the law, Constitution of Virginia and Constitution of the United States,” said House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford). “Judge Kelsey received the highest recommendation of the Virginia State Bar and is acknowledged by his peers as a 'very knowledgeable and articulate' appellate judge. Judge Kelsey is a conservative who I am confident will practice judicial self-restraint and interpret the laws as written. I know Judge Kelsey will make an excellent member of the Supreme Court of Virginia.”

Kelsey was first elected to the Fifth Circuit, which includes Suffolk, Southampton County and Isle of Wight County. He attended Old Dominion University and received his law degree from the College of William & Mary.

“Arthur is a man with extraordinary intellect,” said S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk). “He is acknowledged by his peers as a sound thinker and scholar with a keen ability to understand the law and articulate its application to the cases before him. He is as humble and grateful as any person I have ever met. He is exactly the kind of thoughtful jurist the people of Virginia deserve on the Supreme Court.”

Stonewall Jackson Student Shadows Delegate Peace

Central Virginia- Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) was delighted to host Stonewall Jackson Middle School student Lauren Schenack at the General Assembly today. Lauren spent the day getting a first-hand view of the legislative process, including attending committee meetings, floor session, and other activities with Delegate Peace. As a past volunteer for the office, Lauren said “I am excited to spend my day off of school learning more about the legislature.” Delegate Chris Peace is frequently rated one of Virginia's most business-friendly conservatives. Peace’s voting record shows a consistent focus on opposing tax increases, protecting family values defending the Constitution and promoting job creating and a high quality of life in Hanover, King William and New Kent counties.

PICTURED: Battlefield Elementary School teacher, Jeanine Schenack and her daughters Lauren, Lindsey and Emily.

 

Bills to make college more affordable advance from House committee

Two bills aimed at making college more affordable were passed unanimously by the House Appropriations Committee on Monday. The two bills, both introduced by Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights), would cap student athletic fees and give smaller and mid-sized schools more flexibility over administrative decisions. “Making college more affordable is a central focus of our agenda this year and these two bills are first steps towards doing that,” said Cox. “We cannot continue to saddle our young people with massive student debt. Limiting athletic fees and giving schools more administrative flexibility will help drive down the cost of higher education.”

“Virginia has some of the best institutions of higher education in the world, but the costs are simply growing too fast,” said Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford). “Virginia students are borrowing over $1 billion per year to pay for college, and that’s going to hurt their long-term prosperity. These are good bills to help make college more affordable for families and students. I look forward to their final passage later this week.”

House Bill 1895 would grant additional administrative flexibility to several of Virginia's smaller and mid-sized public colleges and universities. Under this legislation, these schools would be given greater administrative and financial autonomy.

House Bill 1897 would limit the amount of athletic revenue that colleges and universities collect from mandatory student fees. The caps will be applied differently to Virginia’s Division I, Division II and Division III schools. Institutions will have five years to incrementally reduce mandatory student fees as a percentage of overall athletic revenue.

House Republicans highlight 2015 legislative agenda

Members of the House Republican Caucus outlined their 2015 agenda Monday at a press conference at the General Assembly Building in Richmond. Speaker Bill Howell (R-Stafford), Education Chairman Steve Landes (R-Weyers Cave), Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights), and Budget Chairman Chris Jones (R-Suffolk) discussed the Republican agenda to reform and improve K-12 education, make higher education more affordable, support Virginia’s veterans and balance the budget without raising taxes or fees while investing in the core functions of government. “House Republicans have put forward a governing agenda that will prepare Virginia for long-term success,” said Speaker Bill Howell. “Our agenda focuses on reform-minded policies that would give students additional pathways to succeed, make a college education more accessible and responsibly balance our budget without raising taxes. We also have an opportunity this session to help restore our citizens’ trust in government through serious ethics reforms, including a meaningful cap on gifts. These are all ideas that should get bipartisan support and that make Virginia a better place to live and work.”

“We have a chance this year to pass legislation that would significantly improve our public schools and give all Virginia students a better opportunity to succeed,” said Del. Steve Landes. “We based our ‘Classroom Success’ agenda on policy recommendations from teachers, parents, administrators and students, who all identified ways to improve our schools. These measures include supporting our teachers through professional development opportunities, additional flexibility from overly burdensome state mandates, and reforms to standardized testing that give students a better opportunity to succeed. This education agenda builds on our past efforts to give every Virginia student the tools they need to graduate college- or career-ready.”

House Majority Leader Kirk Cox said, “Students and families are paying more every year for higher education, only to find that too often there is not a good-paying job available after graduation that lets them begin paying off student loans. Virginia students now borrow more than $1 billion every year. We have put forward solutions to make college more affordable, including limits on unreasonable athletic fees and giving smaller and medium-sized schools additional flexibility to reduce costs. Del. Nick Rush has proposed a ‘flat-fee degree’ that would give Virginia colleges and universities an incentive to offer a lower cost degree option for high-demand fields. Long-term economic growth in Virginia requires a workforce that’s trained in skills they can put to use. The Republican higher education agenda will take big steps towards making that the case in the Commonwealth.”

“House Republicans will craft a balanced budget that will clearly and strategically focus our resources on keeping our promises to fund the core services of government," said Del. Chris Jones. “We will not make cuts to K-12 and higher education, which are part of our foundation for long term growth in the Commonwealth. The House will also continue our reforms in the Medicaid program while also meeting the needs of our most vulnerable citizens, specifically mental health reforms from last year and to continue meeting the needs of the intellectually and developmentally disabled community. At the same time, we will work to cut any wasteful spending and ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely.”

Audio of the press conference is available upon request.

97th District Hanover Students Chosen to Serve as House Pages

Central Virginia- On January 14, Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) welcomed Madeline Atkinson and Nicholas Brown to service as Pages in the Virginia House of Delegates during the 2015 General Assembly session. Madeline Atkinson is an 8th grader at Oak Knoll Middle School. Her favorite class in school is math. Outside of school she enjoys running, swimming, being a Girl Scout, and attending youth group at church.

As for being chosen to represent the 97th District, Madeline mentioned, “I will miss my family the most while I’m working. I will also miss my cat and dog.”

Nicholas Brown is an 8th grade student at Stonewall Jackson Middle School. He enjoys civics. Playing soccer is his favorite extracurricular activity.

As for being chosen to represent the 97th District, Nicholas mentioned, “I will miss my beagle Sam, and my sister Mallory while I’m working at the General Assembly.”

“Nicholas and Madeline are smart young people with very bright futures,” said Peace. “I want to give them every opportunity to have this once in a lifetime experience. With a few members who were once pages, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the legislature one day.”

Each year the Speaker of the House of Delegate appoints 13 and 14 year-old youth from across the Commonwealth to serve as House pages during the regular session of the General Assembly. These young people assist the members of the House of Delegates, the House clerk’s staff, and other legislative staff in the daily duties required for the successful operation of the House of Delegates during the session.

The page workday begins promptly as 8:30 a.m. and ends at 5:00 p.m. A lunch break is provided. There is no weekend work except for the last Saturday of session. Pages collate bills for filing, deliver legislation and documents throughout the Capitol complex, and perform a=errands for members and staff of the House of Delegates during each day’s floor session and at committee meetings. Pages are also selected for assignments in specific House offices including the Speaker’s Office, the Clerk’s Office, the Enrolling Room, the Bill Room, the Fax Center and the Governor’s Office. Pages are trained for these assignments during the first two days of their employment. Every effort is made to provide each page with a variety of work assignments. All work assignments are important to the legislative process and should be performed in a professional manner.

While at work pages are under the supervision of the Clerk and Executive Assistant to the Clerk, the Page Coordinator and Assistant Page Coordinator, and two Head Pages who served as pages the previous year. After work pages have approximately two hours of unsupervised free time from 5:p.m. until 7:00 p.m. reserved for eating dinner. It is mandatory that all pages reside at the hotel. There are two chaperons on duty at the hotel from 5:p.m. until 8:30 a.m. each day, Sunday through Friday.

A mandatory study hall is held at the hotel every Monday through Thursday evening from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Certified teachers supervise the pages and help individual students as needed. Pages are responsible for arranging with their schools and teachers the preferred method of taking tests and exams. For more information or to apply for future sessions, visit:

http://legis.virginia.gov/1_cap_class/stu_pro/sp_page_pro.html#House

Delegate Chris Peace is frequently rated one of Virginia's most business-friendly conservatives. Peace’s voting record shows a consistent focus on opposing tax increases, protecting family values defending the Constitution and promoting job creating and a high quality of life in Hanover, King William and New Kent counties.

 

House Republicans Propose “Classroom Success” Education Reforms

~ Proposals will let teachers spend more time on classroom instruction and less time on mandatory reporting, give teachers additional support, and continue to reform student assessments ~ RICHMOND, VA - House Republican leaders announced their education agenda for the 2015 General Assembly on a press conference call with reporters Thursday. The “Classroom Success” agenda seeks to give every Virginia student access to a quality education. It builds on successful efforts in recent years to recruit and reward excellent teachers and give students additional pathways to success.

Speaking about the proposals, House Education Committee Chairman Steve Landes (R-Augusta) said, “No other policy area matters more for the future success of our Commonwealth than education. That’s why House Republicans put ‘Classroom Success’ education reforms at the center of our legislative agenda for 2015. This year, we have put forward important measures to support our hard-working teachers, give teachers and administrators flexibility to provide students with the best possible education, and improve the Standards of Learning tests to better measure actual student success. As Chairman of the House Education Committee, I look forward to working with Republicans and Democrats, as well as education leaders from across Virginia, on these important initiatives.”

“Virginia’s teachers have a lasting impact on the long-term success of our children,” said House Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights), a retired teacher with more than 30 years of classroom experience. “That’s why we will build on recent efforts to support our dedicated teachers by prioritizing professional development and providing a platform for teachers to share best practices across the Commonwealth. Our SOL Reform efforts last year brought about many needed changes. Supporting our teachers during this transition period is critical. If we are to attract and retain the best and brightest teachers in Virginia, we must treat them like the professionals that they are.”

“Accountability is vitally important, but we must continue to seek the right balance in the classroom. Too often, teachers, students and parents are frustrated by overly-burdensome testing, which crowds out the valuable time that should be used for learning,” said Tag Greason (R-Loudoun), who will introduce additional reforms to Virginia’s assessment system. Greason carried last year’s landmark SOL reform bill. “Last year, we eliminated five SOL tests in grades 3-8. This year, we propose the expansion of expedited re-take tests for more students, as recommended by the SOL Innovation Committee, and will encourage the development of interdisciplinary tests that promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills.”

Greason will also introduce legislation to reform the school accreditation process. “The current one-size-fits-all accreditation system is ineffective. It unnecessarily burdens school leaders,” said Greason. “Good schools with track records of success should be freed from annual accreditation reporting, allowing teachers and administrators to spend more time on student learning. This proposal will give local leaders needed flexibility without sacrificing accountability in our schools.”

Steve Landes continued, “These are smart policies that will give students across the Commonwealth a better path to classroom success. As a parent, I’m eager to see these meaningful education reforms enacted.  They will make a positive difference for students and teachers.”

Alan Seibert, the President of the Virginia Association of School Superintendents applauded the proposals saying, “VASS is pleased with the bipartisan attention that K-12 education is receiving here in the Commonwealth, from reforming how students are tested, to how schools are accredited, and how success, progress and improvement are reported. Virginia's Superintendents have identified these issues, school funding, and instructional delivery in our Blueprint for the Future of Public Education and look forward to collaborating with the House Leaders, the rest of the General Assembly and the Administration in how to best achieve these goals."

House Republican Caucus K-12 Education Agenda

Supporting Our Teachers

Teacher Professional Development – As we continue to reform our assessment system to transition away from multiple choice and rote memorization, we are asking teachers to focus on critical thinking, problem solving, and implementing authentic performance assessments.  To help in this transition, the House will prioritize teacher professional development as part of our ongoing effort to support Virginia’s teachers. This will include developing a process to share teaching best practices across the commonwealth.

Reducing Bureaucratic Red Tape

Accreditation Flexibility (Greason) – Reform 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.

School Report Cards (Greason) – Replace the current A-F system with a more comprehensive school report card. The school report card would give parents a more complete way to measure the success of local schools without being overly simplistic or unfairly stigmatizing local schools.  The improved report card will focus on a wider range of metrics designed to give a better sense for how a school is doing.

Better Measures of Student Success

Expedited Retake (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.   Interdisciplinary Assessments (Greason) – Recommend that the Board of Education and Department of Education consider the inclusion of interdisciplinary assessments as part of continued efforts to reform the Standards of Learning tests. This would allow teachers to use different subjects like science, math, reading and writing in one test. This would encourage critical thinking and problem-solving, rather than simple rote memorization in one subject.

Other Proposals

Student privacy (HB 1307, HB 1334; Landes) – Enact additional safeguards to protect student privacy by prohibiting the collection of student social security numbers and by requiring the Department of Education to develop uniform policies related to the collection, storage and use of student’s personally-identifiable information.   Virtual Schools (HB 324, HB 1361; Dickie Bell) – Establishes the Virginia Virtual School and its governing board. The school is open to any Virginia student and will provide an educational program that meets the state’s Standards of Quality for grades K-12.   College Credit for AP Courses (HB 1336; Landes) – Requires the State Council of Higher Education to develop a standardizes 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.

Delegate Chris Peace Challenges McAuliffe’s Preferential Treatment of Controversial Labor Union

-- Peace to submit budget language to address the Governor’s pro-union issue -- Central Virginia- Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) announced plans this week to introduce draft budget language that would address Governor McAuliffe’s preferential treatment of members of a controversial labor union in his 2015-2016 proposed budget amendments.

Governor McAuliffe’s proposed budget amendment would authorize overtime payment for up to 56 hours per week for consumer-directed (CD) personal assistance, respite, and companion services. McAuliffe’s proposal would pay members time and a half for every hour over 40 per week and potential cost taxpayers more.

The Governor’s proposal is not Medicaid reform but is expansion in another name. DMAS is the agency that administers Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program in Virginia. The language proposed in Delegate Peace’s amendment would cap the hours Medicaid would pay for consumer directed services at 40-hours per week and prohibit the Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) from serving as the employer of record.

Finally, Peace’s budget language would protect and hold the Commonwealth harmless while the federal courts resolve the Department of Labor’s authority to require overtime payments at all. Delegate Peace continues to oppose Medicaid expansion.

Delegate Christopher K. Peace was elected to his fifth term representing the 97th District of the Virginia House of Delegates. The District includes parts of Hanover, King William, and all of New Kent County.

 

Delegate Peace's 2015 Legislative Survey

It has been an honor and a privilege to work for the citizens of the 97th House District. Working together, we have accomplished many things for our community and our Commonwealth. As we begin the 2015 legislative session, I hope you will take a few moments to share with me your thoughts on some of the issues facing the General Assembly.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to complete this questionnaire. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance. For questions or concerns, I may be reached at 804-698-1097 or via e-mail at delcpeace@house.virginia.gov

Click here to take Delegate Peace's 2015 Legislative Survey