Blizzard of BillsJan 21, 2016
It didn’t take long for things get very busy at the General Assembly. A “long session” of 60 days has gotten off to a very fast pace. Yesterday, the House Education Committee moved forward several bills that will expand education opportunities for Virginia’s families.
First, the “Tebow bill,” legislation (HB 131) that would assist home school students in participating in public school sports, passed 14-8.
The home school sports bill, patroned by Delegate Rob Bell (R-58, Charlottesville), would break down barriers that prevent home school students from playing public high school sports by prohibiting localities from joining the Virginia High School League (VHSL), a pseudo-state/private entity that regulates public school sports. Under the provisions of the measure, localities would not be able to contract with VHSL if they don’t allow home school students to participate.
Delegate Dickie Bell’s HB 8 moved through committee 14-7 and was sent to the Appropriations Committee. This legislation would help better establish the Virtual School community in Virginia, giving students more opportunities to take part in “virtual” classes that may not be offered in their school district. Virtual education is a growing and successful trend across the nation.
The Education Committee also sent to Appropriations Delegate Dave LaRock’s HB 389, legislation that would create an Education Savings Account (ESA) for students in Virginia for use in private school education or to assist in costs of supplemental education needs such as tutors. ESAs are part of the growing wave of education freedom around the nation.
With the impending snow storm, General Assembly members have left town, canceling tomorrow’s session, a very unusual action. Next week will be incredibly busy as some of our key bills will be heard in committee, as will bills we oppose. In the coming days, we will ask you to contact your representatives here in Richmond to vote your values. I hope you’ll take the time to participate when we ask. It is essential that our lawmakers hear from you!
Our TFF advocacy team is already hard at work on your behalf. We’ve taken a position on more than 115 bills, in support or opposition.