Week 3 Session Update

This week in Richmond included a second round of snow in as many weeks, but the light dustings have not been enough to stop progress in the House of Delegates.

Virginia’s Unemployment Rate Falls to 5.5% – Lowest in the Southeast

I start this week’s update with some great news on Virginia’s economy. Last Friday, it was announced that Virginia’s unemployment rate fell to 5.5%- the lowest unemployment rate since 2008 and the lowest in the Southeast. Working in partnership with Governor McDonnell, Republican Delegates have made creating a positive, pro-growth jobs environment our top priority. Our formula for increasing economic growth has consisted of keeping taxes low, eliminating unnecessary regulations, and developing a skilled and educated workforce. This 4 year low unemployment rate is the result of our efforts to help create new jobs and opportunities.

This good economic news does not mean we have taken our eye off the ball. Helping businesses create new jobs and improving our economy remain our highest priorities. This year, we have advanced solutions to reduce traffic congestion, remove bureaucratic red tape, and improve our education system to ensure our children can compete for the jobs of tomorrow.

House Republicans Advance K-12 Education Reform Agenda

One of the key ingredients to a strong economy is a well-educated workforce, my Republican colleagues and I are committed to advancing reforms that empower our teachers, bring greater accountability to our schools, and give localities more flexibility over state funding.

This week, the House of Delegates passed several important K-12 education reform bills.

  • The Teach for America Act (HB 2084) passed the House of Delegates with unanimous      support. This bill will bring the Teach for America program to the      Commonwealth and allow participants in the program to teach in Virginia      schools. Currently, 300 of Virginia’s best and brightest recent college      graduates who participate in Teach for America are sent to classrooms in      other states. This bill will allow these individuals, along with any other      Teach for America participant, to teach here and work to make a difference      in our schools. Teach for America recruits are often in the top 10 percent of their college classes or hold student leadership positions. Before they start teaching in the classrooms, they must pass an intensive training course that involves practice in a classroom setting, community integration, and professional development.
  • Local School Division Charter      School Approval (HB 2076) would      reduce barriers to creating charter schools in Virginia.
  • High School to Work Partnerships      (HB 2101) passed with unanimous      support. This bill will make sure all high school graduates are college or      career ready when they graduate.
  • The Educator Fairness Act (HB 2151) passed with solid bipartisan support. This      legislation gives localities the option to extend the probationary window      for new teachers from three to five years and clarifies the evaluation and      grievance processes for teachers. This legislation has the support from      many groups including the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the Virginia      Association of Superintendents and the Virginia Education Association.

Status of My Bills

Since most bills are still in committees and subcommittees, here is the status of some of mine. To follow any other legislation, or read these bills in full, you can go to http://www.lis.virginia.gov.

  • HB 1432: Revises one of the allegations necessary to a petition for a writ of actual innocence.
    On Wednesday, this bill was reported out from the Courts of Justice (17-Y 0-N)
  • HB 1587: Empowers the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to render a determination in response to a petition from a private party or Board staff, filed pursuant to the provisions of the Beer Franchise Act requesting the issuance of a case decision declaring whether contemplated action of a named party would be lawful or unlawful if carried out.
    Today, this bill was read for the third time and passed in the House with a block vote (98-Y 0-N)
  • HB 1849: Includes in the privileges for winery and farm winery licensees the ability to operate a contract winemaking facility.
    Today, this bill was read for the third time and passed in the House with a block vote (98-Y 0-N)

As always, my staff and I are here in Richmond to serve you. We want to hear what you think about the legislation pending before the House, or if there’s anything we can do to help you in dealing with a state government agency. My office can be reached at (804) 698-1042 or via email at DelDAlbo@house.virginia.gov. You can also fill out my legislative survey here. If you are planning to visit Richmond during Session, I encourage you to visit me in General Assembly building room 529.

Dave

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