The General Assembly and the Capitol were bustling this week. I enjoyed seeing many constituents. Thank you to everyone who stopped by and said hello!
I had a lot of legislative work to do as all of the bills must be voted on by Friday, February 3. All of the legislation that has passed the House will be read and voted on in the Senate, and all of the legislation that has passed the Senate will be read and voted on in the House – this is called crossover.
Visitors from the 42nd District
I enjoyed a visit from Nick Milroy, WSHS Alum, representing Virginia Tech. Nick and I talked about state funding for Higher Education and the fact that he was on the WSHS Swim Team, class of 2015, and I was on it in 1980!
A couple of visitors stopped by to see the wonderful artwork that we have on the walls! Check out the blog post from the second week of session to see the pictures all over my office in the General Assembly.
On Tuesday, HB 1825 passed the House on its third reading. The bill will prohibit ticket sale companies from implementing barriers for resale. You can read more about the bill in this Richmond Times Dispatch article, which includes an anecdote about my own experience with this issue.
On Wednesday, HB 1526 passed the House on its third reading. The bill revises the annual mixed beverage performing arts facility license to allow any person operating any performing arts facility to sell, on the dates of performances and one hour prior to any such performance and one hour after the conclusion of any performance, alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption in areas upon the licensed premises approved by the Board.
On Thursday, HB 1411 and HB 1525 passed the House on their third reading unopposed. You can read the bills as filed, as well as keep up with the rest of my legislation by clicking here.
HB 1410 – My original bill addressed three things:
- It makes sure that the Boards of Visitors know they are running the university on behalf of the PEOPLE of VA! When they make their decisions, they need to think about what parents and students want first, not what “academia” wants. The point here is that the Board of Visitors should not be empire building, but instead making sure tuition is affordable, there are slots for in state students, AND that they are to provide a top notch education.
- Schools say they need out-of-state students because they pay twice as much, and they need their money for running the school. Instead, we find that many schools take out-of-state tuition money and use it to fund other out-of-state students. Secondly, an infuriating policy that they have is taking in-state student tuition and using it for financial aid to other in-state students. Thus, when I paid $20,000 for a pre-paid tuition for my son, unbeknownst to me, some of the money I saved was NOT going to Ben, but rather going to some other student. It is even more maddening when you think about a student who is paying their own tuition and working to put themselves through school. Think about it, these students are working outside of class hours, not only to pay their own tuition, but to pay someone else’s tuition who is not working!
- Finally, it addresses the problem of UVA and W&M who have 69% and 66%, respectively, in-state students. These schools are Virginia schools — not the University of New Jersey at Charlottesville or College of New York at Williamsburg. My bill mandates that all schools must be at least 75% in state. I have been working for years on this. Virginia Tech and JMU are at 74% now, and they have done a great job. UVA has added about 1000 slots, but are still have too few in-state slots.
What the amended bill does:
In this business, you have to compromise to accomplish things. I want to remind you that even though this is not 100% of what I want, it is the first time a bill on this topic has even gotten out of committee and to the House Floor. Here is what I have agreed to:
- Puts in Code that Boards of Visitors owe a duty to the people of Virginia and requires this in training.
- Creates a study to figure out a way for schools to limit or eliminate using tuition for financial aid. We had to study this because all schools have programmed tuition transfer into their budgets, and students with financial need would end up being kicked out of school if this passed immediately.
- Mandates a 70% in-state limit instead of a 75%. It does so through incentives rather than mandates. It says that for all schools who are above a 30% out-of-state ratio, any such student’s tuition above the cost of educating him MUST go to reducing tuition costs of in-state students. Maybe an example would help; If a school has 10,000 undergrads, they can have 3000 out-of-state students. But if they have 4000 out-of-state students, they must use the tuition from the extra 1,000 students to lower in-state students’ tuition costs. If out-of-state tuition is $24,000 and it costs $10,000 to educate that student, then the $14,000 profit must be used to lower the in-state students’ tuition. Basically, it takes the incentive out of any school going higher than 30% out of state, effectively capping out of state enrollment at 30%. While I wanted the cap at 25%, this is still a major accomplishment.
I encourage you to keep in touch with me and my office over the rest of session! We have about three weeks left. I value the feedback you provide as it helps me to a better job of representing you. You can email me at DelDAlbo@house.virginia.gov or call me at (804)-698-1042. You can also join the conversation on our Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DaveAlboVA
Links of Interest:
My Web Site: www.DaveAlbo.org
Legislative information system: http://www.lis.virginia.gov
Live session video and archived session videos: http://virginia-house.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3