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RPS Legislative Advocacy Update - January 13, 2020 - Day 6/60

The General Assembly begins their first full week of their legislative session today and committees are now operating on a full schedule. As of today, 2,723 bills and resolutions have been filed and we are busy assessing bills for their impact on RPS. The Legislative Information System is the portal to use to view the status of legislation and the schedule of committee meetings.

This morning, the House Education Committee is holding their first meeting of the session. They will receive a presentation of the results of the Commonwealth Education Poll, which is conducted every year to gather insight on public opinion about education priorities in the state. We encourage everyone to review Delegates Jay Jones and Todd Pillion note in an op-ed published this weekend regarding this years poll.

Legislation 

Senator Jennifer McClellan has introduced legislation addressing one of the RPS 2020 Legislative Priorities regarding school construction and modernization. SB 888 would create the Commission on School Construction and Modernization to provide guidance and resources to local school divisions related to school construction and modernization and making funding recommendations to the General Assembly and the Governor. If created, this Commission would provide state level leadership to guide the Commonwealth in how to modernize our schools. It would also look for cost-savings measures that could be implemented by the state and school divisions to make the school construction process more cost-effective and efficient. The bill will be considered by the Senate Rules Committee in the coming weeks.

Budget

The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis has published their analysis of the Governor’s introduced budget and his budget priorities. The excerpt below shows his K-12 Education priorities and the amount of proposed investment. All of these priorities will be debated during the legislative session and can all be amended by the legislature.

What can you do today? 

Session is now in full swing and it’s time to plan any trips that you want to make down to the Capitol this session. Now is the time to look at your January calendar and find a day that you can come down to visit legislators and see the legislative process in action. Some key times during the weekly schedule to attend are:

  • Mondays - House Education Committee meets in the morning. Attend a committee hearing and visit legislators afterwards.
  • Tuesdays - The Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee meets in the morning. They cover a variety of bills dealing with state taxation and spending, many relevant to education funding. 
  • Wednesdays - The House Education Committee holds their second weekly meeting on Wednesday mornings. In the afternoons, the Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee meets to discuss K-12 education funding at 4pm. They often receive important presentations and consider specific bills related to K-12 funding priorities.
  • Thursdays - The Senate Education and Health Committee holds their weekly meeting Thursday mornings, generally meeting for the entirety of the morning. This is a good day to visit House members and pop in to the Senate committee meetings if any priority bills are being heard.

If you’d like to learn more about what may be happening on a specific day, contact Matthew Stanley at mstanley@rvaschools.net. We can provide further information and help coordinate your visit to the legislature.