|Senate passes Education and 11 other bills Monday
After a marathon Monday session where most senators spoke passionately—out of their own convictions and for those watching the legislative live stream—the Senate passed 18-16 the comprehensive education reform bill, SB 451, The bill now goes to the House of Delegates.
The 140-page bill introduces public charter schools, education savings accounts (ESA), a $250 tax credit for teachers buying supplies, 5 percent pay increase to teachers and service personnel, and a $500 bonus for teachers who miss less than 10 days during an academic year.
The charter schools could be open in any school district, and is an op-in. Students and their families would have to apply for admission into a charter school, and would be first-come first-serve.
Education savings accounts would be open for 2,500 students who attend public charter schools in the state at any one time. Funds in the account can also roll over year to year. If a student enrolls in public school, then their ESA account would result in immediate suspension. Language that expanded class size was amended out of the bill.
The Senate also passed 11 other bills, which include:
· SB 100 Increasing court fees to fund law-enforcement standards training and expenses
· SB 342 Exempting Social Security and tier one railroad retirement benefits from personal income tax
· SB 357 consolidates the functions of the Division of Justice and Community Services with the Division of Administrative Services of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.
· SB 358 Exempting Purchasing Division purchases for equipment to maintain security at state facilities
· SB 361 Relating to Public Defender Services
· SB 369 Relating to generic drug products
· SB 373 Deducts any attorney fees, child support or other obligations from awards granted to inmates through civil actins
· SB 377 Excludes seasonal amusement park workers from the definition of “employee” for the purposes of maximum hours standards
· SB 389 Allowing developmentally disabled person purchase base hunting license
· SB 398 and SB 399 Both relating to compensation for senior judges