Bell Sounds from the 20th - 1/27/11

We are now in the heart of the 2012 General Assembly Session. Between subcommittee and committee meetings and House floor sessions, we are working hard to consider the legislation before us, and promote our own legislative agendas.
 

Let me apologize if this is the first newsletter that you’ve received this year.  It seems that we have had a few technical difficulties with our email server that caused many of you not to receive our last two emails.  If you’d like copies of those last two newsletters, please email Savanna at savanna@bellfordelegate.com,and she would be happy to forward those to you.

Improving Care for the Intellectually Disabled

This week Virginia took a big step forward to improve the care for those in the Commonwealth with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Thursday, Governor McDonnell announced that Virginia will add 4,710 new Intellectual Disability (ID) waiver slots and close four of the five training centers around the state. This is very welcome news for the thousands of families across Virginia with loved ones on the waitlist for these waivers.

An ID waiver funds services to help individuals with an intellectual disability remain in the community and avoid institutional care. Since 2002, the General Assembly has increased from about 5,386 slots to 8,467 slots currently.  This is about a 58 percent increase.

In 2011, the General Assembly passed House Bill 2533, a bill that I co-patroned.  As a result of that legislation, Virginia invested $30 million into a trust fund to start thetransition from institutional care to community-based care for those with intellectual disabilities.

The Governor’s announcement came as Virginia reached a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice regarding Virginia's compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the 1999 Supreme Court decision in the Olmstead case.

You can read more about this settlement as well as the increased waivers online here.

House Republicans Unveil K-12 Education Reform Measures

The House Republicans and Governor McDonnell’s administration are committed to giving every child in the Commonwealth the opportunity to receive a top-quality education.

On Monday, the House Republican Caucus held a press conference where we highlighted our K-12 education reforms designed to improve education in Virginia.

One reform would permit businesses to sponsor educational improvement scholarships for lower income children. Another would allow any institution of higher education in Virginia to operate a college partnership laboratory school. The last reform, which I have patroned, would replace current teacher contracts with performance-based contracts.

This series of reforms along with Governor McDonnell’s proposed investment of an additional $492 million in our schools, will give our teachers the additional resources and tools needed to provide the top-quality education our children deserve and ensure the solvency of the teacher retirement fund.

I am once again honored and privileged to be able to carry a piece of legislation that is part of Governor McDonnell’s education agenda.  You can read more online about the K-12 Education Agenda here.

My Legislation

This week I had several pieces of legislation heard in committee and on the House floor.

House Bill 577 is legislation that clarifies that teachers of online courses must provide written consent and the information necessary to obtain a search of the registry of founded complaints of child abuse and neglect as a condition of their employment. This bill simply changes the code to require teachers who teach only on-line courses to meet the same background check requirements as teachers in a traditional classroom.  It passed in the House of Delegates on January 23.

House Bill 217 is a bill that passed today in the House, which provides that the provisions of the Government Data Collection and Dissemination Practices Act do not apply to personal information systems maintained by the Department of Social Services related to child welfare, adult services or adult protective services, or public assistance programs when requests for personal information are made to the Department of Social Services.  It will help provide clarity to individuals in the Commonwealth about the difference between state and local social services departments, and will help keep them informed on where they should go to obtain their individual case information.

House Bill 98 would amend the definition of the practice of athletic training so that licensed physical therapists may no longer direct such a practice.  This bill simply cleans up the code to fit the current practices already in place. It removes clutter from the Code and helps Athletic Trainers and Physical Therapists understand the laws regarding their profession.  This bill passed today in the House of Delegates

Visitors

We’ve had several visits from home this week, and it is always great to see friendly faces.

As always we were happy to see friends from the Farm Bureau representing Augusta County, Highland County, Nelson County, and Rockingham County.

I was able to spend some time with Maggie Ragon, Staunton Commissioner of Revenue, and Eleanor Amidon who stopped by for Virginia Conservation Network lobby day.

It was also great to meet with Glenn Slack and a group from Arc of Augusta, and Dr. Bob Gunther from the Foundation for a Healthy Youth.  We also welcomed Bo Wilson and Bruce Thompson of Dr. Pepper of Staunton, and several of our friends from Dupont Community Credit Union.

Poll Question

I am still looking for feedback on the Sunday hunting measure that has been proposed in the House.  A similar measure passed in the Senate yesterday. It is my understanding that it will be in committee on the House side this week, so could be on the floor late this coming week or early next week.

Please email your feedback on this key issue to deldbell@gmail.com.

Contact Us

Our office is currently operating out of our Richmond Office for the entirety of the 2012 Session.  You can contactus here by phone at 804-698-1020, or by email at DelDBell@house.virginia.gov.    

If you’re in the Richmond area we’d love to see you.  We make constituent visits a priority and do our best to meet with as many as possible. In order to help us accommodate you we encourage you to call and make an appointment.  

We hope to hear from you while we are here.  If you have any questions or concerns, or would like to voice your opinion on key pieces of legislation that may impact the District or the Commonwealth, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thanks again for allowing me to serve as your Delegate.

Do you like this post?

Showing 2 reactions


commented 2013-12-27 02:15:37 -0500 · Flag
Thank you
published this page in Newsletter 2012-01-27 17:03:14 -0500