Governor McDonnell Signs Delegate Bell's Legislation

STAUNTON, VA – Delegate Richard P. “Dickie” Bell (R-Staunton) announced today that Governor McDonnell has signed into law a number of House Bills that he patroned for the 2013 General Assembly Session.

 

The bills signed into law include House Bills 1335, 1344, 1349, 1406, 1646, 1683, and 2151.  One more of Delegate Bell’s bills, House Bill 1440, is being amended by the Governor.

 

“I’m pleased that the Governor has agreed with the General Assembly regarding each of these bills.” said Delegate Bell.  “I’ve worked hard during my tenure in the House of Delegates to patron legislation that will benefit all Virginians, and I believe this year we have accomplished that. I’m grateful that this legislation gained bipartisan support in the General Assembly, and has now been signed into law.” 

 

House Bill 1335 allows the senior judge, for good cause, to appoint a temporary member to the electoral board in order to maintain a quorum.

 

House Bill 1344 permits local school divisions to ensure that individualized education program (IEP) teams consider the specific communication needs of children who are deaf or hard of hearing and address those needs as appropriate in the child's IEP.

 

House Bill 1349 defines "dental hygiene" as duties related to patient assessment and the rendering of educational, preventive, and therapeutic dental services specified in regulations of the Board and not otherwise restricted to the practice of dentistry. The bill defines "dental hygienist" as a person who is licensed by the Board of Dentistry to practice dental hygiene. The bill also clarifies the licensure requirement for a dental hygienist of graduation from a dental hygiene program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and offered by an accredited institution of higher education.

 

House Bill 1406 encourages each school board to annually provide parent educational information on eating disorders for public school students in grades five through 12. The bill also requires the Department of Education and the Department of Health to develop and implement policies for providing parent educational information on eating disorders.

 

House Bill 1646 provides that foster care services shall include independent living services provided to a former foster child who is over the age of 18 years but who has not yet reached the age of 21 years, and that a former foster child receiving such services shall be eligible for funding through the Comprehensive Services for At-Risk Youth and Families program.

House Bill 1683 adds community-based mental health services to the list of services for which expenditures must be reported by the Office of Comprehensive Services for At-Risk Youth and Families.

 

House Bill 2151 makes a number of changes to the processes to which teachers are evaluated and to the grievance process. It requires teachers and administrators to be evaluated every year, either informally or formally, and include student academic progress as a component. The legislation includes a measure that gives local school boards the option of extending the probationary process for a new teacher from three to five years to allow more time to evaluate performance. Perhaps most importantly, the legislation streamlines the grievance process for teachers by a series of changes to the hearing process. It includes a shortened timeframe and the appointment of a single impartial hearing officer instead of a three-member panel. Additionally, the passage of this legislation will result in a 2% raise for teachers

 

Delegate Bell patroned 13 pieces of legislation during the 2013 General Assembly Session.  Of those, 8 passed in both houses and 7 have already been signed by Governor McDonnell.

 

Governor McDonnell is expected to sign House Bill 1440, a bill that enacts a charter for the Town of Monterey in Highland County, repealing the former charter of 1952, as amended.  Governor McDonnell has made some technical recommendations for this legislation, and is expected to sign it after the amendments are agreed to by the House of Delegates and Senate.

 

 

Unless otherwise noted, these bills will go into effect July 1, 2013.  

 

       Elected to the House of Delegates in 2009, Delegate Bell represents the 20th District, which includes parts of Nelson and Augusta Counties, Highland County, and the Cities of Staunton and Waynesboro.

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