RICHMOND, VA – Delegate Richard P. “Dickie” Bell (R-Staunton) announced today House Bills 1646 and 1683 have passed in the full House of Delegates. Additionally, House Bill 2151 has been reported out of the subcommittee on Teachers and Administrative Actions.
House Bill 1646 clarifies eligibility requirements for funds from the state pool of funds for comprehensive services for at-risk youth and families, making clear that a child who has been placed through an agreement between his parents and a public agency other than the local department of social services, or who is receiving foster care services to prevent foster care placement, is eligible for funds from the state pool.
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.
Both bills were initially referred to the Committee on Health, Welfare, and Institutions, where they were reported out unanimously. They passed today on the house floor with a vote of 98-0.
“I am very pleased to see House Bills 1646 and 1683 pass with unanimous support in the House of Delegates. These bills help ensure that they money spent under the Comprehensive Services Act are spent wisely and properly.” said Delegate Bell. “I’m pleased that this bill was successful in the House, and I hope that it will be well received when it crosses over to the Senate.”
Additionally, Delegate Bell’s House Bill 2151 was heard in the Teachers and Administrative Action Subcommittee of the Committee on Education yesterday, and reported out with a vote of 8-0. This legislation is a heavily amended version of the Teacher Contract legislation that Delegate Bell presented last year.
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.
“I am delighted to see this legislation reported out of the subcommittee with an 8-0 vote. We began working on this bill last year almost immediately after Session, and all of our stakeholders have come to the table. The Superintendents’ Association, School Boards’ Association, and the VEA all came forward with valuable amendments that have made this the best legislation possible.” said Delegate Bell. “Through their cooperation and advice, we have made this legislation beneficial to students, teachers, and administrators alike. I am pleased with the results of the subcommittee meeting and I hope that it will continue to gain support as it moves through the legislative process.”
Elected to the House of Delegates in 2009, Delegate Bell represents the 20th District, which includes Highland County, portions of Augusta and Nelson Counties, and the Cities of Staunton and Waynesboro. He is currently serving in his 2nd term.