Delegate Bell Appointed to Committee on General Laws

RICHMOND, VA – Delegate Richard P. “Dickie” Bell (R-Staunton) announced today that he has been appointed by Speaker Bill Howell to the Committee on General Laws.

 

“I am thankful for this appointment to the Committee on General Laws.  As we begin the 2015 Session I am ready to hit the ground running in this new position.” said Delegate Bell. “I am looking forward to serving in this new capacity in the House, and look forward to the challenges that come with it.  I would like to thank Speaker Howell for allowing me this new opportunity to represent the citizens of the 20th House District.”

 

Delegate Bell now serves  on the Committee on General Laws, the Committee on Education, and the Committee on Health, Welfare, and Institutions.

 

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 Waynesboro and Staunton.  Delegate Bell is currently serving in his third term.

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Delegate Dickie Bell Addresses American Legion Boys State of Virginia

        DELEGATE RICHARD P. BELL ADDRESSES AMERICAN LEGION BOYS STATE 

RADFORD – Richard P. Bell, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Staunton, this morning addressed select high school students attending the 72nd session of American Legion Boys State of Virginia being held this week at Radford University.

Delegate Dickie Bell (R-20), participating for his fourth consecutive time as an instructor in the Boys State program, spoke on "Virginia Government - Origins to Today."  He described the history and legislative process of the Virginia General Assembly including how a bill becomes law.  Bell also discussed his duties and challenges as a state Delegate along with various current policy and political issues facing state government in Virginia.  He answered several questions from the Boys State citizens.The 2014 session of American Legion Boys State of Virginia opened yesterday with 707 delegates in attendance.  Outstanding rising seniors from high schools – public, private and homeschooled -- across Virginia have been chosen to participate in this annual educational program.

Boys State, sponsored by the American Legion in each state, is designed to instruct select high school students about state and local government.  Delegates to this intensive week-long session will hear addresses from various state and local officials including the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, a cabinet secretary, six members of the General Assembly, a district judge, a state prosecutor and three local officials.

All delegates are assigned to one of sixteen Boys State cities named after famous military leaders, like Eisenhower, MacArthur, and Patton.  Each of the Boys State citizens are also assigned to either of the fictitious political parties -- Federalist or Nationalist -- for purposes of nominating and electing candidates for mayor of each city, the Boys State legislature, attorney general, lieutenant governor, and governor along with various other state and local offices.  Citizens elected to the various positions actually serve in those offices during the week and take on their respective duties and responsibilities.  Students attending Boys State learn citizenship and civic leadership through participation.

The first Boys State in the nation was held in 1935 in Illinois.  The American Legion Department of Virginia sponsored its first Boys State program in 1939.

Principal speakers for this week include: Governor Terence R. McAuliffe (11:30 am on Thursday, June 19) and Attorney General Mark R. Herring (9:30 am on Friday, June 20).

 
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General Assembly Passes Clean Budget without Medicaid Expansion

GENERAL ASSEMBLY PASSES RESPONSIBLE BUDGET WITHOUT

MEDICAID EXPANSION

 

RICHMOND, VA – The Virginia General Assembly passed the state’s two-year budget late Thursday, sending the budget to the desk of Governor Terry McAuliffe for final approval. The budget addresses the $1.5 billion revenue shortfall by cutting spending increases and using some of the state’s rainy day fund. The budget does not include Medicaid expansion. Delegate Richard P. “Dickie” Bell (R-Staunton) issued the following statement.

 

“Late last night the State Senate and House of Delegates came together to put the people of Virginia ahead of politics. We passed a responsible, fiscally sound, and conservative budget that addresses our state’s $1.5 billion revenue shortfall while protecting our key investments in K-12, mental health, and the Virginia Retirement System.  This budget does not include Medicaid Expansion.

 

“This budget addresses the revenue shortfall by eliminating spending increases as compared to the original budget, and by tapping into the state’s rainy day fund.  The rainy day fund is Virginia’s savings account, and I take the responsibility we have to protect and increase that fund very seriously.  In this case, however, we had little choice. Without it, we would have to make severe cuts to core government services, and it would have been tough to identify those cuts in such a short period of time.  Like families in Virginia, we can’t spend money that we don’t have. We were, however, able to protect over $300 million in new classroom funding for K-12 education, about $50 million in new funding for mental health reforms and investments in our state employee retirement system.

 

“Though the original budget language did not expressly allow the Governor to expand Medicaid without the approval of the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission, there was concern among many that Governor McAuliffe may try to do so.  Therefore, the General Assembly has added an additional, clarifying section that unequivocally prohibits the expansion of Medicaid without the approval of the legislature.

 

“Once the budget is signed, we can and should return to Richmond to debate Medicaid expansion on its own merit. I have continually expressed my concerns about Medicaid expansion, and I still believe that Virginia cannot afford the long-term costs and we cannot trust the federal government to pay for Medicaid expansion forever.  I am, however, more than willing to have a full and fair debate on this issue.

 

“While I am disappointed that it took us 96 days to get here, I am pleased that we are one step closer to avoiding a Government shutdown.  I hope that the Governor will act quickly on the budget, so that our localities, school divisions, and state agencies can gain the certainty that they need to complete their own budgets.”

 

 

 

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Delegates, NFIB, Small Business News Conference SATURDAY to Respond to McAuliffe's Claims About Medicaid Expansion

 

FISHERSVILLE – Delegates Steve Landes, Dickie Bell, and Ben Cline will join NFIB/Virginia State Director Nicole Riley and local small-business owners at a news conference on Saturday in Fishersville in response to Gov. Terry McAuliffe's visit to the area to promote his plans for Medicaid expansion.

The news conference will be held on Saturday, March 1 at 3:00 pm at Eavers Tire Pros, 27 Wilson Blvd, Fishersville.

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Delegate Bell's House Bill 324 Passes in the House of Delegates

RICHMOND, VA – Delegate Richard P. “Dickie” Bell (R-Staunton) announced today that after three years of discussion and debate, Virginia is moving forward with legislation to give parents and students the tools needed to ensure that every child has access to cutting edge technology for virtual learning.

Delegate Bell’s House Bill 324 establishes a new Virtual Virginia School and creates a Board of the Virginia Virtual School as a policy agency under the Secretary of Education (SOE). The School will offer both online classes and virtual school programs to all public, private and home- schooled children in Virginia. The Virginia Virtual School will be responsible for all federal and state accountability requirements applicable to those students enrolled on a full-time basis.

Delegate Bell began working on Virtual Education legislation in 2010.  In 2010, the General Assembly passed House Bill 1388, which required the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Board of Education to develop criteria for approving and monitoring multi-division providers of online courses and virtual school programs.  It also allowed localities to enter into contracts with approved private providers of such courses.

Since 2010, Delegate Bell has worked on legislation to help develop a way to allow all students in Virginia to have access to public virtual school programs. In previous years, however, this legislation has failed in the Appropriations committee due to questions about the funding formula. 

 “This is a tremendous accomplishment, and a huge step for school choice in Virginia. We have worked with educators, business leaders, parents, and students for four long years on this legislation, and it is wonderful to finally see it have the opportunity to be heard and discussed on the full House floor. I am pleased to see it pass the House with bipartisan support.” said Delegate Bell.

“There are many students in Virginia who thrive in the traditional classroom, but there are also many who do not.  There is a tidal wave of technology available to enhance learning options for these students.  I am pleased that the House of Delegates has come together to make sure that Virginia students are included.” said Bell. “Every student in every corner of Virginia should be able to grow and learn in the environment that best meets their needs, and these opportunities should not be limited based on their zip code. Virginia is a leader in so many areas. This is a great step forward and I am looking forward to the Virginia Senate joining us.”  

House Bill 324 was referred to the Committee on Education, where it was reported and referred to Appropriations.  Appropriations reported the bill on February 7 with a vote of 18-3.  Today it passed in the House on a vote of 64-34.  The bill must now be passed by the Senate and signed by the Governor, but proponents are optimistic that legislators will see the benefits of allowing students a virtual option.

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 third term.

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Delegate Bell Announces Appointment to Opportunity Educational Institute Board

STAUNTON, VA – Delegate Richard P. “Dickie” Bell announced today that he has been chosen by the Speaker of the House of Delegates as a representative to the Opportunity Educational Institution Board.

     The Opportunity Educational Institution (OEI) was established during the 2013 Legislative Session by Senate Bill 1324.  It requires that any school that has been denied accreditation and permits any school that is given accreditation with warning for three consecutive years to be transferred to OEI and remain in the institution for 5 years, or until they are receive full accreditation.

     “I am grateful to have been appointed to the OEI Board” said Delegate Bell.  “Every child in Virginia deserves a high quality education. We are very fortunate in Virginia to have one of the best education systems in America, and most of our schools are top notch.  It is important, however, that we find a way to turn around those few schools who are failing.  We must ensure that all students, regardless of their zip code, can receive the best education possible.”

     “Delegate Bell has been a leader on educational issues in the House of Delegates” said Speaker Howell.  “As a retired teacher, he understands how important a good education is for young people. Like me, he believes that a child’s future should not be determined by where they are born. I know that Delegate Bell will be a valuable asset to the Opportunity Educational Institution Board as it begins its task of creating a system that can turn around failing schools and give Virginia students the opportunities that they deserve.”

            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 second term.

           

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Delegate Bell Addresses American Legion Boys State

DELEGATE RICHARD P. BELL ADDRESSES AMERICAN LEGION BOYS STATE
 
 
LYNCHBURG – Richard P. Bell, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Staunton, this morning addressed select high school students attending the 71st session of American Legion Boys State of Virginia being held this week at Radford University.
Delegate Dickie Bell (R-20), participating for his third consecutive time as an instructor in the Boys State program, spoke on "Virginia Government - Origins to Today."  He described the history and legislative process of the Virginia General Assembly including how a bill becomes law.  Bell also discussed his duties and challenges as a state Delegate along with various current policy and political issues facing state government in Virginia.  He answered several questions from the Boys State citizens.
 
The 2013 session of American Legion Boys State of Virginia opened yesterday with 694 delegates in attendance.  Outstanding rising seniors from high schools – public, private and homeschooled -- across Virginia have been chosen to participate in this annual educational program.
Boys State, sponsored by the American Legion in each state, is designed to instruct select high school students about state and local government.  Delegates to this intensive week-long session will hear addresses from various state and local officials including the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, a cabinet secretary, nine members of the General Assembly, a district judge, a state prosecutor and three local officials.
 
All delegates are assigned to one of sixteen Boys State cities named after famous military leaders, like Eisenhower, MacArthur, and Patton.  Each of the Boys State citizens are also assigned to either of the fictitious political parties -- Federalist or Nationalist -- for purposes of nominating and electing candidates for mayor of each city, the Boys State legislature, attorney general, lieutenant governor, and governor along with various other state and local offices.  Citizens elected to the various positions actually serve in those offices during the week and take on their respective duties and responsibilities.  Students attending Boys State learn citizenship and civic leadership through participation.
 
The first Boys State in the nation was held in 1935 in Illinois.  The American Legion Department of Virginia sponsored its first Boys State program in 1939.
 
Principal speakers for this week include: Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli (1:15 pm on Tuesday, June 18): Lieutenant Governor William T. Bolling (9:30 am on Wednesday, June 19) and Governor Robert F. McDonnell (11:15 am on Thursday, June 20).
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Delegate Bell Urges Teachers to Apply to Teachers' Cabinet

Staunton, Virginia-   Delegate Richard P. “Dickie” Bell (R-Staunton), a retired special education   teacher, encourages teachers to apply for the newly created Governor's   Teacher Cabinet.  The Cabinet,   comprised of teachers from across the Commonwealth, will advise the Governor   and Secretary of Education on policies related to the status of teaching in   Virginia.

 The Cabinet will focus on strategies for   enhancing teacher quality, leadership, and professionalism for 21st Century   learning, and will provide an annual report to the Governor on the   "State of Teaching in Virginia."

  “I believe   that the Teacher’s Cabinet will help ensure that the voices from the   classroom level do not get lost as we implement some of the most   comprehensive educational reform in decades.” Said Delegate Bell. “Teachers   are more than qualified to offer advice on ways to improve our educational   system, as they serve on the front lines every day. I am confident that their   advice will prove to be invaluable as we continue to work to assure that   every child in Virginia receives a top-tier education.”

 The Executive Order signed on May 1st this year   created the Teacher's Cabinet as just one of the ALL STUDENTS Agenda items.   The K-12 Education Reform Agenda included more than 39 bills, budget amendments,   and Executive Orders. Several key pieces of legislation passed that recognize   and reward excellent teachers by placing a high priority on innovation,   flexibility, and accountability in our classrooms.

 Bell stated he was "very pleased” to be the   Chief Patron for a key piece of the ALL STUDENTS agenda.  House Bill 2151 will implement a series of   changes designed to streamline the teacher evaluation process in   Virginia.  The legislation also   included a 2% pay raise for teachers.

Teachers can apply for the Teacher Cabinet online   by May 15. Applications are online at https://solutions.virginia.gov/OASYS.  Teachers must also submit two letters of   recommendation, one from an administrator and one from a student or parent.   When using the online form, teachers should select 'Designated' under   secretariat heading and then 'Governor's Teacher Cabinet' under boards and   commissions.

 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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Delegate Bell Announces Appointment to Education Coneference, Governor's Institute

Delegate Richard P. “Dickie” Bell announced today that he has been chosen by the Speaker of the House of Delegates to represent the Commonwealth at the Southern Regional Education Board’s Annual Legislative Work Conference.  Additionally, Speaker Howell appointed him to the National Governors’ Association Center for Best Practices Three Branch Institute on “Child Social and Emotional Well-Being”

The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Legislative Work Conference will take place in New Orleans, Louisiana June 22 through June 24.  Legislators from member states will gather to discuss education policy.

SREB is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works with 16 member states to improve public pre-K-12 and higher education.  Founded by the region's governors and legislators in 1948, SREB was America's first interstate compact for education. Today it is the only regional education compact that works directly with state leaders, schools and educators to improve teaching, learning and student achievement at every level of education.

Delegate Bell represented the Commonwealth at the SREB Legislative Work Conference in 2010.

"I am thrilled that the Speaker has once again given me the opportunity to represent the Commonwealth at the SREB legislative work conference.” said Delegate Bell “I am confident that the exchange of ideas at this conference will be very beneficial to me as I continue to serve as a member of the Education committee and as Chairman of the Students and Early education subcommittee. Additionally, I’m hopeful it will help provide me with the tools needed to continue the fight for education reform in the Commonwealth. ”

Additionally, Delegate Bell was appointed to the National Governors’ Association Center for Best Practices Three Branch Institute on “Child Social and Emotional Well-Being”. 

This is a collaborative partnership between the Virginia Commission on Youth, the Virginia Department of Social Services, the Virginia Office of Comprehensive Services, and the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia.

“I am thankful that Speaker Howell saw fit to appoint me to this Institute” said Delegate Bell.   “This is an area that is of particular interest to me, and I am hopeful this service will better allow me to represent my district in Richmond.”

Delegate Bell currently serves on the State Executive Council for Comprehensive Services for At-Risk Youth and Families.  He has served on the State Executive Council since 2010.

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 second term.

           

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Delegate Bell Announces Plans to Seek Re-Election

STAUNTON, VA – Del. Richard P. “Dickie” Bell (R-Staunton) announced today that he intends to seek re-election to the Virginia House of Delegates.   

“I am pleased to announce that I will be seeking a third term in the House of Delegates.” said Bell. “We have made a lot of progress in Virginia over the last four sessions, but there is a lot more that needs to be done”

“Virginia’s economy is continuing to improve much quicker than many other states throughout our country; however we are not out of the woods yet.  We still have too many that are unable to find work and too many that are underemployed.”

“I am committed to continuing the fight to create an economic environment that will foster job growth and to keeping taxes low so that we can help families across Virginia overcome the economic challenges we all face. At a time of continued overreach in Washington, I will continue to work to limit and not expand our government, and fight to protect Virginia from federal government overreach.  I will also continue to push for educational reform to ensure that all students in Virginia can get the best education possible. By upholding our common sense conservative principals, we will continue to see Virginia ranked among the best states to do business.”

“I have enjoyed serving the people of the 20th District during my two terms, and I look forward to continuing my service.” Bell added. “Anne and I are continually grateful for the continued support of the many constituents that we have met over the past three years.”

Delegate Bell serves on the Committees on Finance, Education, and Health, Welfare and Institutions.  Additionally, he serves as a subcommittee chairman for the Students and Early Education subcommittee of the Education committee.

Throughout his tenure in the House of Delegates educational reform has been one of his top priorities.  He has successfully patroned legislation that streamlines the grievance process for educators and administrators.  He successfully put forth legislation that promotes educational opportunities for deaf students, and legislation that requires state funded colleges and universities to accept American Sign Language as a foreign language for entrance requirements.  Additionally, he has continued to promote school choice by championing legislation that establishes virtual education in Virginia.

Elected to the House of Delegates in 2009, Delegate Bell represents the 20th District, which includes Highland County, the Cities of Staunton and Waynesboro, and parts of Nelson and Augusta County.  He is currently serving in his second term.

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