2018 General Assembly Session - Update 8

We are in the final week of the 2018 Session. So far we have passed about 750 bills, with another 175 pending.  The Budget conferees have not yet reached an agreement to bridge the approximately $600 million gap between the House and Senate Budgets, primarily due to their disagreement over Medicaid Expansion.

A number of bills that I am co-sponsoring have now passed the House and Senate and are headed to the Governor for action, including:

HB 260 (J. Jones) creating the Virginia Critically Missing Adult Alert Program;

HB 322 (Bourne) authorizing probation, parole, and Department of Corrections officers, under protocols developed by the Board of Pharmacy, to possess and administer naloxone to persons believed to be experiencing a life-threatening opioid overdose; 

HB 1600 (Bourne) capping long-term suspension at 45 school days, with the exception of offenses involving weapons, drugs, serious bodily injury, or aggravating circumstances as defined by the Department of Education and considering the student's disciplinary history; and

SB 16 (Petersen) capping fees for placing, removing, or lifting credit freezes at $5.


First MLK Commission Beloved Community Conversation Reflects on Dr. King's Legacy in Richmond
Last Thursday, the Virginia General Assembly's Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Commission began its year-long commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's assassination with the first of twelve Beloved Community Conversations in each of the locations across the state that Dr. King visited.  The event was live-streamed on the Commission's Facebook page and can be viewed here.

At each event, the Commission will join community leaders, religious leaders, historians, educators, and members of the community to reexamine Dr. King's time in the Commonwealth. The panel will reflect on his vision of a "Beloved Community" in that locality today, and ask, as Dr. King did in his final book, "Where do we go from here?" All events are free and open to the public, and will run from 6:00-8:00 pm. Each event will be live-streamed and archived on the Commission's Facebook Page.

The following events have been scheduled:

Charlottesville - March 13, 2018 
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia
Farmville - April 24, 2018
First Baptist Church, 100 S Main St
Williamsburg - June 6, 2018
First Baptist Church, 727 Scotland Street

Details regarding future events will be posted as available.  The Beloved Community Conversations are part of the Commission's King in Virginia project, which is working to research, compile, and exhibit information on Dr. King's visits to Virginia.  Working with historians and researchers, as well as community members who have witnessed Dr. King's influence in Virginia firsthand, the King in Virginia project is assembling an archive, to be made public and permanently accessible online, that will document Dr. King's time in Virginia.  
For more information, visit the Commission's website here

My Legislation
Sen. McClellan presents SB 101 to House Education Committee
As reported in my last update, SB 287,  SB 906, and SB 908 have passed the House and await action by the Governor. Since then, four more of my bills passed the House:
  • SB 291 codifying electronic services that DMV created under 1991 budget authority to provide simple, fast, efficient, and secure titling and registration of vehicles for customers and lien holders; 
  • SB 356 amending the City of Richmond charter to establish the Office of the Inspector General; 
  • SB 359 allowing the DMV Commissioner to authorize retired local law enforcement personnel with the proper training and qualifications to teach driver education. Current law only permits the Commissioner to allow retired Virginia State Police officers to teach driver education; and
  • SB 353 authorizing the Department of Conservation and Recreation to convey property adjacent to the White Oak Technology Park to the Henrico County Economic Development Authority in exchange for an open space easement and the dedication of a natural area preserve on a portion of the property.
In addition, a modified version of my SB 101reported out of the House Education Committee 19-1. The current FLE curriculum regarding consent remains permissive, but the bill adds age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the prevention, recognition, and awareness of child abduction, child abuse, child sexual exploitation, and child sexual abuse. The bill also clarifies that existing curriculum regarding the prevention of sexual harassment will include harassment using electronic means.

Despite passing the Senate unanimously, SB 456 was tabled by the House Appropriations Committee over concerns regarding the cost. The bill requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop and administer a biennial school personnel survey to evaluate school-level teaching conditions and the impact they have on teacher retention and student achievement. Fortunately, the Senate Budget includes language requiring this survey using existing Department of Education resources, which you can see here. I am hopeful the final budget will include funding for this important tool to help address the teacher shortage.

Finally, SJ 42 extending state recognition to the Wolf Creek Cherokee Tribe was tabled by the House Rules Committee, with the expectation that the Tribe will follow the process to be established by the Virginia Indian Advisory Board to apply for recognition.

I welcome you to stay in touch and share your views on legislation. Contact my office at (804) 698-7509 or district09@senate.virginia.gov. You can also stop by my office in the Pocahontas Building at 900 East Main Street. My offices are located in E512 and E512A.
You can also stay informed about General Assembly activities by following me on Twitterliking my Facebook page, and following me on Instagram.
Jennifer L. McClellan
Senate of Virginia, 9th District