At the Statehouse, Week 6
After the General Assembly adjourns on February 25, 2023, all bills that pass both chambers will go to the Governor for his signature or veto; however, the General Assembly will reconvene on the sixth Wednesday after adjournment (April 6th) to consider any of the Governor's recommendations and vetoed legislation. Bills that are signed by the Governor will become law on July 1 of this year.
Now the attention turns to the 2024 State Budget. The Governor provided his proposed budget, but the submitted House and Senate versions of the budget were radically different. The conferees from each chamber and party are in conference attempting to finalize the budget; however, the current versions remain highly dissimilar, with education issues as a prime area of disagreement.
The Governor has demanded tax cuts, which has resulted in unacceptable funding for K-12 education. In contrast to both the Governor’s and House budget plans, the Senate budget more than doubles the funds for public schools and provides no additional money to Lab Schools.
Please take a minute to answer our calls to action to encourage our legislators to ensure sufficient K-12 funding for Virginia’s public schools to ensure excellence and pass one more bill. Please ask our legislators to:
Ensure high quality education by funding the revised Standards of Quality.
Make meaningful investments in students’ education: increase support staff & infrastructure improvements.
Prevent the diversion of k-12 public education funds from public schools.
Support bill SB1043 to provide better mental health resources in Public schools. This bill passed the Senate and the House Committees and is now in the House for a vote.
Of the many bills that were introduced this session, we identified 29 as priority education bills to either support or oppose. All twelve priority bills that we opposed were defeated. Also, we collaborated with dozens of other advocates to help defeat another bill, HB1461.
Of the 17 education bills we supported, 13 were defeated. One bill SB1215, passed both chambers and will go to the Governor for signature (or veto). Two bills we supported, SB1257 and SB1268, were incorporated into SB1043, which passed in the Senate and the House committees, but is waiting to be heard by the full House. One bill, SB819, was withdrawn by its sponsor. The House has until February 25, the last day of the session, to approve that bill.
Finally, we thank you for your support to help pass and defeat bills to ensure support and success of our students and educators.
Photo Credit: Skip Plitt - C'ville Photography, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons