Posted on Monday, January 15, 2018

General Assembly Convenes

Submitted by Ellen Davenport, assistant vice chancellor, governmental relations, Virginia’s Community Colleges

The General Assembly convened on January 10 for the first day of the session, and it has been an interesting week. Delegate Kirk Cox was elected as the Speaker of the House on the opening day of the session on a unanimous vote. 

The same day, the House adopted HR 17 which established the number of House members in each standing committee, as well as the apportionment of members between the majority party and the non-majority party in each committee. The apportionment will be based on the ratio of majority to non-majority members in each caucus. Accompanying the adoption of this resolution was the announcement that all House subcommittee votes will now be recorded and available to the public. There will also be live streaming of all House committee meetings. 

On Thursday, Jan. 11, Speaker Cox announced the membership of all of the House standing committees. New members named to the House Appropriations Committee are Delegates Chris Head, Todd Pillion, John Bell, Paul Krizek, Roxann Robinson, Roslyn Tyler, and Cliff Hayes.

Budget News

Budget amendments to the “caboose” budget bill (HB/SB 29) and the biennial budget bill (HB/SB 30) introduced by  Governor Terry McAuliffe, were filed on Friday, Jan. 12. Budget amendments should become publicly available by Wednesday, Jan. 17. The VCCS has been working with patrons on the House Appropriations Committee and Senate Finance Committee to submit budget amendments requesting additional funding for the New Economy Workforce Credential Grant/FastForward Program for $2 million in the current fiscal year and $5.5 million in each year of the new biennium. Additional budget amendments addressing recommendations from the JLARC report, as well as several other items, are being sought and filed as well. 

Bills Introduced and Bills of Interest

As of Friday morning, 2,399 bills were introduced. Bills of interest that we have identified so far can be found HERE. Because of the extensive volume of bills, an updated list will be available later this week:

  • Dual Enrollment and Transfer: There are several dozen bills dealing with dual enrollment and transfer. The likely vehicles for addressing the dual enrollment and transfer issues raised in the 2017 JLARC report on the VCCS will likely be HB 919 (Jones) and SB 631(Dunnavant). 
  • Changing the Name of the VCCS to the VCS: SB 638 (Dunnavant) would rename the Virginia Community College System as the Virginia College System. The Chancellor would become the Chancellor of the Virginia College System, and the State Board for Community Colleges would become the State Board for Colleges.'

Laura Osberger

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