It has been an interesting and challenging week! More snow and ice led to the Governor’s declaration of a state of emergency, and the rescheduling of the February 12 legislative reception until February 26. This week’s and last week’s combined snow caused nine colleges to cancel their planned visits to Richmond over the last two weeks. Two delegations each from J. Sargeant Reynolds and John Tyler, Patrick Henry, Rappahannock, Germanna, New River, the Virginia Beach and Chesapeake campuses of Tidewater, Dabney S. Lancaster, Paul D. Camp, Central, Thomas Nelson, Blue Ridge, Virginia Western, and Lord Fairfax shared their stories and visited with legislators during the first two weeks of February.
This marks the final week of Virginia community college delegations visiting the 2014 General Assembly session. We greatly appreciate the faculty, staff, and students who made the effort to travel to Richmond, share their stories, and visit the General Assembly this year.
State Board Bill Advances
HB 356 (Cox) was unanimously reported from the Higher Education Subcommittee of the Senate Education and Health Committee on February 13. HB 356 is now headed to the full Senate Education and Health Committee on February 20. This legislation contains technical amendments relating to the election of the Vice-Chairman of the State Board and aligns the Code of Virginia with the State Board’s policy manual with respect to stipulating that a quorum is eight, and not seven, members of the 15-member board. HB 356 will also allow the main office of the State Board to remain in the City of Richmond or locate elsewhere in the Commonwealth.
Spring Graduation Transfer Grant Legislation Goes Forward
HB 133 (Cole) will allow eligible transfer grant recipients to transfer to a four-year institution either in the fall or spring after they receive their associate degree. The current method only allows for fall transfer. HB 133 was reported unanimously from the Higher Education Subcommittee of the Senate Education and Health Committee on February 13 and will next be heard in the Senate Education and Health Committee on February 20.
Legislation Granting In-State Tuition for Certain Undocumented Students Remains in House Appropriations Committee
HB 747 was re-referred to the House Appropriations Committee after being reported out of the House Education Committee. This legislation would allow undocumented students who meet certain criteria to be eligible for in-state tuition. The bill was not brought up for a vote in House Appropriations prior to the crossover deadline of February 11, so it is considered dead.
Former Governor Bob McDonnell introduced a $95.9 billion biennial budget bill on December 16. Amendments to the introduced budget by House and Senate members were permitted up until 5:00 p.m. on January 10. Amendments became available for public viewing on January 16. Members of the House Appropriations Committee and Senate Finance Committee immediately began considering these budget amendments through their subcommittees. The subcommittees receiving and reviewing budget amendments related to the VCCS and the 23 colleges are:
- The Higher Education and General Government and Capital Outlay subcommittees of the House Appropriations Committee; and
- The Education and Capital Outlay subcommittees of the Senate Finance Committee.
The House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee will report out their respective budget bills on Sunday, February 16. By February 18, the specific amendments will be available. The House and Senate are scheduled to vote on their respective budgets on February 20. Each house typically rejects the other’s budget, and a committee of conference is formed. House 2014 budget conferees are Delegates Cox, Jones, Landes, Joannou, O’Bannon, and Greason. Senate budget conferees should be named soon; 2013 conferees were Senators Stosch, Colgan, Howell, Norment, Hanger, and Watkins. The budget conference report is scheduled to be completed on Tuesday, March 4 and the final vote on the budget usually occurs on the last day of the session—this year, on Saturday, March 8.
Bill List Reflects Legislation Moving Forward After Crossover
A list of all legislation that is still moving forward that affects the Virginia Community College System is here.
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