The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

Local News

March 6, 2013

On the Move

Education reform bill newsmaker of week

— The introduction of the governor’s long awaited education reform bill in both chambers was the newsmaker this week at the Legislature.

The massive 179-page bill affects 39 sections of state code. It also creates five new sections in the code, repealing six sections and amending the rest. One policy reform in the bill calls for the Higher Education Policy Commission and the Council for Community and Technical College Education to collaborate to formally adopt specific college-readiness and career-readiness standards for language arts and math. The bill would also provide for local control of the school calendar, allow Teach for America participants to become classroom teachers, and outline loan assistance for teachers in critical need areas if they meet certain criteria.

Leadership from both chambers decided that the Senate will have the first go at the bill, which is Senate Bill 359. Senate Education Committee Chairman Robert Plymale said Senate Education planned to vote on the governor's education legislation March 7 at the latest. The bill, if passed in committee, would go to the Senate floor for further consideration.

However, the bill is not without criticism from various people in the education community including Dale Lee, president of the West Virginia Education Association, who called the governor’s bill horrible.

The governor’s proposed legislation on prison overcrowding was also introduced this week. This bill is also extensive and tackles broad issues from drug abuse to probation and parole.

More bills were introduced this week in both chambers; 154 in the House and 46 in the Senate. That raises the total number of bills introduced so far this session to 1,152.

Members of AARP were at the Capitol this week pushing their legislative agendas including opportunities to improve access to home and community-based services and to protect and expand the Medicaid Aged and Disabled Waiver program.

Also coming to the Capitol this week was a West Virginia coalition to end child poverty in the state. The campaign is commissioned by the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families. The Senate has created the Children and Poverty committee to tackle these issues.

House Health considered House Bill 2512, which seeks to reform the state Medicaid subrogation statute. After some technical cleanup to the bill, the bill was moved and sent to House Judiciary for further consideration.

A bill introduced in the House this week would gradually add to the number of state troopers in West Virginia. The current number of state troopers is 640. The bill would gradually raise the number to 800 by 2017.

On a more somber note, the House honored the heroic deputies and troopers who were involved in the tragedy last August in Clay County when two of our state troopers were killed and a deputy was wounded.

If you have any concerns or questions, feel free to call my office at 340-3269 or write Delegate David Perry at the State Capitol, Building 1, Room 215 East, Charleston, WV, 25305.

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