One of the state's greatest proponents in the General Assembly for mental health reforms says when it comes to progress made during this legislative session, it's a mixed bag. Senator Creigh Deeds says the MOST important legislation he sponsored actually died in the House of Delegates.
Should they be signed into law by Governor McAuliffe, bills recently passed by the General Assembly would modify some of the scrutiny of school systems that meet state standards. The state would also create a different method to inform parents of how well those schools are doing.
After educators lambasted the state's A-F grading system created a few years ago, lawmakers crafted a new method to measure school performance. Bill sponsor Delegate Tag Greason says this gives the Board of Education authority to redesign a more comprehensive school performance report card.
The 2015 legislative session in Virginia may be remembered for expanding access to medical marijuana and excusing Dominion Power from government oversight of its rates, but it could also be known for what didn’t happen.
When President Obama announced that children raised in this country by undocumented parents could remain here legally, states had to decide whether to grant them in-state tuition. Two lawmakers introduced bills to deny it, but Delegate Alfonso Lopez says neither was approved.
State and local officials would be governed by tougher ethics rules under legislation that passed the General Assembly during the final hours of the 2015 session. The bills make it illegal for lobbyists, their clients, and anyone who seeks to do business with the state or local governments to give an official a gift worth more than $100.
The bills lower the gift cap from $250 to $100, require on-line reporting of gifts worth more than $50, and erase the distinction between tangible and intangible gifts, such as meals or travel.
There were tears and hugs at the state capitol Thursday, as Governor Terry McAuliffe signed a bill making it legal for Virginians to possess medical marijuana if their doctor believes it could be useful in treating epilepsy, cancer or glaucoma. But reformers are already lining up to fix problems with the law.
It was a thrilling moment for families of children who have epilepsy. They had lobbied state lawmakers for months to give their kids access to medical marijuana, and the governor praised their persistence.