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Legislative Update

April 28, 2014

In this update: 
■ On Capitol Hill: House Committee Holds Hearing on Education Budget 
■ New Rules Governing Teacher Preparation Programs Expected 
■ U.S. House Races in Northern Virginia 
■ State Lawmakers Hold Veto Session 
■ McAuliffe Administration’s Hundredth Day 
■ Children’s Services: MACPAC Recommends Extending CHIP Funding 
■ MSV Annual Legislative Summit 
■ Executive Branch Media Talks 
■ State & Local Government Meetings 

On Capitol Hill: House Committee Holds Hearing on Education Budget 

Congress gets back to work this week after a two-week vacation and on Tuesday, April 29 at 10:00 a.m., the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, chaired by Representative John Kline (Minnesota), will hold a hearing entitled, “Reviewing the President’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Proposal for the Department of Education.” The hearing will take place on Capitol Hill. 

In his Fiscal Year 2015 budget proposal, President Obama requested $68.6 billion in discretionary spending for the Department of Education, a $1.3 billion increase over last year’s funding level. This is on top of $6.4 billion in mandatory spending for Pell Grants, $1.3 billion in mandatory funding for a new universal preschool program, $4 billion in mandatory funds for new state grants to improve public higher education systems, $647 million in mandatory funds for a new College Opportunity and Graduation Bonus, and $5 billion in mandatory funding to reform the teaching profession, among other mandatory expenses, bringing the total education budget request for Fiscal Year 2015 to $82.3 billion. 

Tuesday’s hearing will provide members an opportunity to review the administration’s budget request and examine the department’s education policies. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will offer testimony and answer members' questions during the hearing. 

To learn more about this hearing and to view a live webcast, visit http://edworkforce.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=376999

New Rules Governing Teacher Preparation Programs Expected 

The Obama administration is planning to move ahead this summer with a proposal that would tie federal grants for teacher preparation programs, in part, to how well their graduates perform as teachers. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has said that his agency would, in the coming months, propose new rules governing teacher preparation programs at colleges and universities. The proposal seeks to have states develop ratings of teacher preparation programs that the department would, in turn, use in determining whether the programs are eligible to receive federal TEACH Grants. 

The administration wants those state-based ratings of the programs to involve outcome measures, such as job placement rates, job retention rates, alumni satisfaction, and how well graduates are teaching (as measured by their students’ achievement). The goal, Duncan said, is to hold teacher preparation programs accountable for the teachers they send out to the nation’s schools. He said that too many teacher preparation programs are not doing a good enough job in preparing their graduates for the work force, including abilities such as teaching diverse groups of students and using technology in the classroom. 

For more information, visit http://www.ed.gov/blog/2014/04/taking-action-to-improve-teacher-preparation/

U.S. House Races in Northern Virginia 

Republicans have nominated Marine Corps veteran and former congressional aide Micah Edmond for Representative James Moran’s House seat in Northern Virginia. Edmond defeated Army combat veteran Dennis Bartow at a nominating convention in Arlington where party delegates gathered. Former Texas state legislator Paul Haring finished in third. Moran, who has represented Virginia's 8th Congressional District for more than two decades, is retiring at the end of his current term. Democrats will select their nominee from a field of 10 candidates in a June 10 primary. 

Also, Virginia Delegate Barbara Comstock won the GOP “firehouse” primary to replace retiring Representative Frank Wolf. Comstock won with about 54 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results released by 10th District Republican committee, which conducted the election. The former Wolf aide and political consultant beat out five other contenders for the nomination.Virginia’s 10th Congressional District stretches from McLean west to Winchester in Northern Virginia. Comstock will face Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust in the November general election. 

State Lawmakers Hold Veto Session 

The General Assembly returned to the Capitol for its annual veto session on April 23. Legislators considered 60 bills that Governor Terry McAuliffe amended and four of the five he vetoed. Many of the amendments were technical or enacted a clause saying the measure would not take effect unless money for any related costs is appropriated in a budget bill passed by the General Assembly. There was a great deal of discussion on the overdue $96 billion state budget, but no action was taken. The budget continues to be deadlocked by an impasse over Medicaid Expansion. 

To read the Governor’s statement on the veto session, visit https://governor.virginia.gov/news/newsarticle?articleId=3932

McAuliffe Administration’s Hundredth Day 

Governor McAuliffe has marked his administration’s hundredth day and launched 100Days.Virginia.gov, a website highlighting key accomplishments his administration has made so far in critical areas such as economic development, transportation, and education. For an overview on the progress made during the McAuliffe Administration’s first 100 days in office, visit100Days.Virginia.gov. Also, to view Governor McAuliffe's 100 Days Report visit, http://www.scribd.com/doc/219409819/Governor-McAuliffe-100-Days-Report

Children’s Services:  MACPAC Recommends Extending CHIP Funding 

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) held a public meeting in Washington, D.C., and commissioners reviewed draft chapters for MACPAC’s anticipated June report to Congress. The June report is expected to include chapters on administrative capacity of state Medicaid agencies, Medicaid long-term services and supports and long-term issues for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Commissioners also voted to recommend in the June report that “Congress should extend federal CHIP funding for a transition period of two additional years during which time the key issues regarding the affordability and adequacy of children’s coverage can be addressed.” 

During the discussion on the long-term issues for CHIP, commissioners agreed that CHIP should continue until the exchanges meet the needs of children. While MACPAC agrees CHIP should continue in the short-term, it is clear that MACPAC does not envision a separate insurance program for children as a long-term strategy for children’s coverage. Commissioners believe a two year extension of CHIP funding will prompt swift action by Congress and the Administration to improve the exchanges for children. The recommendation to extend CHIP funding for two additional years is expected to be the only recommendation issued in the June report. MACPAC will release its report by June 15 and the report will be the only public Commission activity between now and the fall. 

MSV Annual Legislative Summit 

Medical Society of Virginia (MSV) will host its annual legislative summit on Friday, May 2, from 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at MSV in Richmond. The summit is where members present proposals they would like to be considered as a part of the society's legislative agenda. At the summit, these ideas are debated and discussed, allowing members to present multiple perspectives as to how MSV serves the interests of physicians and patients. 

For more information and to register, visit http://www.msv.org/MainMenuCategories/Advocacy/Legislative-Summit.aspx

Executive Branch Media Talks 

Visit the following links to access President Obama’s and Governor McAuliffe’s regularly scheduled media talks. 

President Obama's Weekly Video Address 

Governor McAuliffe’s "Ask the Governor" Call-in Radio Show 

State & Local Government Meetings 

Visit the following links for information on official state and local government meetings open to the public. 

The Commonwealth Calendar 
Virginia’s Legislative Information System 
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall 
Richmond City Council 
Henrico County 
Chesterfield County 
Hanover County 
Goochland County 

Find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/VCUGovernmentRelations?ref=hl. 

To view the university and health system’s legislative priorities, updates, legislative tracking lists, and more… go to the http://www.govrel.vcu.edu/. 

The next update will be available during the week of May 4, 2014. For questions regarding this information, please contact VCU Office of Government Relations at (804) 828-1235 or govrel@vcu.edu.   

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