The Virginia Senate rejected Gov. Bob McDonnell’s proposal to replace the teacher tenure system with a system of contracts and more frequent evaluations.
This was a key component to the governor’s education agenda this legislative session.
The Senate voted largely along party lines to send the bill back to the committee on Education and Health for consideration next year. Three Republicans joined Democrats in the 23-17 vote.
This is the second time the Senate has rejected this bill--a bill would have phased out a tenure-like contract system for a three year term contract, essentially making it easier to fire ineffective teachers.
Republican Sen. Emmett W. Hanger Jr. proposed to send the bill back to the committee.
"This bill represents an attempt at significant reform and I applaud the governor for his initiative in bringing this level of scrutiny and attention to public education," Hanger said.
Noting that the bill would not take effect until July 2013, Hanger suggested that the legislature had time to refine the bill and make it better.
"No harm would be done and perhaps a lot of good may come from returning this to committee and allowing some opportunity" for more input, Hanger said. "We're doing no harm here ... other than to redirect some focus....”
* The Virginia House of Delegates approved a bill Thursday that would require voters who do not have valid identification at voting polls to cast provisional ballots.
The bill has been the center of much debate with Democrat opponents and will now go on to Gov. McDonnell’s desk for his signature.
Currently, people who show up at the polls without an ID are allowed to cast a normal vote after they sign an affidavit swearing that they are a registered voter.
Opponents argue that there have been no reports of significant voter fraud and this bill is intended to disenfranchise poor, minority and young voters, or people who are less likely to have an ID.
* The Maryland Attorney General’s Office has filed a motion to lift an order from a federal judge that the state’s handgun permitting process is unconstitutional.
The Baltimore Sun reports that attorneys for the state argued in a motion filed late Wednesday that clarification from the appellate courts "would be prudent in light of the potentially significant adverse consequences for public safety."
The state currently requires that applicants seeking a handgun permit show a "good and substantial reason" to carry around a handgun.
Opponents of this strict gun law have long complained that obtaining a handgun permit is nearly impossible in the state.
This week, according to the Sun, a U.S. judge said the “good and substantial” reason clause was unconstitutionally broad, and was intended to minimize the number of guns on the street, but did not necessarily minimize public safety.
* Looks like Gov. McDonnell’s messy involvement in the Virginia abortion ultrasound controversy may not hurt his vice-presidential chances after all.
National Journal’s Hotline’s Veepstakes Power Rankings put McDonnell at the top of their hypothetical VP list.
McDonnell preserved his spot on the short list by backing off a controversial antiabortion measure in Virginia, but he didn't emerge entirely unscathed. The incident refocused attention on McDonnell's conservative background -- and Democrats would surely dredge up the 1989 thesis he wrote at Regent University. But if Romney's team decides they must win the Commonwealth, McDonnell's approval rating in the 60s has to look attractive.
In last month’s rankings, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio came in first. Rubio is in second this time around.
* Dozens of people are expected to protest on Capitol Hill with the message “Don’t be a weiner.”
Advocates for the District’s right to govern itself are protesting a bill introduced by Arizona Rep. Trent Franks that would ban abortions in the District once a fetus is 20 weeks post-fertilization.
The catchphrase plays of Frank’s last name.
Demonstrators plan to hand out a flier near House office buildings and at Franks‘ office in Glendale, Ariz., with an altered photograph of the congressman, reinventing him as a D.C.-loving hot dog wrapped in a bun and topped with chili sauce, onions and grated cheese.
“Congressman Franks should relish the opportunity to serve Arizonans — instead, he’s spending time grilling D.C. citizens who don’t have a vote in Congress,” the flier says.