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Throwing a Lifeline to Get Kids Back in School

 

Dear Friend,

We're now 21 days into the 2021 General Assembly session, and I want to take a moment to update you on what’s happening in Richmond.

Early this morning, I presented my HB 2243 Home instruction and private school tax credit legislation to create an individual, nonrefundable income tax credit for the next five years for parents who pull their children out of public schools to begin home-schooling or private schooling. Right on cue, a teachers union representative spoke against throwing parents and

students a lifeline. Read more below about how teachers unions are blocking our efforts to provide students with the education they deserve.

Schools Are Failing our Families

The evidence is growing every day that our children need to be back in school. Not only is it safe for them to do so, it's safer than keeping them out of school. Walmart never closed, most private schools are back in full swing and most parents, kids and teachers want to open. Unfortunately, teachers’ unions seem have the power to veto reopening.

The science is consistent and getting clearer by the day: our kids need to be back in school as soon as possible. The CDC and Dr. Fauci (who I hesitate to reference) have gone further than just “it’s safe to open.” On Thursday they reported that it’s actually safer for kids to be in schools than it is to be out in the community. 

Kids don’t tend to transmit the virus to each other or teachers. The systems we’ve had open in Virginia have done very well. If cases come into the school from outside, they’re identified, contact traced, and quarantined.

Teachers unions are pushing hard in the other direction, however. In Fairfax County, teachers asked to be vaccinated before they go back. The county agreed, and that’s happening now. But the president of their union said they don’t want to go back until teachers and children are vaccinated. Considering there’s no vaccine approved for children, that’s a tall order.

The damage being done here is just unimaginable. Our testing results for academic progress are coming in, and our kids are falling behind in reading. There’s an epidemic of “F”s out there as kids who don’t have the complete support system they need are failing. 

Kids are fighting with depression in virtual schools, and it’s no wonder why. Can you imagine being stuck on a 6-8 hour zoom call 5 days a week? We know that screen time impacts kids in a negative way. This is compounding the situation. Las Vegas reopened their schools because they had a rash of elementary school suicides.

Teachers are telling us what parents already know-

--kids in virtual schools are suffering. 

If schools aren’t going to teach our children, they should lose state funding. The science is clear -- schools, with proper procedures in place, are safe for kids and teachers. Many school boards continue to ignore and frustrate parents and students, making choices that harm our children- You've probably seen the viral video of one such parent from Loudoun County. In response, many parents are choosing to move their children to private or home schools to access educational opportunity. The costs of going to a private school or homeschooling can have serious impact on any budget, especially on poor and working families' budgets.

This morning, I presented my HB 2243 Home instruction and private school tax credit legislation to create an individual, nonrefundable income tax credit for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2021, but before January 1, 2026, for amounts paid by the parent or legal guardian of a child for the child's home instruction expenses or tuition for attending an accredited private school in Virginia. The credit shall equal the lesser of the amount actually paid in the taxable year for such costs, or half of the average state standards of quality funding per student per year. The credit may be taken for instruction-related materials, courses, or programs used in home instruction or for private school tuition. The credit is available only to the parents and legal guardians of children who did not attend private school or were not home schooled in the previous year in Virginia. The credit is available for two years per child and can be carried forward for five taxable years. Best of all, this would bring a huge tax savings to taxpayers as it will be funded instead of funding empty schools.

Unfortunately, this legislation was voted down on a party-line vote, with Democrats refusing to help families in need fund the education of their kids. You can watch the 10-minute discussion and vote here.

 

Last week

Four more of my bills have received hearings so far, but all have been killed in Democrat-controlled Committees.

HB 2242 COVID-19 immunization; prohibition on requirement; discrimination prohibited. Prohibits the state government from requiring any person to undergo vaccination for COVID-19 and prohibits discrimination based on a person's vaccination status with respect to any COVID-19 vaccine (i) with regard to education, employment, insurance, or issuance of a driver's license or other state identification or (ii) in numerous other contexts. The bill also prohibits the inclusion of any patient immunization information in the Virginia Immunization Information System (VIIS) unless the patient has consented, in writing, to inclusion of his information in the VIIS. Democrats refused to discuss the substance of the bill, instead making straw-man arguments and personal attacks against me, and refusing me an opportunity to respond. Watch the video here

HB 2244 Family life education curriculum guidelines; human reproduction; viewing of ultrasound video. Requires the instruction on human reproduction contained in the Board of Education's family life education curriculum guidelines to include the viewing of a video recording of an ultrasound of a live unborn human in the uterus. This bill was defeated on a party-line vote; apparently Democrats want to hide the truth of the miracle of human development from students. Watch the video of the hearing here.

HB 2245 Use of transportation funds. States that it is the policy of the Commonwealth that revenues dedicated to transportation purposes shall not be used or redirected for any non-transportation-related purpose. Any attempt to re-purpose funds dedicated to transportation as of July 1, 2020, shall be deemed invalid and shall not be effectuated. This bill to protect Transportation funds from diversion to other purposes was defeated on a party-line vote (including 3 from Loudoun) , which you can watch here.

HB 2251 Emergency Services and Disaster Law; Commissioner of Health; emergency orders and regulations. Provides protections from the Governor, Board of Health and Commissioner of Health shall not make any emergency order or regulation that unconstitutionally violate fundamental rights. The bill also limits the duration of any emergency rule, regulation, or order to 15 days; provides for one extension of such rule, regulation, or order. This bill was also defeated on a party-line vote; you can watch the debate here.



What's Coming This Week:

This Friday is the deadline for the House to complete action on House legislation, except the budget, so we will be busy. Here is my legislation that hasn't been acted on yet....

  • HB 2241 Unborn child protection from dismemberment abortion; penalties. Prohibits the practice of dismemberment abortion, which is defined in the bill as meaning to, with the purpose of causing the death of an unborn child, purposely dismember a living unborn child and extract him one piece at a time from the uterus through the use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors, or any other instrument that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slice, crush, or grasp a portion of the unborn child's body to cut or rip such portion of the unborn child's body
  • HB 2246 State agencies; automatic workforce management verification software. Requires all state agencies with more than 20 full-time teleworking employees to use automatic workforce management verification software to verify the hours employees worked while teleworking by counting and reporting data to the agency.
  • HJ 573 COVID-19 vaccination; voluntary. Expresses the sense of the General Assembly that any vaccination for the COVID-19 virus shall be voluntary within the Commonwealth of Virginia and that it fully supports the practice of medical informed consent.

Budget Amendments (Provide comment on these here):

  • 68#4h Fully-fund State Funding for Sheriffs Positions
  • 86#3h Counting of Absentee Votes by Precinct
  • 86#8h Elections Policy (Language Only)
  • 374#3h Operations funding for State Park in Loudoun County
  • C-72.70#1h VSP Technical Title Change (Language Only)
  • 4-0.01#3h Law Enforcement Collective Bargaining Agreement Transparency (Language Only)
  • 4-0.01#4h Prohibition Against Requiring Vaccination Unless Specific Criteria Are Met (Language Only)
  • 4-0.01#5h Executive Orders that Last Over 30 Days (Language Only)
  • 4-0.01#7h Online Training for Concealed Carry Permits while in COVID emergency (Language Only)

As always, thank you for the honor and privilege of serving you in the Virginia House of Delegates. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions!

Sincerely,

If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call or email my office at 540-751-8364 or DelDLaRock@house.virginia.gov. You can also follow me on Twitter @LaRock4Delegate and like my campaign Facebook page to keep up to date. I'm also now on MeWe.

 
 

Get in touch and stay connected:

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DelDLaRock@house.virginia.gov

District Office: P.O. Box 6, Hamilton, Virginia 20159 (540) 751-8364

Paid for and authorized by Dave LaRock for Delegate


Paid for and Authorized by Dave LaRock for Delegate
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