Better Background Checks for School Employees
National studies have shown that schools need to do more to screen employees as they are hired, especially those from other states. Closer to home, we have seen several cases of school employees who take sexual advantage of their students.
My bill would mandate punishment for applicants who lie on their application about not having any founded complaints for child abuse. It would require school superintendents to not only check Virginia’s child-abuse registry, but also the registry in the home state of any prospective hire who recently moved to Virginia. Finally, where a current employee has a founded complaint and has exhausted all appeals, he will be terminated and – if a teacher – his license to teach will be subject to revocation.
Taken as a whole, the bill will make it much harder for those who sexually abuse children to find work in Virginia schools. After lengthy revisions, it was unanimously approved by the committee and sent to the full House of Delegates for consideration.
Transferable Development Rights
Like last year, I brought a bill to allow local governments to create a system of transferable development rights. These would allow landowners in rural areas to sell their development rights to builders to use to build in designated areas. The hope is that this would help channel growth into growth areas voluntarily, while preserving property values and not taking away anyone’s property rights.
This is an entirely new approach and has not been done in any county in Virginia. The committee was uncomfortable allowing it statewide, but ultimately approved a pilot project for Albemarle County. If this is successful, it could later be tried elsewhere.
Direct Marketing and Pyramid Schemes
Many local residents work for direct-marketing companies like Mary Kay and Creative Memories. After looking at the law, their members realized that Virginia’s law against fraudulent pyramid schemes might prohibit these legitimate companies as well. Working with representatives of these companies, the committee approved my bill to update these laws.
If you are interested in these or any other bills, they can be found at http://legis.state.va.us. I can be reached at the General Assembly Building, Post Office Box 406, Richmond, VA 23218 – 804.698.1058. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rob Bell represents the 58th House District in the Virginia General Assembly.