The Virginia Senate killed a key part of Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell’s education reform plan Thursday, which would have made it easier to fire teachers by moving from a tenure-based to a short-term contract system.
The bill was rejected on a vote of 23-17, with three Republicans joining with Democrats to send the bill back to the education and health panel. It won’t come up again until next year’s session.
“Today’s vote is a delay; it is not a defeat,” McDonnell said in a statement quoted by the Richmond Times-Dispatch
. “Increased accountability in our public education system and in government in general is an idea whose time has come.”
As the Senate was dealing with the education measure, women rights protesters were organizing a candlelight demonstration outside the governor’s mansion. Some 200 women showed up Thursday night to protest what they called “the loss of reproductive rights” in Virginia.
Many of them carried petitions signed by some 33,000 women from around the state voicing opposition to the ultrasound bill and the so-called “personhood” bill that would have identified life as beginning at conception.
One of the protesters, Olivia Hall, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch
that the ultrasound bill set a dangerous precedent that should concern people on both sides of the abortion issue.
“Whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice, you should be concerned that the government is mandating a medical procedure,” Hall said.
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