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Virginia Tries Again To Kill King's Dominion Law

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Efforts continue in Virginia to put an end to the controversial King's Dominion law.
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Efforts continue in Virginia to put an end to the controversial King's Dominion law.

In Virginia, members of the General Assembly are set to consider a hotly-debated bill that would allow school districts to begin classes before Labor Day.

The effort already died once in the Senate Education Committee, which killed the bill on a 9-to-6 vote. But a separate effort made it through the House and is now headed to the Senate -- and it will be considered by the same committee.

Supporters of the bill, which include Northern Virginia Democrats such as Senator Adam Ebbin, as well as Republican Governor Bob McDonnell, say getting the measure through the committee is only a matter of changing two votes.

"With a tight deadline on the end of the year for SOL testing, AP testing and other end-of-the-year evaluations, the best way possible to give students a leg up in their studies is to allow the school districts to make their own decision on when to start school," says Jeff Caldwell, the governor's press secretary.

Since the 1980s, school districts in Virginia have been forbidden from beginning classes before Labor Day because of a mandate known as the King's Dominion Law -- named for the amusement park that was largely responsible for passing the original bill. Although most Virginia school districts can apply for a weather waiver because of snow, localities in the eastern part of the state say the Labor Day mandate puts them at a disadvantage. The hospitality industry disagrees, citing the economic benefit to the state of having a longer summer.

A recent poll shows that 57 percent of voters surveyed supported the bill.

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