The 2017 regular session of the Virginia General Assembly is underway. This short session is scheduled to adjourn on the last Saturday in February. During those 46 days, the legislature will consider more than 2,500 bills that come from delegates and senators from around Virginia, together with amendments to the two-year budget. [Read more…]
With the legislature wrapping up the 2016 Regular Session of the General Assembly in a day or so, I wanted to provide a status report.
The budget deal has been reported in most of the major newspapers. It includes a three percent pay raise for state employees and faculty at our institutions of higher learning, as well as a two percent raise for teachers and other state-supported local employees. The budget deal also includes about $190 million to bulk up the Virginia Retirement System. You will recall that contributions were reduced during the recession. This action will allow us to restore those funds about six years ahead of time. The increases in teacher pay are a part of a $900 million increase in K-12 spending by the state. [Read more…]
One of the most important responsibilities of the General Assembly is the election of judges. After all, judges represent the Commonwealth and the whole notion of justice in the court and the community. People need to know that they are going to have an equal shot at justice in every court. I came down here this year with a couple of priorities with respect to judges. [Read more…]
With one week before the scheduled adjournment of March 12, the 2016 General Assembly is nearing completion on all major issues. In fact, it will be a surprise to me if we do not adjourn a day or two early this year. On two prior occasions, in 2000 and just last year, the legislature finished its business one day early. This year we may finish even earlier largely because one party controls both houses and we have avoided some of the highly contentious issues. Sometimes finishing early isn’t the right result. [Read more…]
The 2016 Session of the General Assembly is now in warp speed. We are merely two weeks from adjournment, and it seems everybody is in two or three places at the same time. Whether you are presenting a bill before a committee, hearing other presentations in other committees, meeting with constituents or other individuals who have an idea they wish to discuss, or taking part in long floor sessions, this is a wearisome time of the session – and a dangerous time. Bills are amended, deals are cut and things happen quickly. One simply has to pay attention. [Read more…]