One of the strengths of Virginia’s legislative process is that legislators are part-time. One hundred forty men and women from all over Virginia and from all walks of life come to Richmond to serve in the legislature during this time of year. The sessions are 60 days in length during even-numbered years and 46 days in odd-numbered years. The rest of the year we spend our time in our communities, working and volunteering, and meeting with constituents. But there is a move, albeit subtle, to change all that. [Read more…]
The 2017 Session of the General Assembly is flying by. We are two and a half weeks into the session, and we only have about four weeks left. The committees are meeting around the clock to try to dispose of bills, and often legislators must be in three places at the same time. [Read more…]
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…]
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…]