We are now ending the last full week of the 2018 Session prior to crossover. As explained last week, the Senate and House will have to finish work on bills originating in their own chambers by Tuesday. This has been a week full of contention.
One of the most contentious issues of the session relates to rate setting for utility companies. In 2015, Dominion Power pushed a bill through the legislature which essentially froze part of their rates, disabled the State Corporation Commission from rate-setting reviews for a period of years, and locked in Dominion’s revenues. Dominion argued that action was needed because of the expected financial impacts of adoption of the federal Clean Power Plan. I voted against that bill because I thought it was a bad deal for the ratepayers. Interestingly, one of the “concessions” that Dominion made in that deal to get the Governor’s support and that of some environmentally-minded Democrats was a commitment to produce 500 megawatts of solar energy by 2020. That goal was attained in 2017. As anyone who watches the markets knows, the cost of solar energy is going down and the demand is going up. Hindsight being 20-20, we now know that the “concession” made in 2015 was a low bar. [Read more…]
We continue to hurtle toward crossover of the 2018 Session of the General Assembly. Crossover is basically the mid-point, though it typically occurs a little past the 30th day of the 60 day session.
While the Constitution of Virginia sets forth the requirements for how a bill becomes a law, such as passing both houses in exactly the same form and being read three times before a vote is taken, there are certain rules the legislature adopts each session to govern the conduct of business. One function of those rules is to set forth exactly how much time each body has to consider its own bills, including its version of the budget. The crossover, when the Senate and House have to finalize action on bills that originated in their own chamber, is February 13. With the budget bill, a few more days are granted. We will not vote on our respective versions of the budget until February 22.
This session has brought some uncertainty, for a couple of important reasons. [Read more…]
Groundhog Day was yesterday, which means we are very close to the crossover of the 2017 legislative session. Crossover, which comes shortly after the midpoint of each session, is the point by which the Senate must act on all senate bills and the House on all house bills. The bills then cross over to the other side for consideration.
At the beginning of each session each legislator has goals they want to accomplish. I am no different. One hundred forty legislators sponsored thousands of bills this year and had policies they sought to advance. Now however we are in the heart of the sausage-making process, and many of those dreams have been dashed. By next Tuesday, everything but the budget will cross over from each side to the other. The pace now is frenetic. [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…]