Last week the General Assembly considered two significant budget amendments offered by the Governor that I did not speak to in my most recent newsletter. I wanted to offer a few thoughts on these amendments, both of which were related to the pandemic. [Read more…]
The Reconvened Session of the General Assembly met in Richmond on Wednesday, April 22. The purpose of the Reconvened Session under the Constitution of Virginia is to consider amendments and vetoes offered by the Governor. It has been part of the Virginia process since the 1971 Constitution. Before that time, the legislature did not have an opportunity to override or consider the Governor’s actions.
The age of social distancing made it an interesting day. Without question, we all want to get back to work and get back to normalcy as quickly as possible. However it is also clear that social distancing is working. We are slowing the spread of the virus, and therefore saving our medical assets and lives. We are all in this together, and we must be patient. Knowing all of that did not make the Reconvened or Veto Session any easier.
Because of the social distancing rules, the House and Senate could not meet in their chambers in the state Capitol. The Senate arranged for us to meet in a spacious room at the Science Museum of Virginia on Broad Street in Richmond. In that room, we had desks that were spaced six feet apart. We were all required to wear masks, and we were equipped with gloves and hand sanitizer. Debate, questioning and presentation while wearing a face mask made it even more unusual. [Read more…]
On March 12, 2020, the regular session of the General Assembly adjourned after adopting a budget for the next two years. It is a budget that will take us forward and that we can be proud of, but there are caveats.
The biennial budget is built on projected growth over the next two years of three percent. The February forecast showed Virginia experiencing about six percent growth to date, so three percent seemed to be a conservative estimate. However, the stock market has fallen more than 25 percent over the last few weeks. We need to be concerned about the economy at this point for several reasons. Major forecasts are predicting a recession this year, so there are a few things we need to take into consideration. [Read more…]