On Wednesday, May 30, 2018, the Virginia General Assembly adopted a budget two and half months late. The budget expands access to healthcare through Medicaid to roughly 300,000 low income Virginians. For over five years advocacy groups and some legislators have been fighting to reach this goal. The accomplishment is significant in many ways. [Read more…]
Ostensibly, the Senate convened on 22 May, 2018 to finish the work we could not accomplish during the regular session – to pass a budget. Senator Emmett Hanger, the co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee has been working diligently for weeks, most recently with Delegate Chris Jones, the chair of House Appropriations Committee, and the Governor’s office, to craft a budget compromise. Sen. Hanger aimed to develop a bipartisan plan that could generate the support of a majority in the House and Senate and be signed by the Governor. [Read more…]
We are winding up the 2018 Session of the Virginia General Assembly. This is crunch time. As I’ve told people for years, this is the most dangerous part of the session. Amendments to bills are made on the fly and passed between the House and Senate. Weary legislators often miss the meaning of amendments and votes are miscast. Mistakes are made.
The Constitution of Virginia requires that the House and Senate pass legislation in the exact same form in order for the bill to go on to the Governor and become law. Disagreements between the House and Senate have to be resolved through a conference committee process. The House and Senate each appoint a few members to try to resolve differences in the legislation. If they can reach a resolution, the conference reports then go back to both chambers for approval. If the compromise passes both the House and the Senate, the bill then goes on to the Governor. The Governor then has the opportunity to sign into law, amend or veto the legislation. If a bill passes both chambers and is communicated to the Governor more than seven days before the end of session, the Governor must act on the bill before the legislature adjourns. The remaining bills must be acted on by the Governor within 30 days of adjournment. [Read more…]
There are only two weeks remaining in the 2018 Session of the General Assembly. The remaining time will be spent, like the past week, on the budget. On Thursday of this week, the House and Senate passed versions of the budget. The next two weeks will be dominated by reconciling the differences between the two proposals. While there is much common ground between the two budgets, there is about a $621 million gap between the two largely due to the House’s adoption of Medicaid expansion. [Read more…]