In this most unusual year, the General Assembly adjourned sine die in the most unusual way. We adopted a procedural resolution to extend the 30-day session to the usual 46 days by having a special session the last couple of weeks. We finished our work late on Saturday, February 27, but we did not adjourn sine die until March 1. [Read more…]
The 2021 Session of the General Assembly is rapidly winding down. We are in the throes of the last week, and we have reached a budget agreement. Many bills remain up in the air.
For the second time in my legislative career, I was involved in the final budget negotiations. [Read more…]
The 2021 Session of the General Assembly is winding down. We only have a week left in the regular session, which is anything but regular this year. We are in a pandemic, and we had to go through extraordinary means simply to meet for the normal 46 days. [Read more…]
The 2021 Session is rapidly drawing to a close. Last week we reached crossover, and now the Senate is only considering House bills and the budget. The House of Delegates is considering the budget as well, together with the Senate bills.
Both the House and Senate will adopt versions of the budget today. While preliminary, the Senate budget begins the process of restoring more of the mental health funding that was lost during the pandemic. You will recall that the Governor unallotted a couple billion dollars of spending once the virus wreaked havoc on our economy. Some of the things that I have been working on for a long time, like a loan forgiveness program for mental health professionals and discharge planning for jails with high numbers of inmates with mental health issues, were unallotted. We worked hard to get that vital spending back into the budget.
Other matters, like pay raises for state employees and teachers and funding for school divisions throughout Virginia, are included in the budget, as well as restoring the dental benefit for adult Medicaid patients. [Read more…]
As 2020 is draws to a close, I cannot help but reflect on the unusual nature of this year as we prepare for the 2021 Session. From a legislative perspective, the regular session lasted 65 days, and we convened again in August for a 84-day special session. Of course, the General Assembly did not meet every day during the 65- and 84-day spans. During a regular session, legislators typically go home to spend time with family or to work their full-time jobs on the weekends. The special session met even more sporadically.
Politically, this year saw the return of Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate and a lot of pent-up demand from Democratic constituencies. The change in power meant the General Assembly was busy. [Read more…]