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…]