As you may have heard, the House and Senate were not able to agree on a budget during regular session, which resulted in Governor Northam calling a Special Session, which started April 11th. The budget bill which was introduced by Governor Northam will go through the same committee process as the budget bill that was introduced during the regular session. The House had our floor debate on the 17th.
I am happy to report that the House’s budget does include Medicaid expansion and the hospital provider assessment, just like the bill in regular session. These allow for expansion without the use of state dollars. We will have to wait and see what is in the Senate’s budget. During regular session, their budget did not have these two measures, which means that over $400 million dollars for education and other services were not there as well. If you would like, you can follow the budget on Twitter.
Although recent news suggests that the Senate may be ready to pass Medicaid expansion, we are not in the habit of “counting our chickens” before the votes are in. There is considerable negotiation happening, and right now the Republican Senate leadership is our main barrier- you can help by continuing to call your senator and advocate for expansion!
Although it is hard to predict when the budget will pass, at this point we are confident that there will be a final budget by the end of the fiscal year as required by Virginia’s Constitution.
Taking a look at Wednesday, April 18th, we have “veto” session, where the House is considering the 8 house bills vetoed by Governor Northam, and the 32 house bills where recommendations were made. We have heard from a number of you concerning these bills, and want to thank you for your input!
Vetoed bills this year include a measure preventing local governments from setting their own wages for contracts, a measure that would prevent Virginia from entering the RGGI (a multi-state initiative to combat climate change in our area), and an anti-immigration bill attacking sanctuary cities.
A look inside:
We are working hard up here in Richmond juggling these two sessions, and all the reading material that comes with them! This, for example, is the information from the Clerk’s office about the budget which we received upon entering the chamber on the 17th:
We will have more information on local events coming up soon after the special session, and we look forward to seeing you in the district!