Virginia’s General Assembly wrapped up its 2018 regular session Saturday with its most important task unfinished. At an impasse over whether to expand Medicaid to some 400,000 eligible Virginians, the legislature failed to pass a state budget before adjournment and will have to take that up at a special session.
A bill extending the moratorium on the permanent closure of coal ash ponds has won House approval and awaits the signature of Gov. Ralph Northam to become the only legislation on the issue to survive the 2018 session.
Budget showdowns are rare in Virginia, but not unprecedented. Back in 2004, Gov. Mark Warner clashed with Republicans over a sales tax increase. Then in 2014, Gov. Terry McAuliffe engaged in brinkmanship over expanding Medicaid. Now lawmakers are poised to end the session once again without passing a budget. The final deadline for reaching an agreement is the end of June, when the new fiscal year begins.
That’s the message the Virginia state senators sent to drivers Tuesday when it voted 29-11 to outlaw any handheld use of a cellphone while driving.
A bill that would make it illegal for drivers to use cell phones that are not mounted somewhere in their cars passed through the state Senate on Tuesday, but not without a second day of debate.
But with a budgeting amendment that came with the Senate’s decision, the bill could be a tough sell in the House of Delegates, said Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Alexandria, who rewrote the original bill from the House of Delegates.
Nearly 20 years after the sentencing of the “Norfolk Four,” a bill before the Virginia General Assembly could provide nearly $3.5 million in compensation for the wrongfully convicted and imprisoned men.
State lawmakers have nearly reached a deal to extend a moratorium on Dominion Energy’s plans to bury millions of tons of coal ash at four sites around the state, including one at the Possum Point power station outside Dumfries.
Like last year, the Virginia Senate soon will get a chance to vote on a bill to ban so-called “sanctuary cities.”
Virginia doesn’t have them. GOP gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie campaigned on the issue with controversial TV ads and lost by 9 points. And should the Senate send the House bill to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s desk, he says he will veto it.
Senate Finance Co-Chairman Emmett Hanger, R-Augusta, spoke against a budget amendment proposed by Sen. Janet Howell (foreground), D-Fairfax, a senior member of the Finance Committee, on Thursday in Richmond.
How big is the gap between the budgets the House of Delegates and Senate adopted on Thursday?
Let’s check in with the four new delegates from Hampton Roads just over halfway through their first session.
Many of them expressed awe at the office and the historic Capitol designed by Jefferson and the little stuff – like the official stationary.
They also said it was a lot harder to pass bills than they thought. They submitted 42 bills, and 11 of them have passed the House.