As expected both houses of the General Assembly have adjourned sine die without a budget. The stumbling block is Medicaid expansion. A special session will be called by the Governor although the date for that has not been set. Governor Northam said, “sooner rather than later”. He also said he will produce and submit a budget to the General Assembly when they reconvene. From the Richmond Times-Dispatch,
“It will include Medicaid expansion and the significant investments that the savings from expanded coverage will generate to fund key priorities like education, workforce development and salary increases for public servants, with a particular focus on men and women in law enforcement,” Northam said.
This has been a very difficult session for the General Assembly. Fifteen new members of the House, and the nearly even divide between the parties made things very difficult in that chamber. The House and Senate disagreed over many issues and tempers have flared throughout the contentious session. On Friday Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment (R-James City) suggested that Speaker of the House, Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) should resign. Ouch. Today Norment (kind of) apologized,
On my comments on the speaker, if he took umbrage and was offended, I apologize,
This session was thrown into the national spotlight by candidate for Senate, Delegate Nick Freitas’ impassioned speech on the floor of the House of Delegates. Freitas asked for respect and the Democrats in the House responded by walking out. The speech has been seen by 15 million people on Facebook and also seen on several programs on Fox News and many other venues.
This session will be remembered for a big energy overall in the state supported and written by Dominion Energy for their benefit and not for the consumer. As they have long said in Richmond, “Dominion writes everything but the law of gravity”. More on the Dominion bill in later post.
A bill to help fund Metro with an additional $50 million was passed during this session with only Delegate LaRock having the courage to vote against this bill,
“The commonwealth isn’t funding the Metro system through this bill, it’s the few localities that use the Metro.”