We returned to Richmond Wednesday, April 21, 2010 for the “veto” or reconvened session. It is during this day-long session that we consider all the changes the Governor has proposed to various bills that were passed by both the Senate and the House, and any suggested amendments he has made to the budget.
The Governor made no vetoes, but offered 96 separate changes to the budget, a number that was dramatically higher than in years past. Some of the changes were very minor but some were significant and drew considerable discussion. We have received many emails over the last week regarding several of these amendments.
The Senate was able to defeat the Governor’s effort to eliminate funding for public radio and television, but neither body was willing to oppose the Governor’s efforts to gain more flexibility in how we might spend Medicaid monies that will be flowing from the federal government in the aftermath of Health Care Reform. I opposed ceding such power to the Governor, and am worried that monies that might be received may be deflected into other areas of the budget, leaving our most disadvantaged persons at greater risk.
Of particular interest to our localities was the Governor’s effort to cap funding for the Comprehensive Services Act. If you are interested, you can view a video of my speech in opposition of this amendment here. We were able to defeat the Governor’s recommendation, with the result that localities will be saved the prospect of having insufficient monies to protect children in foster care, abused and neglected children, or children with special educational needs.
We were also successful in defeating some of the Governor’s proposed reduction in TANF funds upon which agencies like MACAA, Healthy Families, and homeless assistance and prevention organizations rely. The monies that the Governor was trying to reduce also go to help women who are victims of domestic abuse.
As is usually the case, the Governor was successful on most of his proposals in the “veto” session. Fortunately, we were able to defeat several that would have had the greatest impact on citizens most in need during these challenging economic times.
In other news, my meeting with the Charlottesville City Council, Albemarle Board of Supervisors, and the two respective school boards will occur at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 24, 2010. The meeting will be streamed live by NBC 29 should citizens want to observe the proceedings. I will provide some additional information after the meeting has been concluded, and would encourage people interested in City/County issues to post to my blog or send us their comments.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in the General Assembly.