The 2017 General Assembly gaveled to order on Wednesday. This year is known as a “short session” and runs only 46 days, from Jan. 11 to Feb. 25. Virginia legislators will likely consider more than 1,500 bills and hundreds of additional resolutions. Amendments to the current two-year state budget will also be negotiated.
Governor’s State of the Commonwealth
Gov. McAuliffe struck a conciliatory tone in his address to the legislature by emphasizing achievements we’ve made in a bipartisan way to build a new Virginia economy. When Gov. McAuliffe took office, Virginia’s unemployment rate was 5.4 percent. Today it is 4.2 percent. During his tenure, Virginia has created 167,100 net new jobs. His speech highlighted many accomplishments, including helping to close 853 new economic development deals worth $14.23 billion in capital investment – which is nearly $5 billion more than any administration in Virginia history. He went on to applaud last year’s budget that invested more than $1 billion in public education, the highest level of investment in Virginia history.
The Governor reached across the aisle to Republicans in his address to find common ground on a wide variety of issues. Whether Republicans, who hold majorities in both the Senate and House, will provide some support is not yet clear, but I will be fighting for the Governor’s legislative agenda.
House Democratic Caucus Emphasizes Jobs, Opportunity and Raises in Press Conference
On Thursday, House Democrats released our priorities for this session. The focus was on job opportunity.
A Look Ahead…
I will continue to fight for a bonus or pay increases for law enforcement, teachers and other state employees; to adequately fund K-12 education; and to protect universities from budget cuts.
And, as I have in past sessions, I will email you at the end of each week to share legislative highlights.
Let Us Hear From YOU!
Please call my Richmond office at (804) 698-1057 or email me at DelDToscano@house.virginia.gov anytime through February 25, when we adjourn, to let me know what you think about important bills. And come see us if you are in Richmond. We are located in the General Assembly Building on the 6th floor, in Room 614.
Visits in Charlottesville
We are a “citizen legislature.” That means members of the General Assembly spend most of the year in our home districts. I will be back in Charlottesville and available to meet with you any time beginning in March till the end of 2017. Please call my Charlottesville office after February 25 at (434) 220-1660 to schedule an appointment or to speak by phone.