We have one week to go in this General Assembly session, and the major issue left to resolve is the budget. In December 2017, Gov. McAuliffe introduced his last budget, and both the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee have been working on it since then. The House budget bill is dramatically different than the Senate’s budget, largely because the House is willing to expand healthcare coverage to thousands of Virginians by accepting federal Medicaid dollars. In the House budget, the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) can apply immediately for expansion; DMAS is also directed to request a special waiver that will allow certain Medicaid recipients to receive workforce training, in hopes that able-bodied recipients may then obtain employment or provide community service. The Senate budget does not include the Medicaid expansion monies from the governor’s budget, with the result that the Senate had to cut more than $400 million from Gov. McAuliffe’s introduced budget. [Read more…]
On Thursday, February 22, the House of Delegates passed perhaps the best budget I have seen come from the body in the last twelve years. The House Budget includes the following highlights: [Read more…]
The 2018 session of the Virginia General Assembly commences at noon on Wednesday, January 10, 2018. After the wave election last November, it appears that the partisan composition in the House will stand at 49 Democrats and 51 Republicans, numbers that many of us hoped for, but few would have predicted last summer. Picking up 15 new seats was an incredible and unprecedented feat, and its significance has not diminished even with the disappointments of the last few days. Not only are our very talented new Delegates entering the chamber this week, but dedicated candidates such as Josh Cole, Donte Tanner, and Shelly Simonds, who came so close and fought for every vote until the end, are to be commended. We expect these and others who ran strong campaigns to be back competing in the next election.
There has been much attention given to recounts and court cases, but on January 10 we put campaigns behind us and will reorganize and start working on the business of governance, the people’s business. There are many issues coming before us, not the least of which will be the two-year budget. In Virginia, the outgoing Governor proposes a budget at the end of his term, and Gov. McAuliffe has continued his focus on building a new Virginia economy and investing properly in education, health care, and job creation. His four-year record has been unparalleled: more than 207,000 jobs created, almost $20 billion in new capital investment, and an unemployment rate among the lowest in the nation. He was just chosen by Governing Magazine as the Best Governor in the nation. [Read more…]
We are, simply put, in the fight of our lives. The values that we consider important— social equality and economic justice, diversity and inclusion, tolerance and civility— and the opportunities that everyone should have— the chance for our family members, children, and grandchildren to secure a decent education, obtain a good job that pays a living wage, have access to reasonably priced health care and insurance, ensure the protection of reproductive health, and gain fair access to the ballot box— are all under siege. They are being assaulted, not only by an insensitive and thoughtless President, but by politicians across the country who either mimic his message or, in their silence, have become complicit in his efforts to destroy the great American dream for all but the wealthiest among us.
All Eyes on Virginia
On Tuesday, Virginia will go to the polls in the first major election since the Trump upset. We have heard much about various state house special elections, and even the June Congressional race in Georgia, being tests of the Democratic Party’s “post-Trump” viability. But Virginia is the real deal. Our Governor’s race matches a veteran/doctor/former State Senator/Lieutenant Governor against a Republican who masterminded the GOP’s nationwide gerrymandering strategy, which has brought one-party rule to many states and Tea Party control of the U.S. House of Representatives while encouraging the further polarization of the electorate. Since Republicans control the Virginia House and Senate, putting a Republican in the governor’s seat could make Virginia look like North Carolina in just one legislative session. Take a look at the 120 bills Governor McAuliffe vetoed in his four years, because a Republican victory will mean that many of them will become law very quickly. No one can afford to “sit this one out.” Every vote is crucial.
Mark Herring, Attorney General • Dr. Ralph Northam, Governor • Justin Fairfax, Lieutenant Governor
Democratic Candidates, Virginia Statewide Offices [Read more…]