Since the House and Senate could not agree on a budget during the regular General Assembly Session, which adjourned in March, the Governor has called us back for a Special Session to get it done. The Special Session begins April 11, 2018, but no action will occur immediately on the budget. The new budget bill introduced by Governor Northam will have to go through the regular committee process just like the previous one. The House Appropriations Committee will begin its work quickly, and so it’s entirely possible that a House budget will be ready in time for floor debate on Tuesday, April 17 – but this could change depending on scheduling. We expect that the House budget will include Medicaid expansion and the hospital provider assessment, which allows us to expand without use of additional state dollars, much like it did in the regular Session, but we are not sure yet what will be included in the Senate’s budget. Because the Senate initially rejected Medicaid expansion and the provider assessment, its budget cut more than $400 million from education and other services that would have been funded by accepting the federal Medicaid dollars. While there has been some recent media coverage suggesting that Medicaid expansion will be adopted by the Senate, nothing is assured until the green lights go up on the vote board, and there will need to be considerable negotiations before a final budget compromise is reached. The momentum is positive, but Senate Republican leadership is now the main barrier, and we need to keep advocating for expansion. More than 7,000 citizens in our area would benefit from Medicaid expansion and it would certainly help our local hospitals by recapturing some of the money that would otherwise be spent on indigent care. You can watch the online live stream of the special session here. [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…]
It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to serve as your Delegate to the Virginia General Assembly for the past twelve years. Your support through these years has meant a lot to me, and I need it again. I have an opponent in the June 13 Democratic Primary, and I do not yet know if there will be a Republican opponent in the November General Election, if I win in June.
There are many reasons why I have chosen to seek reelection. [Read more…]
The Marathon and Maelstrom of the Veto Session —
Democrats Sustain All Governor’s Vetoes
The legislative year ends with what’s called the “veto session.” This year’s was held Wednesday, April 5, 2017, the day when the legislature considers the Governor’s vetoes and his proposed amendments to various bills. It is typically one of the longest floor sessions of the year and, as the Democratic floor leader, one of the most intense, as every vote counts on almost every issue. This year, Governor McAuliffe vetoed an unprecedented number of House bills, 21 in total. [Read more…]
State Legislating In The Shadow Of A Trump Presidency
In the weeks that followed the election of Donald J. Trump, a number of state legislators around the country wondered aloud whether the new president was perhaps so enigmatic and unpredictable that he actually would not do what he promised to do during the course of the fall campaign. And others hoped that he might actually follow through on his promise that “all citizens will have really good health care.” They were dramatically wrong on all counts. Trump has done exactly what he promised to do – with startling speed, audacious assertiveness, and with little apparent concern about the real impacts, not only of his tweets, but, more importantly, his policies. This presents significant peril for our constituents, but also unprecedented political opportunities for the upcoming elections. The first test electorally will be November 2017, and Virginia will be at the center of it all. All statewide offices are up for election, as well as 100 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates. [Read more…]