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…]
I have had the pleasure and honor of representing this community in local and state government for more than 20 years. During this time, I have learned a lot about what it means to listen and what it means to lead. I have fully supported and fought for the values that our region feels are important — equality, justice, fairness, opportunity, honesty. They have found form in initiatives as diverse as advocating for an increase in the minimum wage to supporting the transition to an energy economy based on renewable resources.
I have successfully fought for increases in education spending and raises for teachers, law enforcement, and public employees. I have been part of the brick wall protecting women’s reproductive rights. I have fought again and again for Medicaid expansion. As the Democratic Leader, I have been there every day, fighting for the progressive values we cherish. I am running for reelection and I need your help. [Read more…]
On Saturday, February 25, 2017, we adjourned this year’s “short session” of the General Assembly with passage of a modified budget. The revised budget places total General Fund spending for FY2017 and FY2018 at $40.47 billion. [Read more…]
We’ve hit the mid-point of session, marked by what we call “crossover,” the day that all bills from one body cross over to the other in order to be considered. Many of the most heavily-contested bills arrive on this day, leading to long hours and fierce debates.
My primary focus continues to be passing legislation to help build the New Virginia Economy. That means pushing bills that spur job creation and that provide Virginians a much-needed raise. It also means supporting investments in education at all levels. We have made progress in some areas, but not in others. [Read more…]