The House of Delegates adjourned sine die (Latin for no appointed date for resumption) on Saturday, February 25th after completing most of our work. This 46-day legislative session saw a wide host of issues come before the General Assembly for consideration.
Unfortunately, we did not finish our work on additional budget amendments on time. Instead, we passed a ‘skinny’ budget package that tackled four immediate needs. It is expected that we will return to Richmond in the next week or two to consider a more comprehensive budget package. I will update you in due course once there is new information to share.
In this week’s e-newsletter, I am pleased to share with you an update on a number of bills that have nearly completed their legislative journey and an update on town halls.
This final week of session has consisted mostly of parliamentary procedures designed to ensure that bills are in identical form when they pass the House and Senate so that they can be properly considered by the Governor. Virginia’s Constitution provides the Governor with three options when it comes to legislation that has passed the General Assembly: (1) sign the bill into law, (2) veto the bill outright, or (3) propose amendments to the bill that the legislature then votes up or down.
We will consider the Governor’s amendments and have an opportunity to override vetoes (assuming there are any) at our constitutionally required Reconvene Session in April.
During the latter half of this week, my bill HB 2272 passed the House and Senate and is now on its way to the Governor’s desk for further consideration. This bill will authorize Virginia State University and Norfolk State University to charge in-state tuition to out-of-state students who are majoring in certain high demand fields. The bill benefits the universities by bringing in additional students and benefits our Commonwealth as a whole when these talented individuals hopefully stay in Virginia after graduation to work, live, and raise a family.
The House also considered an important bill from my colleague Wren Williams that would rein in a Governor’s ability to interfere with our Virignian’s right to worship. In 2020, then-Governor Ralph Northam closed churches while allowing large chain businesses and liquor stores to remain open. In the final version that passed, HB 2171 would prohibit any Governor from treating churches more harshly than businesses or other vital services. I voted “yes” on this bill.
Post-Session Town Hall
I recently shared information about a post-session town hall scheduled to take place on Tuesday, February 28th at Great American Ranch in Chesterfield. Due to an unforeseen scheduling conflict with the venue, this event has been regrettably canceled. If a new date/venue is confirmed, I will share that with you.
As an alternative option, I would like to make you aware that I will present a legislative update to the Colonial Heights Republican Committee on Monday, February 27th at 7pm at Life Christian Academy (1221 Boulevard, Colonial Heights, VA 23834). You do not need to be a member of the committee to attend. Feel free to attend and bring your questions! No RSVP required.
As always, you are welcome to email me at DelMCherry@house.virginia.gov with any questions you may have. Alternatively, you can call my district office at (804) 946-1221 or write to me at PO Box 1146, Colonial Heights, VA 23834.
Visitors to the Capitol
It was great to have Marlon Dance of Dance’s Sporting Goods in Colonial Heights visit Richmond this week in order to speak with the Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus. He shared information about background checks for firearm purchases, the current state of the retail market for various sporting goods, and different hunting and fishing regulations. Thanks for sharing your insights with us!
On Wednesday, the House welcomed Katherine Doctor, Chesterfield County Teacher of the Year, to the Capitol for special recognition and honored her with a commending resolution. Thanks for all the hard work you put in for your students!
With the legislative session wrapping up, I want to issue two special acknowledgements.
A number of my legislative colleagues have announced this week that they will not be seeking re-election to the General Assembly this November. While they each will be missed in their own way, I want to pay special tribute to Chesterfield’s Roxann Robinson.
During my short tenure to date in the House, Roxann has served as an invaluable mentor to me. I have grown to rely on her advice not only on legislative matters, but on how to work well with others. Her honest, straight forward way of doing business is rarely found in today’s world. Her kindness and generosity is well-respected on both sides of the aisle in Richmond. I am a better legislator today because of the time and wisdom she invested in me. I will miss her dearly.
Virginia is a better place because of her service, and her presence in Richmond will be sorely missed. I can’t wait to see all the new quilts being created with the extra time on hand. Best wishes and many blessings for a happy retirement!
I also want to thank the 2023 House Pages for their tremendous work during our legislative session. Our district has been well represented in this year’s House Page Program by Ashley, a middle school student from Chesterfield. She has spent the last six weeks at the Capitol working alongside legislators and learning firsthand how state government works. Pages assist the House Clerk’s Office with a variety of tasks and often find themselves on the House floor during debate. Thank you Ashley for your outstanding work and representing our community so well!
In the News
Here’s a few news articles from the past week that you may find of interest:
Virginia lawmakers approve bill limiting emergency restrictions on houses of worship
Assembly to pass ‘skinny’ budget as stopgap measure
General Assembly tracker: Everyone who says they aren’t coming back next year
It remains an honor to represent you and your family in the Virginia House of Delegates. If I can assist you with a state-related issue, please let me know. I stand ready to serve our community to the best of my ability.