The General Assembly adjourned sine die this past Saturday, March 12th. For the past 60 days, the House and Senate both have been working through legislation covering a wide range of topics. Unfortunately, work on the budget was not completed on time and will necessitate legislators returning to Richmond in the coming weeks for a special session in order to complete our work.
In this update, I will share a brief update on the yet to be completed state budget and other key pieces of legislation. If you have missed any of my recent updates, you can find them here.
Unfortunately, the General Assembly adjourned without finishing its work on the budget. While not ideal, it is not an unprecedented course of events.
At present, negotiators (known as conferees) from the House and Senate are working out the differences between the two budget proposals. The main sticking point between the House and Senate is taxes, with the House proposal offering a more generous package of tax cuts. Our proposal would:
- Double the standard deduction
- Provide a $300 per individual ($600 per couple) tax rebate
- End the grocery tax
- Temporarily suspend the gas tax
- Exempted the first $40,000 of military retiree pay from taxes
With record state revenues, I believe that it is possible to both cut taxes and fund the core functions of government. State revenues, after all, come from your pocket.
I look forward to carefully reviewing the final product presented by our budget negotiators, and will be sure to keep you up to date on this matter.
Like the budget, many bills that passed both the House and Senate had several differences that needed to be worked out so that the exact same version could pass and head to the Governor’s desk. The conference committees that are established to work out these differences usually consist of three Delegates appointed by the Speaker, as well as three Senators. Their agreement, known as the conference report, receives an up or down vote on the House and Senate floors without amendments. Voting on these conference reports was the primary order of business during the final week of session.
With Republicans in charge of the House and Democrats leading the Senate, it was expected that a number of bills passed by the House would face an untimely end in the Senate. The differences between each chamber can be easily seen through the different types of elections bills passed by each chamber.
The House’s bill that would reinstate photo ID for elections–a proposal that is overwhelmingly supported by the majority of Virginians–was defeated on a party line vote. On the other hand, HB 55 passed both the House and Senate and would require the State Registrar of Vital Records to transmit weekly rather than monthly a list of decedents so that their voter registration can be canceled.
Like the budget, several major bills remain outstanding. Notably, legislation implementing the tax cuts discussed in the previous section remains in conference contingent upon budget negotiations.
IN THE NEWS
Here’s a few articles you may find of interest:
- 30 reasons why the Virginia General Assembly session mattered
- When will Virginia get a budget?
- Here’s what bills lived, died and remain undecided in divided General Assembly
- Annual Chesterfield County Diaper Drive is back with the hopes to exceed last year’s donation of 47,000 individual diapers
With the legislative session now complete, my staff and I will be working from the district rather than Richmond. You can reach us by phone at (804) 946-1221 or by email at DelMCherry@house.virginia.gov.
It is an honor to represent you in the House of Delegates, and I look forward to hearing how I can best assist you.