The battle of the budget escalated Friday into a pitched fight among Republicans over control of a General Assembly special session — and election of judges, including a highly prized seat on the State Corporation Commission.It’s clear that the General Assembly is heading to a special session, but not on whose terms or when legislators will meet again to try to bridge a wide gulf between the budgets the House of Delegates and Senate adopted. If they don’t decide soon, Gov. Ralph Northam will make those decisions.The day after a group of Republican senators visited the House Republican Caucus to try to sway it against expanding Medicaid in the budget, House Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, and Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, R-James City, took off the gloves for bare-knuckled combat.The Senate, after failing to pass two resolutions to extend the 60-day session beyond its scheduled adjournment on Saturday, unanimously adopted a resolution to ask Northam to … [Read more...] about Virginia legislature is heading for a special session, but on which chamber’s terms?
State employees and school teachers will have to wait. So will university presidents, sheriff’s deputies, correctional officers and advocates for economic development.Virginia won’t have a new state budget anytime soon.A breakdown in budget talks between the House of Delegates and Senate on Thursday ensures that the General Assembly won’t complete its most important job in time for its scheduled adjournment on Saturday.Instead, the legislature is likely to seek a special session to settle a budget battle that pivots on whether to accept billions of dollars in federal money to expand Medicaid coverage for more than 300,000 uninsured Virginians.The wait is likely to be especially tense for school teachers, who are hoping for assurance of a 2 percent pay increase, and school districts faced with their own deadlines for adopting budgets for K-12 education.“We urge legislators to break the impasse, as our school divisions are just now in the midst of planning their … [Read more...] about Virginia’s state budget talks break down, special session likely
The House of Delegates and Senate have agreed on a proposal to set a floor for regional gasoline taxes in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia, generating about $67 million a year for transportation projects in the two regions.The conference agreement would set the gas tax floor at the average wholesale price on Feb. 20, 2013, which was $3.17 a gallon. That already is the floor for a statewide gasoline tax the General Assembly adopted in 2013 as part of a comprehensive transportation funding package that included regional taxes in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia.The legislation inadvertently left out the price floor in the regions, which subsequently lost tax collections as gasoline prices fell below 2013 levels.The House voted 65-29, with one abstention, on Thursday to approve the deal on legislation proposed by Del. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk. The final bill would mirror legislation proposed by Sen. Frank Wagner, R-Virginia Beach, to use the 2013 wholesale price as the floor for the … [Read more...] about Compromise sets gas tax floor at 2013 level in Hampton Roads, Northern Virginia
The party of an incumbent president usually doesn’t fare well in midterm elections, and a new poll indicates things could be brutal for Republicans in Virginia this year as they continue to reel from a Democratic wave in last year’s statewide elections.Sixty percent of Democrats and 45 percent of Republicans are “very enthusiastic” about voting in November, when Virginians will elect representatives for the state’s 11 U.S. House districts and decide whether to re-elect Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., according to poll results released Wednesday by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.“The question is no longer whether there is a Blue Wave coming, but rather, how high the storm surge will get,” CNU’s Rachel Bitecofer, the assistant director of the Wason Center, said in a news release.At the heart of the Democratic momentum is the historic unpopularity of the Republican president, Donald Trump. In the Wason Center … [Read more...] about Poll projects Democratic wave coming in Virginia’s congressional elections
For the first time since 1980, Virginia has increased the monetary threshold for grand larceny, a felony offense that can carry a year or more of jail time.Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, on Wednesday signed Sen. David Suetterlein’s Senate Bill 105, which raises the felony threshold for larceny and other property crimes from $200 to $500.The law will take effect July 1.“Taxpayers are not well-served when a young person who steals a $200 pair of sneakers becomes permanently labeled as a convicted felon,” said Suetterlein, a Republican from Roanoke County, in a statement.According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index inflation calculator, $200 in January of 1980 had the same buying power as $637.19 in January of 2018.In a statement on Twitter, Northam called the law part of a “commonsense criminal justice reform package.”A bipartisan group of senators had pushed to get the law through for years but were unable to overcome … [Read more...] about Virginia raises larceny threshold for the first time since 1980