General Assembly Legislative Report

This session of the Virginia General Assembly included some inter-party cooperation but also the most vetoes in almost 20 years, and a post-session executive order that has spurred calls for a special session. This led to a more adversarial relationship between Democratic Governor McAuliffe and the Republican General Assembly majority than perhaps ever before.

Terry Cooper (1)Three of our legislators spoke at our Wednesday May 11, 2016 meeting. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by SSV board member Terry Cooper (left).

 

Deeds, Landes, Toscano (1)

Senator Creigh Deeds (D) represents the 25th Senate District which includes the cities of Buena Vista, Charlottesville, Covington, and Lexington, and the counties of Albemarle (part), Alleghany, Bath, Highland, Nelson, and Rockbridge.

Delegate Steve Landes (R) represents the 25th House of Delegates District which includes portions of Albemarle, Augusta, and Rockingham Counties.

Delegate David Toscano (D) represents the 57th House of Delegates District which includes Charlottesville and part of Albemarle County.

Program Summary

Delegate Toscano led off with a PowerPoint presentation characterizing the actions taken during the session as, “the good, the bad and the funny.” Definitely in the latter category was HB 335 which established the Eastern Garter Snake as the official snake of the Commonwealth and consolidates the Northern Cardinal as the state bird and the American Dogwood as the state tree.

SB 352, sponsored by Senator Deeds, designates Nelsonite as the state rock. HB 1142 allows the hunting of wild birds and animals—except deer, bear, elk and turkey—with a sling shot!

Moving to more substantive issues, an investment of almost $1 billion was made in K-12 education. Teachers will receive a two percent raise midyear, $300 million in new dollars was appropriated for higher education and $12.5 million in new dollars for community colleges. Delegate Toscano concluded with a review of the numerous actions taken that bear on Virginia’s economy.

Senator Deeds emphasized three points about the session. He noted that over his years of service, things have become increasingly more partisan, yet in this session, both sides joined together for the good of education. Similarly, the gun legislation offered something to like and dislike for everyone. The overturning of Supreme Court Justice Jane Roush was the first time in over 100 years that a sitting governor’s appointment to the Supreme Court was not confirmed.

Delegate Landes made available detailed printed copies of the session highlights and then concentrated his remarks on the budget, education, economic development, restoration of rights, and the process for the appointment of Supreme Court justices. Because of his committee assignments, he spends a lot of time on the state budget which was approved this session for a total of $105 billion for the biennium.

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