Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Post Session Stats & What's Next

It’s good to be home from Richmond, after a super busy General Assembly Session. We wrapped up the 2024 Session on Saturday evening, adjourning sine die at 5:05pm. During this "long" session at 60 days, we used our timely wisely, completing ALL our work, including passing a compromise budget - a feat that hasn't happened during a regular session in 3 years!


We had so much time, in fact, that I gave a speech about it on our last day, offering a litany of our many accomplishments this session.


The Compromise Budget


On the last day of the 2024 Session, we voted on the House and Senate's compromise version of the budget. This is the culmination of months of work, making sure that our values are reflected in the biennial budget we send to the Governor. Passing with a bipartisan vote in both chambers, the budget bill will now go to the Governor for his review. He has until 11:59pm on April 8th to sign, veto, or amend it. To view the latest budget, visit budget.lis.virginia.gov. The Commonwealth Institute also provides a great side-by-side comparison chart of all the budget versions.


Session By The Numbers


As I mentioned in my previous email about crossover statistics, here are some updated stats now that we're done with the regular session:

  • 60 Day "Long" Session
  • 34 new Delegates in the House (out of 100)
  • 17 new Senators (out of 40)
  • 3,594 total bills and resolutions introduced
  • 2,280 bills and resolutions passed the House & the Senate
  • 1,046 bills communicated to the Governor to sign, amend, or veto
  • 405 bills continued to the 2025 Session
  • 84 bills communicated to the Governor as "7 Day Bills"
  • 64 of the "7 Day Bills" were signed by the Governor
  • 12 of the "7 Day Bills" were amended by the Governor
  • 8 of the "7 Day Bills" were vetoed by the Governor

What's Next


Bills that were communicated to the Governor by March 1st meant that they were "7 Day Bills," and he had until March 8th to take action on them. The remaining bills that passed the General Assembly will be communicated to the Governor shortly and he will have until April 8th at 11:59pm to take action. The General Assembly will then reconvene on April 17th for the Veto Session, where will address all of the Governor's vetoes and recommendations.


Now that session is officially over, I'm back home in the 13th District and looking forward to getting back in the groove of things - visiting with family and friends, being back at my small business, and, of course, attending community events.

Saturday, March 9, 2024

2024 Sine Die - Right On Time

Today, we've officially gavelled out of the 2024 General Assembly Session! And you won't believe what we've accomplished.


If all we had time for this session had been to pass bills to set us on a path to make sure Virginia teachers are compensated at least at the national average (HB 187), to protect our at-risk students (HB 825), improve student mental health (HB 919 & HB 603), ease the teacher shortage, and to secure our kids future through a world class education, it would have been a great session.

But wait, there’s more.

We also passed bills to protect the rights and freedom of a Virginians, including the right to obtain contraception (HB 609 & HB 819), to keep their health and medical data private (HB 78 & HB 1539), their right to a marriage license regardless of sex, gender or race of the parties (HB 174), the right to vote in free and fair elections (HB 623).


Abortion Access

Even if we’d only had time to block efforts to ban all abortions in Virginia with no exceptions (HB 404), that would have been a great session. But we did all that AND we built an economy that works for Hardworking Virginia families.


Economic Justice

We raised the minimum wage (HB 1), removed Jim Crow era exceptions to the minimum wage (HB 157). We established a prescription drug affordability board (HB 570) so Virginians don’t have to choose between paying for essentials like rent and groceries so they can buy their medicines.


Gun Violence Prevention

We also had time to pass important bills to protect victims of domestic violence from deadly gun violence (HB 46 & HB 362), to ban weapons of war from Virginia’s streets and neighborhoods (HB 2 & HB 175), to ban dangerous devices that can convert an ordinary firearm into a virtual automatic weapon (HB 22), and to ban the ghost guns (HB 173).


A Compromise Budget

In the last few days of session, we only had a handful of outstanding conference reports yet to be signed, and, for the first time in at least 3 years, a completed budget conference report sitting on our desks. Right. On. Time.

A budget that makes important investments in our infrastructure, in our teachers, in our public employees. It directs the Governor to reenter the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), to invest $149.5 million transportation improvements and WMATA, includes  $100 million for the Community Flood Preparedness Fund, $400 million to meet Chesapeake Bay improvement goals, and $25 million for Coastal Risk Storm Management Projects.

We’ve delivered on our promises to Virginians and we got it all done right in time.


Now, it’s up to the Governor. He’s on the clock – will he sign these bills and make sure Virginians get the education, the freedoms, the economic opportunities and the environment they want and deserve? Only time will tell.

Monday, March 4, 2024

2024 Session | March 4th Update

As our 60 day “long session” enters its final week, many of you have asked me how we get it all done on such a compressed schedule. Part of the answer is in the hectic schedule. Many of you have commented that you enjoyed reading about a “typical Thursday” in a previous e-mail.


Last week it took me spending every minute of a very atypical Wednesday to keep my legislative agenda moving forward. In addition to being an extremely long day on the Floor as the General Assembly worked to meet our deadline to get all revenue bills into conference committees, 9 of my bills were 4 different Senate committee dockets - the first 3 being heard at a 7:30am subcommittee and the last 2 heard in Senate Courts at about 7pm.


I spent the evening bouncing back and forth between committee rooms in the Senate taking meetings with lobbyists in the hallway in between.


The other part of the answer to how we get it all done: We don’t.


On Thursday, the Speaker appointed me to Joint Rules, which is the committee that reviews appointments to commissions, councils, and boards across the Commonwealth. There are several hundred bills that will be carried over to the 2025 session and referred to one of these joint boards, committees or commissions for further study and review.


By next week I should learn which commissions and councils I’ll be serving on in the “off-season” – stay tuned for that.


The Budget


Work on the budget is ongoing. Now that the House and Senate conferees have been appointed, the work of reconciling the 2 budget versions has begun. Hopefully, a compromise budget will be introduced later this week so that we can have one to vote on and then send to the Governor.


It's been several years since we've been able to complete work on the budget before the end of the regular session. Instead, we've often adjourned without a compromise and have then returned for a special session just on the budget. Whatever happens, we are obligated by the Constitution of Virginia to have a balanced budget every year and we have not met that obligation.