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.