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.