2016 General Assembly Session Update #4

We are nearing the finish line for the 2016 General Assembly Session, with a little over a week to go.  Last week, the House and the Senate acted on their respective budgets. The House budget proposal, outlined below, has a number of positive items, including pay increases for state employees and increased spending on public schools. However, both the House and Senate budgets remove funding for Medicaid expansion, leaving hundreds of thousands of Virginians without access to quality health care services.

 

Overview of House Budget Proposal

Last Thursday, the House considered the Appropriations Committee's amendments to the Governor's biennial budget. The $100 billion two-year budget supports investment in public schools and economic development, but rejects Medicaid expansion. Unfortunately, the House budget restricts Medicaid funding for abortions in the instance of gross fetal abnormalities.  You can view my floor speech against this amendment here

Major components of the House budget include:

K-12 Education

  • increases K-12 funding by nearly $900 million, including:
    • a 2% pay increase for public school teachers,
    • a $400 million increase in funding to keep up with state enrollment growth, and
    • a $270 million increase in funding from lottery funds with "fewer strings attached."

Higher Education

  • increases public higher education funding by $290 million to support in-state students,
  • a 3% limit on in-state tuition increases at state universities, and 
  • pay increases for public university faculty and personnel.

Commerce & Economic Development

  • $5.7 million in the first year and $27.2 million in the second year to establish the GO Virginia Innovative fund to foster job growth by encouraging regional collaboration among business, education and government, and
  • increases funding to land conservation programs, including:
    • VA Land Conservation Fund - $16 million per year, and
    • Battlefields Preservation Fund - $2 million per year.

General Government

  • 4% salary adjustment for state and state-supported local employees over the next two years,
  • 100% funding for the VRS retirement plan beginning in FY 2017,
  • $2.9 million each year for the Criminal Fund and Involuntary Mental Commitment Fund, and
  • Adds 150 waiver slots and expands capacity to serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the community.

You can learn more about the House budget amendments here

Delegate McClellan's Legislation

Seven of my bills passed the House, and were sent to the Senate for consideration. 

HB 487 , removing the obligation for school resource officers to enforce school board rules and codes of student conduct as a condition of funding through the School Resource Officer Grants Program, has been passed by the Senate and awaits action by the Governor. 

Click here to see the Henrico Citizen's coverage of this bill. In addition, this bill was profiled as one of the school discipline reform bills still moving through the General Assembly in this article by The Center for Public Integrity

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HB 703 ,  prohibiting minors under 18 from marrying unless they are emancipated by the court, has passed out of Senate committee and is awaiting a vote on the Senate floor.  You can watch the floor debate on this bill here.

This bill has gained national attention, including this New York Times article.   

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The following five bills still await action by Senate committees:

HB 485 , permitting a first offense simple assault where the victim was a family or household member of the defendant  to be taken under advisement while the person is ordered to complete an anger management or domestic violence class. Click here to see the Henrico Citizen's coverage of this bill.

HB 857HB 860HB 861 , and  HB 862 , implementing technical changes to last year's Ethics Reform legislation recommended by the  Conflicts of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council Report to the General Assembly .    

You can track the progress of my legislation through the session here

As always, if you would like more information or to express your thoughts on legislation before the General Assembly or need assistance with a state matter, please contact my office at (804) 698-1171 or deljmcclellan@house.virginia.gov.

You can also stay informed of the House of Delegates' activities by following me on twitter and liking my facebook page

 

Sincerely,

Jennifer L. McClellan
Virginia House of Delegates
71st District