Meet Senator Jennifer McClellan
Jennifer McClellan's legislation is signed into law
Jennifer McClellan at the General Assembly
Senator McClellan Meets with constituents
Jennifer McClellan accepting the VEA Legislative Champion Award

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Jul19

In his bid for re-election, George Allen recently released an ad featuring his former secretary of health and human resources, Kay Coles James. It’s part of an ad campaign chiefly designed to smooth over Allen’s long record of partisanship and divisive behavior and a transparently political effort to woo women voters.  But, given James and Allen’s long records of seeking to limit women’s health care choices, I doubt many voters will be fooled. In fact, Allen’s selection of James to represent him speaks volumes about his commitment to roll back the clock on women’s access to health care.

Mar11

As of Thursday morning, the General Assembly had yet to agree on a budget — the last remaining piece of what has been a tumultuous and contentious legislative session.

The House of Delegates has twice sent an amended version of the governor’s budget to the Senate. With less than three days left in the session, the Senate had failed to pass any budget — on strict party-line votes.

Failure to pass a budget on time seems to have become the rule rather than the exception in the past decade: In five out of seven years from 2001 to 2008, the General Assembly has failed to pass a budget on time. In those years, by working through the budget and taking additional time, we have created a better budget. I hope the same thing will happen before the current fiscal year ends on June 30.

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Last week the House and Senate adopted amendments to the 2016-2018 budget to address a projected $279.3 million revenue shortfall. The Senate budget reflects its top priorities of supporting mental health programs, avoiding spending cuts for public education and safety net programs, and providing an overdue pay raise for all state employees and teachers.  Specifically, the Senate budget proposes a 3 percent raise for state classified employees, a 2 percent raise for college and university faculty, the state share of a 2 percent raise for public school teachers, and a 2 percent raise for state-supported local employees.  Instead of providing a raise for teachers, the House budget increases funding for school divisions, which may use the money for raises or for other priorities. 

 

Last week, the General Assembly reached "Crossover," the mid-point of Session when the House and Senate must complete work on their own bills. Many of the bills my constituents have written or called me about were addressed prior to crossover and summarized in prior updates. Here is an overview of other bills acted upon last week.

Tomorrow marks the half-way point of the 2017 General Assembly Session, known as "Crossover," when the House and Senate must complete work on their own bills.  Over the next two days we will debate and vote on hundreds of bills on the Senate floor covering a wide variety of topics such as immigration, voting rights, school discipline, student loans, Airbnb, the regulation of property carriers, and public procurement.  My Op-Ed in yesterday's Richmond Times Dispatch discussed some of the school discipline bills we will address.
 
You can watch the Senate floor sessions live or find archived video from earlier floor sessions here