It's week six of the General Assembly's seven week legislative session and the budget has been the primary topic. The House and Senate have been meeting in conference to resolve differences all week. Speaker Howell incorporated a rules change this year so that the proposed budget will be posted for the public and the press to view at least 48 hours before we vote on it. The Richmond Times-Dispatch praised the new policy earlier this year, saying that "the move will increase public access." Once the budget conferees finish their work, you can find their budget online at http://hac.state.va.us/.
The House's budget eliminated more than $10 million in new fees and $42 million in new government debt, while also putting more money into classrooms and funding core functions of government. We took a conservative approach, which works to strengthen existing safety net programs for those in the most need.
This week I voted for Senator Bill Stanley's bill that would expand eligibility for a medical school scholarship program administered by the Board of Health for medical students who agree to return to practice in under served areas of the Commonwealth after graduation.
Last week, the House and Senate passed identical resolutions to make it easier to establish charter schools in Virginia. If the same resolutions pass again next year and are approved by voters, it will be placed in Virginia's constitution.
The "Tebow Bill" allows home schooled students to participate in high school sports in Virginia. For the first time this year, it was approved by both the House and the Senate and will be going to the governor's desk. Local school boards will have the option of letting them participate in school sports, clubs and group activities.
I encourage you to follow the actions of the General Assembly. Any legislation can be read in full on the Virginia General Assembly website, http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/. A wealth of additional information on the legislative process can also be found on this site. In addition, you can actually watch video for the House by clicking on the link in the right sidebar of this site.
OF LOCAL INTEREST:
I was very pleased with the quality of art this year with the Rural Art Contest. I appreciate the parents who took time to bring their children to Richmond and enjoyed their visit.
Quote of the Day:
"Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle." -Abraham Lincoln