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Key issues unresolved, midway through legislative session

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia lawmakers hit the midway level of this yr’s legislative session Tuesday with a few of their greatest issues nonetheless unsettled.

It’s unclear whether or not the GOP-controlled General Assembly will act to amplify Medicaid, a most sensible precedence of Gov. Ralph Northam. Budget negotiations are nonetheless within the early phases, and a significant rewrite of Virginia’s oversight of electrical monopolies has handed every chamber in several bureaucracy which must be reconciled.

Tuesday used to be the closing date for all law, aside from for price range expenses, to cross within the chambers the place they originated. Hundreds extra expenses have already died.

“As we look back on the legislation that has not made it through crossover, it is clear that Virginians’ voices are not being heard on many key issues, including preventing gun violence, increasing access to the voting booth and protecting all Virginians from discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation,” Northam, a Democrat, stated in a remark. He additionally touted compromises reached with Republicans on regulatory reform and extending the brink for prison larceny.

Here is a take a look at what’s gotten accomplished and what’s nonetheless to come back:


Republican leaders in each chambers have signaled willingness to paintings with Northam on increasing Medicaid to offer well being care protection to extra low-income Virginians.

But it’s unclear whether or not a deal will come in combination or what shape it will take.

Most observers be expecting the state price range would be the mechanism for any growth. Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe proposed a spending plan in December that initiatives a financial savings of $421.7 million over two years, because of increasing Medicaid.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment stated lately that lawmakers are nonetheless wrestling with whether or not to incorporate all of that cash, a part of it, or none of it in their very own model of the price range.


Rate freeze:

The standing of a significant rewrite of the state’s electrical software law is unclear after a last-minute modification handed the House, regardless of assurances from Dominion Energy and the Northam management that it wasn’t wanted.

Dominion, Virginia’s greatest electrical monopoly, desires to restrict state regulators’ skill to decrease charges as a part of an overhaul it says is had to build up spending on grid upgrades and renewable power. The House handed an modification Monday that might save you the corporate from successfully charging shoppers’ two times for some capital spending, a vital exchange to the law that handed the Senate and used to be agreed to between Northam and Dominion.

The governor and the electrical corporate haven’t begun to remark without delay at the modification, and it’s unclear what the overall law will seem like.



Lawmakers will have to take on Virginia’s biennial $100 billion-plus state price range this session whilst going through force to extend trainer pay and assist shore up the Washington-area’s suffering subway machine.

McAuliffe’s proposal, which might pad the state’s wet day fund and provides state staff a 2 % carry, will function a kick off point.

Republicans will quickly unlock their very own model.


Coal ash:

Virginia senators have complex a invoice that might block for no less than some other yr Dominion’s debatable plans to bury coal ash in position at 4 energy crops around the state.

The invoice co-sponsored by means of Democratic Sen. Scott Surovell and Republican Sen. Amanda Chase would lengthen an present moratorium on coal ash pond closures, aside from for ponds that experience already had the ash excavated.

The measure, which handed the Senate on Tuesday, 37-Three, would additionally require Dominion to request bids from coal ash recycling firms and switch that data over to the General Assembly, which can find out about the problem additional.

Coal ash is a heavy metal-laden byproduct of burning coal to supply electrical energy. Environmentalists say it will have to no longer be left within the floor on account of its attainable to pollute groundwater.



Democratic lawmakers was hoping they may acquire some floor this yr on gun management, however their hopes thus far have in large part been dashed.

GOP-controlled committees have defeated expenses that might permit towns and counties to limit firearms at sure public occasions just like the violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville final summer season, the place many attendees had been closely armed. A measure that might mandate background exams on all weapons purchased at gun displays has been defeated. So have measures meant to prohibit bump shares, the instrument utilized by a gunman who opened hearth in Las Vegas, killing 58 other folks within the deadliest mass taking pictures in fashionable U.S. historical past.

The House voted down an offer that might have banned weapons within the chamber’s gallery whilst lawmakers are at the ground.

In one vivid spot for gun-control advocates, a measure to repeal a state regulation prohibiting guns in a spot of worship all the way through a spiritual carrier did not advance out of the House.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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