As you may have read, the Governor signed the budget bill this week. This is the first time since 1998 that the Governor signed the budget bill without proposing any amendments or vetoes. The money committees and budget conferees from both chambers are to be commended for their hard work in putting together a budget that nearly everyone was happy to support.
This budget calls for $1 billion less in general fund spending compared to last year’s budget. It eliminates over $11 million in fees and $33 million in debt that was originally proposed by the Governor. Additionally, the budget does not include Medicaid expansion, but it does provide some additional assistance for those individuals in the most need. Finally, we were able to provide the resources for a pay raise for our state employees and other state supported local employees, including the state portion of a pay increase for our teachers.
Governor Vetoes Bridgewater Precinct Bill
Governor McAuliffe has vetoed HB 1699, a bill that I carried this session correcting the split precinct in Bridgewater. I am extremely disappointed in the Governor’s decision to veto this legislation. This bill came at the request of Rockingham County and had the full support of all local stakeholders. It would have been beneficial for both voters and taxpayers.
House Bill 1699 was a modest request that would impact only 22 voters in Rockingham County. It was a common sense measure that would have removed a source of potential confusion and error among voters and poll workers, while eliminating the additional expense that the Rockingham County registrar’s office must incur.
Instead of assisting our locality, Governor McAuliffe decided to play politics with this legislation. It was by no means an overhaul of district lines (as the Governor would like you to believe); it simply made a slight technical adjustment to ensure all individuals currently within the Town of Bridgewater would have been able to vote for the same representatives. While it will be an uphill challenge in the State Senate, I hope we can override the Governor’s veto.
Though he vetoed HB 1699, I am pleased to report that he has signed HB 1700, HB 1701 and HB 2314 into law. To my knowledge, he has not yet taken action on my bill strengthening our parental notice requirements for student surveys (HB 1698).
Sunshine, Warm Weather… Potholes???
Spring is finally here, bringing with it warm weather, outdoor activities, and the potential for rough roads. As you may know, spring is also the start of “pothole season.” Because we have had a very wet winter with heavy snow and rain, you may notice a lot of potholes in the roads this spring.
If you see a pothole you may report the problem to VDOT by calling 1-800-FOR-ROAD (1-800-367-7623). VDOT will investigate each report and will schedule repairs as soon as possible. As always, you can also contact my office and we would be glad to reach out to VDOT on your behalf.
Save the Dates!
On Friday, May 8 I will be holding my 4th Annual Sporting Clays Shoot at the Flying Rabbit in Mt. Crawford. You don’t need to be a pro, just come out and have a good time! As we have done in the past, we will serve lunch following the shoot and offer prizes for all levels of shooter. The shoot will begin at 11:30 AM.
Also, you can mark your calendar for the evening of Wednesday, June 17. My good friends, Doug and Gayle Driver, have graciously agreed to host a reception at their home in Broadway. I have already confirmed that Senator Obenshain plans to attend, and other special guests will be announced at a later date.