By Delegate Bloxom
Hi, this is Rob Bloxom with this week’s Capitol report. As the special session enters its eighth week, the House of Delegates is still waiting for a budget from the Senate. We will vote against the budget bill in order to send the budgets of the House and Senate to a conference committee. I can only assume that the two legislative bodies are already meeting as well as negotiating a final budget. There will be some spending in the budget that will be necessary to fund policies that I opposed. However, this will not prevent me from voting for the money needed to implement the policy. I am pleased to report that there is funding in the budget that should benefit everyone.
School funding is one area in which I hope we take the House’s version. In the House budget, we provided the same funding as the previous year. This is quite important being schools receive state funding on a per pupil basis. Presently, it would be nearly impossible to take a true daily attendance when schools are either virtual or on a hybrid schedule. We added funding to higher education so that tuition would remain the same as the previous year. The House budget also had bonuses for state employees, not raises. I would consider this a step in the right direction, considering the uncertainty of revenues amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In closing, the final picture should be clearer next week. I will try to give a complete wrap-up of the budget and the legislation at that time. I encourage you to take a look at the bills that have passed the House of Delegates during this special session at https://lis.virginia.gov/. As always, I welcome you to contact me with any questions or concerns at my district office at (757)824-3456 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.