By Delegate Rob Bloxom
Hi,this is Delegate Rob Bloxom, reporting to you from Richmond, with this week’s Capitol report.
As we enter the last week, committee work is completed and all bills are on the floor to either be accepted or amended. If accepted in the opposite chamber, the bill will then go to the Governor for his signature. If the opposite chamber has any change in a bill in committee or on the floor, even if it is merely a comma, the bill will have to return to the House to be accepted,changed, or rejected. This is at the point in which the opposite chamber attempts to impose their will on the other body.
A lot of changes this year have been the Senate trying to neuter what I consider “bad” bills coming from the House which lessens the effect of the bill. It is interesting to see if the House will accept a bill that is neutered or if it will just accept the change, in order to get the bill passed. If members of the House do not accept their suggestions, then the bill goes into conference.
If a bill is in conference, that means that it is sent to a panel of three senators and three delegates, who then either agree or disagree on the final bill’s form. In the background is the budget that has to be reconciled between the two chambers. A lot of bills are “held hostage” so that pressure is applied on the members of the opposing chamber, which will enable them to do what they want to do. All of this may seem childish and a lot of it is. Along with this is the feeling of self importance that many members possess which is hard to endure, but in the end, the system works. One must also remember that we survived 400 years without this piece of legislation, so we can certainly survive one more.
On a closing note, there are a lot of bills being passed with “no state budget fiscal impact.” This is not to say that the bills are not costly. The implementation of the bill will not cost the state any money.There are a considerable amount of unfunded mandates coming from Richmond this year. The delegates do not seem to realize, or perhaps they really do not care, that everything has a cost. Some of the mandates are going to be extremely hard to implement and furthermore, will be very costly.
As always , I welcome your feedback, comments and concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com. You may also call my district office in Mappsville at (757) 824-3456. Thank you.