By Delegate Rob Bloxom
Hi. This is Rob Bloxom with this week’s Capitol report.
The deadline for the Senate to review bills to be included in the House budget has passed. Now it is time to negotiate the budget. I am pleased to announce that I have been chosen to be one of the six conferees from the House to negotiate the final budget. The Senate is slow to choose their conferees for the budget and this prevents us from starting.
The first decision is to settle on the revenues. The House upheld the Governor’s tax relief, and the Senate did not. Until that is nailed down, we cannot begin looking at allotting our resources.
The deadline to finish our work is February 25th so we are getting close to crunch time. The good news is we are only making amendments to the second year of a two-year budget. We could walk away and work from last year’s budget, but I hope we will not do that. The Eastern Shore has several projects included in the budget I hope to finish.
Moving away from the budget, this week I had one day that was my personal record for the number of bills presented in one day. On Tuesday, I had one bill up for Senate finance at the same time my House Transportation Committee met. I had to present three bills to the Senate Privileges & Elections Committee which was scheduled at the same time as the Senate Agriculture Committee. I had five bills to present to this committee. I am fortunate to have friends in the other body that will help me so I will not be waiting for hours to present my bills. They will also let me know when I need to run over to that committee room to present. There are situations in which you cannot leave your committee because “bad bills” may pass if you lose the majority. Most of the time the other body will not act negatively on your bill without you being present. That rule does not apply to Senate Finance or House Appropriations. I have always said it is better to kill a” bad” bill than to pass a” good” one. The Commonwealth has survived 400 years without that good piece of legislation. It can wait until next year!
With week seven approaching, we will be winding up this session. I appreciate the input from you on many of the issues we have had this session.
Please continue to contact me at my office in Richmond until the end of the session February 25th at 804-698-1000 or by calling the district office at 757-824-3456.
My email address is [email protected].
Thank you again for your continued support!