Only one week remains until the General Assembly's scheduled adjournment. Committees are completing their work, and we are reviewing Senate amendments to House bills. On Wednesday, the House and Senate appointed budget conferees. These legislators are tasked with resolving differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget. Next week, the conferees will issue a report making a final budget recommendation.
As a reminder, Virginia must always adhere to a balanced budget. The Republican-led House adopted a conservative budget, taking steps to direct Virginia on a fiscally responsible course. Governor McAuliffe's proposed budget increased fees as well as state debt. House Republicans slashed the following from the Governor's budget:
$70 million in proposed debt
$3.2 million in fee increases for restaurant inspections
$2.1 million in underperforming or erroneous government programs
$300,000 in proposed fees for behavioral health adult service providers
$116,000 from a proposed fee increase for shellfish facility inspections
Our region is home to many military veterans, both active duty and retired. Republicans in the House of Delegates are leading the effort to provide our veterans with the care they deserve, access to affordable education, and good job opportunities. This hits close to home for me. As many of you know, my brother lost his life in the Vietnam War. Additionally, two of my sons have served in the Armed Forces. As such, I understand firsthand the service and sacrifices of our military.
The Military and Veterans Caucus is supporting serveral bipartisan bills that are successfully progressing through the legislative process:
HB 2206 redefines the goals of the Virginia Veteran and Family Support Program, formerly Wounded Warrior, to help veterans and their families navigate the complex web of healthcare services available to them.
HB 1721 permits Community Colleges to charge reduced tuition to active duty military members enrolled in training that leads to a Military Occupational Specialty.
HJ 562 is a constitutional amendment that would provide a property tax exemption for the principal residence of the survining spouse of a disabled veteran.
HB 1582 allows active duty military members aged 18-21 to apply for a concealed handgun permit
2017 Legislative Survey Results
Be sure to check out the results of my 2017 legislative survey! Click
HERE for the link to my survey responses.
Valentine's Day in Richmond
This week the General Assembly celebrated Valentine's Day. Offices were decorated with pink and red hearts, and the halls bustled with florists' deliveries. On the House floor, I joined my colleagues for a quick Valentine's photo.
Thank you to all who have contacted my office during this year's session. I appreciate your input, and I may still be reached by email at DelBPogge@house.virginia.gov or by phone at 804-698-1096. As a reminder, my office is located in Room 403 of the General Assembly Building at the corner of 9th and Broad Streets.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Delegate Brenda Pogge
Paid for and Authorized by Brenda Pogge for Delegate