Va. budget deal includes raises for teachers, faculty, Capitol Police

Va. budget deal includes raises for teachers, faculty, Capitol Police

IMAGE: BOB BROWN / RICHMOND TIMES DISPATCH By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch  Feb 22, 2017 Teachers, college faculty and the Virginia Capitol Police would get pay raises under a budget deal negotiators for the House of Delegates and Senate reached Wednesday. The agreement would give a 2 percent raise to...

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Deal reached on state economic development reform

Deal reached on state economic development reform

By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch  Feb 24, 2017 Compromise legislation to reform the Virginia Economic Development Partnership will come before the General Assembly today as one of the last and most substantial decisions of the session. Negotiators for the House of Delegates and Senate, working closely with Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s...

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Va. legislature approves $107 billion budget, concludes 46-day session

Va. legislature approves $107 billion budget, concludes 46-day session

IMAGE: BOB BROWN / RICHMOND TIMES DISPATCH By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch February 26, 2017 The General Assembly arrived in Richmond on Jan. 11 with a $1.26 billion hole in state revenues and left 46 days later with a $107 billion, two-year budget that restores pay raises to public employees,...

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Budget moves to battle between House and Senate over revenues, spending priorities

Budget moves to battle between House and Senate over revenues, spending priorities

By MICHAEL MARTZ AND GRAHAM MOOMAW Richmond Times-Dispatch Feb 9, 2017 With their competing versions of the budget adopted, the House of Delegates and state Senate now prepare for direct combat over the revenues available and how best to spend them. The Senate voted unanimously Thursday for a budget that...

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State revenues surge in January, but not in time to aid budget

State revenues surge in January, but not in time to aid budget

IMAGE: BOB BROWN/TIMES-DISPATCH By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch Feb 13, 2017  State tax revenues appear to have recovered from last year’s swoon, but that doesn’t mean spending will blossom in the two-year budget that the General Assembly will adopt a few weeks before spring. Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Monday that...

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Virginia legislature moves forward with budgets, haggles over state pay raises

Virginia legislature moves forward with budgets, haggles over state pay raises

IMAGE: (Bob Brown/RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS) By Gregory S. Schneider February 9 RICHMOND — Thursday was pecking day at the General Assembly, as the Senate and House each passed a version of the budget and withstood last attempts by members to peck away at the fringes of the spending...

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Election system priority for Senate Republicans in fall, but not in budget

Election system priority for Senate Republicans in fall, but not in budget

Posted: Wednesday, February 8, 2017 10:45 pm By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch Problems with Virginia’s voter registration system prompted howls of outrage from Republican legislators last fall, but almost $4 million proposed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe to address their concerns disappeared from the budget adopted by the Republican-controlled Senate...

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Va. House, Senate budgets would boost pay for public employees

Va. House, Senate budgets would boost pay for public employees

IMAGE: BOB BROWN / RICHMOND TIMES DISPATCH Posted: Sunday, February 5, 2017 5:00 am By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch More pay for public employees is the bottom line in the budget proposals that will emerge in the General Assembly today. In addition to restoring a canceled 3 percent pay...

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Va. House proposal sets up battle with governor over economic development program

Va. House proposal sets up battle with governor over economic development program

IMAGE: BOB BROWN / Richmond Times Dispatch Posted: Thursday, February 2, 2017 12:00 am By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch Legislation to restructure Virginia’s principal economic development program has cleared its first hurdle, but appears headed for a showdown with Gov. Terry McAuliffe over which branch of government would control...

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Subcommittee endorses new retirement option for Va. public employees

Subcommittee endorses new retirement option for Va. public employees

IMAGE: JOE MAHONEY/TIMES-DISPATCH Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2017 10:30 pm By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch State and local government employees would get another, voluntary option for retirement savings under legislation championed by House Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, and endorsed by a House subcommittee Thursday. The House Appropriations subcommittee on...

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Assembly not likely to grant pause sought by localities on teacher pension rates

Assembly not likely to grant pause sought by localities on teacher pension rates

IMAGE: JOE MAHONEY/TIMES-DISPATCH    /    Virginia Secretary of Finance Richard D. “Ric” Brown Posted: Wednesday, January 25, 2017 11:00 pm By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch Local school divisions are not likely to get their wish for a delay in making full contributions to teacher pensions recommended by the...

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GOP budget leaders urge 3 percent raises for state workers, higher pay for new state troopers

GOP budget leaders urge 3 percent raises for state workers, higher pay for new state troopers

IMAGE: BOB BROWN/TIMES-DISPATCH Posted: Wednesday, January 25, 2017 10:30 pm By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch Virginia State Police would receive a major boost in salary — almost $7,000 a year — on top of a 3 percent raise that General Assembly budget leaders promised Wednesday to restore to state...

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Lottery likely path for school funding as legislators look for state employee raises

Lottery likely path for school funding as legislators look for state employee raises

Image: BOB BROWN/times-Dispatch Posted: Monday, January 23, 2017 10:30 pm By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch “We’re Game for Education!” the Virginia Lottery proclaims at its display booth in the General Assembly Building. Lottery profits may be the game for Virginia lawmakers working on a revised state budget that helps...

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U.S. 460 expansion project is likely dead. Here’s why.

U.S. 460 expansion project is likely dead. Here’s why.

RICHMOND The U.S. 460 expansion project from Suffolk to Zuni is dead. The long-controversial plan, which was significantly pared down from prior plans, was too costly to score well in the new state transportation funding plan. That means it likely will wither on the vine without state funding. “As...

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Tax amnesty proposal part of package to boost revenues in Virginia

Tax amnesty proposal part of package to boost revenues in Virginia

Posted: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 10:45 pm By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch Spending tends to dominate debate over Virginia’s budget, but a projected $1.26 billion revenue shortfall has spurred Gov. Terry McAuliffe and General Assembly leaders to look for money to help pay for it. With new taxes unlikely...

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Long history precedes battle over direction of state economic development agency

Long history precedes battle over direction of state economic development agency

By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch January 15th, 2017 Gregory H. Wingfield saw the signs of trouble ahead for the Virginia Economic Development Partnership about five years ago, when the regional economic development agency he led gradually stopped relying on the state to identify promising business prospects for localities in...

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25 reasons the General Assembly session mattered

25 reasons the General Assembly session mattered

3/12/2016 – The state budget was the marquee issue of the General Assembly session that ended Friday, but here are 25 other reasons why the session mattered. Gov. Terry McAuliffe now will consider the hundreds of bills that lawmakers passed in the session. Legislators will reconvene April 20 to...

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Attempt in budget to limit tuition increases splits General Assembly

Attempt in budget to limit tuition increases splits General Assembly

3/12/2016 – The last day of the 2016 General Assembly session began badly for presidents and other representatives of Virginia’s public colleges and universities, who were rebuked by top leaders of the House Appropriations Committee for attempting to prevent the pending two-year state budget from limiting the institutions’ ability...

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General Assembly passes budget, adjourns a day early

General Assembly passes budget, adjourns a day early

3/11/2016 – Maybe they’d had enough of each other and just wanted to get the heck out of Richmond. The General Assembly completed the people’s business a day early, passing a new, two-year, $105 billion budget late Friday and adjourning on Day 59 of an often acrimonious session. An...

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$2.1 billion bond bill ties new capital spending to completing Capitol Square project

3/11/2016 – A $2.1 billion bond agreement adopted Friday would tie new capital spending to state contracts for a major Capitol Square overhaul, including the replacement of the General Assembly Building, which Gov. Terry McAuliffe has said he won’t allow to be built until the legislature expands health care...

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Del. Chris Jones’ tolling policy tucked into budget bill

Del. Chris Jones’ tolling policy tucked into budget bill

3/10/2016 By Patrick Wilson and Jordan Pascale Del. Chris Jones found a way to get tolling restrictions passed: the state budget. Last week, the Senate Transportation Committee stripped the Suffolk Republican’s bill, HB1069, of a provision that prohibited tolling on existing roads without General Assembly approval. But what the...

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State budget deal: 3% raise for state employees, faculty; 2% for teachers

State budget deal: 3% raise for state employees, faculty; 2% for teachers

3/9/2016 By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch Virginia budget negotiators have agreed on a plan that in one grand stroke provides a 3 percent raise this year for state employees and higher education faculty, saves money by paying off an old debt on state pensions, and reduces operating costs for...

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House, Senate reconcile differences on economic development, R&D proposals

House, Senate reconcile differences on economic development, R&D proposals

3/7/2016 By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch The House of Delegates and Senate on Monday narrowed differences between themselves and Gov. Terry McAuliffe on two key pieces of legislation to promote economic development and research, which also would help clear the way to agreement on a two-year state budget. The...

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Finding our way to a state budget

Finding our way to a state budget

ON THURSDAY, the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate adopted their respective versions of the state’s two-year budget. As chairman of the Appropriations Committee, I have the distinct privilege of working with 21 of my colleagues to craft the House budget proposal. Our budget is a conservative, responsible spending...

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Bill moves out of Senate panel without General Assembly oversight of tolls

Bill moves out of Senate panel without General Assembly oversight of tolls

3/2/2016 A bill that would’ve given the General Assembly more oversight in implementing tolls will move to the full Senate with those provisions largely stripped out. The Senate Transportation Committee worked until Wednesday evening to come to an agreement on HB1069, which now focuses on only two provisions: protecting...

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Senate panel drops proposed state policy on tolls, but battle moves to budget

Senate panel drops proposed state policy on tolls, but battle moves to budget

3/2/2016 A Senate committee has eliminated a proposed state policy on tolling existing highways, but the battle will continue in deliberations over the pending two-year state budget. The Senate Transportation Committee approved House Bill 1069, sponsored by Del. S. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, but the measure no longer sets policy...

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Line of Duty Act overhaul on its way to full Senate

Line of Duty Act overhaul on its way to full Senate

3/1/2016 By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch A major overhaul of Virginia’s Line of Duty Act is on its way to the full Senate after speeding through the Finance Committee on Tuesday with the support of representatives of state police, local governments, fire chiefs and volunteer rescue squads. House Bill...

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Tolling bill headed for a showdown in Virginia Senate committee

Tolling bill headed for a showdown in Virginia Senate committee

2/26/2016 By Jordan Pascale A bill that would give the General Assembly a larger role in approving new tolls and would reform the toll violation process might meet opposition in the Senate Transportation Committee on Wednesday. The bill could alter the way Hampton Roads’ transportation funding plans unfold. Del....

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CIT says projected $800,000 budget shortfall unrelated to incentive payouts

CIT says projected $800,000 budget shortfall unrelated to incentive payouts

2/26/16 By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch The new leader of the Center for Innovative Technology says the payout of $883,000 in performance incentives to employees last summer is not related to a projected $800,000 revenue shortfall the state has been asked to fill in this year’s budget. Ed Albrigo,...

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Senate uses budget to sidetrack airbnb policy, raise lawmakers’ per-day pay

Senate uses budget to sidetrack airbnb policy, raise lawmakers’ per-day pay

2/25/16 By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch The Virginia Senate is using its version of the two-year state budget to sidetrack a policy it already had adopted to allow Airbnb rentals, to raise pay per day for legislators, and to boost the office allowances of its leadership. The budget the...

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Budget expected to include pay raises for state workers

Budget expected to include pay raises for state workers

2/18/16 By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch The House Appropriations Committee will propose to pay off pension contributions that were deferred six years ago during a budget crisis and use the savings to finance a raise for state employees of more than 2 percent in the first year of the...

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Governor stands pat on state revenues available for budget

Governor stands pat on state revenues available for budget

2/16/2016 By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch Gov. Terry McAuliffe said today he will not change his estimate of revenues available for the two-year, state budget he proposed in December. McAuliffe ruled against revising revenues either up or down, as the governor often does in the middle of the General...

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Senate and House won’t support Medicaid expansion, proposed tax cuts from savings

Senate and House won’t support Medicaid expansion, proposed tax cuts from savings

2/16/2016 By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch For the third consecutive year, Gov. Terry McAuliffe will not get his most fervent wish — expanded health coverage of hundreds of thousands of uninsured Virginians through the state-federal Medicaid program. Senate Finance Co-Chairman Emmett W. Hanger Jr., R-Augusta, confirmed this week that...

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House committee approves state tolling policy, but battle continues over I-66

House committee approves state tolling policy, but battle continues over I-66

2/4/2016 By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch Legislation to establish a state policy on where tolls may be imposed and how they are collected cruised through a House committee on Thursday, but an attempt to find a compromise over tolls on a portion of Interstate 66 remains under construction. The...

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I-66 compromise breaks potential road funding gridlock for state

I-66 compromise breaks potential road funding gridlock for state

Posted: Wednesday, February 10, 2016 6:30 pm By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch The political war over tolls on Interstate 66 in last fall’s legislative elections ended in armistice on Wednesday, when Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared he had broken the gridlock with a bipartisan coalition of legislators. The deal that...

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Academic R&D oversight proposed for fast-moving GO Virginia initiative

2/9/2016 By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch A proposed $40 million effort to stimulate academic research and development for new industries is about to be folded into legislation that already has powered out of the House of Delegates to create a new framework for regional economic development in Virginia. The...

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GO Virginia economic development plan speeds out of House committee

2/3/2016 By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch A new initiative to cultivate regional cooperation in developing business prospects is all systems go in the House of Delegates, propelled by the Republican leadership working in close harmony with Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe. The House Appropriations Committee voted quickly and unanimously Wednesday...

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House panel advances statewide policy on tolling

House panel advances statewide policy on tolling

2/2/2016 By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch A proposed statewide policy on tolling is getting more political attention for its exceptions than its rule of no new tolls on existing Virginia highways without General Assembly approval. The legislation advanced on Tuesday through a House of Delegates subcommittee clogged with dozens...

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House Appropriations pitches idea to send new school money through lottery formula

1/28/2016 By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch The House Appropriations Committee is considering a different way to send almost $190 million in new state funds to local school divisions, using money from the Virginia Lottery with fewer strings attached than proposed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe. The Appropriations plan would use...

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School Leaders Share “a Day in the Life of Suffolk Public Schools” with State Politicians

School Leaders Share “a Day in the Life of Suffolk Public Schools” with State Politicians

12/2/2015 – The hunt for homonyms was on for third-graders and Kilby Shores Elementary School. They were running around trying to match an index card taped on their back to another student’s card.  They were having fun, being active, and learning about homonyms.  The “right” student and to find...

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Delegate Jones Joins Grand Opening of New DMV Office

Delegate Jones Joins Grand Opening of New DMV Office

Suffolk Customer Service Center on Centerbrooke Lane is Now Open RICHMOND- Delegate Chris Jones was among numerous dignitaries who participated in a Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday at the new Suffolk DMV Customer Service Center. The new customer service center, 1040 Centerbrooke Lane, opened on...

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National Federation of Independent Business: Delegate S. Chris Jones Earns 80% on Small Business Issues

  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Nicole Riley (NFIB), 804-377-3661   RICHMOND, October 22, 2015— Nicole Riley, State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), announced that Delegate S. Chris Jones earned a score of 80 percent on the 2014-15 NFIB/Virginia Voting Record.  NFIB/Virginia is the commonwealth’s leading...

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Virginia Farm Bureau Federation AgPAC endorses Chris Jones for House seat

Suffolk, August 21, 2015 – Delegate S. Chris Jones this week received the endorsement of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation (VFBF) AgPAC, a political action committee of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, in his reelection efforts for the 76th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. “I am...

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Structuring the State’s New Budget

7/5/2015 The doubled-up sales tax payments retailers scrambled to make last week have been earning Virginia a bit of a rap on the knuckles over the past few years, including a particularly sharp one last month from former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. In his view, Virginia’s accelerated sales...

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Book closes on U.S. 460 project at $260 million cost to state

7/2/2015 The final bill has come due on the abortive U.S. 460 toll expressway pushed by the administration of then-Gov. Bob McDonnell — $260 million, most of it to a private contractor paid by the state without a federal permit to build the road through hundreds of acres of...

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Delegate Jones Visits Oakland Elementary School

Delegate Jones Visits Oakland Elementary School

4/29/2015 Delegate Jones visited Oakland Elementary School today to visit with the students there to learn about the Suffolk Partnership for Healthy Community.  He was able to see for himself some of the great work that the program is doing to help promote healthy eating, as well as working...

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McAuliffe signs budget, lauds cooperation with legislature

McAuliffe signs budget, lauds cooperation with legislature

3/26/2015 – There will be no budget drama when the General Assembly convenes next month for its annual veto session. Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Thursday signed a two-year budget with no amendments, no vetoes and no conflict with the General Assembly budget officials he gathered in his third-floor Capitol...

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State assembly approves nearly $35B budget

State assembly approves nearly $35B budget

2/27/2015 – The General Assembly adopted a nearly $35 billion state budget in record time on Thursday, two days before its scheduled adjournment and just eight months after an ugly standoff between the House of Delegates and Senate over the two-year spending plan. Ironically, the catalyst for the turnaround...

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CTB to decide on scaled-back U.S. 460 plan

2/18/2015 – The Commonwealth Transportation Board is poised to decide today whether to move forward with a plan to improve U.S. 460 that is far less ambitious than the proposed 55-mile toll expressway that has cost Virginia almost $300 million with little to show for it. Meanwhile, Virginia lawmakers...

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General Assembly prepares for budget debates

2/10/2015 – Higher than expected revenues mean lawmakers are proposing raises for state employees and spending tens of millions more to lure businesses to Virginia. The adjustments and other changes to the second year of the two-year state budget were outlined Sunday during House and Senate money committees hearings....

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Lawmakers to propose amendments to state budget

Lawmakers to propose amendments to state budget

2/10/2015 – Working with revenue projections that forecast an additional $408 million coming to state coffers, leading lawmakers from the House of Delegates today will propose amendments to Virginia’s two-year budget that provide raises for state employees, state police, state-supported local employees, teachers and college faculty. The proposal from...

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GOP details its alternative to McAuliffe’s Healthy Virginia plan

GOP details its alternative to McAuliffe’s Healthy Virginia plan

2/6/2015 – House Republicans and Gov. Terry McAuliffe finally have a common plan they can talk about for expanding health care. The House Republicans unveiled a budget proposal Thursday that would increase spending by $124.2 million for a series of initiatives to expand behavioral health care for people with...

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House panel advances 2 campus sexual assault bills

House panel advances 2 campus sexual assault bills

2/4/2015 – Two proposals designed to combat campus sexual assaults — one labeled the “Jesse Matthew bill” — easily passed the House of Delegates’ higher education subcommittee Tuesday, but the more contentious issue of mandatory reporting was not on the docket. House Bill 1888, by Del. S. Chris Jones,...

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House considers safeguards on publc-private transportation deals

House considers safeguards on publc-private transportation deals

2/3/2015 – A bill to take the public risk out of public-private transportation deals is due before the House of Delegates for a final vote, while a companion bill to overhaul Virginia’s transportation funding formulas is scheduled for debate. The pair of bills, sponsored by House Appropriations Chairman S....

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Recovering tax revenues opens door to state employee, teacher raises

Recovering tax revenues opens door to state employee, teacher raises

2/3/2015 – It’s a wonder what a few months and the collection of unexpected revenue will do for the state budget. After cutting more than $2 billion in revenue from the two-year spending document since May, state budget officials are seeing some light from gains in collections of payroll...

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House panel proposes raises for state employees, teachers

House panel proposes raises for state employees, teachers

1/29/2015 – The House Appropriations Committee will propose pay raises for state employees, teachers, college faculty and state-supported staff, including local sheriff’s departments and constitutional officers, effective Aug. 1. Citing signs of a stabilizing Virginia economy that has boosted payroll tax revenues, House budget leaders say they will propose...

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Roads bill would increase oversight

Roads bill would increase oversight

1/27/2015 – With the U.S. Route 460 project fresh on their minds, Gov. Terry McAuliffe and House Republicans on Tuesday announced a compromise on transportation legislation designed to create more oversight on state road projects and reallocate funding to repair infrastructure and address local needs. “This will never happen...

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McAuliffe, Jones, back transportation reforms

12/31/2014 – Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced the basics of a plan to tighten control of the state’s planning process on some of its largest transportation projects Wednesday, saying forthcoming new regulations will help Virginia avoid another U.S. 460. The new legislation targets the state’s public private partnership process, which...

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Virginia House leaders back $100 gift cap

Virginia House leaders back $100 gift cap

12/31/2014 – House Republican leaders said Wednesday that they’ll back a $100 gift cap for legislators and other government officials as part of an evolving ethics reform package planned for the upcoming legislative session. That would bring the legislature and other state and local officials subject to the cap...

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