Lawmakers huddled in one corner of a Senate meeting room Friday morning. Lobbyists compared notes in another. And in the bill room downstairs the printing press was waiting.
The equipment that would normally be cranking out copies of a budget compromise was quiet.
Virginia lawmakers are heading home without a budget. The 2012 regular session of the General Assembly will adjourn Saturday without passing a two year spending plan, the most important task of the legislative session.
Senator Tommy Norment (R) Williamsburg is the Senate Majority Leader. "The emergency part that is lurking out there is the fact that local governments have to adopt their local budgets by May the first," Norment told WDBJ7. "This is generating enormous uncertainty."
From public education to police, health care and highways, the two year 85-billion dollar spending plan touches the lives of every Virginian. And while Senate Democrats aren’t ready to vote for any version of the spending plan yet, they are talking with Republicans
Senator Walter Stosch (R) Henrico County chairs the Senate Finance Committee. "While this is more difficult and perhaps even unprecedented, matters of disagreement have their way of being resolved," he said.
Senator John Edwards (D) Roanoke said he hopes a short break will help to bring lawmakers together. And so I hope when we go back into special session that we’ll have a little time to reflect and maybe people will come together more than has happened in the last 60 days.