Budget work, more debates ahead as lawmakers begin second half of General Assembly session

Published: Feb. 8, 2021 at 8:18 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - Virginia lawmakers are catching their breath after legislative deadlines last week.

And now that both chambers have completed work on their own legislation, lawmakers and political experts are assessing the results.

“Make no mistake about it,” said Virginia Tech Professor and WDBJ7 Political Analyst Bob Denton, “in terms of the legislative agenda, it is Democratic. It’s more progressive that will reach the governor’s desk.”

It’s not surprising, but Denton notes a much higher percentage of Democratic bills cleared each chamber than Republican ones.

Blacksburg Delegate Chris Hurst (D) believes it’s a record Democrats can run on.

“When we talk about our record and what we’ve done over the last two legislative sessions, I think it’s a record to be proud of,” Hurst said Monday.

Botetourt Delegate Chris Head (R) has a different opinion. He sees the legislature taking a hard left turn, and digging a deeper partisan divide.

“An enormous number of votes that are split straight down party lines,” Head told WDBJ7, “and that’s a really bad place for the Commonwealth to be.

Roanoke County Delegate Joe McNamara (R) doesn’t like many of the Democratic priorities, but as lawmakers turn to the budget, he says the news is not all bad.

“Certainly, everything didn’t go exactly as I hoped,”McNamara said, “but I think we’re going to help our small businesses hire back their employees. I think we’re going to pay attention to our teachers, our first responders, our police, our sheriff’s offices. So i think a lot of these things are going to happen. I’m pretty encouraged about it.”

We should know more about state revenues by the end of the week, and reports suggest the state’s financial picture continues to improve.

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