Roanoke Regional Chamber hosts lawmakers at annual “Legislative Wrap-Up”

Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 6:42 PM EDT
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SALEM, Va. (WDBJ) - Lawmakers and community members filled up their plates at the Salem Civic Center Tuesday morning, before a panel discussion was held to hear from legislators.

Each year, the Roanoke Regional Chamber hosts a “Legislative Wrap-Up” where it invites lawmakers from around Southwest Virginia.

Sen. John Edwards (D-District 21), Sen. David Suetterlein (R-District 19), Del. Sam Rasoul (D-11th District), Del. Joseph McNamara (R-8th District) and Del. Wren Williams (R-9th District) came in-person, with Del. Chris Head (R-17th District) joining virtually.

Each shared their experiences during the 2022 General Assembly, starting with Sen. Edwards, who introduced a bill to make the Virginia Museum of Transportation a state agency. The bill ultimately stalled and will have to wait until next year.

“The last administration supported the ideas. I’m not sure what this administration is doing. But it’s gotta get in the budget first, and make sure the house and the conference committee puts that half a million dollars for the transportation museum in the house and the conference support so it passes both houses next week when we go down to Richmond.”

Del. Williams enjoyed his first General Assembly. He was also happy about his bill focusing on the reopening of the Patrick County Hospital.

Del. Rasoul spoke about introducing the legislation that he hopes will bring more mental health focuses and substance abuse disorder treatment to Catawba Hospital.

Del. Head spoke about his cryptocurrency bill that successfully passed in the General Assembly.

Though the budget didn’t come up often, it continues to remain on lawmakers’ minds.

“The House and Senate could come up with something next week. The question is how much is the governor going to get involved. If he leaves it alone, I think we can get something done next week, if not, I don’t know what will happen,” said Edwards.

“Governor Youngkin has simply said, I’d like you all to finish your work so that we can then collaborate together once the executive branch’s role begins. But unfortunately there’s been a significant obstruction by Senate Democrats,” said Sen. Suetterlein.

“I think you trust the process. The legislative branch, which comes up with the budget initially, let the House and Senate work together to get things done and of course as much as input from the Governor as possible. But it will go to the Governor for him to be able to make amendments to it,” said Rasoul.

“I would say that the Governor is allowed to give his input and help us focus as to what to prioritize to need to complete his agenda but ultimately it is the house and senate that make these decisions,” said Williams.

There is optimism that the budget will soon be passed but not a set date. WDBJ7 hopes to get a better feel for the situation at the reconvened session April 27.

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