The House of Delegates continued its Special Session work virtually this week. The House Appropriations Committee made substantial progress on both budgets: Not only did we hear testimony on proposed amendments to the regular biennial budget, but the Committee also decided to introduce a separate, stand-alone budget to fund November’s elections. Read on for more details.

Elections Budget

On Friday the House of Delegates passed House Bill 5103, after the House Appropriations Committee reported it Monday by a vote of 13-9. The bill, sponsored by Vice Chair Mark Sickles, is a stand-alone budget that will fund voter access measures for the November 3, 2020 elections necessary in light of COVID-19. The purpose of the separate funding bill is to put these voter access changes in place as soon as possible to allow Virginia’s general registrars enough time for implementation before the election.

The House of Delegates voted on HB5103 on Friday.

HB5103 will fund prepaid postage for voters to return complete absentee ballots. The bill also authorizes local registrars to establish secure absentee ballot drop-off locations and creates a “cure” process for absentee ballots received in advance of the deadline, ensuring no one’s vote is discarded due to immaterial omissions. I am proud to be a co-patron of this legislation. With only a little more than two months left before the election, it’s our responsibility to make sure every Virginian has the opportunity to vote safely and securely in November. Protecting voting rights should be an issue that everyone can agree on. 

Hearing Budget Amendments

On Thursday the Appropriations Committee met to hear from House members on their submitted amendments to Governor Northam’s proposed budget.

House Appropriations Committee heard House members’ budget amendments

Members who submitted budget amendments spoke to their funding requests at the virtual meeting. You can watch the full hearing here. Now, the Appropriations Committee will consider the Governor’s budget and all proposed changes to it. The Committee will report an updated budget before it moves to the full House for comment and vote.

Commending Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, Ret.

I introduced a resolution this Special Session commending retired Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Semyon Vindman for his exemplary military career and courageous defense of the nation’s ideals. That resolution was approved by the House of Delegates on Friday. We can be proud to call Lt. Col. Vindman a neighbor in the 52nd district.

I hope you will stay involved in the process and contact my office with any input or questions.