Last week the House Appropriations Committee heard from Committee members on their proposed amendments to the biennial budget and reported many good bills to the full House of Delegates. Additionally, the stand-alone budget that will fund voter access measures for November’s election continues to progress quickly through the General Assembly.
Hearing Budget Amendments
Last Monday the House Appropriations Committee heard budget amendments submitted by Committee members. You can watch the full meeting here.
Budget amendments that the Appropriations Committee choose to adopt will be incorporated into the Commonwealth’s updated biennial budget. That new budget – which will account for the pandemic’s impact on Virginia’s economy, as well as criminal justice reform measures – will be reported by the Committee in the coming days.
Bills Reported from Appropriations
Close to 20 bills were reported from the House Appropriations Committee last week. They then move to the full House of Delegates for a vote. Delegate Elizabeth Guzman’s paid quarantine leave bill (HB5116) and Delegate Charniele Herring’s automatic expungement of criminal records bill (HB5146) were both reported on Thursday.
Delegate Dan Helmer’s House Bill 5049 regulating the acquisition and use of military equipment by law-enforcement agencies also reported on Thursday.
House Bill 5043 from Delegate Bourne would establish a Marcus Alert system allowing mental health providers and “community care teams” to respond to mental health and substance use crisis situations. The bill was reported on Friday.
Delegate Don Scott’s earned sentence credits bill (HB5148) addressing mass incarceration in Virginia also reported on Friday.
House Bill 5103, funding important voter access measures for the November 3 elections necessary in light of COVID-19, passed the House of Delegates previously. It is now before the Senate of Virginia. An identical bill sponsored by Senator Janet Howell was reported out of the House Appropriations Committee and passed the House of Delegates last week.
These election funding bills will cover prepaid postage for voters to return complete absentee ballots. They also codify the removal of a witness requirement for absentee ballots, authorize local registrars to establish secure absentee ballot drop-off locations, and institute a “cure” process so that no one’s absentee ballot is discarded due to immaterial omissions. I am proud to be a co-patron of HB5103. The sooner that the General Assembly can fund these voter access measures, the more time Virginia’s general registrars have to securely implement them before November.
Please continue to be in touch with my office regarding Special Session or any constituent services we can assist with.