Bell Sounds from the 20th - 2018 Reconvened Session

It’s been just over six weeks since the General Assembly adjourned the 2018 Session Sine Die without passing a biennial budget.  As you may recall, the Senate and House disagreed on the issue of Medicaid Expansion and were unable to work out the differences prior to the scheduled adjournment of the regular session.   We returned to Richmond on April 11 to organize with the Senate to start the special session and continue our work on a new two-year state budget.  We met again on April 17 for the Special Session and on April 18 the General Assembly held its Reconvened Session to address Governor Ralph Northam's vetoes and recommendations. I’d like to provide you with an update on both the Reconvened Session and the Special Session. 

Reconvened Session

This year, Governor Northam vetoed 10 bills and recommended amendments to 60 bills passed by the 2018 Session of the General Assembly. This included 8 vetoes and 32 amendments for House bills. Last week we met to address those vetoes and recommendations. Most of the Governor’s amendments were largely technical in nature and as such the House accepted most of them, with the notable exceptions being amendments to redistricting legislation, the coal tax credit, and Metro tax increases. 

The Governor’s vetoes were also all sustained and the House failed to override his veto of Delegate Ben Cline's sanctuary cities bill.  This veto is especially disappointing to many of us considering Governor Northam’s promises during the campaign last fall that he would sign legislation prohibiting sanctuary cities in Virginia.

For a complete list of the Governor’s vetoes and amendments along with bill summaries, visit http://dls.virginia.gov/pubs/vetoes/Vetoes2018.pdf.

Special Session

On March 13th, Governor Northam called for a Special Session. The House convened to officially gavel in the Special Session on April 11th.  On April 13th, the House Appropriations Committee met and recommended amendments to House Bills 5001 and 5002 and on April 17th the House convened, adopted budget bills, and adjourned to the call of the Speaker.

The House Bills adopted last week are very similar to the budget bills passed by the House during the regular session.  The House budget does still contain Medicaid expansion, and as such, I continue to oppose this budget.  The budget will now head to the Senate, where they will likely make changes and send the bills to conference to hammer out the differences.

The Senate is set to reconvene on May 14 to refer the budgets to the Finance committee and hopefully we will be able to get the bills into conference soon after. The time frame is still up in the air, but the House of Delegates stands ready to reconvene as soon as it is possible to get the bills in conference so that the conferees can get to work negotiating the differences.

I hope that we can act quickly so that we can bring much needed certainty to state agencies, local governments, and school divisions who depend on the state budget to set their own budgets. I will certainly keep you updated as things continue to progress.

2018 General Assembly Session Update on My Legislation

I’m pleased that Governor Northam signed each of my bills that passed in the General Assembly Session this year.  They are: HB 2, HB 26, HB 84, HB 206, HB 1366, HB 1506, and HB 1534.  I’m thankful to the constituents who reached out to me with some of this legislation.  

Speaker Appointments and Reappointments

Last week Speaker Kirk Cox announced that he has appointed me to serve on the Joint Commission on Administrative Rules.

The Joint Commission on Administrative Rules (JCAR) is to review existing agency rules or regulations and agency rules or regulations during the final adoption process.  They advise the Governor and the General Assembly to suspend, modify, repeal, or adopt rules or regulations.  They also assess the impact of rules and regulation on the economy, environment, government operations, and members of the public. 

In addition to this new appointment, I was also reappointed to several boards and commissions. These include: the Autism Advisory Council, State Executive Council for Children’s Services Act, Advisory Council on PANS and PANDAS, Center for Rural Virginia Board of Trustees, and the Commission on Youth.

I am grateful to Speaker Cox for his confidence in my ability to serve on this diverse group of boards and commissions. I look forward to serving on the Joint Commission of Administrative Rules, and to continuing to serve on the additional boards and commissions to which I have been reappointed.  It is an honor to serve in these bodies and to represent my constituents in this way.

Contact Us 

I love hearing from constituents on the issues that matter the most to you.  If you have a state issue that you’re concerned about, or need help in dealing with a state agency, please do not hesitate to contact me. 

You can contact us by phone at 540-448-3999, or by email at DelDBell@house.virginia.gov.  

If you would prefer to send us written correspondence, you can do so at Post Office Box 239, Staunton, Virginia 24402. 

As always, I thank you for allowing me to serve as your Delegate. 

 

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