Bell Sounds from the 20th - 2018 Session - Final Week

Tomorrow is the scheduled adjournment of the 2018 General Assembly Session. This Session has been very different in many ways, and has not come without its share of challenges, some of which have not yet been worked out.

The House and Senate are expected to adjourn sine die as scheduled tomorrow, but will unfortunately do so without an agreement on the two-year state budget. Unfortunately, the House and Senate budget bills were too far apart this year to reach an agreement in the short time frame allowed by the regular session.

The House passed a resolution today calling for a special session of the General Assembly. When we return in the special session we will start a fresh discussion on the budget. We will convene at the call of the Speaker and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules.

There is currently not a time frame on when we might be called back to Richmond, though we hope it will only be a few weeks. While we technically have until the end of June to adopt a budget, the longer we wait the more difficult it will be for local school boards, local governments, and state agencies to plan for their own budgets for this fiscal year. I’m disappointed that no agreement has been reached, and that our lack of action on the budget will cause this unnecessary uncertainty.

I hope that our budget conferees will act quickly to reach an agreement that will benefit all Virginians. As I have discussed in previous updates, the biggest difference is that the House version of the budget contains provisions to expand Medicaid in Virginia and the Senate version does not.

I, along with the majority of my Republican colleagues, remain adamantly opposed to the expansion of Medicaid in Virginia and I continue to encourage my House colleagues to reconsider putting expansion in our budget. Medicaid expansion has led to significant deficits in other states, and with all the uncertainty in Washington I believe we simply cannot trust the federal government to maintain their promise of “free” money. Virginia can barely afford our current Medicaid program at its current growth rate, and I do not believe we will be able to sustain the costs if we expand the program.

I remain hopeful that our final budget bill will make key investments in core functions of government and provide for those who need it the most without further expanding this broken program.

Contact Information

Thank you to all of you who reached out or visited our office during the Session.

Next week we will once again begin operating out of the district. To reach us there you can call 540-448-3999 and you can continue to email us at DelDBell@house.virginia.gov.

If you prefer to send us written correspondence, you can send mail to Post Office Box 239, Staunton, VA 24402.

You can also stay updated by following me on Twitter.

I look forward to hearing from you on the issues that matter most to you.

As always, thank you for allowing me to serve as your delegate!

 



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