Veto session targets autism, Elmo

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – State lawmakers are working late, deciding the future of everything from autism to Elmo. They're considering Gov. Bob McDonnell's amendments to more than 130 bills, and, whether to override his four vetoes.

Veto session at the Capitol is a test of endurance -like a marathon- if only you could run and play solitaire (as one senator was caught doing) at the same time.

Early on, the senate rejected an attempt by Gov. Bob McDonnell to weaken the stability of new health insurance coverage for children with autism.

Lynn Miller with the Virginia Autism Project was thrilled.

"Early intervention is the key. So if we can get these kids treated between [ages] 2-6 hopefully they'll need fewer services down the road," Miller said.

The house, meanwhile, overrode a McDonnell veto and agreed to keep supporting what it passed earlier this year: a new $3 million cap on medical malpractice payments.

Del. John O'Bannon, MD, is a republican from Henrico.

"What this will do is provide stability in this whole market so that insurance companies will be comfortable  coming into Virginia and writing medical malpractice insurance," O'Bannon said.

To be sure, most of the 100-plus amendments were technical in nature, and approved without a fight in an early afternoon session noteworthy for its lack of contention.

Perhaps, that's no coincidence in the presence of a true "team". The biggest show of bipartisan support came early in the day when the VCU men's basketball team was honored for its remarkable run to the Final Four.

"In a period of almost two and a half weeks, they ran through the NCAA tournament like a certain general through Atlanta," said Del. Joe Morrissey (D-Henrico).

The session continues Wednesday evening. Lawmakers still have to take up Gov. McDonnell's veto of a bill that mandated more hours of gym class in Virginia schools.

As for Elmo, the house voted to strip about $2 million in funds for public broadcasting.

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