Budget, judges — and electric school buses? One last bus bill remains alive in the House.

Budget, judges — and electric school buses? One last bus bill remains alive in the House.
A school bus in Richmond. (Source: Scott Elmquist/ Style Weekly)

When the General Assembly reconvenes for its final day of the 2020 session Thursday, it may take up an 11th-hour proposal from Democratic Sen. Louise Lucas of Portsmouth that would smooth the path for Dominion Energy to establish a program that could put up to 1,250 electric school buses on Virginia’s roads by 2025 at the expense of utility ratepayers.

House Clerk Suzette Denslow said in an email that “it is possible that further action” on the legislation, SB 1096, “could occur on Thursday.”

The statement follows assurances over the weekend by House Majority Leader Charniele Herring that the chambers would only be considering the budget and pending judicial appointments on Thursday.

On the official legislative calendar, Saturday has designated sine die, the final day of the session. But with several dozen bills, including the budget, still tied up in negotiations between the House and Senate late Saturday night, lawmakers agreed — as they often have in recent years — to change the legislative rules to push back the deadline.

As the House prepared to vote on the amendment of the rules that would let the chambers complete their work, Minority Leader Todd Gilbert of Shenandoah sought to clarify the terms of the agreement.

“It’s my understanding … that the resolution will simply allow for conference reports to be concluded by 6 p.m. tomorrow along with the budget bill and that it’s the delegate’s intention or the body’s intention that we would essentially leave that Thursday 11:59 p.m. [deadline] simply for voting on the budget bill. Is that understanding correct?” he asked Herring.

Herring responded that while the body also planned to take up its remaining judicial appointments, “That is my understanding.”

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