State lawmakers prepare for special session

Virginia lawmakers prepare for special session beginning August 2.
Virginia lawmakers prepare for special session beginning August 2.(WDBJ7)
Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 7:35 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - State lawmakers are one week away from a special session of the General Assembly. Governor Northam is outlining priorities for more than $4 billion in federal funding.

The numbers are adding up.

$350 million for small business recovery, tourism and economic development.

$700 million for universal broadband access.

And now $250 million, with a $250 million local match to fund HVAC projects and improve air quality in schools.

The proposals Northam has revealed so far have the support of Democratic leaders in the General Assembly, including House Appropriations Committee Chairman Luke Torian (D-Prince William).

“I think one of the things we really want everyone to see is the collaborative effort of the executive branch and the General Assembly and how we have come together under this current administration,” Torian said following the broadband announcement in Abingdon July 16.

Republican lawmakers say they are glad to be returning to the State Capitol after remote sessions at the Science Museum of Virginia.

But they remain wary about what’s ahead.

“I’m a little concerned that here we are a week away from going and we don’t have any plan,” said Senator Mark Peake (R-Lynchburg). “We’ve not heard how long we’re going to be there. We’ve not seen any proposed expenditures.”

“Are you optimistic that the Assembly is going to spend the Rescue Plan Act money wisely?” WDBJ7 asked Senator Steve Newman (R-Forest).

“I certainly hope so,” Newman said. “I have advocated to spend some of the money now, and hold on to some of the money until we get further treasury guidance, so I know that Janet Howell, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee is working well with us, and I’m looking forward to a bipartisan effort.”

Stay tuned for more developments.

Governor Northam has dubbed this “Investment Week,” promising at least one announcement a day in the lead-up to the special session.

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