State lawmakers begin final week of General Assembly session

Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 7:38 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - State lawmakers are speeding toward the end of the General Assembly session.

They hope.

They are scheduled to adjourn Saturday, but still have plenty of work ahead, including action on amendments to the state budget.

This year, lawmakers introduced more than 2,500 pieces of legislation. More than 800 bills have passed both chambers. Monday afternoon, more than 700 were still pending.

Many of the most controversial bills have already gone down to defeat, and that, says WDBJ7 political analyst Bob Denton, will provide political fodder for both parties as they prepare for the November election.

“And they’ll be able to go out there, Democrats saying, my goodness, look what we prevented by having the Senate and we need the House,” Denton said. “And then Republicans saying, my goodness, look what we could have done if we take the Senate. So this has been well-positioned for both parties going into the campaign. “

The budget, and specifically the issue of tax relief, could still provoke a standoff, but Denton said he is optimistic the final product of negotiations will include progress on issues such as education, workforce development and mental health.

“Certainly, when the conferees get together, they will be able to fund some of the initiatives in some very important areas,” Denton said. “So I happen to think at the end there will be some progress as it relates to several areas of concern across the Commonwealth.”

Last year, lawmakers had to return in early April to complete work on the budget. No one is predicting that yet, but we should know soon if the budget conferees are making progress on a compromise.