This past Saturday afternoon marked the conclusion of this year’s regular session of the General Assembly.
In this my first experience of having served as your delegate in Richmond, I want to again express my gratitude for the privilege of representing you through this service.
As I reported in an earlier column, my efforts during this session included work on the standing committees for Science and Technology and Courts of Justice, where nearly a third of the bills introduced during this session were considered.
In addition, I joined with other members of the House and Senate in the promotion of priorities important to Southside Virginia through meetings with the Business Development Caucus, the Conservative Caucus and the Rural Caucus.
I previously described important legislative accomplishments now before the governor, including a comprehensive bill to reform the Standards of Learning assessments and other measures to provide more flexibility for parents and reward teaching excellence.
I was fortunate to be in a small minority from my freshman class to have multiple legislative initiatives pass both Houses of the Assembly, which include a joint house resolution directing the Commission on Youth to study the use of government funds, and Medicaid in particular, relating to needs in special education.
Furthermore, this session also marked the passing of important legislation addressing needs in areas of mental health and ethics reform.
Although these legislative achievements reflect positively on both Houses, I regret to report that the most important work of the General Assembly remains incomplete.
Late last week it became apparent that the Senate, whose slim Democrat majority is working in conjunction with Gov. Terry McAuliffe, would not agree to any budget proposal that did not include a provision for the massive expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare.
What is particularly troubling is that Gov. McAuliffe is using the threat of a government shutdown in an attempt to coerce the overwhelming majority of legislators who, reflecting the will of their constituents, have declined to draw Virginia any further into the Obamacare debacle.
No legislation has passed to expand Medicaid under Obamacare in Virginia. Moreover, the bottom lines of the House and Senate budget proposals are otherwise 99.9 percent in agreement.
Regardless of your position on Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, we should all agree to debate the issue responsibly, without improperly injecting it into the budget negotiations or threatening a government shutdown.
School boards, law enforcement offices, numerous state agencies, and several other entities, rely on the state budget for planning in preparation for the next fiscal year.
In refusing to approach this issue in a fiscally responsible manner, Gov. McAuliffe and the Democrats are threatening the legitimate core functions of Virginia’s government.
The General Assembly will reconvene in a special session on March 24 to pursue a resolution to this impasse.
In the meantime, I hope will join me in urging Gov. McAuliffe to do what is right and responsible: let Virginia pass a clean budget.
His office can be reached at (804) 786-2211 and online petitions can be completed at www.passthebudgetterry.com.
Del. Les Adams of Chatham represents the 16th District, which includes most of Pittsylvania County and Martinsville along with part of Henry County.