Yesterday, the General Assembly met in Richmond for our annual reconvene session. During this session, the House and Senate considered vetoes and amendments made to several bills by the Governor. The day’s session began at 12 noon and ended just after 8:30 p.m.
Governor McAuliffe vetoed 40 bills this year, bringing his total of vetoes in office to 111. The Governor vetoed commonsense bills that would strengthen our Virginia economy, protect the integrity of our elections, and expand education choice. Sadly, the Governor is more interested in vetoing legislation than he is in finding bi-partisan solutions to issues facing Virginians.
Among the Governor’s vetoes was HB 2092, patroned by Delegate Dave LaRock. This bill had a simple goal in mind: If you win big in the lottery, you shouldn’t continue to receive welfare benefits. To me, that’s commonsense. Rather than working to make sure that Virginia’s welfare programs were benefiting those truly in need, he vetoed this bill.
Governor McAuliffe also vetoed HB 1582, patroned by Delegate Jeff Campbell. This bill would allow active-duty military personnel over the age of 18 to apply for a concealed carry permit. (Current law limits permits to those 21 and older.) This bill passed the House and Senate with support from both Republicans and Democrats. I believe that if a young man or woman is qualified to carry a machine gun in Iraq, then they are qualified to carry a handgun in Virginia. Again, the Governor vetoed this bill.
In fact, the Governor vetoed eight bills that passed the House with veto-proof majorities thanks to the support of Democrats. But in Richmond, many Democrats put partisan politics above good policy and voted to sustain the Governor’s vetoes.
Governor Tries One Last Time to Expand Medicaid in Virginia
The House and Senate also considered amendments made by the Governor to the state budget. Once again, the Governor tried to expand Medicaid. His amendment, which was rejected by the House, would have allowed him to unilaterally expand Medicaid on or after October 1, 2017.
Expanding Medicaid at the present time is fiscally irresponsible. Costs for the current program continue to rise, eating into the budget for education, public safety, and other core services. Other states that have expanded Medicaid are now facing budget shortfalls due to soaring costs. Enrollment in Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion was double what was originally projected. Ohio’s program was $1.5 billion over budget for the first 18 months.
Rather than expand Medicaid, I support reforming it so that those most in need can get proper assistance. Included in the state budget were:
- Funding for 60 free clinics
- Additional funding for community behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment services
- $2.1 million in increased funding for state mental health facilities
- Eliminated proposed fee for behavioral health adult service providers
World War One Anniversary
As Chairman of the Virginia WWI and WWII Commemoration Commission, I gathered with legislators, veterans, and community members to remember America’s entrance into the First World War.
Del. Cox speaking at WWI commemoration event.
On April 6, 1917, the United States Congress passed a declaration of war against Germany. A declaration of war against Austria-Hungary was passed in December of 1917. I was honored to help remember the sacrifices of Virginians who fought valiantly to protect our constitutional rights. It is the commission’s task to remember the sacrifices made by Virginians in both world wars.
Outside of session, you can contact me in my district office via phone at 526-5135; by email at email@example.com; or by US mail at PO Box 1205, Colonial Heights, VA 23834.
Please visit my Facebook page and my Twitter page. These pages, along with my website, have information/links to the 2017 General Assembly session to include my legislation, visitors’ photos, my legislative survey, videos of floor remarks, and related topics.
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