General Assembly Update: Week 9

 

Dear Friend,

Following several late night floor sessions this week, the 2020 General Assembly is heading into extra innings. With Saturday’s midnight deadline approaching and dozens of bills still not finalized, the House voted to extend the deadline for most bills until 6PM on Sunday. The House and Senate will come back on Thursday for a vote on the state budget.


Budget Update

The budget is one of the most important items handled by the General Assembly each year. Because the House and Senate always have differing proposals, the legislation ends up in a conference committee to hammer out the differences. The final product is known as the conference report.

A number of years ago, Republicans added a “48 hour rule” to the House Rules. This rule requires at least a 48 window of review time from the time the conference report is printed to when a vote for passage is taken.

A budget deal was struck late Saturday evening, with higher education and compensation being sticking points throughout the negotiation process. The House and Senate will meet again on Thursday to debate and vote on the budget.

Having been appointed as a member of the conference committee, I had the opportunity to help negotiation the higher education portion of the budget. While it’s not everything I’d like it to be, I’m very pleased to report that the budget will freeze college tuition for the second year in a row. You may remember that in 2019, House Republicans successfully led the effort to freeze tuition. I pledged during the campaign to fight to extend that tuition freeze for an additional year, and I’m very glad that we were able to follow through and benefit working families and students.

Please keep an eye out for a budget-specific email later this week detailing the final conference report.


Redistricting Update

On Friday, the House of Delegates passed SJ 18 by a vote of 54 to 46. This bill, along with the necessary enabling legislation, will bring about redistricting reform to Virginia by way of an amendment to the state constitution. I voted in favor of SJ 18.

The amendment will specifically create the Virginia Redistricting Commission and give them the responsibility for drawing state legislative (House of Delegates and Senate) and Congressional lines following the decennial census.

Before the amendment is added to the Constitution of Virginia, however, it must first be voted on by the citizens. If the Governor signs the necessary enabling legislation to put the amendment on the ballot in November, citizens across Virginia will have the chance to vote “yes” or “no” on the amendment. I’m sure that the amendment will receive ample coverage in the press and online between now and Election Day.


Office Update

With the legislative session wrapping up, my staff and I will soon return to our district office in Colonial Heights. Office hours will be as follows:

  • Monday through Thursday: 8:00 am to 4:30 pm
  • Friday: by appointment

You can reach my office by calling (804) 526-5135 or emailing DelKCox@house.virginia.gov. I stand ready to assist you with state-related matters. DMV, VDOT, and the Department of Taxation are just a few of the state agencies that I regularly assist constituents with. Additionally, I have a retired Army lieutenant colonel on staff to assist with veteran/military related matters. If you have a federal or local matter, I’m happy to help get you in touch with the correct individuals.


Coronavirus

There’s been a great deal of talk about COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus, and its potential impact on Virginia. As I’m writing this email, there are two presumptive positive cases of coronavirus in the state.

I do want to pass along answers to a few frequently asked questions courtesy of the Virginia Department of Health. You can view the FAQs by clicking here. You may also wish to visit the special web page set up by the state health department for further information.

Remember that the best defense against germs is washing your hands with soap for twenty seconds.


Thanks to everyone who contacted me via phone, letter, or email this year regarding various pieces of legislation. With well over 10,000 emails received since the session began, I’m dutifully working to respond to a number of emails and thank you for your patience.

If you’re not already, I encourage you to “like” my page on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram. I use those platforms to provide timely updates on state and local matters that impact our community.

As always, it remains an honor to represent you in the House of Delegates. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to assist you or your family.

Sincerely,

Kirk Cox