General Assembly Convenes, next Wednesday

The Virginia General Assembly convenes next Wednesday, January 8.  Even years are long sessions, so if the budget is completed and passed on time, the session is scheduled to end on Saturday, March 8.  

This is a year of transition.  The Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe takes his oath of office on January 11.  In addition, Senator Ralph Northam, M.D. will begin his service as Lt. Governor and Mark Herring as Attorney General.  This is the first time since 1969 that Democrats have held all three statewide offices at the same time.  

Republican members of the House of Delegates still hold a sizable majority of 67 members vs. 32 members for the Democrats.  There is one outstanding election scheduled for the open seat in District 11 (Roanoke).  This will be decided on January 7.  

For the first time in 52 years the House of Delegates will convene without Lacy Putney from Bedford as one of its members. He was the longest serving member of the House and the Chair of the powerful Appropriations Committee.  VHCA thanks Delegate Putney for his outstanding service to the Commonwealth.

The Speaker of House has made committee assignments.  Most notably, Delegate Chris Jones (R-Suffolk) is the new Chair of the House Appropriations Committee.  Delegate Steve Landes (R-Verona) will serve as Vice-Chair.  Delegate Bobby Orrock (R-Thornburg) remains Chair of the Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee, while Delegate John O’Bannon (R-Richmond) was reappointed as Vice Chair.  

The Senate of Virginia currently has 20 Republican members and 18 Democrats.  Elections will be held on January 7 and January 21 to fill the seats being vacated by the new Lt. Governor and Attorney General.  The winner of these elections will decide who has party control over the Senate.    

VHCA legislative priorities can be found here along with an update on the Governor’s budget introduction that includes significant funding for nursing facilities.  We will be providing a weekly update each Friday of the session to keep you informed.  We also hope you will attend this year’s VHCA Winter Legislative Conference on February 18 - 19 at the Omni Richmond Hotel.  Early bird registration is now available.  Register today.  Hotel reservations can be made online by clicking here.

Finally, we encourage everyone to try out the new “Contact My Legislator” portion of the website that allows you to look up legislators by facility or your home address and contact them directly.