Local Commentary

Senator Dick Saslaw’s Richmond Report

saslaw-fcnpSummer is quickly coming to an end. The children are back in school and the routine of fall sports is upon us.

Over the course of the past six weeks, we have born witness to the trial of the McDonnells. The jury has been tasked with determining whether they broke the law and ultimately, their future. Despite the outcomes of the trial, we are likely to see another round of attempted reform at ethical conduct for those holding public office. Governor McAuliffe has indicated a strong desire to take the next step in that effort and we will likely see proposed legislation during the upcoming session of the General Assembly.

The revenue outlook in the Commonwealth remains stagnant. There is a projected shortfall for both years of this biennium. State agencies have been directed to make additional cuts in their budgets. This will have a significant impact on the upcoming General Assembly as we will have to revise the spending plan to balance the budget.
As you well know, it is no simple task to make cuts to a budget that is already very lean. Programs will suffer and needs may go unmet. I will continue to lead the fight for a fair and just outcome for Virginians. Public safety, K-12 education and meeting the needs of our most vulnerable citizens remain my priority.

As we go to press, there is still no official notification of a return to the Capital for action toward completing the Special Session that began in March. Back in June after the budget was adopted, we recessed until further notice. This left the door open to reconvene and take up any remaining issues. Speaker Howell has indicated an interest in taking up the issue of Medicaid expansion outside of the budget debate. Quite honestly, that doesn’t make much sense to me since we are leaving millions of dollars back with the federal government under the current plan. Or more aptly put – the lack of a plan to expand Medicaid.

I look forward to seeing you in the community. There are a number of civic association meetings and back to school nights that I will be attending during the next six weeks. In the meantime, I will be interviewing students who have expressed an interest in serving as a Page during the General Assembly. This is an outstanding program that brings students with a strong academic background to the statehouse for hands-on experience in state government.

On a final note, I would like to remind you to be prepared for storms. We are still in hurricane season. Visit my website, www.dicksaslaw.com for important contact information during a storm.

Senator Saslaw represents the 35th District in the Virginia State Senate. He may be emailed at district35@senate.virginia.gov.