We are nearing Cross-Over (Feb. 13), the day upon which all bills passed by the House and/or Senate must be sent over to the other body for its deliberation. In other words, each body must complete its voting on all legislation submitted by its own members by Feb. 13. Approved bills will be sent ‘over’ to the other body for its approval, bills passed by, laid on the table or defeated will no longer be viable. Bills that are carried over may be acted upon between this session and the 2019 session.
Therefore this is the most rushed week of the session: subcommittees must act on bills now or simply put aside those yet unheard; full committees will not meet to consider HOD bills after the 13th. Subcommittees and full committees are meeting for hours with agendas with 20 or more pieces of legislation to act upon.
This session has challenged our abilities to adjust quickly to the changes caused by the 2017 election and the retirement of Speaker Howell. One obvious adjustment made by the majority party is that partisanship is more pronounced than I have experienced since I became a Delegate. Political jockeying in seeming preparation for the 2019 election is pervasive as well.
Occasionally this jockeying has contributed to successful legislation dealing with subjects I have been working on for several sessions. Namely, cannabis oil for medical use; public speech at public meetings and other measures increasing government transparency.
But some of my long-term efforts are still stymied by the partisan divide: reproductive healthcare access and equity; increased K-12 funding — especially for English Language Learners and students who live in poverty; opportunities for immigrants — in-state tuition, driving privileges.
The best change of all this session is more visible and frequent citizen advocacy. Keep it up! I do need your input and support.
Delegate Kory represents the 38th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. She may be emailed at DelKKory@house.virginia.gov.