End of the 2023 Va General Assembly Update
The 2023 Virginia General Assembly adjourned on Saturday February 23rd. While the Va House and State Senate were unable to agree on a common set of budget amendments, they did adopt a stop-gap budget. This “skinny budget” includes the following:
Provide $115.9 million in general funds in the fiscal year 2023 and $125.8 million in general funds in the fiscal year 2024 for the combined impact of K-12 technical adjustments related to average daily membership changes
Provide $250 million in general funds in the fiscal year 2023 to the Virginia Retirement System to address unfunded liabilities
Provide an additional $100.0 million in general funds in the fiscal year 2023 to the 2022 Capital Supplement Pool for cost overruns on previously authorized capital projects
Appropriates $405.9 million in the fiscal year 2024 to the Rainy-Day Fund from the fiscal year 2022 revenue surplus to meet a portion of the Constitutionally required deposit
The key difference between the House and Senate is what the state could offer in terms of tax relief. Read more about the different approaches to tax relief and spending. Analysis from The Commonwealth Institute lays out the budget choices facing the Va General Assembly:
following Gov. Youngkin’s lead — what defines the House proposals are tax cuts that cater most to corporations and high-income households. Lowering the corporate tax rate alone comes at a cost of more than $360 million in this biennium. And if this approach were to become law, corporations would pay a lower income tax rate than the top rate that many working families in Virginia pay.
On the Senate side, what defines their proposals is the significant new funding for public education.
It’s incredibly challenging to afford the investment of raising children. Our hope is that in a final compromise, lawmakers will reduce family economic hardships and provide resources that help children get fed, help parents access childcare, and help families have a safe place to live.
Budget conferees will continue meeting over the coming days to reconcile differences between the house and senate to present a unified list of budget amendments for a final General Assembly vote before going to Governor Youngkin for his review. The GA will reconvene on April 12 to take action on his amendments and vetoes.
There were several bills that affect child and family wellbeing:
SB 1367: This bill clarifies that it’s not child neglect when a parent allows their child to engage in reasonable independent activities such as traveling to or from school by bicycle or on foot or playing outdoors in their yard.
SB 1043: This bill narrows the definition of counseling to focus on mental health services, provides flexibility to hire school psychologists, and requires the DOE to develop a model agreement for collaboration between schools and mental health providers.
SB 1443: This bill directs the Office of the Children's Ombudsman to convene a work group to study and make recommendations for the establishment of the Parents Advocacy Commission.
SB 1300: This legislation was proposed by youth advocate Elijah Lee to ensure teachers were prepared to support and educate students who had experienced trauma. The final version requires training modules on trauma-informed care to be developed and offered through the Virginia Tiered Systems of Support (VTSS).
Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Va Beach) HB 1493 would have changed custody law in Virginia to require contact with both parents. Currently, many factors go into evaluating custody and visitation. Although this bill included an exception for abuse and neglect, the vast majority of CPS reports do not result in findings of abuse and neglect. Our child welfare system is so underfunded and overburdened that many cases of family violence and even extreme emotional abuse never get investigated. This bill was NARROWLY defeated by one vote in the House Courts committee and we expect these dangerous bills to come back next year.
We saw a record number of anti-transgender bills introduced in the legislature, and advocates had to endure early committee meetings and harmful comments from anti-equality lawmakers. However, there is also a lot to celebrate. Together, advocates defeated all 12 anti-trans bills, sent thousands of emails and made hundreds of phone calls to lawmakers, and showed up in numbers to lobby legislators in person on these issues.
With all 140 General Assembly seats up for reelection in the fall, and a new legislative district map taking effect this year, a significant number of legislators have already announced that they will retire. So far, 18 lawmakers have announced their retirement. This means our education and advocacy efforts for children and families will not only continue but increase over the next several months.
VPAP's interactive data visualization shows the amount of Senate turnover since 1999.