Hampton Roads Chamber Legislative Review

Hampton Roads Chamber Legislative Review
Less than two weeks remain in the 2018 Virginia General Assembly Session with scheduled adjournment on March 10th. The top legislative priority is the adoption of the Commonwealth's two year budget. The Hampton Roads Chamber is in Richmond throughout the 60 day session serving as the voice of business for the region. Check out this week's Legislative Review.

     2018 Virginia General Assembly
Monday, February 26, 2018

Highlights of the Virginia House of Delegates Budget

The House and Senate versions of the Commonwealth’s budget are nearly a half- billion dollars apart at this juncture in the process. The key difference is the House version of the budget expands Medicaid with work requirements and proposes additional spending in several areas including financial aid ($45 Million), Higher Ed ($152 Million) and cash reserves to protect Virginia’s Triple A Bond Rating ($91 Million). Additional investments are also being proposed in K-12 education, first responders and pay increases for state employees.

Other items of Interest in House Bill 30:

  • Go Virginia – The House budget contains $64 million in funding for GO Virginia over the course of the biennial budget while the Senate version provides $49 million.
  • Commonwealth’s Development Opportunity Fund - $19,750,000 to be used by the Governor to attract economic development prospects and secure the expansion of existing industry in the Commonwealth.

Economic Development

Port of Virginia – $20 million was approved by the House and Senate for preliminary engineering requirements for widening and dredging of the Norfolk Harbor Channel to 55 feet and dredging the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River to 45 feet. Additionally, the House authorized up to $330 million in bonds for dredging.

Workforce Development

Workforce Credential Program - The New Workforce and Credential Grant was developed through legislation passed by the 2016 General Assembly and was designed to create and sustain a demand driven supply of workers to fill professions where demand outstrips supply. The House and Senate bills did not change funding over the biennium.

Technology

CyberX Program Initiative - House Budget includes $50 million for cyber security education expansion led by Virginia Tech. The 5 year master’s level program will focus on cyber security, and other technologies to include drones, computer science and data analysis.

Healthcare

Medicaid Expansion –The House version of the budget includes Medicaid expansion but consist of work requirements, co-pays and new hospital taxes.

The Senate however, rejected the House’s Medicaid expansion plan to its budget, in a 21-to-19 vote. The expansion would provide coverage to an additional 400,000 Virginians that fall into a “coverage gap” under the Affordable Care Act. The Hampton Road Chamber supports Medicaid Expansion.

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