The Virginia House of Delegates adjourned sine die as scheduled on Saturday after a productive and successful 2018 General Assembly session. The House of Delegates successfully advanced several major priorities as part of the practical solutions to everyday issues agenda, including legislation to address our teacher shortage, lower the cost of medical prescriptions, create avenues to get students into good paying jobs, and honor our veterans who gave so much to our country.
“This year the House was squarely focused on advancing ‘Practical Solutions to Everyday Issues’ and I am happy to see so many of our priorities are on their way to becoming law,” said Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights). “I want to thank my colleagues in the House for their focus on governing. We all realize the positive impact these bills will have on the lives of our constituents.”
Cox added, “Unfortunately, we adjourned today without an agreement on a two-year budget. We are all committed to completing work on a state budget long before July 1, but after a lengthy and tiring session the best step is for everyone to return home as we assess our next steps. A special session will give us an opportunity to begin a fresh discussion on the budget.”
House leadership announced in November the ‘Practical Solutions to Everyday Issues’ agenda, focusing on students, veterans, higher-education, and addressing our teacher shortage. All of these key priorities passed the house with broad bipartisan support, many are now headed to the Governor’s desk for signature. The House is also taken a leadership role in addressing major issues such as school safety and election reform by creating special committees that will meet in the interim to make recommendation for the 2019 General Assembly Session.
“The people we serve elected us to find solutions to the problems they deal with on a daily basis, and the problems they talk about about while sitting around their kitchen table,” said Majority Leader Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) “I am proud of the Republican Majority for focusing on the important issues facing Virginians and defeating attempts by Democrats to pass an extreme liberal agenda that is out of touch with what Virginians want.”
House Republicans also worked with Governor Northam to advance ideas important to both parties, announcing significant, bipartisan compromises on regulatory reform and criminal justice. The regulatory reform compromise will eliminate or steamline criminal justice and occupational licensing regulations by 25% over the next three years. On criminal justice, the House agreed to raise the felony larceny threshold to $500 in exchange for Governor Northam’s support for stronger restitution enforcement laws. Other accomplishments include adoption reform to help children find loving families sooner, legislation to help workers get the training they need to find a good-paying job, bills to fight the opioid crisis, and reforms to address transportation congestion and the aging Metro system.
“Earlier this year I made a promise to my constituents to address the aging Metro system without raising taxes, and to bury the Haymarket transmission lines,” said Caucus Chairman Tim Hugo (R-Fairfax). “I am proud to say both of those promises have been kept, and I express gratitude to my House and Senate colleagues for helping to pass these important pieces of legislation.”
House Republicans also stood up to protect taxpayers from significant tax hikes. Democrats introduced several tax increases that disproportionately affected millennials. One bill introduced by Democrats sought to tax things like Netflix, Pandora, and Hulu, while a separate proposal would tax Uber and Lyft. Other tax increases defeated by Republicans sought to institute the so called “Death Tax” and a tax on certain watercrafts.
“When Democrats talk about taxing things such as Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, Uber, and Lyft they fail to realize these proposals disproportionately affect students and those who are just beginning a career,” said House Majority Whip Nick Rush (R-Montgomery). “We should be finding ways to help those just getting out of school and starting their career by putting more money back in their pockets, not increasing taxes on things we know they use everyday.”