An Update From Senator David Suetterlein: The General Assembly at Crossover

Valentine’s Day also marked the start of the season of Lent and the Virginia General Assembly’s consideration of bills that passed the other chamber. After a whirlwind of marathon sessions before yesterday’s Crossover deadline, the Virginia Senate will now begin consideration of 734 House Bills and the House of Delegates will begin consideration of 452 Senate Bills. 

Democrats Defeat Full Grocery Tax Repeal, Push Sales Tax Increase
High grocery bills continue to plague working families, but Senate Democrats defeated my Senate Bill 110 which would have eliminated local grocery taxes and backfilled local government treasuries. Instead, Democrats are advancing legislation that would raise the sales tax on a many things, including prepared foods. If the Democratic proposal is enacted, a meal in downtown Roanoke would now be subject to a 11.8% tax.

Helping Virginians with Intellectual Disabilities Receive Services 

Governor Glenn Youngkin’s introduced budget includes important funding for services for Virginians with intellectual disabilities. In addition to the funding itself, it is critical that the General Assembly remove roadblocks to receiving those services. My Senate Bill 610 will help families receive development disability services by allowing them to retain their Priority 1 Waiver slot for up to one year. The legislation passed an important hurdle last week when it was approved by Senate Finance and is now waiting to go through the House of Delegates’ committee process. 

Democrats Defeat Campaign Finance Legislation in the Shadows
In the final days before the Crossover deadline, the Democratic leadership defeated my SB107 banning legislators from fundraising whenever the General Assembly is meeting, a bill that would have prohibited candidates making personal use of campaign money, and a bill that would have prohibited regulated monopolies from making campaign contributions – all WITHOUT recorded votes. This Virginia Mercury article covers the subject well.

Senate Democrats Advance 51 Bills on Party-Line Votes
Virginia Senate Democrats began the session by using their 21-19 majority to install super majorities on the Senate Finance; Courts of Justice; Commerce and Labor; and Education and Health Committees. In the last month they have advanced 51 different bills through the Virginia Senate on strict 21-19 party-line votes.

Most Frequent Topics of Virginia Senate Party Line Votes through February 14:
Gun Restrictions on Law Abiding Virginians- 15
Business/Development – 11
Crime – 8
Elections – 6
Eight Suetterlein Bills Advance to the House
Eight of my bills won bipartisan support and passed the Virginia Senate before Crossover and are now before the House of Delegates’ committee process.

SB109 Clarifying Failing Primary Candidates Cannot Refile for the General Election
SB150 Increasing Emergency Lights for Volunteer Emergency Workers
SB151 Reducing Selected DMV Fees
SB433 Supporting Students with Interrupted Formal Education
SB436 Reforming the Workforce Development Commission
SB437 Clarifying Virginia’s Real Estate Office Laws
SB610 Helping Families with Development Disability Services

Halfway to the Real Halfway Point
Media reports regularly and errantly refer to Crossover as the halfway point in the legislative process. The real halfway point is when the General Assembly adjourns sine die and all the legislation passed by both the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates is sent to the Governor for his review. After that the Governor signs or ignores bills allowing them to become law, vetoes bills, or offers amendments to the bills. The Governor’s ability to veto or offer amendments to bills are significant legislative powers. If you would like to encourage Governor Youngkin to offer amendments or veto specific bills, you can share your thoughts with the Governor’s Administration here.

Watch the General Assembly and Track Legislation
You can stream the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates live or watch recordings later. You can also track every bill and vote on the Legislative Information System.

Share your views
I appreciate the opportunity to serve our Commonwealth. As always, you can reach me by calling 540-302-8486 or replying to this email. You can also keep up with my efforts at Facebook.com/Suetterlein.

Sincerely,

David Suetterlein
Virginia Senate

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