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House and Senate Reach Budget Agreement

House and Senate conferees have completed work on the state’s budget and say they could leave town before their scheduled adjournment on Saturday (2/21).

Increased revenue collections in recent months have given lawmakers more money than expected to spend.

The budget will include 1.5 percent pay raises for teachers and 2 percent raises for state employees. $20 million dollars will go to new instate slots at colleges and universities as well as incentives to accept more transfer students.

Equal Rights Amendment Stalls Again in House Committee

The House of Delegates Privileges and Elections Committee has again refused to docket a bill to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, killing it for the year.

Most Americans think the Equal Rights Amendment is already the law, but they’re wrong.

The ERA would guarantee equal rights for women, including pay for equal work.

It was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1972, with a 10 year deadline for ratification. In 1982, 35 states had ratified the amendment, three short of the three forths needed. Virginia is one of the 15 states who have yet to ratify.

GA Eliminates Local Option for Minimum Wage Floor in Public Procurements

The General Assembly has passed a bill that would prohibit local governments from requiring contractors to provide compensation or benefits above the state or federal minimum wage.

Democrats tried to adjust the bill to require a $10.10 minimum wage for public procurements, though Democratic Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam ruled the amendments not germane to the original bill.

Republicans say the bill prevents the artificial inflation of the price of business contracts.

CTB Formally Abandons Petersburg-Suffolk Expressway

The Commonwealth Transportation Board has formally abandoned a 55-mile expressway from Southeastern Virginia to Petersburg that rankled environmentalists and cost taxpayers $250 million dollars that may never be recovered.

The original proposal was public-private partnership and a 55-mile high speed toll-road from Petersburg to Suffolk, paralleling US 460 and authorized by the McDonnell administration.

Now, it is a 17-mile improvement to 460 from Suffolk to Zuni. Nothing here.

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