The House of Delegates has voted to give the Speaker of the House the power to hire outside counsel to defend the state’s ban on same sex marriage or any other state law. Attorney General Mark Herring declined to defend the same sex marriage ban earlier this year and has since actively worked against it. The resolution represents the position of the House and does not need the approval of the Senate or Governor.
Advocates for Medicaid expansion say real people will be affected by the decisions the Virginia legislature makes during its two-day special session, beginning today (September 18) at noon.
Ray Scher, a member of Virginia Organizing, wants legislators to vote their conscience when the consider expanding the state’s Medicaid program. Scher says Medicaid expansion is a social ethical issue, not a political or special interest group issue.
The plan from Republican Delegate Tom Rust of Fairfax returns $1.9 billion that Virginians are already paying under the Affordable Care Act to the Commonwealth, to expand coverage through employer based insurance, managed care organizations and qualified health plans on the federal exchange to create a bridge program.
The Rust plan also provides financial assistance to those who earn between 133% and 150% of the federal poverty rate to encourage them to buy coverage. His bill would then substantially remake the existing Virginia Medicaid program.
Tomorrow (9/18) the General Assembly will likely overwhelmingly approve legislation to fill vacant judgeships and close the state’s most recent $1.2 billion budget shortfall. Though no progress is expected on expanding access to health coverage for the state’s poorest citizens.
A Wason Poll just released says Virginia voters strongly support Medicaid expansion but worry about the cost and expect the upcoming special session of the General Assembly to fail.
Governor Terry McAuliffe and Speaker of the House Bill Howell have announced their compromise plan to close the state’s most recent 1.2 billion-dollar budget gap, without raising taxes or cuts to K-12 public education. The plan cuts spending by up to 3.5%, though so far neither the Governor nor the House leadership can say whether that will lead to cuts in state jobs or how many that may be. The state will withdraw just over $700 million from the Rainy Day Fund over the next two years.
In addition to the $177,000 in gifts and loans given to the McDonnells, the family also accepted multiple flights from former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams. Lawmakers are expected to look at travel rules when they re-examine ethics reform during the 2015 General Assembly session.
A juror from the corruption trial of Bob and Maureen McDonnell says reaching a guilty verdict was not a difficult decision. Kathleen Carmody, a project manager for the Association for Molecular Pathology, says her 11 fellow jurors felt the same way, having quickly reached a unanimous position.
A Wason Poll released September 10 shows Democrat Mark Warner with a commanding lead over Republican Ed Gillespie.
A Wason Poll released September 9 indicates Virginia voters strongly agree with the McDonnell verdict.