Even with the postponement of the legislature’s scheduled Saturday adjournment, our legislative priorities have largely been accomplished and several bills have already been signed by the Governor. Over the next few weeks the Governor will continue to sign, amend, or veto bills sent to him from the legislature. To show where we are with our own legislative priorities, the most recent update to our legislative agenda can be found here.
As we discussed last week, the budget remains the main focus of the legislature. It was announced Thursday that the House and Senate were unable to reach an agreement on the budget and will need to either extend the session or schedule a special session. The two bodies remain roughly $600 million apart and are divided over the issue of medicaid expansion. While it is unusual to adjourn late, it is not unheard of. The last time the legislature adjourned late was in 2014 and over the same issue. The legislature must have a budget passed before July 1 to avoid a state government shut down.
A recurring topic of discussion has been a dedicated source of revenue for METRO. Last week the House and Senate named budget conferees who have been meeting to negotiate the differences between each respective body’s proposals. One of the main issues PWAR has been focusing on is with regards to a proposed increase in the regional grantors tax. Initially the proposal would have increased the existing grantors tax by 10 cents. At the urging of REALTOR associations throughout the region, that number has been reduced to 7 cents. Although this is still higher than we would like, it is movement in the right direction. We remain optimistic that the increase will be further reduced prior to a final decision being made.
Listed below are several resources to help you navigate the legislative session. You will find resources to help determine who your elected representative is and how to contact them, how to determine who serves on which committees, as well as when our legislative priorities will be considered. If you care to do so, you can even watch online as these meetings take place!
Brendon Shaw serves as our full-time representative in Richmond and advocates on our behalf. Should you have any questions about legislation, the legislative process, or Virginia REALTORS legislative priorities, he can be reached by email at BShaw@cardinalstrategiesva.com.