SALEM, Va. – Virginia lawmakers still need to pass the budget, but they won’t all be back in Richmond until next week.
Six senators and delegates gave updates on where the budget process and other bills stand during the Roanoke Regional Chamber legislative wrap-up Tuesday morning. They talked about everything from suspending the gas tax, to removing grocery taxes, re-districting and getting a low fare carrier the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport.
Senator John Edwards talked about the bill he sponsored that would allow the Commonwealth to take ownership of the Virginia Transportation Museum, but the legislation was carried over to next year in the Senate.
Senator David Suetterlein talked about his legislation to limit the duration of executive orders during emergency declarations, citing the former Governor Northam’s order that went for more than year during the pandemic.
Delegate Sam Rasoul talked about his proposal that would look at transforming Catawba Hospital into a state-of-the-art mental health and substance abuse facility, citing the number of acres that are available to develop on the property in Roanoke County.
There was debate over suspending the gas tax with Sen. Edwards against it and Sen. Sutterlein and Delegate Joe McNamara for the suspension.
Delegate Chris Head talked about his successful bill having to with cryptocurrency. He said the bill allows financial institutions to play a part in this new monetary system but some guidelines need to be put in place first. He also said Virginia is the first in the nation to codify it.
Del. McNamara talked about reducing or eliminating Virginia’s sales tax on groceries and what it would mean for shoppers moving forward. McNamara said it would save families about $300 a year and not have an impact on localities.
Delegate Wren Williams talked about his first session as a member of the House of Delegates. He said it was fast paced and from the beginning when bills are proposed, they need to be ready to pass, otherwise, they’ll be shot down immediately.
WSLS 10 Virginia Today anchor Jenna Zibton emceed the event at the Salem Civic Center.