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Week One at the General Assembly: Lobbying, Lawmaking and Legacy

Steve Helber

Virginia's General Assembly is wrapping up its first full-week of lawmaking in Richmond. To get a quick debrief of the action, RadioIQ host Luke Church spoke with reporter Michael Pope. They talked about the lawmaking process, the role of lobbyists, and the legacy of outgoing Governor Terry McAuliffe. 

Interview Highlights: 

Pope: This year is what they call a short session, by the end of February lawmakers will be done and leaving town. A couple things to remember about what happens here in Richmond. Most bills die, in other words this is a killing factory, almost 95-percent of legislation that is introduced here gets killed in committee with sometimes unrecorded votes event... (Also) lobbyists write almost all the bills. No matter what your political affiliation is you have a lobbyist that's representing you. For example, Verizon has a lobbyist that's representing them. But so does the Virginia Poverty Law Center, so does the City of Charlottesville. 

Church: The session began with Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe outlining in very sharp relief his agenda for the year, what happened there?

Pope: ... He ran back in 2013 on expanding Medicaid for 400,000 people who don't have health insurance here in Virginia and he has been unable to deliver on that promise... McAuliffe has made (economic development) the centerpiece of his time as Governor, attracting new businesses to Virginia... so mixed legacy for McAuliffe. 

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