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Week Two at the General Assembly: Raises, Licenses and Lending

Steve Helber

Each week during Virginia's General Assembly we get a quick debrief on the action from reporter Michael Pope. This week was a busy one in Richmond, with lawmakers coming closer to budget agreements and bi-partisan moves on a criminal justice issue.

RadioIQ host Luke Church gets the rundown from reporter Michael Pope. 

Interview Highlights

Church: Perhaps the biggest news to come out this week was an announcement about the budget ... 

Pope: GOP leaders in the House and Senate announced an agreement on the budget... a 3-percent pay raise for state employees. Now this does not apply to teachers. Now, how are they going to pay for this? The answer to that question is somewhat up in the air. Republican Delegate Chris Jones of Suffolk says, "You’ll see the budget a week and a half from now. It was important for us to show where we are going to be spending the money and how we are going to set our priorities.”

Church: And another major development this week was a bipartisan agreement that will help almost a million low-income Virginians. 

Pope: ...There are almost a million people in Virginia that have a suspended driver's license. There are all sorts of reasons for this, sometimes it's a drug offense, sometimes it's unpaid court cost. The Governor announced in his State of the Commonwealth address that he wanted to address this issue and restore driver's licenses... and Republicans actually agree on this. 

Church: And finally: predatory lending, that's a topic that you've spent a lot of time looking at. What happened there?

Pope: ... They ended up killing all the bills on this. However, they did do something very significant. They set up a study committee. So over the next year there will be lawmakers and experts who sit down to craft rules that might actually be implemented next year when the General Assembly convenes. 

Church: Ah, yes the special commission. Near and dear to the hearts of many lawmakers... it moves slowly, but it does move doesn't it? 

Have anything happening at the General Assembly you're curious about? Submit your questions below and it could be part of our next conversation. 

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