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Lawmakers Going Behind Closed Doors to Come Together on State Budget

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Many lawmakers were hoping for a lightning fast special session this week. But, now members of the House and Senate are haggling over the details.

Billions of dollars are on the line and struggling families are waiting for relief. But members of the House of Delegates and the state Senate are disagreeing with each other about how to spend all that money.

House Leader Charniele Herring says the disagreements are on the margins, and she says the final product will be a big win for Virginia.

"I mean, it's a significant appropriation of federal dollars that we have decided to invest in broadband, investments in our schools, helping with unemployment insurance investments and also to help small businesses get back on their feet," Herring explains. "And so that’s what we’re working on and hopefully soon, in a few days, we'll have some money appropriated to help Virginians."

A few days because members of the House and Senate are meeting behind closed doors to work out their differences. Now, one potential change that some lawmakers are talking about is creating some equity in the money for HVAC upgrades in schools. Delegate Lashrecse Aird of Petersburg says the current bill does not include a formula to help struggling jurisdictions afford the upgrades.

"There's still time," Aird says. "There's still time to get it right, and it would be a grave mistake to not take this opportunity to correct that approach."

After the House and Senate hammer out their differences on federal stimulus cash, they also have to elect judges to a newly-expanded appeals court.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.