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Partisanship marked a 2022 session without any major accomplishments

Lawmakers ended their General Assembly session without any major accomplishments.

The last time Virginia had divided government, Republicans and Democrat came together to expand Medicaid – a major legislative accomplishment. Now Virginia has divided government again. But this session was a stalemate. Republicans killed most of the Democratic bills and Democrats killed most of the Republican bills. They ended the session without passing a budget.

Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington says modern political parties are much more ideologically consistent now than they used to be.

"A generation ago, centrist Republicans and centrist Democrats would get together and basically tell the extremists in both parties how things were going to go in Virginia," Farnsworth says. "That's not the composition of today's legislature. You have very few persuadable Republicans and you have very few persuadable Democrats."

Quentin Kidd at Christopher Newport University says the election of Glenn Youngkin as governor may have played a role in the lack of accomplishment.

"Governor Youngkin may have organized himself a little bit later than his predecessors," Kidd explains. "And so he didn't have time to sort of develop a legislative agenda and then work the legislature to accomplish parts of that agenda if he could."

Virginia requires a balanced budget, and so at some point lawmakers will be forced to come to some kind of an agreement. For now, though, there's a $3 billion disagreement on taxing and spending.

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

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.