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What to expect from this year's reconvene session

Lawmakers will be returning to Richmond Wednesday to finish up some unfinished business.

Sometimes people call the one-day meeting a veto session, and lawmakers will theoretically be considering the governor's vetoes. But it's pretty rare for lawmakers to muster the two-third majority needed to overturn a veto. That means the real action will be with the amendments.

Jennifer Victor at George Mason University says the amendment power of Virginia's governor makes it stand out.

"We do see a fair amount of variance across states in how powerful governors are in terms of their legislative capacity and their authoritativeness in the policymaking process whether legislative or bureaucratic," Victor says. "And Virginia's process is a little bit cumbersome."

If one of the governor's amendments is rejected, then the governor has a choice. Sign the original version of the bill without the amendment or veto it altogether.

Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington says don't look for a resolution on all the outstanding issues.

"The biggest issue, though, is the one that doesn't seem likely to be resolved this week and that's the difference between the House and the Senate on the budget," Farnsworth explains. "So we’re still looking at negotiators being some distance apart."

Lawmakers will have to come back to Richmond again when they finally come to some kind of agreement on the budget. Right now the sides are about $3 billion apart.

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.