What did state lawmakers accomplish during the 2023 session?
Lawmakers ended their session without approving a budget. But, they were able to claim some other accomplishments.
All 140 members of the General Assembly will be up for reelection this year, and they finished their legislative session with a lot of talking points they can hit the campaign trail with on all the hot-button culture war issues. No action on those things, but certainly a lot of strong positions. Meanwhile, House Republican Leader Terry Kilgore says lawmakers did make other major accomplishments, like protecting customers of energy utilities and beefing up workforce development.
"And it's going to get it out of all of these little silos out here where folks have been saying they are doing workforce development, get it under one group and this is how we are going to move forward and then when businesses come to the Commonwealth, we can act faster and say, ‘Yes we can train your workers,’" Kilgore says.
The leader of the House Democrats, Don Scott, agreed that the General Assembly did mark some major achievements when they weren't talking about abortion rights or transgender students.
"Those are the types of things that I think all of our constituents want to see," Scott says. "Workforce development, focus on education, dealing with the COVID learning loss that we dealt with to get us back on par and get us competitive."
As for the budget, lawmakers can always come back for a special session to finish the job before the final deadline this summer.