Lawmakers in Richmond are putting the final touches on a budget deal as the General Assembly session comes to an end this weekend.
Ask lawmakers about the budget and a theme emerges — education funding. This year’s budget will have a number of important investments in education.
“We’re going to address staffing issues with mental health in our schools to have more school counselors," Delegate Chris Hurst of Blacksburg said. "To give state employees and teachers raises that are more than just a nominal increase that we’ve been doing for the last few sessions.”
Delegate Nick Rush of Montgomery County says higher education is also an important part of the budget. “I think everyone knows someone with student debt, and so if we have the tuition pause in our higher education system that’s going to be very important for student debt,” Rush said.
Budget negotiations continued late into Friday afternoon. House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert told delegates to be prepared to work into Sunday.
For legislators, one important part of the budget is getting it over with so the General Assembly can adjourn. Lawmakers are prohibited from raising money for their campaigns during session, and many lawmakers have new court-ordered districts. Primary elections just a few months away.