Wednesday, May 16, 2018

And the Wait Continues

So far this week the Senate has come back to Richmond and the Senate Finance Committee has met. Yesterday, a series of Senate Finance Sub Committees even met. Sounds like progress? Don't fool yourself.

The Senate took no action on any budget. They are having "open dialogue" during subcommittee meetings and looking at member amendments (to a budget that doesn't yet exist). In a really "transparent" move yesterday, Senator Steve Newman, Chair of the K-12 Senate Finance Sub Committee asked that his committee meet to discuss "well intended items from members" that he "doubts we would do". After the they were gaveled in by the chair, they huddled around him, in private without the public able to hear anything, and killed amendments that some Senators wanted considered. Among the "well intended items" that he "doubts we will do" were two amendments to include teacher salary increases in the Senate budget. If you want to know what that "meeting" looked like, here it was.

Both Senator Dick Saslaw and Senator Janet Howell have submitted budget amendments to include state support for a 3% salary increase for teachers. Today the Washington Post is reporting Senator Saslaw's frustration with the entire process and his "nuclear option" for ending the stalemate. Washington Post subscribers can read the article here.

The Senate will come back n Monday, May 22. We will see what they do. Keep in mind the House adopted their budget on April 17. Also keep in mind that without a budget by midnight, June 30, Virginia's government will shut down. We won't have the House to blame. We won't have Senators like Dick Saslaw to blame. We will have a small handful of Republican members of the Senate to blame.