How Virginia spends remaining coronavirus relief funds provided through the federal CARES Act has become a point of contention between Gov. Ralph Northam and the General Assembly — now in the final stretch of finalizing a two-year budget plan amid a special session that’s lasted for nearly two months.
In the nearly 10 years since Norfolk voter registrar Stephanie Iles began working in the local elections department, she’s never been in such a crunch to get everything ready for an election with so much still uncertain.
With the election just over two months away, Virginia’s voter registrars say they already were inundated with work as they prepare to carry out changes state lawmakers approved in their regular session earlier this year. Recently, they’ve had to deal with questions surrounding the U.S. Postal Service’s ability to deliver absentee ballots.
Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration faced bipartisan criticism throughout much of the COVID-19 pandemic for its decision not to release the names of nursing homes and assisted living centers with outbreaks of the virus — largely leaving families and residents in the dark unless the facility chose to disclose the information itself.
Gov. Ralph Northam is protecting a $130 million budget increase in state and federal Medicaid funds to boost rates for organizations providing personal care and other services to elderly and disabled Virginians in communities across the state.
It took weeks of negotiations to settle on an end to balance billing, a much-loathed feature of Virginia’s medical system that’s been locked in a legislative deadlock for years.
Lawmakers were jubilant on Thursday as both the House and Senate unanimously passed identical legislation to remove the risk of surprise hospital bills for some Virginians. The often-expensive fees often come when patients seek emergency care at an out-of-network hospital, or receive treatment from out-of-network doctors at a facility that’s otherwise covered by their insurance.
Both House and Senate lawmakers proposed legislation this year to give pharmacists more independence in administering certain drugs. But differences between the two bills could lead to a deadlock in a conference hearing, ending any chance of a final version being passed by the General Assembly.
A conference committee in the General Assembly this week will attempt to clear the final hurdle needed to bring sports betting to Virginia.
The Virginia House and Senate passed bills authorizing gambling on sporting events, and the combined bill is expected to be signed into law. It would bring sports betting, both in person and online, to the commonwealth as soon as this fall.
RICHMOND — Del. Mark D. Sickles was describing a landmark LGBT rights bill on the House floor recently when he noticed a fellow Democrat waving at him — a signal that it was time to wrap it up.
“Maybe LGBT rights are boring now,” Sickles (D-Fairfax) later quipped.
With Democrats in control of Virginia’s House, Senate and governor’s mansion for the first time in a generation, legislation that is revolutionary by Old Dominion standards has been passing rapid-fire out of both chambers — sometimes with barely a yawn.
Virginians would be able to place legal bets on professional and college sports under legislation both chambers of the General Assembly adopted on Monday.
The Senate voted 27-12 to approve Senate Bill 384, proposed by Sen. Jeremy McPike, D-Prince William. He said it would bring sports betting out of the shadows for regulation by the Virginia Lottery and allow the state to benefit from new tax revenue on the activity.
RICHMOND — Virginia legislators have been advancing a plan to transition from the federal health insurance exchange to the state’s own online marketplace as a way to save money and improve access to affordable insurance.
Legislation would establish a state-based exchange so Virginia residents who purchase individual health plans can shop for coverage. Health officials say they can run the insurance market better than the federal government and reduce premiums for residents.