Lawmakers are back in their districts this morning after a breakneck General Assembly session in Richmond. What did they accomplish? Michael Pope takes this look at the 2017 session.
Ask lawmakers from either side of the aisle what their main achievement was this year, and they all say the same thing — the budget. They had to work this year to close a $1.5 billion deficit.
Republican Delegate Terry Kilgore says his party will be able to take that success on the campaign trail, portraying candidates as fiscally responsible.
“We put forth a good budget that closed the deficit and balanced the budget so I think that’s a good conservative budget that we can go home with,” says Kilgore.
Of course that meant not funding everything, like mental health screenings at jails. Other things didn’t get funded for ideological reasons, like IUDs for low-income women.
Democratic Delegate Alfonso Lopez says his party will be hitting the campaign trail this year telling voters what they were able to stop.
“Defending against some just ugly divisive anti-immigrant, anti-environment, anti-chose issues I think we’ve been pretty successful this session,” says Lopez.
And for those conservative measures Democrats weren't able to stop, they'll rely on the Governor. He's expected to veto a record number of bills this year.