Posted on Friday, March 7, 2014

Special Session, or Session Extension?

The original session for the 2014 General Assembly called for the General Assembly to adjourn on Saturday, March 8 and that the report of the budget conference committee could not be considered until 36 hours after its completion (unless 2/3 of the members of each house voted otherwise). Under HJ 17, the reconvened or “veto” session was also set for April 23.  At this writing, the budget conferees have not completed their work and it is likely that the 2014 session will be extended, or that they will complete their business without a budget and be called back by the Governor for a special session.

HJ 488 was a resolution passed by the House yesterday to extend the session by 60 days to  April 7, which stipulated that members and their legislative assistants would not receive per diem payments for any of the extra days.  Under this resolution, the reconvened or “veto” session was moved to May 14. The Senate rejected  HJ 488, however. 

Transfer Grant Vehicle in Conference

HB 133 (Cole)  was amended in the Senate Finance Committee on February 26 to combine the spring transfer element that is contained in Delegate Cole’s original bill with the increased funding that represents the difference between two and four-year tuition in SB 429 (Hanger).  The Senate budget includes $2.4 million in FY 2015 and $3.0 million  in FY 2016 to enhance two-year transfer grants. The Higher Education Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee tabled SB 429 on March 3. 

When HB 133 was sent back to the House, they rejected the Senate-amended version; the Senate insisted on its amendments and so a conference committee has been formed.  Conferees are Delegates Cole, Greason, and Joannou and Senators Hanger, Lucas, and Colgan.

Community College Workforce Training Legislation Tabled; Funding Still Alive in Senate Budget

On March 3 in the Higher Education subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, SB 628 (Ruff) to establish the Community College Workforce Training Grant Fund was tabled.   The Senate budget amendments contain $1 million in each year of the biennium to fund the program, however.'

Ellen Davenport

Ellen Davenport is assistant vice chancellor for governmental relations for the VCCS. She works with the Chancellor and Virginia's 23 community college presidents to advance the financial and policy priorities of the VCCS with the Virginia General Assembly and Congress.

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