VRS says Northam's budget plan to boost law enforcement health credits would raise liabilities by $76 million
The governor's budget proposal already has drawn fire from House Appropriations Chairman Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, who called the increases for state police, sheriffs and their deputies, and other state law officers "fiscally irresponsible" and unfair to other public employees who receive the credits after retirement to help pay for health insurance.
A Senate resolution for Virginia to become the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment passed a committee with bipartisan support on Wednesday, indicating that it’s likely to pass the full Senate and head to the House.
Virginia is one of seven states that do not require record keeping for segregated prisoners. Del. Patrick Hope, D-Arlington, has introduced a bill that would require DOC to annually submit data reports to the General Assembly and governor regarding the length of confinement, inmate demographics and disability treatment. Hope said the bill would increase transparency and improve inmate mental health care.
The 2019 General Assembly session marks Northam’s second year in office and the 400th anniversary of the House of Burgesses, the first democratically elected legislative body in the British American colonies. His speech didn’t shy away from acknowledging the state’s “long and complex history” while connecting several of the session’s proposals to health and safety.