January 8, 2008
The Virginia General Assembly session begins Wednesday, but this year the Assembly is divided. Lawmakers have thousands of bills to consider and a multi-billion dollar budget to balance. Many are expecting a challenging session.
Republicans control the House while Democrats control the Senate.
This session lawmakers have 3000 bills to review.
Delegate David Toscano says, "there are a whole host of issues to address in the course of that 60 days...it's a real real challenge to get it all done."
He says the big issues and the main purpose of this session is to approve a budget.
"That's where really a lot of the debate and discussion will go on," he says.
So lawmakers will have to work on setting their priorities with limited funds.
Toscano says, "there's going to be some efforts to change some of the laws so as to eliminate the possibility that another Virginia Tech could occur."
Legislators are looking at spending millions on mental health reform.
"Virginia has not done particularly well over the years in terms of funding for mental health and I think there is going to be a real effort to increase that funding in this session," he says.
With thousands of measures to consider, Toscano says they want to hear from you. He says citizens play a critical role in the process and some of the best ideas come from them.
Day one of the session is about reorganization and assigning committees.
Session starts Wednesday and is scheduled to finish March 8, 2008. It may run longer if legislators can't agree on a budget.
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