With AG's Ruling Circumvented, Roads Bill Passes

February 23, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Senior budget writers have circumvented a ruling by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli that a legislative Medicaid reform oversight panel was unconstitutional, preventing meltdown of the 2013 General Assembly hours before it adjourns.

Cuccinelli ruled that lawmakers can't delegate final legislative authority to a commission that would oversee cost-cutting reforms necessary to expand Medicaid is unconstitutional.

But a last-minute rewrite to the final budget compromise reached shortly before midnight Friday took away the commission's discretion, making Cuccinelli's ruling moot.

That satisfied dissident Senate Democrats who had promised to block passage of the budget and major transportation funding reforms. The highway financing overhaul bill passed the Senate 25-15 with most Democrats backing it and most Republicans opposed.

Still, Republican Delegate Bob Marshall promised Saturday to sue and challenge the commission's validity.

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