The last full week of the Special Session ended with the House completing its consideration of Senate bills and visa-versa. Many of the Senate bills were amended and, thus, put into a ‘conference’ posture, meaning conferees from each body meet and try to resolve differences on each bill. The conference reports are then voted up or down.
While we completed many of the conference reports, many others, especially for controversial bills, were not completed. Those were to be taken up over the weekend before we adjourned on Monday, March 1. These include bills such as the budget, tax conformity, electric vehicle rebates, legalization of marijuana, electric school buses, “packing” the Virginia Court of Appeals and more.
We did make some progress on reopening our schools by passing SB1303. The bill requires in-person instruction to be available by July 1. That was the earliest date we could get the votes for, as the Democrat majorities continue to stonewall reopening to appease the teacher unions.
This week a primary Richmond television station’s broadcast broke a major news story that revealed further wrongdoings of the Virginia Parole Board. It appears the past and present chairs of the board broke the law in releasing convicted murderers, including one who murdered a Richmond policeman. The former board chair subsequently was elected to the bench by the Democrat majority. Additional allegations include not notifying victims and families, not allowing prosecutors their legal say regarding the releases, falsifying documents and destroying official records to hide paper trails. These charges require further investigation and transparency rather than being covered up by the administration.
This week was the first week of operation of the new state computer system to enroll, schedule, and track COVID-19 vaccine distribution. While I have received few complaints about the new system so far, as I predicted it is another “sign up and we will call you” system. That means we have no insight into the VDH’s selection process for the scheduling of shots.
There’s more to this story in the current issue of the Smith Mountain Eagle newspaper. Pick up a copy or subscribe at www.smithmountaineagle.com/subscriber_services to view the full article in the print and/or e-edition version.