Legislative Update

This was budget week.

The regular post-crossover rhythm of amending and voting on bills continued, but the big focus was on finalizing our amendments to the Governor’s introduced budget. Suffice it to say that in our view the Governor’s budget needed A LOT of amending—and what we will send back to him will be a dramatic improvement.

The budget House Democrats passed reflects the policy and spending priorities of our Democratic House majority. Rather than the Governor’s insistence on tax cuts for wealthy Virginians–which would blow a permanent and recurring billion-dollar hole in the budget–our budget focuses on prioritizing funding public education and our teachers, access to higher education, affordable healthcare, putting money back in the pockets of hardworking Virginians, and, above all else, keeping Virginia moving forward.

The House budget includes:


  • A 6.75% pay increase for our public-school teachers. (These increases represent the first half of our four-year plan to increase the Virginia average teacher pay to the national average).
  • Approximately $1 billion to public K-12 to fully fund re-benchmarking.
  • More than $500 million to provide much-needed support to our most vulnerable students.
  • $205 million to public colleges and universities. This will limit tuition increases for in-state undergraduate students and strengthen the degree pipeline to high-demand job fields.

Economy/Working Families

  • A 6% raise for state and state-supported local employees.
  • More than $1.1 million for Capitol Police officers.
  • More than $80 million over the biennium to increase the state minimum wage for state employees.

Health/Mental Health

  • Support for an additional 3,440 DD waiver slots and increased provider rates to ensure these individuals are able to obtain services.
  • More than $457 million for mental health and substance abuse services.
  • $1.3 million for a new Prescription Drug Affordability Board to keep the costs of medications low for hardworking Virginia families.
  • More than $30 million in funding to the Opioid Abatement Authority to combat the opioid epidemic in our Commonwealth.
  • $230,000 to study maternal mortality.

Public Safety

  • $110 million for community violence intervention programming.
  • $34 million to increase funds for court-appointed attorneys and open a new public defender office.
  • Funding to ensure that any concealed firearm permit course includes live fire training and to ensure that fingerprints are collected.

Natural Resources

  • Directs that Virginia rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which is critical to combating climate change, and funds important energy efficiency and flood preparedness projects.
  • $200 million over the biennium to the Community Flood Prevention Fund to support community-scale flood mitigation projects.
  • More than $200 million in the Water Quality Improvement Fund. Infrastructure
  • Funding to improve access for rural and farmland broadband connectivity.
  • An additional $37.5 million to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to increase affordable housing and $1.4 million more for the Virginia Eviction Reduction program to ensure that the most vulnerable among us have access to stable housing.
  • $15 million to expand the availability of early childcare centers across Virginia.
  • $70 million dedicated to improving I-81 and $149.5 million toward WMATA to improve critical road and transportation infrastructure that support our economic growth.

-$2 million to fund my bill—HB107—for EV charging infrastructure in rural parts of Virginia.

-$750,000 to fund my bill–HB637—creating the Substantial Risk Order Training Program.

I am pleased to report that so far 9 of my bills have passed the Senate and will head to the Governor’s desk. Those bills are: HB110, HB112, HB115, HB120, HB123, HB124, HB459, HB595, HB639.

In addition, a number of bills for which I am the Co-Patron have also passed the Senate and will be headed to the Governor’s desk. One of those is HB568, which eliminates tax exemptions for the Virginia Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Confederate Memorial Literary Society, the Stonewall Jackson Memorial, the Virginia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and the J.E.B. Stuart Birthplace Preservation Trust, Inc. It’s about time.

One highlight of the week was that the caucus got a visit from Senator Tim Kaine. I am looking forward to turning my attention to helping him get re-elected–along, of course, with President Biden–after the General Assembly session ends.

Next week, as we careen toward the end of session, we will continue the work of considering bills that have come to us from the Senate, and start the hard work of negotiating a compromise between the House and the Senate budgets. The good news is that we are negotiating with Democratic colleagues who share our values and priorities for Virginia.

I will keep you updated.


Rip Sullivan

Delegate, 6th District 

C: 571-210-5876