On June 23, Governor Ralph Northam issued a proclamation summoning the members of the General Assembly to convene for a Special Session beginning on August 2nd. The purpose of this special session will be to appoint judges and address budgetary matters, including the appropriation of federal relief funds. This will be the third Special Session of the General Assembly to take place during the 2020-2022 biennium.
In May, Governor Northam and Democratic leaders in the General Assembly released a statement outlining their legislative priorities for the session, which included a declaration of intent to allocate much of the state’s $4.3 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds towards five specific needs: fully deploying broadband across the Commonwealth; upgrading state and local public health services; helping small businesses by fully funding the Rebuild Virginia grant program and other economic development programs; shoring up the solvency of the Unemployment Trust Fund; and rehabilitating and upgrading public school buildings throughout Virginia.
Prior to the announcement of the Special Session date, VACo sent a letter to the Governor and Chairs of the House Appropriations Committee and Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee outlining our priorities. These overlap with several of the intentions from the May statement such as broadband and school modernization, but also include dedicated funding for wastewater and stormwater improvements as well as for costs associated with the expansion of COVID-19 workers’ compensation presumptions for certain employees. More information on this last point can be found in a letter VACo sent in May to the Governor and Chairs of the House Appropriations Committee and Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee.
VACo will continue to engage with the Administration and General Assembly on these issues and looks forward to a productive conversation on the best use of state and federal funds to help Virginia continue to recover from the impacts of COVID-19 and make long-term investments in the future of the Commonwealth.
VACo Contacts: VACo Legislative Team