House and Senate budgets have differences but both focus on high priority issues

Sen. Jill Vogel

Dear Culpeper constituents,

As we move closer to the end of the Senate session, we have seen countless bills pass the House and Senate. More importantly we have made sure that a lot of bad bills have failed. Our budget discussions continue moving toward an agreement between the House and Senate on a final budget to be sent to the Governor. There are a number of substantive differences between the budget adopted by the House and the budget adopted by the Senate. However, they both addressed the high priority issues that were critical amendments and correct issues associated with the recent budget shortfall. We also continue to have debates on bills related to energy, education, agriculture, HOAs, election rules, healthcare reform, transparency, budget reform and how transportation funds are spent.

Remaining Senate bills were heard last week in House committees and now they come back to the Senate for final action. The House killed my SB 1298 last week. It had gained widespread support around Virginia and it was critical to a lot of people suffering from serious illnesses. The bill would have made it legal for doctors to prescribe cannabidiol oil to treat cancer patients and those suffering from Crohn’s, MS, ALS and other debilitating diseases. CBD oil is not “medical marijuana” –  a patient cannot get “high” from CBD oil, it is not dealt on the illicit market, it is being compounded by pharmacies and it is an option physicians would like to have in the treatment of some illnesses that will not respond to any other treatment. Other bills of mine which saw action this week include:

SJ 295 – Following Senate passage, the House is still considering my Regulatory Rollback Amendment.

SB 1296 – My bill to prevent the repeated introduction of meals tax referenda with deceptive language passed the House with a minor amendment and is now headed back to the Senate for a final vote

SB 1299 – My bill granting emergency concealed carry rights for certain crime victims also passed the House and is headed back to the Senate for a final vote

SB 1300 – My bill providing funding to offer gun safety training to crime victims passed its first House committee and is now being heard before the Appropriations committee

SB 1304 – My bill granting municipalities more control over the timing of local elections passed the House and has been sent to the Governor for his signature

SB 1305 – My bill granting relief for civil case court fees for impoverished plaintiffs also passed the House and is awaiting the Governor’s signature.

SB 1306 – My bill authorizing a streamlined expansion of industrial hemp cultivation was approved by its first House committee and is awaiting further action by the House Appropriations Committee.

SB 1307 – My bill expanding transparency in the online disclosure of government expenditures currently awaits a floor vote by the full House.

SB 1530 – My bill to help qualified individuals with disabilities find state employment passed both houses unanimously and will be sent to the Governor shortly.

SB 1546 – My bill fighting opioid abuse though banning dangerous new synthetic street drugs lacking any accepted medical use passed the House unanimously with one minor amendment and is headed back to the Senate for approval

SB 1594 – My bill designating investigators employed by our Commonwealth’s Attorneys as conservators of the peace passed out of subcommittee and awaits a full committee hearing before it faces a vote on the floor

It is my honor to do this work and I appreciate hearing from so many people around Virginia on the bills that we have considered.  Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns at district27@senate.virginia.gov.

Sen. Jill Vogel

27th Senate District