RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — On Thursday, Governor Ralph Northam signed the final of nine pieces of historic legislation for the Commonwealth.
The two-year budget for Virginia concludes the 2020 General Assembly legislative session that “moved Virginia forward.” Signed into law includes changes to criminal justice and gun safety laws, supporting the workforce, transportation infrastructure, and the education system while providing protections for vulnerable Virginians, the environment, workers, women’s rights, and voting rights.
“I am proud of the accomplishments we made together during this General Assembly session,” said Governor Northam. “We advanced long-neglected priorities, including rights and protections for Virginians.”
He continued, “We were able to redirect funding to address the COVID-19 pandemic, and a number of the laws we enacted are proving to be more important than ever. My administration will continue to work with the General Assembly to craft budget and legislative responses to the pandemic’s effects on our Commonwealth.”
As of today, Northam has signed House Bill 30, the biennial budget, which includes environmental protection, workforce training, and early childhood education. The budget also has a coronavirus relief fund to assist with housing insecurities, nursing home funding, and small business loans.
The governor also took action finalizing eight other pieces of legislation returned by the General Assembly during the reconvened April 22 session.
Northam signed the following legislation:
- Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 972, identical bills that decriminalize simple marijuana possession.
- Senate Bill 215, which requires the state Board of Corrections to publish annually a report of reviews into deaths that occur in jails.
- Senate Bill 251, which establishes licensure and other requirements for pharmacy benefits managers.
- Senate Bill 891, which sets up comprehensive regulations governing pet shops.
Northam vetoed the following bills:
- Senate Bill 235 and House Bill 795, identical bills that establish association health plans.
- Senate Bill 861, which creates multiple employer welfare arrangements.
According to officials with the Office of the Governor, the vetoed bills address health insurance costs for select populations, but it may increase the cost of insurance for “sicker Virginians.”
The governor also announced this week that he plans to appoint a new workgroup that will focus on health care access and develop legislation for the 2021 General Assembly.
The full release can be read online.
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