Northam GA update

General Assembly Update – February 19, 2010. By Senator Ralph Northam

Greetings from Richmond!  This week, crossover took place in the General Assembly, with all passed Senate bills going to the House of Delegates for consideration, and vice versa.  There was little action on any of the bills I am sponsoring, but the pace will be picking up in the next few days.  I am still working hard on legislation to bring about ethics reform in the General Assembly, protect youth athletes from serious brain injuries, and spare saltwater anglers from having to pay fees to the Federal government.

Also this week, Governor McDonnell announced his proposals for balancing the state budget.  Though he remains true to his pledge of not raising taxes, his suggestions include massive cuts to public education, services for the poor and elderly, and the state health care safety net.

While it is necessary to reduce some spending in order to close the Commonwealth’s budget gap, these proposed actions would disproportionately harm those members of our community who are most in need of our help in these difficult economic times.

Further, it is estimated that instituting these cuts would result in the layoff of an estimated 23,000 school employees and thousands more health care workers.  In this period of record high unemployment, I strongly believe that putting even more people out of work is bad public policy.  Job retention is essential to helping our economy rebound, and leading to job growth in the future.  I urge you to read over the Governor’s proposals for yourself, and to contact all of your elected officials to voice your opinion.  I have heard from many of you about this already, and everyone who has contacted me is opposed to these cuts.  I would welcome input from anyone who has other views, as hearing from both sides helps me better represent all of you.

I thank you all for your support, and I welcome your input during session.  My office phone number in the General Assembly building is (804) 698-7506, and my email is  If I am not available, my legislative assistant, Matt Strickler will be happy to help.  Please do not hesitate to call or e-mail, and if you are in Richmond, please feel free to stop by and say hello.