From the VA Senate Democratic Caucus:
SENATE OF VIRGINIA PASSES 2020-2022 BIENNIAL BUDGET
Richmond – Today, the Virginia Senate passed its 2020-2022 biennial budget, SB 5015 on a vote of 24-15. This budget reinforces Senate Democrats’ commitment to investing in the Commonwealth’s communities, increasing funding for critical policy measures such as broadband access, health and human resources, criminal justice reform, and COVID-19 relief while maintaining structural balance.
Senate Finance and Appropriations Chair Janet Howell (D-Fairfax), Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax) and Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Mamie E. Locke (D-Hampton) issued the following statements on the passage of the budget:
Senator Janet Howell on COVID-19’s impact on the budget: “We were presented with a challenge in trying to be good stewards of the Commonwealth’s finances while putting forth a budget that would address immediate needs as we work to operate during a pandemic. This budget still prioritizes the people of Virginia while providing structural balance and protecting the Commonwealth’s bond rating. This budget funds criminal justice reform legislation to include police reform, a mental health awareness response system, expungements, and grant funding for body-worn cameras. We also made significant investments in community-based behavioral health. We had to be cognizant of the climate we are in. I am pleased with the work of the Senate Finance and Appropriations members and staff who all worked tirelessly to get this budget before us today.”
Said Senator Dick Saslaw: “We are in challenging times and had to make some hard choices but that’s what we are here to do as leaders, make hard choices. We did that with this budget. And while it’s not the budget we passed in March, we were still able to keep many of our priorities funded. It’s a good budget and I was pleased to see the bipartisan support.”
Said Senator Mamie Locke: “This budget prioritizes safety and equity in Virginia thanks to the legislative victories on criminal justice reform during the special session. This budget begins to address the long-standing problems with policing, especially the policing in communities of color. In the aftermath of the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd, Senate Democrats began our process to craft our justice reform agenda. I am proud of the work that I, along with my Senate Democratic colleagues, have done to make Virginia a more equitable Commonwealth.”