Mark Keam shined some light on a dreary Saturday morning for constituents at the Vienna Town Hall Chambers.
The 35th District delegate brought news of a likely budget after the General Assembly ended its regular session without one. Keam said Virginia runs on a biannual budget, which will begin July 1 and end June 30, 2014.
“One unusual thing is we were unable to pass a budget,” Keam said during the town hall meeting stating he would not have definitive numbers until Tuesday at the earliest. “We’re in a special session now and we’re back on track to pass a budget.”
The town hall meeting served as a debriefing from the General Assembly, which ran from January through March. Keam spoke with constituents about the backdrop for many of the bills that passed and those that didn’t.
The list of hot-button issues amongst the gathering of people consisted of education, transportation and the “Kings Dominion Law.” Keam explained to the group how three issues affected voting during the General Assembly. Education funding stood a chance of taking a hit in order to pump more funds into road construction throughout the state, he said.
"Even Republicans stood up and said you can’t take money from education for roads," Keam said.
A repeal of the "Kings Dominion Law" has long been touted by members of both parties, but it has failed to pass the General Assembly. The current law calls for schools to open after Labor Day unless the schools get a special waiver to start classes in public schools before the holiday. Of the 132 school divisions in Virginia, 77 have been granted permission to begin classes before Labor Day. Only Virginia and Michigan require special permission to begin school before Labor Day.
Keam said the law puts Virginia students at a disadvantage when it comes to in-class instruction days in preparation for national standardized tests.
"Students in North Carolina are 400 pages ahead further than students in Virginia by the same time they take national tests," Keam said.
To see how your local representatives voted in the General Assembly, click here.