The 2019 General Assembly Session is the period when all of the State Senators and Delegates return to Richmond to amend and create the Commonwealth’s laws and is set to begin on January 9, 2019. The 2019 Session is a “short session” and will last approximately 45 business days.
Because Virginia hasn’t fully conformed to the new Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, 600,000 middle class taxpayers could face higher state taxes. Governor Northam wants to use that money for his pet projects while Republicans are looking at proposals to increase the state standard deduction to provide a state tax cut and/or allow filers to itemize deductions on their state taxes to avoid a penalty. Northam’s budget is built on $1.2 billion in higher taxes, paid for by the middle class.
Casino gambling is illegal in Virginia, but recently there have been proposals to change existing law and establish casinos in several economically-distressed localities. Proponents of casino gambling point to the potential for economic development and increased state revenue that could be used to fund core government services, such as education or transportation. Opponents contend casino gambling enables addictive behavior and the risks would outweigh any potential benefit.
A United States Supreme Court case recently made it possible for states to decide if they would like to allow betting on sports. Virginia currently prohibits sports betting, but several states have recently acted to allow legal sports betting.
Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)
The ERA is an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that requires 38 states to ratify, currently 37 have ratified. However, Congress mandated that ALL states needed to ratify before 1982. Even though it has expired, Democrats have introduced legislation in a renewed attempt to ratify the ERA in Virginia. Republicans argue that it will have unintended consequences such as taxpayer funding for abortions and the removal of benefits women enjoy under Social Security.