2007 General Assembly Highlights
General Assembly convened on January 10, 2007 and is scheduled to adjourn on
February 24, 2007.
The House Appropriations and Senate Finance
Committees reported their respective budget amendments to the Governor's
introduced budget on February 4th. To find out how each budget affected VCU,
Budget conferees will be appointed by the
end of the next week and will start working out the details of the final budget
to be sent to the Governor.
Transportation funding continues to receive considerable
attention this session. The House has passed HB 3202, an omnibus transportation
bill that uses general fund money, in addition to bonds and increases of fees,
to fund the Commonwealth’s transportation needs. SB 1417, a nearly identical
bill, failed to report on the Senate side, therefore leaving both sides in a
Out of the 2728 bills and resolutions that
have been introduced, VCU is currently tracking over 300 pieces of legislation.
Bills of importance include:
on Campus (HB
2300) – This bill would forbid any higher
education institution from setting policies to prohibit the carrying of a
firearm. This piece of legislation failed to report.
of Public Need (HB
HB 2277) – All contentious Certificate of Public
Need bills were either stricken or failed to report.
Rates for Prisoners (HB
2034) – This legislation would limit the amount
that VCU Health System (VCUHS) could collect for health care services rendered
to prisoners to the Medicaid or Medicare rate, which ever is lower. As VCUHS
helps a majority of the prison population in the Commonwealth, this has a large
fiscal impact on the health system. The bill has now passed the House and was
heard in the Senate Committee on Rehabilitation and Social Services. Within
this committee, the patron struck his bill, but similar language has been added
to the House version of the budget.
Transfer Grant Program
SB 749) - This
legislation would set up a grant for individuals who have obtained an
associate’s degree from a 2-year institution and then transferred to a 4-year
institution. HB 1681 will pay a grant in the amount of $2,000 for those
students in the fields of engineering, mathematics, nursing, teaching, or
science who have received a 3.0 GPA. SB 749 differs in that it covers the
difference between the cost of the 4-year institution versus the 2-year
institution. Financial need is also a criterion in both bills.