Virginia's Senate Finance Committee reached a deal for a two-year, $85 billion spending plan on Thursday, potentially putting the stand-off over the state budget to an end.
The Virginia Senate is now expecting to vote Monday to approve a version of the state budget -- after the finance committee approved the plan today.
Virginia's Senate failed to approve a state budget during its 60-day regular General Assembly session which ended March 10. Lawmakers are back in Richmond for a special session to continue budget negotiations.
The Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved its version of the budget plan today, a two-year plan worth $85 billion. It incorporates some demands from Democrats -- including relief for drivers who pay tolls to travel a Hampton Roads tunnel. With the State Senate split 20-20 along partisan lines, Democrats were holding up the budget as part of their demands for a more even sharing of power in the state.
They have since said they'll separate that demand from the budget process, but it did produce concessions. Another concession may come Monday -- with the offering of a floor amendment for the state to pay for mandatory pre-abortion ultrasounds.
It's a welcome relief for residents of the Commonwealth, who this month reported a negative perception of the state legislature for the first time since Quinnipiac began polling on the question.