Va. General Assembly to convene special session on Aug. 2
Legislators to allocate $4.3B in federal stimulus funding
The Virginia General Assembly will convene in Richmond on Aug. 2 for a special session to allocate more than $4.3 billion in federal relief funding, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Wednesday in a proclamation.
In May, Northam and Democratic leaders from the Virginia State Senate and the House of Delegates outlined their priorities for the special session, including fully funding the Rebuild Virginia small business recovery program and allocating money for the state’s Unemployment Trust Fund, which ran out of money last October due to record-breaking unemployment claims and relied on loans from the U.S. Department of Labor.
The $4.3 billion windfall comes from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan enacted by Congress earlier this year.
The Virginia Employment Commission, which is under court order to resolve 92,000 unsettled claims by Labor Day, also would receive more funding to build up staffing and upgrade its computer system. Another priority is universal broadband access — this funding would see the state accelerate its broadband expansion goals for the next decade to a window over the next 18 months. Northam also plans to allocate more funding for school buildings, public health services and affordable housing.
The August special session also will mark the General Assembly’s return to its Virginia State Capitol chambers for the first time since March 2020. Under COVID-19 mitigation measures, delegates and state senators met under tents, in larger buildings that allowed physical distancing and virtually.
It’s unclear how long the 2021 summer session will last, but last year’s special session focusing on pandemic relief and social justice measures lasted a record-breaking 86 days, extending from August to October.