OH, HAPPY DAY!
It took longer than usual, but on June 17th the General Assembly passed the Commonwealth’s biennial budget for 2022-2024. Governor Youngkin has indicated that he will sign HB 29 and HB 30 in a public ceremony.
The final budget — while not perfect — makes significant strides in areas that Virginians told us they want to see improved.
Not only does the budget invest record funds in our K-12 schools, but it also opens the door for lab schools to be created all over the Commonwealth.
These centers of educational innovation will help Virginia educators develop new and better ways to teach our children and give parents an additional choice in education.
We have also made historic investments in our Historic Black Colleges and Universities.
While the budget does provide more than $4 billion in tax relief, it does fall short in one major area — the price of fuel.
House Republicans voted to suspend the gas tax for three months to give drivers a small bit of help, but Senate Democrats wouldn’t budge.
In killing the Governor’s gas tax amendment, Democrats also ensure that the gas tax itself will spike by eight or more percent in July. Gas prices could have been 26¢ lower per gallon, but Democrats have killed that idea for the third time now.
556 FEWER RELEASES
The budget made permanent changes to the Code of Virginia and closes a loophole that would have allowed some of the worst killers and rapists to get out of prison early.
This changes who would be eligible for release and reduces the number of those receiving “good time credits” and walking out of jail on July 1, 2022.
In 2020, the General Assembly passed HB 5148 that changed calculations of time served for inmates. Instead of having all inmates serve 85% of their sentences, some criminals would receive “good time credit” automatically and only need to serve approximately 60%.
As the Dept. of Corrections began examining data, thousands of criminals were going to be released between July 1, 2022, and August 30, 2022. Some offenders were excluded from earning these credits based on their underlying offense. Many of those being released have been identified by DOC as being a high-risk of violent recidivism.
This budget line item removes an estimated 556 inmates from eligibility for release on July 1. Of those 556 who now will NOT be released because the Budget Amendment passed, eight are Capital Murderers; 39 were convicted of 1st Degree Homicide; 61 were convicted of Abduction; 41 convicted of Rape/Sexual Assault; 259 convicted of Robbery.
The expanded credits would still allow early release of more than 3,000 inmates from July to August.
Gov. Youngkin and Republicans are making Virginia respected again in America. Republicans, like myself, want Virginia to lead full steam ahead. The best way to lead is by sticking to our conservative principles and praying to our Lord and Savior for his guidance.
The best way to contact me is via email at DelTWright@ house.virginia.gov or by calling 434-696-3061. You can also send mail to: PO Box 1323, Victoria, VA 23974.