Senate Passes Bipartisan Budget Increasing Teacher Pay, Affordable Housing, & Environmental Quality

Richmond—Today, the Virginia Senate passed a bipartisan budget (SB1100), with unanimous support, that increases funding for key priorities such as teacher pay raises, additional school counselors, increased investments in affordable housing, mental health services and environmental protections. Senate Democrats offered five floor amendments to the budget that were all adopted.

Senate Democrats offered the following amendments that were adopted to the Senate budget:

1. Housing Evictions: This amendment adds an additional $525,000 to the budget to support additional staff positions created to address the increase in housing evictions across Virginia.

The amendment was offered by Democratic Caucus Chair Senator Mamie Locke who stated: “This amendment is presented to provide funding for additional staff members to help address the eviction crisis in Virginia. As Chair of the Housing Commission, I am proud to offer this amendment and to continue working to solve this critical issue impacting Commonwealth families.”

2.  Water Quality Improvement Fund: This amendment adds an additional $5,884,000 to the Water Quality Improvement Fund for education about best water quality practices in farming and agriculture.

The amendment was offered by Senator David Marsden who said: “This amendment is an investment in our future. It provides additional funding to ensure best practices are being used in farming and agriculture, and livestock are being excluded from our streams, to improve our Commonwealth’s water quality.

3. School Counselors: This amendment increases the funding provided to hire additional school counselors by $2.1 million. The provision will bring the total investment in school counselors this year to $12.1 million.

The amendment was offered by Senator Jeremy McPike who remarked: “School counselors are a critical part of ensuring our students are well-supported at school. This amendment reflects our bipartisan work to invest in education and provide our students with the best opportunities available.

4. Mental Health Permanent Supportive Housing:  This amendment provides for an increase of $2M to mental health permanent supportive housing, bringing the total investment to $3M this year.

The amendment was offered by Senator Janet Howell who stated: “As a result of the Deeds Commission, we’ve found this is initiative is extremely important to the future of mental health in our state. Increased investments in this area will better serve Virginians suffering from mental illness and save our state money, both by decreasing emergency room visits and lowering the number of mentally ill people sent to jail.”

5. Housing Trust Fund: This amendment provides an additional $1.5 million for the Housing Trust Fund to address affordable housing challenges.

The amendment was offered by Senator Adam Ebbin who said: “One in three households in Virginia spend more than a third of their income on housing each year. That’s unsustainable and amounts to an affordable housing crisis in Virginia. I am pleased this amendment passed and I look forward to our continued bipartisan work to increase affordable housing statewide.”

 

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