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Northam Shares Final Special Session Budget Amendments

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Recent developments necessitated updates to the state's budget which the General Assembly will consider next week. The photo was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

The General Assembly will reconvene next week to consider amendments to legislation passed during the special session and changes to the budget proposed by Governor Ralph Northam. 

The changes include $1 million towards an independent investigation into the Virginia Military Institute’s practices and traditions. 

Calls for an investigation were prompted after Black alumni from the school described a racist culture in reports from the Roanoke Times and Washington Post.

In his letter to lawmakers, Northam said the spending is “necessary to provide us with the facts needed to craft a path forward for the Institute.”

Another budget change enacts the redistricting Constitutional amendment passed in a referendum on Election Day. The commission will have 16 members -- half citizens, half lawmakers -- that will draw the maps for lawmakers’ districts. 

Northam also cut two construction projects, saying they need to go through further review processes.

The proposals will be the last for the special session, that was- called in part to adjust the budget in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and to pass criminal justice reforms. It convened from August to October, both in person and virtually.

The House of Delegates and Senate have to vote on each amendment for them to be accepted.

Patrick Larsen is VPM News' environment and energy reporter, and fill-in host.
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