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HAV Alert- Budget Update

To HAV Coalition:   The General Assembly reconvened yesterday to take action on Governor McAuliffe's line-item vetoes.  After going through both the House and the Senate, six vetoes were sustained while Speaker Howell ruled two vetoes out of order.  Critically for the fight to close the coverage gap, one of those he ruled out of order was the veto of the Stanley Amendment, which prohibits the appropriation of funds to expand Medicaid without General Assembly approval.   By removing the veto on procedural grounds, Howell avoided an override vote that would have required the support of two-thirds of both chambers and was highly unlikely in the Senate.  It is possible that the legality of this will end up being decided in court.  For the time being, the Stanley Amendment remains in the new two-year budget, which has been signed into law.   However, Governor McAuliffe has directed Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Hazel to have a plan to expand coverage in Virginia by September 1.  As of today it is unclear what form this expansion will take.  Additionally, due to the Stanley Amendment and the requirements around spending funds in Virginia, there are substantial restraints to the Governor's authority to administratively act.    Secretary Hazel's planning process is likely to be somewhat close hold, and information regarding the plan will be scarce.  However, the administration has stated a willingness to consider all options.  We will continue to be in contact with HAV members as details emerge and we will offer recommendations about ways to effectively engage in the Secretary's planning process.   Thank you, Asasi Francois

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