This Week in Richmond

Posted: February 5, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

This weekly column, written by Thomas Hennessey, chief of staff to President Alan Merten, is published to keep the university community informed on the legislative situation in Richmond and how those developments directly affect George Mason.

The pace of activity increases daily in the General Assembly as legislation is reviewed in committees and subcommittees in the House and Senate. Legislation referred from committee is now appearing on the House and Senate daily calendars. As the list of bills increases, the daily sessions of the House and Senate lengthen. Feb. 15 is “crossover,” the day that all legislation, except budget bills, must be sent to the other house. All legislation that has passed the House will be sent to the Senate, and vice versa. The House and Senate will then have about two weeks to consider that legislation.

During the next two weeks, the Appropriations Committee in the House and the Finance Committee in the Senate will consider all amendments to the governor’s submitted budget. Once their decisions on the amendments are published, we will know what George Mason can expect as far as increased support for enrollment, operating funds for new buildings, and authorizing language for innovative building projects by the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study. Legislative liaisons from all four-year institutions were successful with legislators in amending or striking pieces of legislation with unintended negative consequences for higher education.

On Monday, Feb. 2, George Mason students, as members of Virginia21, visited with key legislators in the House and Senate. That evening they acted as hosts at a reception for legislators and legislative aides in Old City Hall. Student Body President Sarah Godlewski and Student Body Vice President Katy Hall also met with the Northern Virginia delegation at its weekly Monday afternoon caucus. A reporter from the Washington Post accompanied them throughout the day, and an article is expected to be published this weekend.

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