I voted for the Republican alternative which would have increased funding for law enforcement, small businesses, and more, but again that was defeated. I did vote for the final budget bill, which includes $700 Million in funding to match private and local investment in rural broadband throughout the Commonwealth, including unserved areas in Loudoun, Clarke and Frederick Counties.
The Senate did make some good amendments to the budget, but because House Democrats are opposed to any alterations to the Governor's proposal, there are closed-door negotiations taking place between the Senate, House, and Governor to determine the final bill, and we will likely return to Richmond sometime next week for a final vote.
State Employee Mask Mandate
Shortly after the House of Delegates recessed yesterday afternoon, the Governor announced that he is implementing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for state employees in the Executive Branch. I immediately drafted and sent an email citing federal law and challenging him on the legality of such an action, but have not yet received a response.
During his press conference making the announcement, the Governor said that almost all the COVID-19 cases are among people who are unvaccinated, but he was using misleading data by including the entire time period from January until now! If you look at current data, a much different picture emerges, as these recent news articles illustrate:
Almost one in five new virus cases confirmed in the Fredericksburg area involve vaccinated people, most of whom haven’t been sick enough to require hospitalization.— Free Lance-Star
Roanoke-area officials say they’re seeing similar numbers of breakthrough infections.—Roanoke Times
In early July, at least a quarter of new COVID-19 infections in Prince William County involved people who were fully vaccinated.—Prince William Times
In the UK, Israel, Chile and other countries with high vaccination rates, COVID infections among the fully vaccinated are outpacing those in the unvaccinated, raising questions about vaccine efficacy and whether the vaccines themselves are to blame. - Children's Health Defense
Sales Tax Holiday Weekend