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Legislation and budget take effect

A new biennial budget containing major investments in education, workforce and economic development took effect July 1, along with new laws designed to modernize Virginia’s high schools and open up civilian employment opportunities to veterans, according to Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office.

“The two-year budget represents the capstone of the 2016 legislative session, which also resulted in the passage of 780 bills and resolutions, many of which (took) effect on July 1,” the release stated.

According to the release, this year, the McAuliffe administration passed 138 out of 190 bills, a 73 percent success rate.

“During this year’s legislative session, I am proud to say we made great strides in growing and diversifying our new Virginia economy by strengthening our economic and workforce investments to ensure the Commonwealth is the best place to locate and grow a business,” said McAuliffe. “We worked with bipartisan partners to achieve historic advances in education, workforce development, economic development, public safety and transportation. We will continue to ensure that all Virginians have opportunities to realize their full potential.”

According to the release, the new budget is the signature fiscal accomplishment for the McAuliffe administration, creating a blueprint for achieving the governor’s top priority, building a new Virginia economy. It includes $1 billion in new investments in education at all levels as well as new money for research and development and increased access to childhood nutrition programs.

“Among the most significant accomplishments of this year’s legislative session were two historic agreements on Interstate 66 and public safety,” the release stated.

“The first agreement will provide relief to one of the most traffic-choked corridors in one of the nation’s most traffic-choked regions. It will help unlock Northern Virginia from congestion that is preventing the region from reaching its full economic potential.”

“The firearms agreement protects families from gun violence and increases access to background checks at gun shows. The agreement will save lives and keep Virginia families safer.

Key administration legislative accomplishments, according to the release, taking effect July 1, include:

The budget

Education

• $1 billion in new resources for education at all levels across the commonwealth to support K-12 and higher education, including $55 million in new financial aid.

• $70 million in new resources for universities to secure top research talent and expand the talent pipeline to create new companies and jobs.

• $2 million for schools to adopt in-school breakfast programs to improve childhood nutrition and increase academic performance.

Workforce development

• Almost $20 million to strength the workforce development system. This will streamline the talent pipeline, and expand resources for skill development and apprenticeship programs.

Transportation

• $50 million to improve services at Dulles International Airport.

• Funding and language to expand and improve the Interstate 66 corridor, relieving gridlock and congestion that has plagued one of the most traffic-choked regions in the nation.

Capital investments

• $2.2 billion bond package, including:

— $569 million for research and STEM projects at colleges and universities,

— $350 million terminal expansion at the Port of Virginia,

— Funding to begin the transformation of Virginia’s Juvenile Justice System,

— Full funding for the new veterans’ care centers in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia.

Legislation

Education

• HB895/SB 336 — Initiates process for complete redesign of Virginia’s high schools.

• HB66/SB576 — Establishes a pay-for-performance grant program through community colleges to enhance workforce credentialing.

Public safety

• HB1386/SB715 — Requires Virginia State Police to oversee all firearms shows and establishes voluntary background checks.

• HB1391/SB49 — Prohibits individuals under protective orders from possessing firearms.

• HB1163/SB610 — Reinstates concealed-carry permit reciprocity with other states.

Transportation

• HB1069 — Establishes consumer protections for tolling.

Veterans

• HB825/SB437 — Establishes a pilot program allowing former military medics and corpsmen to practice certain acts of medicine under the supervision of a licensed physician or podiatrist.