AG’s ruling circumvented, session meltdown averted

February 23, 2013 • Business

State Senators, Richard Saslaw, D-Fairfax, right, Charles Colgan, D-Prince William, back to camera, Emmett Hanger, R-Augusta, left, Thomas Norment, R-James City County, second from left, and John Watkins, R-Powhatan, second from right, discuss proceedings during a break in the Senate session at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Friday, Feb. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The two largest measures before Virginia’s General Assembly — the state budget and a landmark reform of the way Virginia funds its 58,000-mile highway network — won final passage Saturday, just before lawmakers ended a 2013 session that remained fractious and dramatic into its final hours.

The budget passed the House and Senate by comfortable margins, as did a transportation funding bill that had eluded governors of both parties for a dozen years, but only after senior budget writers on Saturday circumvented an 11th-hour meltdown resulting from a surprise overnight ruling by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

Cuccinelli ruled that the most disputed and politically fragile item in the compromise budget, a legislative panel that would oversee reforms required to expand Medicaid to 400,000 uninsured Virginians just above the poverty line, was unconstitutional. That provoked a Login to read more

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