Budget impasse ends; assembly to adjourn Thursday
By Michael Sluss, The Roanoke Times
RICHMOND – General Assembly negotiators reached a handshake deal on a new state budget this afternoon after protracted talks that dragged the legislature into overtime.
The Senate and House of Delegates will convene Thursday to vote on the compromise and adjourn a session had been scheduled to end on Saturday.
Negotiators from the two chambers spent Tuesday and part of Wednesday haggling over finer points of a two-year, $77 billion spending plan. The compromise contains funding for two local items that had been on the chopping block in the latter stages of the negotiations – the drug treatment court in the judicial district that covers Roanoke, Roanoke County and Salem, and the Western Virginia Regional Jail in Roanoke County.
House negotiators initially balked at funding drug court programs, and Senate negotiators had wanted to delay the 2009 opening of the regional jail that will serve Roanoke, Franklin and Montgomery counties and the city of Salem.