Gov. Northam Seeks Greater COVID-19 Executive Authority in Proposed Budget Amendments

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam proposed 18 amendments to the budget legislation passed by the General Assembly, which includes giving the executive branch more authority to address issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I also propose three language amendments to ensure our ability to continue responding to needs related to the COVID pandemic by giving agencies the flexibility to respond and the authority to address the opportunities presented by the federal funding such as the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), until we can address the matter fully at a special session,” Northam said in a letter to the House of Delegates.

One amendment to the budget would grant the director of the Department of Planning and Budget the authority to direct the additional Medicaid revenue from the recent federal stimulus plan to current services. Another would grant the superintendent of public instruction the authority to issue temporary flexibility or waivers for deadlines and requirements that cannot be met because of the COVID-19 state of emergency and school closures.

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Growing Chorus of Lawmakers Join Effort to Prevent Packing Supreme Court

An organization dedicated to preserving the independence of the U.S. Supreme Court reports it has won several large victories in the past week.

Keep Nine said in a statement that Republican Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona has endorsed its work, making him the first governor to do so.

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Minnesota, Virginia Congressmen Propose Constitutional Amendment to Limit Supreme Court Size at Nine Justices

U.S. Reps. Collin C. Peterson (D-MN-07) and Denver Riggleman (R-VA-05) said they want to make sure that neither political party can ever pack the Supreme Court.

In a bipartisan joint press release issued Thursday, the representatives said they introduced an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to permanently set the number of U.S. Supreme Court Justices at nine.

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