WILLIAMSBURG- The 2023 Post-Session Legislative Forum, held at the Williamsburg Regional Library on Mar. 16, started and ended with accolades and messages of congratulations to retiring Sen. Tommy Norment while also focusing on the lack of an approved budget.
The forum, hosted by the Greater Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce, featured Sen. Norment, Sen. Mamie Locke, Sen. Monty Mason, and Delegate Amanda Batten. Delegates Mike Mullin and A.C. Cordoza were scheduled but unable to attend the session.
After thanking the audience for supporting his years of service, Norment immediately acknowledged frustration and disappointment with the lack of a state budget during the short Virginia Assembly General session.
“In the odd year, we hold the short session for one purpose and that is to amend the two-year budget we have adopted,” said Norment, “When we don’t have a budget enacted on time it makes it difficult for local government to complete their work. However, talking with Mamie and Monty, they have told me a budget is forthcoming!”
Chiming in, Locke stated the euphoria may be “short lived” before addressing the audience and reiterating feelings of disappointment in the session.
“We were overwhelmed with the number of bills that were introduced in the session. I understand wanting to meet the needs of your constituents but, sometimes you must tell your constituents no,” said Locke.
Mason called the past session, “quick, short, tough and political when everyone is up for re-election. There are a lot of things outstanding in the budget that we need to get done.”
“We talk about the volume of legislation, and it can’t be overstated how intense the pace is during a ‘short legislative session’ where every day is jammed packed,” stated Batten, “One of the challenges we had this year was it was a campaign year. I think a lot my colleagues would share in Norment’s desire to have a very short session where we only do the budget. It was not a productive year.”
During the General Assembly session, 2,863 bills and resolutions were introduced of which 1,687 were passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The state budget bill stalled in negations during the final days of the session resulting in the passage of a temporary “skinny” bill.
Concluding the forum, Chamber CEO Terry Banez, stated appreciation for Norment’s 31 years of service as a member of the U.S. Senate before a standing ovation took place.
“Tommy Norment will go down as one of the most consequential legislators ever to have served in the Williamsburg region. We should give him our extreme thanks,” expressed Mason.