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General Assembly talks I-81 funding, women's health care, cellphone driving ban

Lawmakers vote on key issues impacting Virginia residents

RICHMOND, Va. – Members of the Virginia General Assembly met Wednesday to vote on important legislature vetoed or amended by Gov. Ralph Northam. Key topics included I-81 funding, state funding for abortions and a cellphone driving ban.

The General Assembly approved Northam's amendments to the $151 million Interstate-81 Improvement Plan, which would raise commercial truck registration fees, diesel fuel costs and road rates. The bill also includes a 2.1 percent fuel tax hike along the highway.

A bill to improve internet access to rural communities passed the House unanimously.

As for the budget, some of the governor's amendments passed the House -- including increased funding for affordable housing and a statewide census.

Other controversial budget amendments did not. The House rejected amendments that would increase access to birth control for low-income families and allow state taxpayer dollars to fund late-term abortions under certain circumstances.

The House did not approve the governor's recommendations to make it illegal to drive with a phone in your hand anywhere in Virginia. Currently, the proposed bill would prohibit drivers from holding a communications device in highway work zones.

Amendments passed by the House move to the Senate for a vote.


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