Virginia lawmakers approve budget for COVID-19 relief money

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia lawmakers have given final approval to a spending plan for most of the state’s $4.3 billion in federal coronavirus relief money.

The budget includes funding for initiatives aimed at helping small businesses, increasing broadband access and replenishing the state’s depleted unemployment trust fund.

The budget plan approved Monday by the Senate and the House of Delegates preserves most of a plan crafted by Gov. Ralph Northam and fellow Democrats.

In addition to funds to help small businesses — including $862 million to replenish the state’s depleted unemployment trust fund, helping businesses avoid a big tax hike — there’s also money for rent relief and to head off utility disconnections for financially struggling families.

The spending plan will also provide $411 million for clean water programs and wastewater treatment. It also includes bonuses of $3,000 for sheriff’s deputies and correctional officers and $5,000 for state police.

And before adjourning, lawmakers must still name eight new judges to the court of appeals.

Northam said he will approve the plan.

WTOP’s Dick Uliano contributed to this report.

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