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Virginia budget deal passes state House

RICHMOND, Va., Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Virginia's House of Delegates unanimously approved a budget package Sunday evening after wrapping up talks with the Senate earlier in the day.

The bill goes to the Senate, where passage would let the Legislature adjourn a day behind schedule.

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Negotiators from the two chambers hammered out a deal on the $31.7 billion, two-year budget after 1 a.m. Sunday, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

The plan provides $64 million for the state's emergency fund, $30 million to improve mental health services, as required under a federal mandate, no fee increases and no money to replace the legislative office building.

The Republican-controlled House dropped its demand that $150 million in general funds go into Gov. Bob McDonnell's proposed transportation infrastructure bank.

The Democratic-led Senate wanted to dedicate half the mental health funding to correct specific problems cited by the Justice Department, while the House wanted no restrictions on the money.

McDonnell was delaying his trip to Washington for the National Governors Association meeting until final passage.

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