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State lawmakers adjourn after consequential session

Published: Mar. 1, 2021 at 7:35 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - The gavel fell Monday morning, after Virginia lawmakers completed their General Assembly work late Saturday night.

During the previous six weeks, they came together on important issues including the state’s COVID response and the budget.

“It’s great that we were able to pass a number of pieces of legislation to really move Virginia along,” said Del. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke), especially the bipartisan way passing the budget that gives some much-needed raises to teachers and other state employees including law enforcement.”

But the session also reflected the change that began when Democrats became the majority party in 2019.

“It was a seismic shift this legislative session, especially when you look at the abolition of the death penalty, certainly recreational marijuana, but even going into police and social justice reforms,” said Virginia Tech Professor and WDBJ7 political analyst Bob Denton. “It was a very broad agenda and a very aggressive one, without question.”

Republicans opposed many of those initiatives. And Delegate Chris Head (R-Botetourt Co.) said he believes the state will suffer from the deep divisions and the lack of genuine dialogue.

“I saw lots less of that. There was some, but lots less of that,” Head told WDBJ7. “As a result of that we’re going to have some bills that are really far-reaching and are going to have some catastrophic results because of the legislation that’s out there if the governor signs them into law the way they passed.”

And that’s where the focus now shifts, as we wait to learn if the governor will sign, veto or amend legislation that emerged from the General Assembly session.

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