General Assembly session opens in Richmond

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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ7 & WWBT) Supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment formed the welcoming committee, as lawmakers returned to the State Capitol Wednesday morning.

Leaders of the House of the Delegates and State Senate laid the groundwork for a 46-day session that will consider more than 2000 bills, including the Democratic proposal to repeal the state's Voter ID law.

"People want to be able to vote," Northam said this week. "We want to encourage the importance of every vote being counted and everybody being able to participate in the election process."

The session ahead will also include recommendations of the school safety task force appointed by the Republican Speaker of the House.

"We want to empower schools, especially help them with school safety," Cox said in an interview with Richmond television station WWBT. "We had a special task force on school safety coming out of Parkland. We had 24 great recommendations."

And with General Assembly elections on tap later this year, major fights could develop on many fronts, including tax policy and state spending, marijuana reform and proposals that would expand gambling in Virginia.

The Virginia General Assembly is the oldest continuously-elected governing body in North America. As the 2019 session began, lawmakers marked the anniversary of the first assembly in Jamestown 400 years ago.