State lawmakers pass tax bill as political controversy continues to simmer

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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ7) Lawmakers in the House of Delegates and State Senate passed major legislation Tuesday that provides close to a billion dollars in tax relief. But the political controversy involving the state’s top-elected leaders also continued to simmer.

Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax slipped into the Capitol Tuesday without talking to reporters about the allegations of sexual misconduct that he is facing.

Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring remained out of sight, in the wake of their own blackface scandal.

And lawmakers continued to deal with the fallout from the political crisis.

Republican Delegate Chris Head has addressed the controversy in a video on his Facebook page. So has Democratic Delegate Sam Rasoul.

And while some are letting their written statements do the talking, lawmakers from our area say they are trying to reassure their constituents.

What I’ve been letting everybody know is that because this is completely uncharted water we’re in, it is very important that we remain sober and deliberative," said Delegate Head.

"I’m telling folks that we need to stay focused on the work that we are about," added Delegate Scott Garrett. "And that work for me is getting a balanced budget."

Governor Northam’s schedule remains frozen on February First, the day we first learned about the racist photo on his medical school yearbook page.

But he has scheduled at least one appearance next week at Virginia Union University in Richmond.

The school says the event, focused on Faith, Identity and Social Justice, is part of Northam’s "apology tour."