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General Assembly session enters its final week, important choices remain to be made



Richmond, Virginia – There’s a long way to go and not much time left for state lawmakers to get there. The January session of the General Assembly is scheduled to end on Saturday. And before they depart Richmond, members have important matters to attend to, such as the state budget.

Almost three thousand bills and resolutions have been discussed by lawmakers. They have authorized little under half of everything thus far. They’re still trying to iron out their disagreements on a ton of other issues.

Democrats in the House and Senate introduced several bills at the beginning of the week that have already passed and that the governor must sign into law by Friday.

They claim that Governor Youngkin will have to decide on several prominent subjects for the first time since he assumed office.

The majority leader in the Senate is Senator Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax County).

“Virginians are going to finally get to find out where he stands on things like protecting contraception, on firearm violence prevention, on the minimum wage, on other issues which are big priorities to Virginia.

The decision to accelerate the bills, which would have required the governor to act before the end of the session, was questioned by House Minority Leader Del. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah Co.).

“I don’t know what the Democrats hope to accomplish by sending these bills to the Governor on an accelerated timeline,” Gilbert said. “In Virginia, the Governor works almost like a third chamber of the General Assembly. Regardless of party, the Governor’s office often finds errors and problems in legislation and sends down fixes. If these bills are truly that important, why would Democrats want to rush the Governor’s review?”

Youngkin spokesman Christian Martinez said, “The Governor is reviewing the legislation that has been delivered to his desk, as he continues to watch how the General Assembly chooses to act on other important priorities.”

Legislation promoting a professional sports arena that would house the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals is one of the governor’s top goals. Additionally, the plan would create a sizable entertainment zone in downtown Alexandria.

The next several days, according to Bob Denton, Political Analyst for WDBJ7, will reveal a lot about the path forward.

“But it’s going to be interesting, this dance between the legislature and the governor in the next coming week or so,” Denton said, “to see what strategy, because we know that this is his legacy budget, a great deal at stake, very important to him.”

After the session, the governor will have 30 days to take action on the majority of the proposals, including the significant legislation creating a legal marijuana market.

And we’ll watch to see if he comes close to breaking Governor Terry McAuliffe’s record for the most vetoes set under the Republican takeover of the state.



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