Virginia 2020 session: An inside look from outside the Capitol

8News Digital Exclusive

'Now we can makes things happen'

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The 2020 Virginia General Assembly convened Wednesday. Outside the capitol building, 8News caught up with elected representatives and demonstrators prior to the first gavel hit of the new legislative session.

“Now we can make things happen,” demonstrator Daphne Portis said.

With Democrats now in control of the House and Senate, chants, costumes and banners provided a welcome mat for legislators.

Sen. Joseph Morrissey (D-16th District) said, “If a Republican comes in there and he has a good bill, I’m going to support it.”

Activist groups, including proponents of the Equal Rights Amendment, surrounded the capitol Bank Street entrance as leaders headed to morning caucus meetings.

“I expect that the ERA is going to get to the floor very quickly”

Del. Joseph Lindsey, (D-90th House District)

Democratic Delegate Mark Keam said “Virginia has the opportunity to make history–or ‘herstory’–in this case. We might be the 38th state that will ratify the amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

SIGHTS & SOUNDS: Outside the Capitol

Overlooking the Bank Street entrance where demonstrators gathered ahead of the session start.

Making history right away, Eileen Filler-Corn was unanimously elected as the new House speaker; the first woman in the House’s 401-year history to assume that role.

Demonstrators that appeared outside the capitol Wednesday morning included those airing concerns.

Patrick Murphy says he is keeping a close watch on potential gun reform measures likely to be proposed by Democrats in 2020, including red flag laws and background checks.

“I’m hoping enough of the Democratic guys that are on the side of (Governor) Northam will understand where we’re coming from…’ ‘…we just want to live our lives and do our daily stuff. We’re not out here to hurt anybody. We just want to be able to protect ourselves from all the criminal activity,” Murphy said.

READ MORE: Northam, Virginia Democrats outline priorities of 2020 General Assembly session

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