RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – When the Virginia General Assembly meets again, likely for a special session in late July or early August, both chambers will be in the State Capitol for the first time in over a year.
In the early months of the pandemic, concerns over what would come next were felt across the world. Each chamber of the assembly made their own adjustments in the face of that uncertainty.
With its 100 members spread across the commonwealth, the Virginia House of Delegates met in person for a veto session outside in April 2020, when health officials were still searching for answers to questions regarding COVID-19 that could considered basic today.
The House then moved online, holding the first virtual session in the Virginia legislature’s 401-year history during the special session in August 2020. There were issues on the very first day and hiccups along the way, but lawmakers did eventual adapt.
On Monday, House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) announced the chamber would return to the Capitol the next time it convenes. Gov. Ralph Northam is expected to call a special legislative session in late July or early August to settle on how to spend federal money from the American Rescue Plan Act and so lawmakers can vote on appellate judges, legislative staffers briefed on the timeline told 8News.
“Containing the virus required sacrifice that touched every part of daily life. Among those things that changed was how we governed,” Filler-Corn said in a statement. “As many Virginians took to remote work, so did the House, and while that transition presented challenges, I am proud to say that the House of Delegates met the moment during this public health and economic crisis.
“Now, with infection rates falling and our Commonwealth’s vaccination rollout program among the best in the country, it is time our body returns where it belongs, in the Capitol, in the People’s Chamber.”
The Virginia Senate convened in the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond during the height of the pandemic. Senators said farewell to the museum after this year’s legislative sessions.