Virginia General Assembly will convene for 2021 legislative session today

Virginia News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – The Virginia General Assembly will convene to gavel in for the 2021 legislative session this afternoon.

Everything from funding coronavirus vaccine distribution to legalizing marijuana is on the table.

For now, the session is set to be just 30 days long, but Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has suggested he could step in to extend the session if necessary. Republicans, so far, have refused to support a 15-day extension.

Ahead of session, the City of Richmond is under a state of emergency as law enforcement gear up for potential unrest ahead of this year’s Lobby Day and presidential inauguration.

Event permits for Lobby Day, usually set for next week, have been denied. The Department of General Services also tells 8News Capitol Square will be closed in the coming days as they secure the grounds.

Related coverage: Richmond under another state of emergency as law enforcement gears up for potential unrest

The COVID-19 pandemic remains a priority as lawmakers hope to tackle funding for the vaccine and small business support.

Democrats also want to revisit changes to the criminal justice system like ending the death penalty, eliminating all mandatory minimum sentences, and restoring voting rights for released felons.

Changes to voting and elections will be also in discussion. Republicans hope to reinstate voter ID requirements while Democrats are hoping to permanently remove what they consider unnecessary barriers to the process.

Related coverage: Virginia lawmakers will take on a jam-packed agenda in short session starting Wednesday

With COVID-19 in mind, the House of Delegates is set to meet virtually while the Senate will meet at the Science Museum of Virginia.

The Virginia General Assembly is set to gavel in at noon.

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