By Associated Press - Tuesday, January 10, 2017

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia General Assembly is set to kick off its 2017 session Wednesday.

The session officially starts at noon, though lawmakers and Gov. Terry McAuliffe will gather earlier for a prayer breakfast.

McAuliffe will give his annual address to lawmakers Wednesday evening, where he’s expected to explain his priorities for his last year in office.

The 45-day session will see lawmakers battling over the state budget problems and jockeying for attention in an election year. Virginia has an estimated $1.26 billion shortfall for fiscal years 2016 through 2018.

When they meet, Virginia lawmakers will be carrying on a nearly four century-old tradition. The Virginia House of Delegates is the successor to the British colonial House of Burgesses, which first met in Jamestown in 1619.

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