- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Virginia lawmakers in Richmond are set to kick off their legislative session Wednesday afternoon amid a host of pandemic and security concerns.

The House of Delegates will meet remotely, as they did during the summer session, and the Senate will work in-person in a huge conference area at the Science Museum of Virginia.
Democrats are looking to extend the current 30-day session to 45 days, but that may require intervention from Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam as Republican lawmakers have not yet agreed to an extension.

Mr. Northam, whose party controls both chambers of the General Assembly, outlined his priorities in December, which include shoring up more resources to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and legalizing recreational marijuana.

On Tuesday, Virginia House Democrats announced their goals, which include expanding financial aid to families and paid sick leave, investing $200 million for the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, boosting teacher pay and funds for school counselors, and backing the governor’s marijuana legalization push.

Lawmakers are set to clash on voter and election proposals this session as Republicans seek to reinstate voter ID requirements, and Democrats aim to make some virus-related changes easing regulations permanently.

As the session kicks off, Richmond is under a state of emergency with law enforcement on high alert for any potential unrest or violent protest following the riot in the U.S. Capitol last week.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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