Chaos at the Capitol, but General Assembly session rolls along

Chaos at the Capitol, but General Assembly session rolls along
The General Assembly session continues despite controversy with the state's leaders. (Source: Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Lawmakers responded with a common refrain as roving packs of reporters chased them through the corridors of the Capitol this week seeking comment on the rolling scandal that’s now grown to engulf the state’s top three elected officials:

We’re focused on the legislative work the people sent us here to do.

It’s a brush-off for sure — few want to venture out on their own with a statement at this point.

But legislators from both parties also insist it’s absolutely true, arguing the political chaos is unlikely to have a meaningful impact on the course of this year’s legislative session, even as it unfolds at the always-hectic midway point, when bills cross from one chamber to the other.

While some staffers privately voiced skepticism at the business-as-usual posture, committees and floor sessions have indeed continued with an air of absolute normalcy.

Lawmakers interviewed candidates for a vacancy on the Supreme Court of Virginia on Tuesday.

And they continued work on a particularly convoluted budget debate, which involves extensive input and negotiation from the state’s chief executive, Gov. Ralph Northam, who has stopped venturing out in public after admitting and then denying appearing in a racist yearbook photo.