RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - It’s almost a wrap for Virginia lawmakers at the state Capitol.
The 2020 General Assembly session adjourned over the weekend, but not before several new bills made their way to Governor Ralph Northam's desk.
Sitting on the governor’s desk right now - a bill to decriminalize marijuana possession, a measure to give localities control over monuments including Confederate statues - and a bill to legalize casino gambling across the state.
“I’m very concerned that life just got more expensive here in Virginia for a number of reasons. We see the cost of business going up, we see less choice, we see more restrictions, more government overreach. Everything from the Second Amendment to the First Amendment to life,” said State Senator Amanda Chase.
State Democrats are championing a number of new pieces of legislation. Those include universal background checks on gun purchases, rolling back restrictions on abortions, discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community and raising the state’s minimum wage over the next three years to $12 an hour.
“I think a good healthy balance conversation on minimum wage came to us, what looks like is going to be a good compromise. You know, make sure we’re paying people fairly. make sure people have the money they need to raise their families,” said ChamberRVA President & CEO.
But some Republicans, like Chase, are worried about how the state will look after July 1, 2020, when all the legislation passed and signed become law.
“We have seen an extreme agenda pushed forward here in Virginia. We are now balancing our budget on drugs, alcohol, gambling and tobacco. We’ve become like Nevada,” said Chase.
Members of the General Assembly will return to the statehouse on Thursday for a few hours to pass a two-year budget.
Those working behind the scenes have worked out everything needed for bipartisan support.
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