Lawmakers gear up for start of 2023 Virginia General Assembly

With hundreds of bills already filed, and even more on the horizon, legislators are gearing up for plenty of debate inside the Virginia Statehouse.
Published: Dec. 27, 2022 at 2:36 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - With hundreds of bills already filed and even more on the horizon, legislators are gearing up for plenty of debate inside the Virginia Statehouse.

“In a short session, you can’t get but so much done even if you stay the additional 15 days,” said Larry Sabato, UVA Center for Politics Executive Director.

While that may be the case, it’s not stopping lawmakers who are moving forward with lots of legislation, including around abortion.

“It’s going to be really interesting to see the debate in Richmond, what the appetite is with our public, with our constituents. What are people telling us,” said Del. Mike Cherry, (R) 66th District.

Democrats are bracing for potential abortion ban proposals at 15 or 20 weeks. Currently, they hold a one-seat margin in the state senate and vow to block any republican push just like they did the last session.

“Our senate democratic caucus was able to act as a solid brick wall in preventing those kinds of attacks on reproductive rights from going forward,” said State Sen. Ghazala Hashmi, (D) 10th District.

Sen. Hashmi is championing an expansion of the state’s G3 program to better help community colleges produce skilled workers.

Meanwhile, Delegate Schuyler VanValkenburg wants to pass legislation that would ease teacher training requirements at a time when there’s a teacher shortage.

He’s also asking for an affordable housing study for government-owned land.

“Do we have excess space that local governments control where we can put in some affordable housing for teachers, firefighters, policemen, make sure we can keep public servants in the localities they serve,” said Del. Schuyler VanValkenburg, (D) 72nd District.

Delegate Mike Cherry is working on legislation that would create a K-9 officer retirement fund. Since patrol officers get retirement benefits, he says so should these four-legged helpers.

“We think it sends a message to our law enforcement community that we see you, we support you and in particular, our K-9 officers who don’t right now upon retirement get no benefits,” said Del. Cherry.

You can find a complete list of currently proposed legislation here. The Virginia General Assembly 2023 session kicks off at 12 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 11.