What to watch when Virginia legislature convenes this week

Updated: Jan. 9, 2018 at 4:02 PM EST
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Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The 2018 Virginia legislative session starts Wednesday with a crop of new members swept into office in a November tidal wave powered by antipathy toward President Donald Trump.

Republicans saw their near super-majority in the state House of Delegates shrink to 51-49, a lead they're holding onto through sheer luck. A Republican in a tied race won a blind drawing last week that could have split the chamber 50-50.

Wednesday's events include a speech from outgoing Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who will recap his four years in office. Gov.-elect Ralph Northam will be sworn in Saturday.

A top priority will be tackling Virginia's biennial state budget. Lawmakers also are expected to consider Medicaid expansion, and Northam has promised to unite Republicans and Democrats on economic development and education reforms.

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