Virginia’s Special Session on COVID-19 Budget Gap and Police Reform Starts Tuesday

A bill to require school districts to have in-person learning options has advanced through the Senate

By Arianna Coghill

August 18, 2020

General Assembly will meet for two weeks and consider legislation on a wide variety of topics.

The Virginia General Assembly is holding a special session today to discuss the state’s budget in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as criminal justice and police reform measures needed in the state. 

“We have a unique opportunity to provide critical support to Virginians, invest strategically in our economic recovery, and make progress on policing and criminal justice reform. Let’s get to work,” said Gov. Ralph Northam in a release. 

The pandemic has had a devastating effect on Virginia’s economy, with record breaking numbers of unemployment and numerous businesses suffering. Lawmakers are prepared to do what they can to aid Virginians through this health and financial crises. 

“Virginians are hurting, and the Commonwealth is stepping up. Our country is battling both a health crisis and an economic crisis at once, so Virginia is advancing new programs to help people stay in their homes, care for the ones they love, and feel safe in the community,” said Northam to WAVY

However, the state budget will not be the only topic discussed during the session. Bills spanning from marijuana legalization to the governor’s emergency powers will be looked over as well. In total, 65 bills have been filed and lawmakers are prepared to spend two weeks in Richmond. 

READ MORE: Police Reform and the State Budget During COVID: What You Need to Know About This Special Session 

Due to COVID-19, the session will not be held in the capitol and will instead meet at locations that facilitate social distancing measures. State senators will meet at the Virginia Science Museum while House delegates will meet on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University. 

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