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A Look at What to Expect from the General Assembly Next Week

Lawmakers will return to Richmond next week for what’s called a reconvene session, although this one will be done in the age of social distancing.

Members of the House of Delegates will meet outside in Capitol Square, where they can maintain social distancing while still meeting in person. Senators will also abandon their chamber for a museum where they can remain at least six feet apart from each other. They’ll have an up or down vote on all the governor’s amendments, which they can reject with a majority vote.

Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington says progressives won’t like the governor’s amendment delaying the minimum wage increase. 

“I imagine there will be people who will speak up for the original timeframe of increasing the minimum wage," says Farnsworth. "But it doesn’t seem likely that that effort will be successful.”

Quentin Kidd at Christopher Newport University says Republicans are likely to object to moving many municipal elections from May to November. 

“Republicans are opposed to moving them because it probably disadvantages Republican candidates because Democrats are going to turn out in greater numbers this fall than Republicans are in Virginia," he explains. "That’s just sort of the way Virginia is right now.”

The first order of businesses is expected to be a motion to allow the General Assembly to conduct virtual meetings. Once that has been handled, they’ll either conduct the business at hand or gavel out of session and handle the rest virtually.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.