General Assembly session set to kick off

Capitol Bureau

While Northam may turn out better on this issue than his opponent Ed Gillespie, concerned citizens will need to put continual pressure on Northam to step up and do the right thing, as opposed to the "business is all important" attitude of current Governor Terry McAuliffe.

On Tuesday, the incoming and outgoing governors laid out their joint package of priorities before the gavel strikes.

Both sides of aisle stood applause on the topics of Veterans care, increased jobs and revenue and falling unemployment - a visible sign those areas could be opportunities for bi-partisanship.

During his term, Republicans had a two-thirds majority in the House of Delegates, making it hard for the governor to pass his key priorities, such as expanding Medicaid.

"We lost over 1,000 Virginians a year ago to gun-related deaths and that's something that we should all find is unacceptable".

The proposed legislation would call for background checks for all gun purchases in the Commonwealth.

Along with McAuliffe, who did most of the talking at the press conference, Northam also endorsed expanding absentee voting and increasing the threshold for what's considered felony larceny from $200 to $1,000.

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Also among the proposals: a bill that would adjust a carbon cap-and-trade program announced in November, giving the General Assembly a say in how the revenue is allocated. "Some of my conservative friends have asked is this a conservative bill and I say yes, because if we are creating healthy choices for children, we're allowing those children to grow up, safe, happy and healthy, then they are going to be great taxpayers to the Commonwealth, not tax burdens". Northam has refused to state a position regarding the ACP and MVP pipelines, and has implied that they should be built "if it can be done safely" (the same dodge used by McAuliffe).

They are also calling for a ban on the personal use of campaign funds.

McAuliffe said more than one million Virginians owe over $30 billion in student loan, which can threaten financial security and hold back the economy because people delay their decisions to buy homes and cars, save for retirement and start their own businesses.

But Republicans took a different view of McAulife's farewell speech.

The first three bills Republicans filed had to do with education.

The 60-day legislative session begins Wednesday. For as little as $3, you can help us.

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