Virginia lawmakers prepare to tackle state budget, opioid addiction

By Brie Jackson - Weekend Anchor / Reporter

RICHMOND, Va. (WSLS 10) - Virginia lawmakers are back in Richmond for the start of the 2017 session on Wednesday. Some of the issues legislators expect to tackle include closing the budget gap, combating opioid addiction and restoring rights to non-violent ex-offenders.

The session kicked off at noon Wednesday and much of what happened on the first day back for Virginia lawmakers dealt with session rules and procedures. Moving forward, politicians will begin debating legislation regarding topics like civil rights, education and the state's budget.

"It's quite a shortfall, but the revenue projections are looking better and better so hopefully it won't look quite as bad as we thought," said Sam Rasoul, 11th District representative.

Legislators said they are still waiting for 4th quarter numbers to return to have a better idea of state budget numbers.

"We have to be looking at what's worse-case scenarios, best-case scenarios and try to operate with wisdom on this," said Chris Head, 17th District representative. "It's just going to be about cutting and rolling back and finding out where we can get rid of some of the waste."

Opioid addiction is an issue state leaders from both parties plan to work together to address. In November 2016, Governor Terry McAuliffe declared the Virginia opioid addiction crisis a public health emergency.

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