Lawmakers outline top priorities ahead of Virginia General Assembly Special Session

More than 65 bills already filed for special session

ROANOKE, Va. – Lawmakers return to Richmond Tuesday for a special session of the General Assembly with a jam-packed schedule focused on huge budget shortfalls, the coronavirus pandemic and police and criminal justice reform.

10 News checked in with local lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to hear their priorities.

Democratic Sen. John Edwards said he’s focused on reform that holds police accountable.

“Decertification of police and make sure that other officers know that police if a police officer has been decertified, they shouldn’t be hired. Make sure that we have a training program that everybody understands and make sure that common sense is applied to police conduct,” Edwards said.

Republican Sen. Steve Newman said he thinks some of the Democrats’ proposals are OK. Others, like defunding police and dropping the charge for assaulting a law enforcement officer from a felony to a misdemeanor, he calls “dangerous.”

“We’re going to make sure that if it takes a few weeks, that we do everything we can to protect our police officers while making sure individual rights are also protected,” Newman said.

Newman is also focused on the legislative process itself, introducing the first bill of the session to limit executive orders.

“Have the House and the Senate go through the process of remaking laws, not be governed by a single individual by press conference,” Newman said.

With more than 65 bills already filed for the special session, lawmakers are prepared to possibly spend two weeks in Richmond.

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Jessica anchors 10 News on Saturdays and Sundays at 6 and 11 p.m. You can also catch her reporting during the week.

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