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Legislators return to Richmond for 2022 General Assembly session

New leadership is moving in Wednesday in Richmond as lawmakers kick off the 2022 legislative session.

RICHMOND, Va – For first the first time in years, Republicans officially have a majority in the House of Delegates.

House Speaker Todd Gilbert was sworn in by his colleagues right away Wednesday morning.

Gilbert said legislators will hit the ground running.

“It is my hope and intention that we will engage in spirited debate on this house floor and in committee earlier and that we will return to the inherently deliberative nature of this body as it was intended,” said House Speaker Todd Gilbert.

His Republican colleague, Delegate Wendell Walker of Lynchburg, has introduced legislation fighting mandates related to COVID-19 across the state.

“From the standpoint of protecting our individual freedoms and rights which are guaranteed by our constitution, these medical mandates cannot be in instituted by the commonwealth,” said Delegate Wendell Walker.

Just across the hall, Democrats remain in control of the Senate.

Senators from the Roanoke Valley have introduced legislation to protect voting rights and improve criminal justice reform.

“Our democracy works best when as many eligible people participate in our democracy and that means they have the right to vote.” Senator Creigh Deeds said.

Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax will oversee the Senate over the next few days until Winsome Sears gets sworn in this weekend.

About the Author:

Annie Schroeder joined the 10 News team as a reporter in June 2020 and is no stranger to Southwest Virginia.