Preview of the Special Session
August 16, 2020
To say that this “Special Session” is a bit of a mystery is a significant understatement. Of course, in “COVID Times” everything is different, and this Session will definitely not follow any predictable plan.
First, topics on the agenda will be more diverse and varied than is typical in a Special Session. In July Governor Northam called the Special Session with this guidance:
“I look forward to bringing legislators back in session as we continue to navigate these unprecedented times,” Northam said. “We have a unique opportunity to provide critical support to Virginians, invest strategically in our economic recovery, and make progress on policing and criminal justice reform. Let’s get to work.”
So in addition to the budget to be introduced on Tuesday by the Governor, there are already 61 bills and joint resolutions introduced addressing those topics, and treatment options for COVID19, modifications of gun control legislation passed in the last Session, and limitations of the authority/ability of the Governor to declare a state of emergency for an extended period of time with out the consent of the General Assembly. We’re sure there will be more!
There are a couple of bills with which we have been involved in the drafting/discussion that will either impact us (reporting requirements) or from which we have been excluded (immunity from liability). Given the constraints of the Special Session and the inability to actually meet with the members, we can have relatively little additional influence. The first is “OK” and the second can not be “fixed” without significant change to the Code.
Of course, our major issue for this Special Session is the Budget – it should be out and ready for review on Tuesday morning. We will get the news out as soon as we can!