Va. House of Delegates to meet in person at the state Capitol
Lawmakers have not met in chambers since March 2020
Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn announced Monday that the House, when it next convenes, will return in person to the Virginia State Capitol after a year of virtual and physically distanced voting due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Over the past year, Virginians have shown commitment and resolve to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus and protect one another,” Filler-Corn said in a statement. “Containing the virus required sacrifice that touched every part of daily life. Among those things that changed was how we governed. As many Virginians took to remote work, so did the House.
“Now, with infection rates falling and our commonwealth’s vaccination rollout program among the best in the country, it is time our body returns where it belongs, in the Capitol, in the people’s chamber.”
Filler-Corn’s announcement comes after Gov. Ralph Northam lifted the state’s masking mandate Friday for all vaccinated Virginians, following changes in recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The orders also allow vaccinated people to gather closer than six feet, including indoors.
The last time the House met in its quarters at the state Capitol in Richmond was in the 2020 regular General Assembly session, which concluded in early March 2020, just before the pandemic hit the commonwealth. The April veto session took place under a large tent on the Capitol grounds, while the Virginia State Senate met at the Science Museum of Virginia. Delegates also met briefly at the Virginia Commonwealth University Siegel Center last year, but most of its legislation took place via Zoom last summer and fall during an 84-day special session, as well as the 2021 regular session.
Although the House has not announced when it plans to convene next, it is likely to meet this summer to allocate $4.3 billion in federal stimulus funds toward several initiatives assisting small businesses, unemployment claimants and communities without broadband access.
The state Senate has not yet announced if it will also convene at the state Capitol at the next legislative session.