It takes more than some snow on the ground to stop the wheels turning inside the Virginia legislature. Lawmakers have less than a month to finish their work for the regular session, and they're making sure winter weather doesn't slow them down.
"We continue to work. We're here for 60 days," said 25th District Delegate Steve Landes (R).
Despite a higher volume of absences, the General Assembly continued its work Thursday. Many members from all corners of the state already keep apartments and hotel rooms close to Capitol Square, and with a big storm in forecast this week, "a lot of members on the outskirts are even getting rooms closer downtown," Landes said.
Albemarle Republican Rob Bell agrees, there's no time for a snow day.
"We work straight through. We all live within walking distance of the capitol during session," Bell said.
With so much to do in so little time, lawmakers say adverse weather has rarely - if ever - kept them from doing the job.
Even for longtime Delegate Lacey Putney, who retired last year, "he can only remember one day where we actually had to postpone or not meet in his 52 years," Landes said.
Plus, the timing of the storm was perfect. Lawmakers finished work on crossover bills earlier this week before sending approved legislation over to the other chamber.
The downside, of course, is that icy conditions can make it difficult for the public to keep an eye on the legislative process. An issue not lost on Bell.
"Unfortunately it makes it harder for the public to come and comment, but I would hope that people would stay home and be safe," Bell said.
Another storm is brewing in the not-so-distant future, as lawmakers debate the state's two-year budget and whether Virginia should expand Medicaid health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
That promises to be even nastier than a little snow on the ground in Richmond.
No Snow Day in Richmond for Virginia LawmakersMore>>
Ed joined the NBC29 news team in May, 2011. A Charlotte, NC, native, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in journalism and political science.Full Story
Ed joined the NBC29 news team in May, 2011. A Charlotte, NC, native, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in journalism and political science. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story
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