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Va. General Assembly to Discuss Bills on Building Safer Communities

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RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) -

The Virginia General Assembly is hitting the ground running on Wednesday, January 10, for its 2018 session.

Several new bills are coming across the chamber floor this year that may affect Charlottesville and Albemarle County.

The Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus says the legislative agenda for 2018 has a theme: "building safe, more secure communities."

This year, many of the proposed bills have an emphasis on the economy and social justice.

Governor McAuliffe and Gov.-elect Ralph Northam say their joint legislative agenda is focusing on things like expanding Medicaid and creating stronger background checks for purchasing guns.

Other bills include raising the minimum wage by at least $2 and increasing teacher salaries.

Albemarle County Supervisor Norman Dill says it’s important for both parties to come together this year to get new laws passed sooner than later.

"There's a lot of motivation to think about other possibilities than just the strict Republican line that's been happening for many years,” says Dill. “This is a very important, symbolic kind of place. I think the state would like to show that we can work together as a state.”

Dill says he is particularly interested in how the General Assembly will work to fix the teacher shortage in Albemarle County.

Two bills also being discussed relate to August 12.

One would prevent certain types of semi-automatic guns to be displayed in any public space in Charlottesville.

The other could give City Council authority to make decisions on Confederate monuments.