Albemarle County Board of Supervisors share legislative priorities with state senators, delegates

Albemarle County Board of Supervisors share legislative priorities with state senators, delegates
Virginia's General Assembly in 2019 (FILE) (Source: NBC12)

ALBEMARLE Co., Va. (WVIR) - The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors spoke to state lawmakers about what it wants to see pass in the upcoming session of the General Assembly.

When the General Assembly meets shortly after the new year, it will have a lot to get done: public education, marijuana, law enforcement, not to mention the current health and economic crises.

“It will be a busy session whether it’s 30 days, whether it’s 45, 46 days,” said Sen. Creigh Deeds, a Democrat who represents the 25th district.

A busy session, indeed, but one that Albemarle County Supervisors hope can be productive. One amendment they requested was providing clarity to say that jointly-owned public properties, like the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library System in both the county and city of Charlottesville, are covered by the recently-passed firearm ban. They want an amendment instead of another local ordinance.

“I think like it’s prone to extensive litigation and expense when an easier fix is simply to modify legislation,” said Supervisor Donna Price.

The Board said it may be helpful to ask Attorney General Mark Herring for a formal opinion about if those properties are already covered by state law.

Then, legislators talked about their priorities.

“How do we come up with some options to improve peer-to-peer mental health for healthcare workers?” asked Republican Del. Chris Runion, who represents the 25th district.

But some, like Democrat Del. Sally Hudson, worry that the limit on the number of bills each delegate can introduce will be harmful.

“That’s one of the things that’s real heartbreak for me with the bill cap,” she said. “I think a lot of the bills that won’t make the cut will be things that are about confronting our ongoing climate crisis.”

In odd-numbered years, the General Assembly meets for 30 days, but that’s usually extended to 46. However, to extend it requires a supermajority and republican votes that are likely not there this time around.

“If you can extend the year, I think all of our constituents expect us to work very hard, and even harder, now that we’re going through this pandemic,” Supervisor Bea LaPisto-Kirtley said.

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