Virginia 2020 session: An inside look from outside the Capitol

Virginia Politics

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC/WAVY) — The 2020 Virginia General Assembly convened Wednesday.

With Democrats now in control of the House and Senate, chants, costumes and banners provided a welcome mat for legislators.

“Now we can make things happen,” demonstrator Daphne Portis said.

10 On Your Side got to Richmond early to take in all the sounds of democracy at work. A new party in power, and a new agenda that will take Virginia in a new direction. A lot of bills are on the table, with gun rights and social equality top of the list.

Sen. Joseph Morrissey (D-16th District) said, “If a Republican comes in there and he has a good bill, I’m going to support it.”

Activist groups, including proponents of the Equal Rights Amendment, surrounded the capitol Bank Street entrance as leaders headed to morning caucus meetings.

Those fighting for Virginia to become the 38th state to pass the Equal Rights Amendment had a lot to do with Democrats winning last November.

“I expect that the ERA is going to get to the floor very quickly”


Democratic Delegate Mark Keam said “Virginia has the opportunity to make history–or ‘herstory’–in this case. We might be the 38th state that will ratify the amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Making history right away, Eileen Filler-Corn was unanimously elected as the new House speaker; the first woman in the House’s 401-year history to assume that role.

State Senator Mamie Locke is the new chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus — the position comes with lots of responsibility and concerns that people think Democrats will actually go out and take people’s guns.

Demonstrators that appeared outside the capitol Wednesday morning included those airing concerns.

Patrick Murphy says he is keeping a close watch on potential gun reform measures likely to be proposed by Democrats in 2020, including red flag laws and background checks.

“I’m hoping enough of the Democratic guys that are on the side of (Governor) Northam will understand where we’re coming from…’ ‘…we just want to live our lives and do our daily stuff. We’re not out here to hurt anybody. We just want to be able to protect ourselves from all the criminal activity,” Murphy said.

READ MORE: Northam, Virginia Democrats outline priorities of 2020 General Assembly session

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