Democrats and Republicans start doing the political dance in Richmond


RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — The November election left Republicans in control the Virginia House of Delegates 52-48. Democrats still control the state Senate 21-19. How do the major issues impact the relationship between the two parties, and how does the shared power impact those issues? 

Some Democrats are worried Republicans will turn back Democratic initiatives from the last two years.  

We asked Del. Cliff Hayes (D-Chesapeake) what has he seen that suggests Republicans are obstructionists?

“Well, just the mere fact they want to take away early voting,” Hayes told us. 

It is true, Republicans introduced bills to cut early voting from 45 days down to two weeks or less.

“With all these people having access to the voting booth, voting early, and not having elderly citizens standing in long lines in the cold… More people voted in the last election ever in Virginia and Republicans won… So I’m at a loss why they would want to change that?” he said.

Republicans also want to reinstate the photo ID requirement in order to vote.

“It is at the top of my list to have voter ID. We have an ID for anything and everything we do in this life, and we will give you a voter ID card if you don’t have an identification card.” Del. Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach) said.

“The voices need to be heard when it comes to voting in the electoral system, and do everything we can, and we will fight vigorously against anything that even remotely resembles rolling that back,” Hayes added.

Another verbally combative issue could be education. 

House Republicans are looking to reinstate schools reporting any student misdemeanor on school grounds to police. Now they don’t due to a change in law supported by Democrats.

Newly-elected Republican Del. Anne Ferrell Tata supports that.

“I was very disappointed when I hear it was up to the principals to decide if they were going to report an assault,” Tata said. 

Hayes, who is deputy policy chair, for House Democrats sees this policy a different way.

“It is wrong … calling the police on these little kids for kicking the trash can starting them down a path of being on the school to prison pipeline,” Hayes said. 

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