General Assembly Session Underway


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RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV) -- Virginia's General Assembly convened its 2014 session Wednesday.

The 100 delegates and 40 senators are gearing up for changes as Democrats prepare to take control of Virginia's three statewide offices for the first time in two decades.

Wednesday night, Governor Bob McDonnell delivered his final State of the Commonwealth Address inside the capitol capping off a busy first day at the General Assembly.

Back to work for senators and delegates at the state capitol including Sen. Creigh Deeds, who was stabbed by his son Gus less than two months ago.

"Just like everyone else there he's now back and ready and I think rested. While he's carrying a heavy burden, you know from the recent tragedy in his family, I think he expressed an interest in just getting to work and doing the business of the people," said Sen. Emmett Hanger.

A business that will keep lawmakers busy for the next 60 days, hoping to tackle big issues like Medicaid expansion.

"That is the big issue for this session," said Delegate Dickie Bell.

It a controversial one, as well. It's one Bell isn't sure will get resolved this session.

"And the question becomes why would you want to expand that system by 30 or 40 percent if it's already flawed and broken," said Bell.

"I'm convinced for us, even while we're working on additional reforms in the system, to move forward and make health care more accessible to people in lower income levels.It's becoming at a crisis point." said Hanger.

Wednesday's new start, though brought lawmakers hope for a bipartisan solution.

"I believe there's common ground. I think there's common ground for both sides, I hope we'll focus on that and try to find that. I think everyone is cautiously optimistic at this point that we can get some things done," said Bell.

That Medicaid expansion, a big priority for governor-elect Terry McAuliffe who will be inaugurated Saturday.


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