Friday, April 23, 2021

New laws reflect changing political landscape

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) – Hundreds of laws that took effect on Wednesday reflect the changing political landscape in Virginia and the General Assembly.

And in a state with deep divisions, many remain very controversial.

“Make no mistake about it. This is a historic legislative and policy sea change, impacting all of the dimensions of the Commonwealth of Virginia, from cultural, social, business, government, policy,” said Virginia Tech Professor and WDBJ7 Political Analyst Bob Denton.

Denton said a major transformation is now taking place.

For Democrats, it’s a progressive agenda that’s long overdue.

“Most of what passes historically in Richmond has been the decision of just a few people, not even a majority of the legislators, but of those who are in leadership,” said Delegate Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke). “And clearly there’s a lot of progress that the vast majority of legislators and the vast majority of Virginians have been waiting for.”

Many Republicans disagree, saying gun control measures are restricting Virginians’ constitutional rights. And other measures, they say, will hit individuals and small business with higher taxes and costly mandates.

“What we saw was a legislature that was punch drunk on power,” said Delegate Chris Head (R-Botetourt County). “And the problem is when you start feeding a bonfire, it becomes out of control.”

With a special session expected this summer, and a regular session in January, the transformation of Virginia politics and policy will continue.

“And this is just the first wave of the tsunami,” Denton said. “There’s going to be even more coming, in terms of August, but also next year.”

Copyright 2020 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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