|RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam released the following statement on General Assembly action during today’s reconvened session.“During the 2020 legislative session, we took forward-looking and historic steps to protect vulnerable Virginians, advance the rights of women and the LGBTQ community, make voting easier and more accessible, protect workers from misclassification and wage theft, prioritize affordable housing, and curb predatory lending practices. We enacted commonsense gun safety measures, reformed criminal justice laws, and removed discriminatory and racist language still on our books. We established new programs to grow and train our workforce for 21st century jobs and took bold action to invest in our transportation infrastructure, incentivize public-private partnerships to deploy broadband in unserved communities, fight climate change, and dramatically boost Virginia’s renewable energy production.
“Thanks to today’s votes, the Commonwealth will have more tools to address the effects of the novel coronavirus on hard-working Virginians. We will protect homeowners and renters who have lost income due to COVID-19 from eviction and foreclosure. We will establish a COVID-19 relief fund to help small businesses impacted by this public health crisis. We created a work-share program as an important tool to help workers keep their jobs. Nursing homes and long-term care facilities will receive critical funding in the wake of unprecedented challenges. And next May, we will increase the minimum wage.
“Our bipartisan plan to pause new spending in the state budget ensures that this historic progress remains intact, but on hold while we direct state resources where they are most needed in response to the virus. We will reconvene later this summer to adjust the state budget when the economic and financial impacts of the pandemic become clearer.
“I will review the General Assembly’s actions on scheduling local elections and announce next steps soon.
“I want to thank Virginia’s legislators and the staff of the General Assembly for all of their hard work today, particularly as they did so under extraordinary circumstances. The work of government must continue, and both the House of Delegates and the Senate stepped up to make sure they conducted legislative business safely, while social distancing, and I appreciate those efforts.
“I am grateful that lawmakers supported my proposals to help ease the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Virginians, on our economy, and on our state budget. Even as we move forward now in uncertain times, and face enormous budgetary challenges, I am proud of how much we accomplished during this session and remain committed to continuing our progress in the future.”