Virginia senator calls on Gov. Northam to convene special session on coronavirus

Posted at 6:00 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 18:00:33-04

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — Sen. Thomas K. Norment (R-James City County) called on Gov. Ralph Northam to convene a special session of the Virginia General Assembly to address concerns related to the coronavirus outbreak and the effects of the continuing state of emergency.

In a letter to the governor, Norment cited three specific purposes for the special session.

Reinforcing a concern raised by Sen. Stephen D. Newman (R-Bedford) during Thursday’s Senate debate on final passage of House Bill 30, Norment is requesting that a revenue reforecast be provided to the General Assembly.

Norment is also calling for consideration of legislation limiting the liability of employers with employees who have been exposed to the virus and continue to work without the employers’ knowledge of that exposure.

The senator is also is calling for the exactment of legislation granting local governments and regional commissions greater latitude to conduct necessary business during the continuing state of emergency.

On March 12, Gov. Northam declared a state of emergency in Virginia due to an increased number of presumptive positive cases in the state. The next day, he ordered all K-12 schools statewide to close for a minimum of two weeks in response to the continued spread of novel coronavirus.

Norment issued the following statement:

As Senator Newman and I explained during last Thursday’s debate, the economic assumptions and revenue forecasts upon which this budget is based may no longer be operative. I have heard estimates that the school closings alone will cost $444 million. Those additional, unanticipated expenses, as well as revenue projections that may now be too robust necessitate a fresh look at our finances.

Over the last several days, I have been contacted by several organizations trying to determine how to navigate a challenging situation. Local governments and regional commissions are trying to figure out how they can continue to conduct timely and requisite business with the restrictions placed on gatherings.

The simplest and most direct way to address these concerns is to convene a special session. I have asked Governor Northam to do that and hope he will give my request serious and prompt consideration.
Sen. Thomas K. Norment

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