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Virginia Senate plans to convene at Science Museum during April veto session

RICHMOND — To help protect members and staff from COVID-19, the Virginia Senate will trade its clubby confines at the state Capitol for the state science museum when the legislature returns to Richmond for its spring session April 22.

Unlike the House of Delegates, which announced last week it would convene outdoors, possibly on the Capitol grounds, the Senate will meet indoors at the Science Museum of Virginia.

The General Assembly will act on Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed revisions to bills passed this winter. Lawmakers will also decide whether to accept or overturn any Northam vetoes.

Susan Clarke Schaar, Senate clerk, alerted the state’s 40 senators in an email Monday that the museum – about 4 miles west of the state Capitol in a former train station – would be the venue for their meeting later this month.

The Senate will convene in the Thalhimer Pavilion, a tented space that incorporates former train platforms.

Because the House and Senate would not be meeting in the same building, they will use “technology,” Schaar said, to communicate with each other. That apparently will include email.

Some of the procedural business of the legislature requires members from one body – typically the majority leader – walking across the Jefferson-designed Capitol to the other to request its concurrence.

The rules of the House and Senate extend to the Speaker and the Rules Committee, respectively, the power to select alternate meeting sites for the chambers for special ceremonies and emergencies. (804) 649-6814

Twitter: @RTDSchapiro


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