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Ethics, education top agenda for start of General Assembly session

Posted at 10:49 PM, Jan 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-11 17:05:36-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Beginning January 14, lawmakers will make their annual decent upon Richmond for the General Assembly session.

This year, the 45-day session appears to place education and ethics at the top of the agenda.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe has already outlined plans to reform state testing requirements while also making a push to increase the breakfast program for needy children.

"This session I look forward to working with the General Assembly on commonsense steps to offer ever Virginian a better shot at economic success," McAuliffe said in a release.

Republicans have also outlined an education plan as well which includes SOL reform, expedited retake of exams, and the replacing of the current A-F system of grading schools with a more comprehensive process.

"Accountability is vitally important but we must continue to seek the right balance in the classroom," Del. Tag Greason (R - Loudoun) said.

Ethics will of course dominate the agenda in the wake of the conviction and sentence of former Gov. Bob McDonnell.

An ethics commission, headed by former Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, has recommended new cap restrictions for politicians as well as a new oversight committee.

Guns are also poised to play a role as Gov. Terry McAuliffe has suggested new background checks as well as the re-establishment of the "one gun a month" rule.  A Republican controlled House and Senate will make the measure more challenging for the Governor.

Marijuana is also expected to play a major role with politicians proposing more access to medical marijuana as well as lesser fines for those caught possessing it.

The most controversial bill of the session could be one proposed by Del. Bob Marshall (R - Manassas). Marshall has proposed a bill that would allow businesses the right to have a "consensus clause" when it comes to serving gay and lesbian individuals. Critics have called this discrimination and insiders have told CBS 6 the measure would likely face a veto by the Governor if it went anywhere.