Gov. Ralph Northam held a cabinet meeting Wednesday to discuss his plans on gun control, the environment and other issues after Democrats won a majority in the Virginia House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate.
“I think Virginians spoke yesterday,” Northam said. “They said that they liked the progress that we’ve been making over the last two years, the initiatives that we’ve taken, moving Virginia forward, and I think they want us to continue that progress.”
Northam is planning to re-introduce his gun control proposals that failed to receive a vote in the Republican-controlled legislature. Following the election, Democratic leaders in both chambers have expressed support for several of Northam’s proposals.
The potential measures included a ban on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and silencers. It would also implement red-flag laws, expand background checks, raise the age to purchase a rifle from 18 to 21 and increase penalties for those who break gun laws.
“We’re all going to be very busy, but in a very good way” and “it’s going to be a new day,” Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran said.
The Virginia Crime Commission will reconvene next Tuesday to look over Northam’s proposals.
Northam said that the people spoke in Tuesday’s elections, signaling a chance for a change in environmental policy. The governor had sought to enter the commonwealth into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) earlier this year, but received pushback from the Republican legislature.
RGGI, which Democrats have been more sympathetic toward, is a multi-state effort to establish cap-and trade regulations. The regulations put a limit on how much carbon can be emitted in the state and allows larger polluters to purchase credits from those who are below their limit.
Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew Strickler said that voters recognize that climate change is real and must be addressed. With President Donald Trump seeking to end the Paris Agreement on climate change, Strickler said that states need to make an effort on this issue.
In the cabinet meeting, Secretary of Education Atif Qarni said that the administration will focus on increasing teacher salaries, improving school conditions and solving the teacher shortage.
Secretary of Health and Human Resources Daniel Carey said that he is working on a plan to create a state-based marketplace to market directly to Virginians who are having difficulties entering into the workforce and help manage low-income Virginians as they come on and off Medicaid.