RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia's state lawmakers are kicking off the 2021 legislative session away from the state Capitol thanks to the surging coronavirus pandemic.

The session started Wednesday at noon, with the House of Delegates meeting remotely while the state Senate meet at an event center more than two miles away.

This will be the second year in which Democrat are in full control of the General Assembly since flipping the chamber in the 2019 elections. Major issues they are set to address this year include COVID-19 relief efforts and legalizing marijuana.

“We will do the people’s work and we will let no obstacle stand in our way," said House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn.

The Senate started its first session with a moment of silence for GOP Sen. Ben Chafin, who died at the start of this year due to complications related to the coronavirus.

Gov. Ralph Northam is set to address lawmakers Wednesday evening.

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