Virginia General Assembly
This is the official site of the Virginia General Assembly. It houses a wealth of information, including members of the House of Delegates and Senate, committee assignments, bill tracking service, laws and
regulations, calendar, current events, state budget, and a virtual tour of the Virginia State Capitol.
Who’s My Legislator
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Governor of Virginia
This is the official site of the Governor of Virginia, including bios for Governor Ralph S. Northam. Subscribe to email updates, make citizen requests, and/or contact the Governor and his staff.
Virginia General Assembly 2019 Legislative Session
January 12, 2019 – On Wednesday, January 9, the Virginia General Assembly officially gaveled in the 2019 Session. This year’s opening session in the House was historic, as it marked 400 years of uninterrupted lawmaking in Virginia. The Virginia House of Delegates, formally the House of Burgesses, was established in 1619 and is the oldest continuously lawmaking body in the Western Hemisphere. To mark the occasion, Speaker Kirk Cox addressed the 100 members of the House of Delegates flanked by the Jamestown Settlement Honor Guard.
That evening, Governor Ralph Northam gave his first state of the commonwealth address (watch it here). The Governor’s address signified his desire to work together across party lines on issues on which legislators can agree. Following the Governor’s address, Delegate Bob Thomas (R-Stafford) and Senator Steve Newman (R-Bedford) delivered the official Republican response (watch it here).
This year will be a short (46 day) session as legislators plan to tackle important issues with just over 6 weeks to complete their work. As of today (Saturday 1/12), 1058 House bills had been introduced and another 689 Senate bills. That’s consistent with the number of bills introduced in 2017. Legislator’s have one week left to file any remaining bills. Members submitted their proposed amendments to the governor’s introduced budget and those will be made available by the middle of next week.
The legislature will spend the next three weeks acting on the legislation introduced in their own chamber, and after February 5th (“crossover”) they can only consider legislation approved by the other legislative body. Each chamber will adopt its own version of an amended budget on February 7th and work to negotiate a final agreement by the scheduled date of adjournment, February 23rd.
As was instituted for the House and Senate last year, all daily floor sessions and committee hearings will now be live-streamed. Links to the floor sessions and committee hearings can be found HERE on the homepage of the General Assembly website.
While more bills will be introduced over the next week, here’s a list of the bills we are following so far:
January 7, 2019 – We are just a few days from the start of the 2019 Virginia General Assembly session. Based on comments by legislators and bills filed, it is shaping up to be an interesting session. This year is a short session, which means legislators only have 45 calendar days to conduct business and adjourn for the year. Per House rules, Delegates are allowed to introduce no more than 15 bills, 10 of which must be pre-filed before the first day of session. The Senate instituted a limit for the first time, allowing members to introduce no more than 25 bills. Currently there are more than 200 house bills, 150 senate bills, and a few dozen resolutions.
There are a number of key issues that legislators will face this year, including the approval of the Commonwealth’s agreement with Amazon to open a second company headquarters in Northern Virginia. Amazon will create 25,000 high-paying jobs and invest up to $2.5 billion in Arlington County over the next two decades, in exchange for an economic development incentive deal preliminarily approved by state officials and key legislators. Tax reform/conformity will be a major issue. The question is whether Virginia will conform to the new federal tax code and what Virginia will do with any excess revenues collected as a result of conforming. Similarly, legislation will move forward related to the collection of sales tax from online retailers as a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Wayfair. Gaming will be another issue that many are interested in. Legislation has already been filed to allow casinos to operate in the Commonwealth under certain circumstances, and for professional sports betting. Legislators will also need to make adjustments and amendments to the 2018-2019 budget. Governor Ralph Northam proposed revisions to the biennial budget in late December, as the Times-Dispatch reported here. His proposed budget includes a bonus for state employees, raises for teachers and school counselors, and funding for an unexpected $462.5 million deficit in the Medicaid program. Delegate McQuinn and Senator Stanley have reintroduced the Grocery Investment Fund.
There will be two new members seated in the House of Delegates. Delegate Joe McNamara (R-Salem) was elected last fall to replace former Delegate Greg Habeeb who retired. Ronnie Campbell was elected in December to replace former Delegate Ben Cline who won an election to represent the 6th District in Congress. Delegate Jennifer Boysko is running to replace former Senator Jennifer Wexton who was elected to represent the 10th District in Congress. There will need to be a special election later to replace Delegate Boysko if she is successful in her senatorial bid. Two legislators have already announced their retirements. Delegate Dickie Bell (R-Staunton) and Senator Dick Black (R-Loudoun) will not seek re-election. Delegate John Bell (D-Loudoun) announced his intention to run for the Senate seat currently held by Sen. Black.