The Virginia General Assembly dates from the establishment of the House of Burgesses at Jamestown in 1619. It is heralded by Virginians as the “oldest continuous law-making body in the New World.”
The 1776 Virginia Constitution confirmed our bicameral legislature which consists of the Senate of Virginia and the House of Delegates. The present state Constitution, adopted in
1970, provides that the Senate shall consist of 33 to 40 members and the House of Delegates shall consist of 90 to 100 members. All members of the General Assembly are elected by qualified voters within their respective Senate and House districts. The terms of office are four years for members of the Senate and two years for members of the House of Delegates. Members may not hold any other public office during their term of office.
The General Assembly meets annually, beginning on the second Wednesday in January, for 60 days in even-numbered years and for 30 days in odd-numbered years, with an option to extend annual Sessions for a maximum of 30 days. The Governor may call a Special Session when it is deemed necessary or advisable, and must do so when petitioned by two-thirds of the members of both houses. A Reconvened Session is held on the sixth Wednesday after adjournment of each Regular or Special Session for the purpose of considering the Governor’s recommendations and vetoed legislation.
The General Assembly’s chief responsibilities are to represent citizens in the formulation of public policy, enact laws of the Commonwealth, approve the budget, levy taxes, elect judges, and confirm appointments by the Governor.
The General Assembly meets annually, beginning on the second Wednesday in January, for 60 days in even-numbered years and for 30 days in odd-numbered years, with an option to extend annual sessions for a maximum of 30 days.
The Governor may call a special session when it is deemed necessary or advisable, and must do so when petitioned by two-thirds of the members of both houses.
A reconvened session is held on the sixth Wednesday after adjournment of each regular or special session for the purpose of considering governor's recommendations and vetoed legislation.
REGULAR SESSION DATES
January 12 – February 26, 2011
January 11 – March 10, 2012
January 9 – February 23, 2013
January 8 – March 8, 2014
January 14 – February 28, 2015
January 13 – March 12, 2016
January 11 – February 25, 2017
January 10 – March 17, 2018
January 9 – March 2, 2019
January 8 – March 14, 2020
BILL BOLLING, President of the Senate
CHARLES J. COLGAN, President pro tempore
RICHARD L. SASLAW, Majority Leader
THOMAS K. NORMENT JR., Minority Leader
SUSAN CLARKE SCHAAR, Clerk
The Senate of Virginia consists of 40 members. Each member is elected for a term of four years and receives an annual salary of $18,000. A Senator represents approximately 176,000 citizens of the Commonwealth. The membership of the Senate is composed of attorneys, business owners and executives, a CPA, a physician and a health planner. Presently there are 22 Democrats and 18 Republicans. In addition, eight women are members of the Senate and seven serve as committee chairs.
The Lieutenant Governor is the presiding officer of the Senate and is elected in a statewide election for a four-year term. In the event of his absence, the President pro tempore carries out the duties of the presiding officer. The President pro tempore is elected by the Senate for a term of four years.
The Clerk of the Senate is elected by the Senate for a four-year term. In addition to referring bills and resolutions to committees, the Clerk’s duties include overseeing the daily operations of the Senate, keeping the daily Journal, maintaining Senate records, and supervising facilities management, personnel, information systems, and support services.
WILLIAM J. HOWELL, Speaker
M. KIRKLAND COX, Majority Leader
WARD L. ARMSTRONG, Minority Leader
BRUCE F. JAMERSON, Clerk
The House of Delegates consists of 100 members. Each member represents approximately 71,000 citizens. The House membership primarily consists of attorneys, business executives, educators, and farmers. The term of office for a member of the House of Delegates is two years. Each member receives an annual salary of $17,640.
The Speaker of the House is the presiding officer of the House and is elected by the House in even-numbered years for a two-year term. The Speaker’s duties are dictated by the Rules of the House. Among these duties are the assigning of bills to committee and appointing the membership of the 14 House standing committees.
The Clerk of the House is elected by the House in even-numbered years and continues in office until another is chosen. The Clerk is responsible for the administration of the House under the direction of the Speaker.
The current political makeup of the House consists of 58 Republicans, 39 Democrats, 2 Independents, and 1 Vacancy.
Click here to find out who your representative in Virginia is.
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