Back to Top

2020 General Assembly Session Information


The 2020 Virginia General Assembly Legislative Session begins at noon on January 8, 2020. Here are some tips that I offer to help you navigate the systems and stay engaged. If you have any questions, please contact us! 

  • Members – There are 100 members of the House of Delegates.  Find a full list here and click on their names to learn more http://bit.ly/2020VAHouseMembers The map of Virginia is split into 100 districts with about 83,000 people in each and we represent those constituents when we come to Richmond for Session. I represent the 95th District (mostly in Newport News but a small part of Hampton). Click here and type in your address to see who represents you: https://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/
  • Session – when all 100 Delegates and 40 Senators come to Richmond and meet at the Capitol to present, discuss, and vote on legislation including the budget and judicial appointments. In even numbered years like 2020, we meet for “long session” which is 60 calendar days. We then come back in April for Reconvened Session when we finalize actions on legislation from the regular session.
  • Process - We meet in subcommittees and committees for the major parts of the discussion on legislation. THIS IS WHERE PUBLIC COMMENTS CAN BE MADE.  Once a bill passes from subcom and then full committee, it goes to “the floor” meaning it goes to the full House for a vote by all 100 delegates.  Here’s a refresher on how a bill becomes a law. https://bit.ly/2QweCc2                   I’ll update on Committee structure and meetings once we have more info. Stay tuned for that part. But remember, House sub/committee meetings are the chance for residents to make public comments about bills.
  • Delegates have until 10am on the 8th to introduce pre-filed legislation but we have until January 17th to introduce up to 5 more bills. You can view all bills and resolutions as they are introduced at http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?201+men+BIL – you can look them up by member, topic, actions taken, or a full list of all.     

 

  • Starting Jan 8th, the full House meets every Monday-Friday at noon until we adjourn in March. You can watch live or archived videos here: http://bit.ly/VAHouseFloorVideo
  • Planning to come visit during Session?  You should! And be sure to schedule a tour! If you need help planning your trip, contact your legislator’s office.  Here are some tips for visiting https://bit.ly/2ZXxl3l
  • Due to the nature of some of the issues to be discussed this session, please expect long lines and crowds.  The Capitol Police, VA State Police, and Richmond Police Dept are working hard to keep everyone safe as we go about the business of the legislature.  I’ll update you with more tips on visiting soon.
  • Communicating with legislators is how you make your voice heard – THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. We need to hear from you on proposed bills, your support or opposition.  This is where I want to help facilitate better communications.
  1. It is really important that you communicate during session about specific bill language.Philosophical conversations help us see your general perspective but do not communicate what you want to see your representative do for votes. See above tweet about looking at the bills.


  2. When reading bills remember:

    Regular font = what the law already says, how it is now

    Italics font = what the bill would add to the code of VA

    Strike through (has a line through the words) = what the bill would remove from the code of VA.  We often get emails that are addressing the regular font of the code section but that is current law and is not a part of the bill’s proposed changes.  If you want to see changes to those words, you should contact the sponsor to suggest an amendment to the bill or get with your legislator after session for a bill for 2021. 


  3. There are issues that can create high emotions.  If you find yourself upset, walk away from the computer/phone/pen and breathe.  Then come back to it to finish the communication.  Please Note: Threats will be reported to law enforcement swiftly.


  4. Email – In your email introduce yourself, state the current issue or situation that needs to be addressed, offer your personal context/story (why is this important to you?), explain why you support or oppose the specific bill (use bill numbers!), and include your address so we know you are a constituent. For me, email is best for schedule requests and invites. Form emails are received but often it’s not as impactful as your writing your own message.


  5. Phone – During Session members often are not available by phone. When you call, our Administrative Assistant usually answers first.  They will take a message or forward your call to our office staff.  Remember courteous communication gets you further.


  6. Letters – Use the member’s Richmond address for written communication during session. We don’t get our district mail until the weekends. Be sure to include the current issue or situation needing to be addressed, add your personal story, state why you support or oppose the specific bill using the specific bill number, and make sure to include your return address.


  7. Social Media – This one is different for each member. For me, I don’t use messenger or social media (comments, event invites, etc) for official business.Please use other modes listed for scheduling requests and input on legislation to make sure we receive them!


  8. Session meetings – You can come visit us during session in Richmond at the Pocahontas Building. Things to remember: meetings are short, so get to the point quickly.  Don’t be offended if the legislator isn’t there – you can speak to their aide. Leave an info sheet if you can.


  9. Public Comment – You can let us know your thoughts by speaking at sub/committee meetings. Here are some tips for testifying during a meeting. https://bit.ly/39RyLRh Remember that meetings are live-streamed and public.


  10. District meetings – Some members will have office hours on the weekends in order to meet with constituents in the district. You should contact the office to see if that’s possible for where you are.


  11. Video chat – If you can’t make it to Richmond but want to have a face-to-face conversation, you can ask if the member does video chats. I use Zoom and we schedule these meetings based on my availability. You can also do this with classrooms to meet with students 😊


  • Here are a few more resource links:

                    Budget Items https://budget.lis.virginia.gov/

                    Virginia Constitution https://law.lis.virginia.gov/constitution/


  • This list is by no means exhaustive and is from my perspective from my experience over the last four years in the House.  I hope this helps you find a way to be and stay engaged because legislators really need to hear from constituents as we make these important decisions.

 

 

95th District 2020 Legislative Survey - You can take the survey here:

bit.ly/95thDistrict2020Survey


(1/8/2020)


Paid for & Authorized by Friends of Marcia Price
Powered by CampaignPartner.com - Political Websites