Basics of Virginia General Assembly

The General Assembly meets each year, beginning on the second Wednesday in January for 60 days in even-numbered years and for 30 days in odd-numbered years. They meet again in April for a reconvened veto session typically for one day.

There are 100 members of the House of Delegates and 40 members of the Senate of Virginia. Delegates serve two-year terms and Senators serve four year terms.

Information about the Virginia General Assembly can be found on the Virginia General Assembly website. More information about elections can be found on the Virginia State Board of Elections website.

Some helpful links:

 

How a bill becomes a law:

First, a member of the General Assembly must introduce the legislation. Bills are typically heard in subcommittee, then committee, then the full Senate or House and then the process repeats in the other chamber. In order for a bill to become law, it must pass both the House and Senate chambers and then signed by the Governor. For a more information on this process, click here.

 

The Budget Process:

Prior to General Assembly session (usually mid-late December) the Governor introduces his proposed budget. Virginia’s budget is a biennial budget, covering two fiscal years. Each fiscal year starts July 1 and ends June 30. The Governor’s Budget begins the budget process.

At the beginning of General Assembly session, legislators submit amendments to the Governor’s proposed budget, which are then reviewed the House Appropriations Committee or the Senate Finance Committee. Budget amendments are not assigned bill numbers, but are proposed amendments to the budget bill itself. Budget amendments have item numbers within the budget bill.

House budget amendments will first be handled by the House Appropriations Committee and their 11 subcommittees. Senate budget amendments will first be handled by the Senate Finance Committee and their 7 subcommittees. There is a series of dates established for the discussion and narrowing of the budget amendments which are designated at the start of the General Assembly session.

 

The chart below outlines the series of steps required for finalizing the state budget.

Chart of the Budget Process