Virginia General Assembly
|Houses|| Senate |
House of Delegates
|Founded||July 30, 1619|
Senate political groups
House of Delegates political groups
Senate last election
|November 5, 2019|
House of Delegates last election
|November 5, 2019|
|Virginia State Capitol, Richmond|
The Virginia General Assembly is the legislative body of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the oldest continuous law-making body in the New World, established on July 30, 1619. The General Assembly is a bicameral body consisting of a lower house, the Virginia House of Delegates, with 100 members, and an upper house, the Senate of Virginia, with 40 members. Combined together, the General Assembly consists of 140 elected representatives from an equal number of constituent districts across the commonwealth. The House of Delegates is presided over by the Speaker of the House, while the Senate is presided over by the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. The House and Senate each elect a clerk and sergeant-at-arms. The Senate of Virginia's clerk is known as the "Clerk of the Senate" (instead of as the "Secretary of the Senate", the title used by the U.S. Senate).
Following the 2019 election, the Democratic Party held a majority of seats in both the House and the Senate for the first time since 1996. They were sworn into office on January 8, 2020.
The General Assembly meets in Virginia's capital of Richmond. When sitting in Richmond, the General Assembly holds sessions in the Virginia State Capitol, designed by Thomas Jefferson in 1788 and expanded in 1904. During the American Civil War, the building was used as the capitol of the Confederate States of America, housing the Congress of the Confederate States. The building was renovated between 2005 and 2006. Senators and Delegates have their offices in the General Assembly Building across the street directly north of the Capitol. The Governor of Virginia lives across the street directly east of the Capitol in the Virginia Executive Mansion.
The Virginia General Assembly is described as "the oldest continuous law-making body in the New World".Its existence dates to its establishment at Jamestown on July 30, 1619 by instructions from the Virginia Company of London to the new Governor Sir George Yeardley. It was initially a unicameral body composed of the Company-appointed Governor and Council of State, plus 22 burgesses elected by the settlements and Jamestown. The Assembly became bicameral in 1642 upon the formation of the House of Burgesses. At various times it may have been referred to as the Grand Assembly of Virginia. The General Assembly met in Jamestown from 1619 until 1699, when it first moved to the College of William & Mary near Williamsburg, Virginia and later met in the colonial Capitol building. It became the General Assembly in 1776 with the ratification of the Virginia Constitution. The government was moved to Richmond in 1780 during the administration of Governor Thomas Jefferson.
The annual salary for senators is $18,000.The annual salary for delegates is $17,640.
Under the Constitution of Virginia, Senators and Delegates must be 21 years of age at the time of the election, residents of the district they represent, and qualified to vote for members of the General Assembly. Under the Constitution, "a senator or delegate who moves his residence from the district for which he is elected shall thereby vacate his office".
The state constitution specifies that the General Assembly shall meet annually, and its regular session is a maximum of 60 days long in even-numbered years and 30 days long in odd-numbered years, unless extended by a two-thirds vote of both houses.The governor of Virginia may convene a special session of the General Assembly "when, in his opinion, the interest of the Commonwealth may require" and must convene a special session "upon the application of two-thirds of the members elected to each house".
Article II, section 6 on apportionment states, "Members of the ... Senate and of the House of Delegates of the General Assembly shall be elected from electoral districts established by the General Assembly. Every electoral district shall be composed of contiguous and compact territory and shall be so constituted as to give, as nearly as is practicable, representation in proportion to the population of the district."The Redistricting Coalition of Virginia proposes either an independent commission or a bipartisan commission that is not polarized. Member organizations include the League of Women Voters of Virginia, AARP of Virginia, OneVirginia2021, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and Virginia Organizing. Governor Bob McDonnell's Independent Bipartisan Advisory Commission on Redistricting for the Commonwealth of Virginia made its report on April 1, 2011. It made two recommendations for each state legislative house that showed maps of districts more compact and contiguous than those adopted by the General Assembly. However, no action was taken after the report was released.
In 2011, the Virginia College and University Redistricting Competition was organized by Professors Michael McDonald of George Mason University and Quentin Kidd of Christopher Newport University. About 150 students on sixteen teams from thirteen schools submitted plans for legislative and U.S. Congressional Districts. They created districts more compact than the General Assembly's efforts. The "Division 1" maps conformed with the Governor's Executive Order, and did not address electoral competition or representational fairness. In addition to the criteria of contiguity, equipopulation, the federal Voting Rights Act and communities of interest in the existing city and county boundaries, "Division 2" maps in the competition did incorporate considerations of electoral competition and representational fairness. Judges for the cash award prizes were Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution and Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute.
In January 2015, Republican State Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel of Winchester and Democratic State Senator Louise Lucas of Portsmouth sponsored a Senate Joint Resolution to establish additional criteria for the Virginia Redistricting Commission of four identified members of political parties, and three other independent public officials. The criteria began with respecting existing political boundaries, such as cities and towns, counties and magisterial districts, election districts and voting precincts. Districts are to be established on the basis of population, in conformance with federal and state laws and court cases, including those addressing racial fairness. The territory is to be contiguous and compact, without oddly shaped boundaries. The commission is prohibited from using political data or election results to favor either political party or incumbent. It passed with a two-thirds majority of 27 to 12 in the Senate, and was then referred to committee in the House of Delegates.
In 2015, at Vesilind v. Virginia State Board of Elections in a Virginia state court, plaintiffs sought to overturn the General Assembly's redistricting in five House of Delegate and six state Senate districts as violations of both the Virginia and U.S. Constitutions because they failed to represent populations in "continuous and compact territory".
The House of Burgesses was the elected representative element of the Virginia General Assembly, the legislative body of the Colony of Virginia. With the creation of the House of Burgesses in 1642, the General Assembly, which had been established in 1619, became a bicameral institution.
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The Tennessee Senate is the upper house of the U.S. state of Tennessee's state legislature, which is known formally as the Tennessee General Assembly.
The Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico is the territorial legislature of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, responsible for the legislative branch of the government of Puerto Rico. The Assembly is a bicameral legislature consisting of an upper house, the Senate normally composed by 27 senators, and the lower house, the House of Representatives normally composed by 51 representatives. Eleven members of each house are elected at-large rather than from a specific legislative district with all members being elected for a four-year term without term limits.
The Virginia House of Delegates is one of two parts in the Virginia General Assembly, the other being the Senate of Virginia. It has 100 members elected for terms of two years; unlike most states, these elections take place during odd-numbered years. The House is presided over by the Speaker of the House, who is elected from among the House membership by the Delegates. The Speaker is usually a member of the majority party and, as Speaker, becomes the most powerful member of the House. The House shares legislative power with the Senate of Virginia, the upper house of the Virginia General Assembly. The House of Delegates is the modern-day successor to the Virginia House of Burgesses, which first met at Jamestown in 1619. The House is divided into Democratic and Republican caucuses. In addition to the Speaker, there is a majority leader, majority caucus chair, minority leader, minority caucus chair, and the chairs of the several committees of the House.
The Senate of Virginia is the upper house of the Virginia General Assembly. The Senate is composed of 40 senators representing an equal number of single-member constituent districts. The Senate is presided over by the lieutenant governor of Virginia. Prior to the American War of Independence, the upper house of the General Assembly was represented by the Virginia Governor's Council, consisting of up to 12 executive counselors appointed by the colonial royal governor as advisers and jurists.
The Virginia State Capitol is the seat of state government of the Commonwealth of Virginia, located in Richmond, the third capital city of the U.S. state of Virginia. It houses the oldest elected legislative body in North America, the Virginia General Assembly, first established as the House of Burgesses in 1619.
Lloyd Campbell Bird was a pharmacist, businessman and Democratic politician who served as a Virginia State Senator for 28 years and helped found Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
The West Virginia Legislature is the state legislature of the U.S. state of West Virginia. A bicameral legislative body, the Legislature is split between the upper Senate and the lower House of Delegates. It was established under Article VI of the West Virginia Constitution following the state's split from Virginia during the American Civil War in 1863. As with its neighbor and former constituent Virginia General Assembly, the legislature's lower house is also referred to as a "House of Delegates."
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Robert Creigh Deeds is an American politician serving as a member of the Senate of Virginia representing the 25th district since 2001. Previously, he was the Democratic nominee for Attorney General of Virginia in 2005 and Governor of Virginia in 2009. He was defeated in both of those races by Republican Bob McDonnell. Deeds lost by just 323 votes in 2005, but was defeated by a wide margin of almost 18 percentage points in 2009. He was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1992 to 2001.
Virginia is currently divided into 11 congressional districts, each represented by a member of the United States House of Representatives. The districts were redrawn most recently in 2016 by court order.
Electoral reform in Virginia refers to efforts to change the electoral system in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Virginia has undergone much electoral change since its settling in 1607, many of which were required by federal legislation. However, it remains a relatively conservative state in this respect compared to California and others which have experimented with various alternative systems.
The government of Virginia combines the three branches of authority in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The current Governor of Virginia is Ralph Northam. The State Capitol building in Richmond was designed by Thomas Jefferson, and the cornerstone was laid by Governor Patrick Henry in 1785. Virginia currently functions under the 1971 Constitution of Virginia. It is the Commonwealth's seventh constitution. Under the Constitution, the government is composed of three branches, the legislative, the executive and the judicial.
The following is an alphabetical list of articles related to the United States Commonwealth of Virginia.
Emmett Wilson Hanger Jr. is an American politician of the Republican Party. He was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1983 to 1991, when he was unseated by Creigh Deeds. Since 1996 he has been a member of the Senate of Virginia, representing the 24th district. This district, located in the central Shenandoah Valley and nearby sections of the Blue Ridge Mountains, includes the independent cities of Staunton, and Waynesboro, as well as Augusta County, Greene County, Madison County, and parts of Rockingham County and Culpeper County.
The 177th New York State Legislature, consisting of the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly, met from January 4, 1967, to May 25, 1968, during the ninth and tenth years of Nelson Rockefeller's governorship, in Albany.
Edward Griffith Dodson was an American lawyer and Democratic politician who was Clerk of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1934 to 1962, and author of much-used biographical compilations of Virginia public officials.
OneVirginia2021 is an American civic non-profit organization founded to advocate for a non-partisan redistricting of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The group was founded in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2013 and is currently based in Richmond, Virginia.
Redistricting in Virginia has been a controversial topic due to allegations of gerrymandering. In the 2017 Virginia General Assembly, all of the redistricting reform bills were killed.