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Virginia General Assembly
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.” It was then and is now a legislative body comprised of “citizen legislators,” elected representatives that serve in a part-time capacity meeting full-time responsibilities.
Pursuant to the Constitution, the General Assembly convenes in annual Regular Session on the second Wednesday of January. In an even-numbered year, the legislature meets for 60 calendar days and in an odd-numbered year meets for 30 calendar days but is customarily extended to 46 calendar days. Occasionally, the legislature has to extend beyond their projected ending date. In either an even-numbered or odd-numbered year, the legislature may not extend beyond an additional 30 calendar days. The legislature may be called into Special Session by the Governor at any time and may call itself into Special Session if two-thirds of the members elected to each house petition for a Special Session to be convened.
Since 1980, the legislature has constitutionally been required to convene a Reconvened Session on the sixth Wednesday after adjournment of any Session (Regular or Special). The purpose of the Reconvened Session is to consider any Governor’s amendments or vetoes to legislation communicated to him for action. The Reconvened Session typically lasts one day; however, the Session may last as long as three days and can be extended an additional seven days. The General Assembly is charged with responsibilities that include representing the citizens of their respective legislative districts in the formulation of public policy in the legislative process. The legislative process of How a Bill Becomes a Law involves the introduction of a bill, committee meetings, voting, deliberations between the Senate and House and other interested parties, and the approval by the Governor.
All legislators serve the people of their district throughout the year assisting their constituents with various public services at the local, state, and federal levels of government.
Virginia Senate Finance Committee
The Senate rules establish a Committee on Finance, to consider the budget of the Commonwealth; all taxation and all matters concerning the expenditure of funds of the Commonwealth; general and special revenues of the Commonwealth; bills, resolutions, and petitions for appropriations; and claims. The Committee is composed of sixteen members of the Senate.
Virginia House Appropriations Committee
The Appropriations Committee, one of 14 standing Committees of Virginia’s House of Delegates, has jurisdiction over state budget matters.
The Appropriations Committee usually meets monthly during the interim and every other day of the Session upon adjournment of the full House to discuss budget matters. In addition, the Committee has eight standing Subcommittees which meet once or twice a week during the Session.
Some of the Committees’ major responsibilities include:
– Examine revenue and expenditure assumptions in the Governor’s introduced budget
– Set funding priorities for the Commonwealth Consider requests by House members to amend (change) the introduced budget
– Make recommendations for budgetary changes based on priorities of the Committee
Virginia has a biennial budget which is adopted by the General Assembly in the even-numbered years and amended by the Assembly in the odd-numbered years. Please click on the following links for more information about the Executive Budget Process or the Legislative Budget Process. Also visit the Department of Planning and Budget’s frequently asked questions webpage for an overview of Virginia’s budget.
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