General Assembly Convenes

General Assembly Convenes

Abortion, voting rights, gun safety: 2023 session is expected to be extremely busy.

The General Assembly will convene for its annual session at noon on Wednesday  Jan. 11 at the State Capitol in Richmond. General Assembly sessions in the odd-numbered years, like 2023, are scheduled to meet as provided for in the State Constitution for 30 days making it the “short session” that can be extended by the General Assembly for half its scheduled time. The session this year is expected to be extended for 15 days as has every short session been extended since the constitutional provision was enacted in 1971. Even-numbered year sessions, or long sessions, go for 60 days with an extension possible. Most sessions have been extended for a few days.

The intention behind the sessions of different length was to accommodate the biennial budgeting process. A  full two-year budget, or biennial budget, was to be approved in a longer session while the length of the session was to provide time for regular legislation as well. The theory that only amendments to the budget would be considered for the short session has not proven accurate in practice. Both sessions draw thousands of proposed new laws as well as significant amendments to the budget.

The most recent regular or long sessions for the past several years have seen substantial numbers of bills and resolutions passed. In the 2020 regular session 3,911 bills and resolutions were introduced and 2,154 passed; for 2022 the number introduced was 3,143 with 1,735 passed. In the short regular session and special sessions in 2021, 3,201 bills and resolutions were introduced with 1,206 passed.

The 2023 session is likewise expected to be extremely busy. Just divide the number of bills introduced in past years by the number of legislative days to see the pace at which the legislature acts. There are likely to be dozens of bills related to abortion, from expansion of rights to denial of any right to an abortion. Bills have already been introduced to repeal some of the more progressive measures that were passed in recent years to make voting easier and to make our communities safer with common sense gun safety laws Environmental issues will be heavily debated. With all 140 seats in the General Assembly up for election this year there will be many “poster or brochure” campaign efforts including dozens of proposals likely to reduce taxes with no supporting documentation to replace lost revenue to essential services.

Plan to participate in the session by sending your opinions and suggestions to your representatives who can be found at Who's My Legislator? Names and addresses of all delegates and senators can be found at House of Delegates Member Listing and Senate Member Listing 

You can follow the legislative action at and /or subscribe to my legislative newsletter at Your testimony and advocacy are important to the legislature getting its work right!