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04.01.2022 Legal News

Williams Mullen 2022 Virginia General Assembly Session Overview

General Overview:

The 2022 General Assembly session adjourned sine die on March 12, 2022. This year’s session was a so-called “long session,” and lasted 60 days instead of the 45 day “short session,” which occurs in odd-numbered years. Over the course of this year’s session, the General Assembly considered approximately 2,000 bills and 1,000 resolutions. Of these, a little over 800 bills made it out of both the Senate and the House and on to the governor’s desk for action.

While the General Assembly may have adjourned on March 12, it did so without completing all of its work. The House and Senate were unable to come to an agreement on the budget, and an additional 45 bills were left in conference. Accordingly, the House and Senate adjourned with the understanding that they would reconvene later in the spring to finish their conference work and budget work.

Currently, the governor’s office is reviewing all passed legislation and must act on it – sign, amend, or veto – by midnight on April 11, 2022. The General Assembly will then return to Richmond on April 27 for the Reconvened Session (a.k.a. “Veto Session”) where the legislature will deal with any vetoes or amendments from the governor.

On March 23, Gov. Youngkin formally called for the General Assembly to return to Richmond for a Special Session on April 4. At this juncture, it does not appear a deal has been reached on the budget so the timeline for special session is still unknown. It is not uncommon for the General Assembly to meet for one day and then return once there is an agreement on the budget. Once an agreement is reached, the governor can offer amendments to the budget and any unresolved bills during a reconvene session of the special session.

In many ways, the 2022 Regular Session brought a return to normalcy to the General Assembly, as both chambers returned to a fully in-person format for the first time since early 2020. 2021 saw the House of Delegates adopt a virtual model and the Senate of Virginia adopt a hybrid model, with the latter’s in-person meetings being held in the Science Museum of Virginia. For both chambers, all public participation was limited to virtual testimony. In 2022, virtual committee testimony remained in place, but in-person public participation was once again allowed, permitting stakeholders and lobbyists critical face-to-face access to legislators.

Please click here or on the image below for selected bills of significance, organized by topic. The links are active, so by clicking on them, you can access the bill’s summary, full language and legislative history.