Today the 2022 General Assembly Session gaveled in at noon. Opening ceremonies were followed by the swearing in of the new House of Delegates class, and the transition or changing of the guard from the Democratic majority to the Republican one. The House is now split 52 (R) - 48 (D). The new Speaker of the House is Todd Gilbert (R), who previously served as Speaker from 2018 - 2020, and the new House Clerk is G. Paul Nardo who served as House Clerk for 8 years until in 2018 when he was replaced once Democrats gained control of the chamber. Del. Terry Kilgore is the House Majority Leader, and the House Minority Leader is Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (D), former Speaker of the House.
The session started off on a bit of a sour note in the House of Delegates due to what was seemingly party-line sentiments on House COVID protocols; especially in regards to the written language outlining the legislators' ability to not only attend committee meetings and the floor session virtually, but also their ability to cast their votes, in both instances, virtually. Following that, another short quibble took place over anti-discrimination language within the policies for the House's members, their staff, and aides... The Republican majority struck from the House rules the list of the types of discrimination (i.e. religion, race, gender, sex, age, disability, etc.) that made up and comprehensively outlined the definition for the harassment and discrimination section. Instead, the Republican majority abbreviated it to harassment and discrimination without a specific definition; which as the Democratic minority argued that it leaves it too open and up for determination by anyone which is not helpful when dealing with an issue of workplace harassment and discrimination.
After this, the Speaker announced committee assignments. During committee assignments, shocking news occurred as we learned that the Republican majority has re-named what we know to be the "Labor and Commerce" committee to "Commerce and Energy" committee. It seems that although labor has been stricken in a committee name in the House, labor policies seem to be at the forefront of the new majority's mind as many detrimental bills looking to cut the minimum wage increase, repeal project labor agreements and collective bargaining; along with several other important pieces of labor legislation.
If we learned nothing else yesterday, we learned that this session we must #ProtectOurProgress, because if we don't we could lose everything, and we will need lots of help to get it done, so make sure that you and your union members sign up to lobby with us!
While tension began to mount in the House, the Senate was easy sailing with its normal gaveling in and pomp and circumstance. The Senate remains at a Democratic majority with a 21 (D) - 19 (R) split.
Both chambers recessed with the motion to return at 6:30 pm in time for Governor Ralph Northam's final State of the Commonwealth address.
General Assembly Resources
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HOUSE OF DELEGATES
Check out the House of Delegates members, their contact information, committee assignments, etc. here.
During the House's virtual session, constituents must be aware of the new system to make public comments. To make public comment, visit https://hodspeak.house.virginia.gov/.
You can also check out our "How to Testify Guide" for the House of Delegates on our "2022 General Assembly Page" to learn how to sign up, a few tips and tricks, and more.
Check out the Senate members, their contact information, committee assignments, etc. here.
To make public comment, visit https://apps.senate.virginia.gov/Senator/dockets.php . You can also check out our "How to Testify Guide" for the Senate on our "2022 General Assembly Page" to learn how to sign up, a few tips and tricks, and more.
For any other information pertaining to the General Assembly, just check out: the Virginia General Assembly Website. Don't forget to check out the rest of our website for the latest updates, information, and more on all the action going down at the General Assembly! Follow us on Twitter for our daily commentary during Session!