Examining General Assembly Politics in an Election Year

Jan 9, 2019

Lawmakers are assembling in Richmond for this year’s General Assembly session. The session is expected to last about two months, but many lawmakers are already looking ahead to November.

It’s an election year for the General Assembly, and every member of the House and Senate will be on the ballot this year. That means one thing during the session: brochure bills.

Democratic Delegate Mark Levine acknowledges all lawmakers are thinking about the upcoming election.

"And sometimes that might mean introducing a bill that you know and everybody knows won’t get passed, right?”

“I’ll give you an example of one. I’m introducing a bill to end the Electoral College. I think presidents should be decided by the popular vote. I happen to believe that in a democracy the people should decide. I expect that bill to be killed.”

Members of the Capitol Police honor guard retire the colors during opening ceremonies at the start of the 2019 session of the General Assembly in the House chambers at the Capitol in Richmond.
Credit AP Photo / Steve Helber

And voting against one of those brochure bills can also help in a campaign. Republican Delegate Terry Kilgore of Southwest Virginia has already identified one of his targets.

“Well there’s some things like doing away with right to work and things of that nature. Of course, that’s in our best interest to make sure that doesn’t pass because we think the business community would be much better served with a right to work.”

“It’s interesting that you bring up one of their bills as one of your brochure bills. So you’re eager to kill it so you can go on the campaign trail, right?”

“I am eager on that one.”

The primary election is only three months after the end of the session this year.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.