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About DLS

Mission

The Division's mission is to assist legislators in fulfilling their duties and obligations as members of the General Assembly. This is accomplished by providing clear, concise, and objective information to all 140 members of the General Assembly.

Statutory Authority

Chapter 2.2 (§ 30-28.12 et seq.) of Title 30 of the Code of Virginia creates the Division of Legislative Services as a legislative agency of the Commonwealth, which is managed by a Director who is appointed jointly by the Committees on Rules of the House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia (§ 30-19.5 of the Code of Virginia) and confirmed by the full House and Senate.

DLS History

In 1914 the Virginia General Assembly created, within the Office of the Attorney General, the Legislative Reference Bureau. The Bureau's sole function was to draft legislation for introduction in the General Assembly. During a major governmental reorganization in 1930, the Bureau became the Division of Statutory Research and Drafting and was moved from the Attorney General's Office to the Legislative Branch of state government. In addition to continuing the bill-drafting duties, this new agency was charged with other legal services in support of the General Assembly.

In 1973 the Division of Statutory Research and Drafting was redesignated the Division of Legislative Services, changing it from a purely legal service agency to a legal and general service agency. In 1975, following a pilot program, the Division was given the responsibility of providing both legal and research staff support to all legislators and standing committees of both houses of the General Assembly.

Awards and Recognition

2011 Civil War Trust Chairman's Award
Cheryl Jackson was presented with the Chairman's Award for Excellence in Education by the Civil War Trust, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of battlefield lands and to Civil War education and tourism. Cheryl is the Executive Director of the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission.

NCSL Notable Document Awards
Two DLS publications were awarded the Notable Document Award from the Legislative Research Librarians staff section of the National Conference of State Legislatures: A Legislator's Guide to Taxation in Virginia: Volume 1, State Taxes, in 2010 and Guide to Local Redistricting for 2011 in 2011.

2010 Emmy nomination and two bronze Telly Awards
The Civil War Commission's DVD, "Virginia in the Civil War: A Sesquicentennial Remembrance," produced by Dr. James I. Robertson, Jr., and Blue Ridge Public Television, was nominated for an Emmy and won two bronze Telly awards: one in the history/biography category and the other in the education/academic category.

2009 Robert J. Colborn Jr. Innovation Award
The Administrative Codes and Registers Section of the National Association of Secretaries of State awarded the Virginia Division of Legislative Services/Virginia Code Commission with the 2009 Robert J. Colborn Jr. Innovation Award for the creation of the Regulation Information System (RIS), a web-based application that provides streamlined publication of regulations for the public.

RIS was developed in-house by personnel of the Division of Legislative Services and the Division of Legislative Automated Systems.

2008 Governor's Technology Award
Cross-Boundary Collaboration: The Virginia Code Commission, the Division of Legislative Automated Systems, and the Virginia Department of Planning and Budget. The award recognized the outstanding cooperation between the legislative and executive branches in their development and implementation of DLS' Regulation Information System and DPB's Town Hall 2.0.

2008 Excellence in Virginia Government Award
Unsung Heroes Award: Brenda Edwards, Senior Research Associate, Division of Legislative Services

The Excellence in Virginia Government Awards are presented by Virginia Commonwealth University's L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs to celebrate the accomplishments of Virginians who have made distinctive contributions to the practice of government and to the well-being of our communities and our citizens.

Community Service

The Division participates annually in the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign (CVC), the workplace giving campaign of the employees of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Since 1997, Virginia employees have raised over $25 million.

The Division participates each spring in the annual Statewide Legal Food Frenzy, a statewide effort by law firms and government and public sector law sections to contribute to the needs of the hungry in Virginia. The food drive is sponsored by the Virginia Bar Association and the Central Virginia Food Bank. DLS placed second in the Government/Public Service category for Central Virginia in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.