Joint Rules Committee

November 19, 2001, Richmond

The Joint Rules Committee adopted and prefiled a scheduling resolution for the 2002 Regular Session on November 19, 2001. In an effort to improve the legislative process and better manage the flow of legislation during the session, the committee voted to modify certain deadlines and procedures as follows:

Lowering the introduction limits after the prefiling period ends.

The draft lowers the introduction limits for bills and joint resolutions not prefiled from 10 to 8 for Senate members and from 6 to 5 for House members. The Joint Rules Committee believed that last year's limits may have been too generous because very few members reached their limit last session.

Setting an earlier request deadline for prefiles.

The draft proposes moving the request deadline for prefiles from December 18 to December 10 to allow members more time to review legislation before submitting redrafts and corrections. With this new schedule, most drafts should be sent to members for review prior to Christmas.

Increasing the time a member has to review initial drafts and request redrafts and corrections.

The draft proposes a full week (December 28 to January 4) for members to review drafts and submit requests for redrafts and corrections to the Division of Legislative Services. This constitutes an additional five days compared to last year's resolution.

Setting an earlier time for filing legislation to be prefiled.

The deadline for filing prefiles has been moved from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 a.m. on the first day of the session. A statute was enacted this year that authorizes the Joint Rules Committee to set the prefiling schedule. Therefore, the General Assembly does not have to ratify these deadlines prior to the ending of the prefiling period. In addition, the new deadline honors the traditional interpretation that prefiles are filed before the session commences.

Establishing request and filing deadlines for studies.

The draft requires bills and joint resolutions creating or continuing studies to be requested no later than Monday, January 7, and introduced no later than Friday, January 11. A separate schedule for studies will enable the Rules Committees to benefit from the earlier filing requirements. Until all study proposals are introduced, the Rules Committees cannot evaluate their merit relative to each other—an integral part of the committees' review process.

Establishing a request deadline for the drafting of joint commending and memorial resolutions.

In keeping with the custom of establishing a request deadline whenever an introduction deadline is established, the Friday preceding the Monday introduction deadline has been chosen as the request deadline. An introduction deadline for joint commending and memorial resolutions was established last year.

Setting an earlier deadline for action on carryovers.

In anticipation of a prefiling request deadline around December 10, 2002, for the 2003 Session, the last day for action on carryovers is set for December 9. A deadline for carryovers that precedes the deadline for prefiles gives members the opportunity to request legislation for reintroduction that was not acted upon favorably by the standing committees.

Setting a deadline for adding or removing co-patrons for bills that die in committee.

Last year's resolution extended the time for adding or removing co-patrons to the period before the first vote on passage is taken in the house of origin. However, the resolution did not address what happens if a bill does not make it out of committee. This year's draft provides that legislation not reported from committee has a deadline for adding and removing of co-patrons that coincides with the time for last action on the measure.

Eliminating the need to ask for consent to draft.

The draft clarifies that any legislation intended to be offered with a request for unanimous consent or with the written request of the Governor does not require consent for the Division of Legislative Services to draft such legislation. However, those drafts will not be returned to the member until the original introduction deadline has passed.

Table 1
Key Request and Introduction Deadlines by Legislation Type

Type of Legislation
Request Deadline
Redrafts and Corrections Deadline
Introduction Deadline
5:00 p.m.
December 10
5:00 p.m.
January 4
10:00 a.m.
January 9


5:00 P.M.
January 7
Same as request deadline
5:00 P.M.
January 11
First-day introduction bills (charters, claims, and local fiscal impact, correctional impact, sales and property tax exemption and VRS bills)
5:00 p.m.
January 8
Same as request deadline
January 9
All other bills and joint resolutions without specific deadlines

5:00 p.m.
January 11

Same as request deadline

5:00 p.m.
January 18

Joint commending and memorial resolutions
5:00 p.m.
March 1
Same as request deadline
March 4

The Honorable S. Vance Wilkins, Jr., Chairman
Legislative Services contact: Ginny Edwards


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