Joint Rules Committee

October 15, 2002
November 12, 2002

On October 15, 2002, the Joint Rules Committee adopted new legislative guidelines that provide models for the drafting of legislation affecting legislative commissions, non-legislative collegial bodies, studies, and other resolutions. These guidelines have been incorporated into the templates for the bill drafting system for the 2003 Session. Drafting variations in legislation affected by the guidelines must be approved by the House and Senate Rules Committees as the legislation works its way through the General Assembly. A copy of the legislative guidelines adopted on October 15, 2002, and amended on November 12, 2002, will be mailed to all members of the General Assembly and to executive, judicial, legislative, and independent agencies.

At the November 12 meeting, the committee adopted a procedural resolution and session calendar for the 2003 Regular Session. The proposed procedural resolution generally follows the schedule of the last short session and includes prefiling deadlines adopted last year. The resolution contains the following changes to deadlines and procedures affecting studies and judicial elections:

1. An earlier request deadline and introduction deadline for studies.

The resolution moves the request deadline for studies created or continued in bills and joint resolutions from Monday, January 7, to Friday, January 3, and the introduction deadline for such studies from Friday, January 10, to Wednesday, January 8 (the first day of session). Adding studies to the list of legislation required to be introduced by the first day of session may reduce the confusion that arises from having multiple introduction deadlines. An earlier determination on the status of proposed studies will also benefit members who have companion bills pending before other committees.

2. Requirement of a two-thirds vote of the members voting in each house to agree to a joint resolution creating or continuing a study and a two-thirds vote of the members voting in the respective house to agree to a resolution creating or continuing a study.

In light of the budgetary constraints and the economic downturn faced by the Commonwealth, the Joint Rules Committee agreed that greater support of the need for a study should be shown through a supermajority vote.

3. An earlier deadline for the election of incumbent judges, gubernatorial and circuit court appointed judges, and a justice to the Virginia Supreme Court.

The resolution moves the deadline for the election of incumbent judges and gubernatorial and circuit court appointed judges up to January 14. During the last short session, the election was held one week later. An earlier deadline is feasible and desirable because judicial interviews are conducted in December and the floor and committee activity is relatively light during the second week of the session. The resolution also sets January 21 as the deadline for the election to fill a vacancy on the Virginia Supreme Court due to the retirement of a justice. Normally, elections to fill vacancies are scheduled later in the session. However, filling a seat on the Virginia Supreme Court creates a domino effect because judges from lower courts are often raised to fill seats on higher courts. Additional time is necessary to hold these elections.

Link to 2003 Session Calendar


The Hon. Lacey E. Putney

For information, contact:

Ginny Edwards
Division of Legislative Services


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