Senate of Virginia
|Senate of Virginia|
|Virginia General Assembly|
|New session started||January 11, 2012|
|Lieutenant Governor||Bill Bolling, (R)
Since January 14, 2006
|President pro Tempore||Walter Stosch, (R)
Since January 12, 2012
|Majority Leader||Tommy Norment, (R)
Since January 12, 2012
|Minority Leader||Richard L. Saslaw, (D)
Since January 12, 2012
|Political groups||Democratic Party (20)
Republican Party (20)
|Length of term||4 years|
|Authority||Article IV, Virginia Constitution|
|Salary||$18,000/year + per diem|
|Last election||November 8, 2011
|Next election||November 3, 2015
|State Senate Chamber
Virginia State Capitol
|Senate of Virginia|
The Senate of Virginia is the upper house of the Virginia General Assembly. The Senate is composed of 40 Senators representing an equal number of single-member constituent districts. The Senate is presided over by the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. Prior to the American War of Independence, the upper house of the General Assembly was represented by the Virginia Governor's Council, consisting of up to 12 executive counselors appointed by the Colonial Royal Governor as advisers and jurists.
The Lieutenant Governor presides daily over the Virginia Senate. In the Lieutenant Governor's absence, a president pro tempore presides, usually a powerful member of the majority party. The Senate is equal with the House of Delegates, the lower chamber of the legislature, except that taxation bills must originate in the House, similar to the federal U.S. Congress.
Members of the Virginia Senate are elected every four years by the voters of the 40 senatorial districts on the Tuesday succeeding the first Monday in November. The last election took place in November 2011. There are no term limits for Senators.
In the 2007 Virginia state elections, the Democratic Party reclaimed the majority in the Senate for the first time since 1995, when the Republican Party gained a 20-20 split. The Republicans took control of the Senate for the first time in history after a January 1998 special election. The 2011 elections resulted in a 20-20 split between the parties, but as the tie breaker is Republican Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, the Republicans effectively regained control. Following the 2013 State Elections, Democratic State Senator Ralph Northam won the Lt. Governor's race handing control of the State Senate to Democrats pending upcoming special elections for Northam's seat and, should his lead survive a recount, that of Mark Herring.
Salary and qualifications
The annual salary for senators is $18,000 per year. To qualify for office, senators must be at least 21 years of age at the time of the election, residents of the district they represent, and qualified to vote for General Assembly legislators. The regular session of the General Assembly is 60 days long during even numbered years and 30 days long during odd numbered years, unless extended by a two-thirds vote of both houses.
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
|End of Previous Session (2008-2012)||22||18||40||0|
|July 3, 2012[c 1]||19||39||1|
|September 17, 2012[c 2]||20||40||0|
|August 5, 2013[c 3]||20||19||39||1|
|August 16, 2013[c 4]||20||20||40||0|
|Latest voting share||50%||50%|
- Democrat Yvonne B. Miller (District 5) died.
- Democrat Kenny Alexander replaced Miller after September 4 special election.
- Republican Harry Blevins (District 14) resigned. Although in theory Democrats had a brief numerical majority, the Senate was not in session. Additionally, rules adopted at the beginning of the 2012 session required a two-thirds supermajority vote to reorganize the Senate mid-session.
- Republican John Cosgrove replaced Blevins after August 6 special election.
|Lieutenant Governor||Bill Bolling|
|President Pro Tempore||Walter Stosch|
|Majority Leader||Tommy Norment|
|Minority Leader||Dick Saslaw|
Committee chairs and ranking members
The Senate of Virginia has 11 standing committees.
|Committee||Chair||Senior Minority Member|
|Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources||Emmett Hanger||Phillip Puckett|
|Commerce and Labor||John Watkins||Charles Colgan|
|Courts of Justice||Tommy Norment||Richard Saslaw|
|Education and Health||Stephen H. Martin||Richard Saslaw|
|Finance||Walter Stosch||Charles Colgan|
|General Laws and Technology||Frank Ruff||Charles Colgan|
|Local Government||Ralph K. Smith||Henry L. Marsh|
|Privileges and Elections||Mark Obenshain||Janet Howell|
|Rehabilitation and Social Services||Frank Wagner||Vacant|
|Rules||Ryan McDougle||Charles Colgan|
|District||Name||Party||Areas Represented||First Election|
|1||John Miller||Democratic||James City (part), York (part)||Hampton (part), Newport News (part), Suffolk (part), Williamsburg||2007|
|2||Mamie Locke||York (part)||Hampton (part), Newport News (part), Portsmouth (part), Suffolk (part)||2003|
|3||Tommy Norment||Republican||Gloucester, Isle of Wight (part), James City (part), King William, King and Queen, New Kent, Surry (part), York (part)||Hampton (part), Poquoson, Suffolk (part)||1991|
|4||Ryan McDougle||Caroline, Essex, Hanover (part), King George (part), Lancaster, Middlesex, Northumberland, Richmond, Spotsylvania (part), Westmoreland (part)||2006|
|5||Kenny Alexander||Democratic||Chesapeake (part), Norfolk (part)||2012|
|6||Ralph Northam (Lt. Gov.-Elect)||Accomack, Mathews, Northampton||Norfolk (part), Virginia Beach (part)||2007|
|8||Jeff McWaters||Virginia Beach (part)||2010|
|9||A. Donald McEachin||Democratic||Charles City, Hanover (part), Henrico (part)||Richmond (part)||2007|
|10||John Watkins||Republican||Chesterfield (part), Powhatan||1997|
|11||Stephen H. Martin||Chesterfield (part), Amelia||Colonial Heights||1993|
|12||Walter Stosch||Hanover (part), Henrico (part)||1991|
|13||Richard Black||Loudoun (part), Prince William (part)||2011|
|14||John Cosgrove||Isle of Wight (part), Southampton (part)||Chesapeake (part), Franklin (part), Portsmouth (part) Suffolk (part), Virginia Beach (part)||2013|
|15||Frank Ruff||Brunswick (part), Campbell (part), Charlotte, Dinwiddie (part), Halifax (part), Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Pittsylvania (part), Prince George (part)||Danville (part)||2000|
|16||Henry L. Marsh||Democratic||Chesterfield (part), Dinwiddie (part), Prince George (part)||Hopewell, Petersburg, Richmond (part)||1991|
|17||Bryce Reeves||Republican||Albemarle (part), Culpeper (part), Louisa (part), Orange, Spotsylvania (part)||Fredericksburg||2011|
|18||Louise Lucas||Democratic||Brunswick (part), Greensville, Isle of Wight (part), Southampton (part), Surry (part), Sussex||Chesapeake (part), Emporia, Franklin (part), Portsmouth (part), Suffolk (part)||1991|
|19||Ralph K. Smith||Republican||Bedford (part), Carroll (part), Floyd, Franklin (part), Montgomery (part), Roanoke (part), Wythe (part)||Salem||2011|
|20||Bill Stanley||Carroll (part), Franklin (part), Halifax (part), Henry, Patrick, Pittsylvania (part),||Danville (part), Galax, Martinsville||2011|
|21||John S. Edwards||Democrat||Giles, Montgomery (part), Roanoke (part)||Roanoke||1995|
|22||Thomas Garrett, Jr.||Republican||Amherst, Appomattox, Buckingham, Cumberland, Fluvanna, Goochland, Louisa (part), Prince Edward||Lynchburg (part)||2011|
|23||Steve Newman||Bedford (part), Botetourt, Campbell (part), Craig, Roanoke (part)||Lynchburg (part)||1995|
|24||Emmett Hanger||Augusta, Culpeper (part), Greene, Madison, Rockingham (part)||Staunton, Waynesboro||1995|
|25||Creigh Deeds||Democratic||Albemarle (part), Alleghany, Bath, Highland, Nelson, Rockbridge||Buena Vista, Charlottesville, Covington, Lexington||2001|
|26||Mark Obenshain||Republican||Page, Rappahannock, Rockingham (part), Shenandoah, Warren||Harrisonburg||2003|
|27||Jill Holtzman Vogel||Clarke, Culpeper (part), Fauquier, Frederick, Loudoun (part), Stafford (part)||Winchester||2007|
|28||Richard Stuart||King George (part), Prince William (part), Spotsylvania (part), Stafford (part), Westmoreland (part)||2007|
|29||Chuck Colgan||Democratic||Prince William (part)||Manassas, Manassas Park||1975|
|30||Adam Ebbin||Arlington (part), Fairfax (part)||Alexandria (part)||2011|
|31||Barbara Favola||Arlington (part), Fairfax (part), Loudoun (part)||2011|
|32||Janet Howell||Arlington (part), Fairfax (part)||1991|
(At. Gen. Elect)
|Fairfax (part), Loudoun (part)||2006|
|34||Chap Petersen||Fairfax (part)||Fairfax||2007|
|35||Richard L. Saslaw||Alexandria (part), Falls Church||1980|
|36||Toddy Puller||Fairfax (part), Prince William (part), Stafford (part)||2000|
|37||Dave Marsden||Fairfax (part)||2010|
|38||Phillip Puckett||Bland, Buchanan, Dickenson, Montgomery (part), Pulaski, Russell, Smyth (part), Tazewell, Wise (part)||Norton, Radford||1998|
|39||George Barker||Fairfax (part), Prince William (part)||Alexandria (part)||2007|
|40||Charles William Carrico, Sr.||Republican||Grayson, Lee, Scott, Smyth (part), Washington, Wise (part), Wythe (part)||Bristol||2011|
The Senate of Virginia has its own coat of arms designed and granted by the College of Arms in England. The coat of arms also makes up the official seal of the Virginia Senate. It bears no resemblance to the Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia, which is the seal of the state as a whole.
The coat of arms adopted January 22, 1981 was designed by the College of Arms and based on the coat of arms used by the London Company, the royally-chartered English entrepreneurs who funded the European settlement of Virginia. This is not to be confused with the Seal of the London Company, for other than both devices displaying a quartered shield, there is little resemblance between them.
The Senate's arms have a shield in the center which is divided into four sections by a red cross. In each quarter are smaller shields representing the arms of four countries (England, France, Scotland, and Ireland.) that contributed settlers to Virginia's most early waves of European immigration.
The four coats of arms, a small crest of a crowned female head with unbound hair representing Queen Elizabeth (the Virgin Queen who named Virginia, and the dragon (part of the Elizabethan royal seal of England) represent Virginia's European heritage.
An ivory gavel emblazoned on the vertical arm of the red cross represents the Senate as a law making body. The cardinal and dogwood depicted are Virginia's official state bird and tree. The ribbon contains the Latin motto of the Senate, Floreat Senatus Virginiae, which means "May the Senate of Virginia flourish."
- Walker, Julian (11/9/2011). "Virginia Republicans claim victory in state Senate". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 01/25/2013.
- "Virginia State Legislature". VAKids.org. Retrieved 2008-09-12.
- "Legislative Committees". Legislative Information System. Virginia General Assembly. Retrieved 2009-01-16.
- Official Virginia State Senate "Capitol Classroom" site. Accessed November 7, 2007.
- Answers.Com: Virginia State Senate Seal Accessed November 7, 2007.
- The Queen named Virginia in 1584 by modifying a Native American regional "king" named "Wingina". Stewart, George (1945). Names on the Land: A Historical Account of Place-Naming in the United States. New York: Random House. p. 22.
- Virginia General Assembly official government website
- Project Vote Smart - State Senate of Virginia
- Official Virginia Emblems Includes a very small version of the Seal of the Senate of the Commonwealth of Virginia