Virginia General Assembly
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The Virginia General Assembly is the state legislature of the Commonwealth of Virginia, a U.S. state. Its existence dates from the establishment of the House of Burgesses at Jamestown in 1619. It became the General Assembly in 1776 with the ratification of the Virginia Constitution.
The General Assembly is a bicameral body consisting of a lower house, the Virginia House of Delegates, with 100 members, and an upper house, the Virginia Senate, with 40 members. The House of Delegates is presided over by a Speaker of the House, while the Senate of Virginia is presided over by the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. The House and Senate each elect a clerk and sergeant-at-arms. Unlike the United States Senate, the Senate of Virginia's clerk is known as the "Clerk of the Senate", instead of the title "Secretary of the Senate" used in the U.S. Senate.
The General Assembly meets at the state capital of Richmond, Virginia. When sitting in Richmond, the General Assembly holds sessions in the Virginia State Capitol, designed by Thomas Jefferson in 1788 and expanded in 1904. The building was renovated in 2005-2006. Senators and Delegates have their offices in the General Assembly Building across the street directly north of the Capitol. The Governor of Virginia lives across the street directly east of the Capitol in the Virginia Governor's Mansion.
The Virginia General Assembly is the oldest legislative body in the Western Hemisphere. It previously met in Jamestown, Virginia from 1619 until 1699, when it moved to Williamsburg, Virginia and met in the colonial Capitol. The state government was moved to Richmond in 1780 during the administration of Governor Thomas Jefferson, and the General Assembly has met there ever since.
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