The Virginia Bar Association is devoted to improving Virginia law. This benefits the public and strengthens the administration of justice. We actively propose legislation, inform lawmakers and appear at hearings in the Virginia General Assembly to support recommended changes.
The VBA Legislative Agenda each year bubbles up through the membership. VBA sections and committees discuss proposals they receive and may recommend that the VBA Board of Governors include certain suggestions to improve the law in the organization's agenda.
In preparation for the VBA's 2016 legislative agenda, sections and committees are accepting suggestions from members. Members who want to propose items for possible inclusion in the legislative agenda should contact the chair of the appropriate section or committee. These leaders are listed in links available on each section or committee webpage.
Make your proposal known by downloading Proposals for the VBA 2016 Legislative Agenda (PDF). Filled out forms can be submitted to section and committee chairs. Alternatively, they can be sent electronically to Executive Director Yvonne McGhee.
The deadline for the VBA to receive bill proposals is Sept. 11, 2015. The Board of Governors will hear recommendations Sept. 25 during VBA Legislative Day in Richmond. Pre-filing of bills for the 2016 session begins Nov. 16.
A history of bill advancement
The 2015 VBA legislative agenda featured 13 proposals meant to improve the law and protect the public. Four proposals came fom the VBA's Business Law Section and two each from the Wills, Trusts & Estates Section and the Boyd-Graves Conference. Other proposals involve the association's Real Estate and the Construction and Public Contracts sections, and the Virginia Family Law Coalition and the Commission on the Needs of Children. The session ran from Jan. 14-Feb. 28, with crossover occurring Feb. 11. Lawmakers reconvened April 15 to take up bill amendments or vetoes by the governor.
For up-to-date information on bill status, or information on bills dating back to 1994, visit the Virginia Legislative Information System
Full Judicial Funding
In 2010, Virginia imposed a freeze on the automatic replacement of judges who leave the bench.The VBA has been a vocal proponent for the funding and filling of all judicial vacancies in Virginia. A full judiciary is important to the economy and to citizens’ access to justice. An independent study of caseloads found a shortage of judges in all three levels of courts. Learn more.
Section-Specific Legislative Reports
As a benefit, members of VBA sections receive summaries of bills prepared for consideration by the Virginia General Assembly. The summaries are specific to the practice areas of each section. They can be helpful in flagging legislative actions of importance to member lawyers and their clients. Join a section.
This interdisciplinary group focuses on policies and legislation to improve the lives of Virginia children. A current initiative, the website ProsForKids.org seeks to help non-educators advocate for clients with special education needs.
These practitioners work to influence family law legislation in Virginia.
The Boyd-Graves Conference seeks to improve civil justice in Virginia through law reform.
Virginians serving on the Uniform Law Commission occasionally request VBA lobbying assistance for legislative proposals.
Capital Defense Workshop
For more than 20 years, the VBA Criminal Law Section has organized this fall conference. Attendance at the entire workshop satisfies statutory requirements of attorneys who represent people charged with capital murder or sentenced to death. Watch the VBA calendar for details about the 2015 workshop.
Since 1985, the VBA has organized first-of-the-season debates featuring candidates for statewide office. The debates, spotlighting primarily the races for governor and U.S. Senate, generally occur at the VBA Summer Meeting in the Allegheny Mountains. They are open to the public and news media at no charge.
Three committees of VBA members review submissions of judicial hopefuls and recommend qualified candidates for federal and appellate judgeships.