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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.

Legislative Initiatives

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.

This year, the Board of Governors agreed to move forward on nine proposed bills. These were proposed by the Business Law, Construction and Public Contracts Law and Wills, Trusts & Estates sections and two affiliated groups - the Boyd-Graves Conference and the VBA Commission on the Needs of Children.

During the regular assembly session, the VBA follows the progress of its proposals with updates Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays for interested members and legal professionals.

Plan Now for 2019 Initiatives

VBA Legislative Day is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018. This is when section and committee representatives will present proposals for VBA Board of Governors consideration. Bills approved by the board will be shared with the VBA lobbyists to pursue patrons for General Assembly introduction of the legislation.

Any group or individual interested in proposing a bill for the 2019 VBA legislative agenda is asked to fill out a proposal form and submit it by email to VBA Executive Director Yvonne Cockram no later than Sept. 13, 2018.

Legislative Proposal Form

For up-to-date information on bill status, or information on bills dating to 1994, visit the Virginia Legislative Information System

2018 Results

All nine legislative proposals supported in the 2018 VBA legislative agenda were made into law. Two of many highlights involved the General Assembly's decision to fully fund judgeships beginning in the 2019 year of the two-year budget and the long-sought increase in the grand larceny threshold from what was the lowest level in the country. The list of proposals on the agenda and the sections, commissions and the Boyd-Graves Conference that presented them appeared in the spring 2018 issue of the VBA Journal.

2017 Results

The board considered proposals for the 2017 legislative agenda at VBA Legislative Day on Sept. 29, 2016, and approved 24 to back. Nearly all of them received General Assembly endorsement. Results from the 2017 legislative proposals appear in the spring issue of the VBA Journal. The groups that presented approved proposals for the 2017 VBA legislative agenda and the issues they addressed are:

Elder Law and Special Needs Section
  • Temporary Guardianship Assignment
Wills, Trusts & Estates Section
  • Self-Settled Trusts
  • Rule of Privity in Legal Malpractice Proceedings
  • Decanting
  • Nonexoneration
  • Homestead Exemption
Health Law Section
  • Advanced Medical Directives
  • Due Process in DMAS Appeals
  • Immunity for Organizers of Free Health Clinics
Business Law Section
  • Virtual Shareholder Meetings
Commission on the Needs of Children
  • Grand Larceny Threshold
Boyd-Graves Conference
  • Document Subpoenas on Foreign Entities
  • Life Insurance in Divorce
  • Copies of Electronic Medical Records
  • Amending Complaint after Demurrer
  • Severing Tenancy by the Entirety Estates
  • Divorce for Overseas Federal Employees
  • Homeowner's Liability Policy Limit Disclosure

2016 Results

The Board of Governors approved the pursuit of 15 proposals before the 2016 General Assembly. Recommendations came from three VBA sections, a joint VBA-Virginia State Bar committee, a VBA commission, a state family law coalition and the Boyd-Graves Conference. Thirteen bills became law. Read about them in the "Improving the Law" article in the spring issue of the VBA Journal.

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.

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.

Affiliated Groups

VBA Commission on Needs of Children

This interdisciplinary group focuses on policies and legislation to improve the lives of Virginia children. A current initiative, the website seeks to help non-educators advocate for clients with special education needs.

Virginia Family Law Coalition

These practitioners work to influence family law legislation in Virginia.

Boyd-Graves Conference

The Boyd-Graves Conference seeks to improve civil justice in Virginia through law reform.

Uniform Law Commission

Virginians serving on the Uniform Law Commission occasionally request VBA lobbying assistance for legislative proposals.

Non-Legislative Advocacy

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. Go to the VBA Calendar for details about the next workshop in Richmond, generally in November.


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. In recent years, the VBA has arranged for the debates to be broadcast live on the internet and re-broadcast on public radio as a public service.

Judicial Screenings

Three committees of VBA members review submissions of judicial hopefuls and recommend qualified candidates for federal and appellate judgeships.

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