Advocate Resources

What exactly is the General Assembly legislative session?

Every year, decisions are made and bills are passed by state-level politicians that affect you. These decisions largely happen during the General Assembly legislative session, a period usually starting in January and ending 30-60 days later depending on the year. During this time, many bills come up for votes and either fail, are tabled for later discussion or are passed into law.

The 2021 legislative session begins on Wednesday, January 13th, and will be trickier to navigate for two reasons: it’s going to be held remotely and it’ll be extremely short – 30 days, including weekends.

What that means is that it’ll be extra important for advocates like you to know what to expect so that you can fully engage in the decision-making processes that affect you and your loved ones.

Clean Virginia is committed to keeping you as up-to-date as possible on where the bills you care about are in the legislative process. Sign up for our email alerts to stay informed.

How do you make sure your legislators hear you? 

At the state level, you have one elected representative in the House and one in the Senate. 

Find your legislators and their contact information here. 

We suggest using a combination of the following methods (in order of effectiveness) to make sure your message gets across:

  1. Invite your legislator to a face-to-face (or virtual video conference) meeting. Use this form to quickly send a meeting invitation via email.
  2. Call your legislator’s office. When you get someone on the line, identify yourself as a constituent right away.
  3. Email your legislator. If using a form letter, make sure to personalize your emails and their subject lines.

Because the 2021 session will be largely virtual, we encourage you to email your legislator right now to set up a conversation via video conference. This is a unique opportunity for folks across the state who are not able to travel to the Capitol building to connect with their legislators. 

Crafting an effective message
  • Identify yourself as a constituent right away.
  • Keep your message clear, concise, and simple. It’s best to focus on one concrete issue each time you contact your legislators, but don’t be afraid to get in touch with them regularly. 
  • Share how the legislation you’re writing about personally affects you, your loved ones, and your community.
  • Be specific about the action(s) you want your legislator to take (e.g., “I’d like you to vote YES on HB 528)

Additional Resources