Monday, January 8, 2018

Episode 402 (1-8-18): The Virginia Legislature Begins Its 400th Year in 2018

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:54).

Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, images, and additional information follow below.

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 1-5-18.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of January 8, 2018.

VOICES – ~7 sec - Call to order by Virginia House of Delegates and Virginia Senate on opening day in 2017

This week, we drop in on the annual gathering where Virginians debate and decide upon state policies affecting water, other natural resources, and countless other aspects of life in our Commonwealth.  Have a listen for about 80 seconds, and see if you know what legislative body convenes its 400th annual session this year.

VOICES - ~82 sec

If you guessed the Virginia General Assembly, you’re right!  You heard excerpts of the opening-day floor sessions in 2017 of the Virginia House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate.  The 2018 General Assembly’s opening on January 10 marks the beginning of the 400th year of Virginia’s legislature, which started with a Jamestown meeting in 1619 of colonial legislators known as burgesses.

The modern Assembly convenes every second Wednesday in January for either a 60-day scheduled session (in even years) or a 30-day scheduled session (in odd years).  During the long session in even years, the Assembly sets the state budget for the upcoming two years, subject to amendments the following year.  Every year, the Assembly considers two-to-three thousand bills and resolutions, and that agenda typically includes 100 to 200 water-related bills, on topics such as ports, scenic rivers, groundwater, stormwater, water supply, wastewater, and wetlands.

The sessions move fast and the decisions can have widespread and important consequences.  You can be part of Virginia’s 400-year tradition of representative government by following the Assembly’s work and by communicating with your delegate or senator about issues of concern. Tools to help you do so are available online at

We close with a few seconds of music that might have entertained Virginia legislators centuries ago: “The Lass of Gowrie,” a traditional tune from the British Isles, performed here by Timothy Seaman of Williamsburg.

MUSIC – ~16 sec


For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  Thanks to Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


The audio of the January 11, 2017, opening of the Virginia General Assembly houses was taken from the Assembly’s live session video stream archives, online at for the House of Delegates and online at for the Senate.

The version of “The Lass of Gowrie” heard in this episode is copyright Timothy Seaman and Pine Wind Music, from the 1998 album “Celebration of Centuries: Acoustic Instrumental Music for Williamsburg, Jamestown, & Yorktown, Virginia,” used with permission.   More information about Mr. Seaman is available online at

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (2 min./22 sec.) of the “Shenandoah” arrangement/performance by Ben Cosgrove that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Cosgrove is available online at


Sunrise over downtown Richmond, Va., January 19, 2017.

Virginia House of Delegates “Visit Follow-up Activity” page from the Virginia General Assembly/Publications Web site, online at

Used for Audio

Historic Jamestowne, “The First General Assembly,” online at

Independence Hall Association in Philadelphia Web site US, “Britain in the New World/House of Burgesses,” online at

Sarah J. Stebbins, “A Short History of Jamestown” (April 2011), National Park Service, online at

Traditional Tune Archive, “Lass o’ Gowrie,” online at

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities’ Encyclopedia Virginia: 1) Matthew S. Gottlieb, “House of Burgesses,” online at; and “Primary Resource—The General Assembly Convenes (1619),” online at

Virginia General Assembly, online at  This Web site offers several useful features, including member lists, session calendars, live video of floor sessions, and information on legislative processes. Information on session lengths is online at!hb=1&mainContentTabs=1.

For More Information about the Virginia General Assembly

The Legislative Information System (LIS) Web site at provides lists and summaries of all bills, searchable by topic, member, committee, etc.

During sessions, live streaming video is available.  The House of Delegates live video stream Web site is; the Senate live video steam Web site is  As of 2018, live streaming of committee meetings also is available.  Information on live streaming of House committee meetings is online at;  for Senate committee meetings, online at

To express an opinion on legislation, citizens are requested to contact their respective delegate of senator.  If you do not know your representatives or their contact information, you can use the online “Who’s My Legislator” service, available at  You can find members’ contact information at these links:

If you know the numbers of your legislative districts, you can also use the following code to identify your representatives’ Capitol phone numbers: for delegates, (804) 698-10 + district number (for example, 698-1003 for the District 3 delegate); for senators, (804) 698-75 + district number (for example, 698-7510 for the District 10 senator).

The Lobbyist-In-A-Box subscriber service also offers free tracking for up to five bills, and it offers tracking of more than five bills for a fee; visit  For assistance, phone Legislative Automated Systems at (804) 786-9631.

Beginning in late January, an inventory of water-related bills in the current Virginia General Assembly is posted on the Virginia Water Resources Research Center’s Web site at  Inventories for sessions back to 1998 are also available at this site.

Also, the Virginia Water Central News Grouper posts information about selected water-related bills being covered in the news media during General Assembly sessions.  The site is; or click on the “Categories” box on the right and look for “Virginia General Assembly” for the specific years.


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (

Previous episodes on the Virginia General Assembly are the following;
Episode143, 1/7/13 – Music for the Past and Present of the Virginia General Assembly;
Episode 147, 2/4/13 – Committees Guide the Flow of Bills in the Virginia General Assembly;
Episode 196, 1/13/14 – The Virginia Legislature on its 396th Opening Day, January 8, 2014;
Episode 247, 1/5/15
– January Means State Budget Time in the Virginia General Assembly;
Episode 252, 2/9/15
– Voting on Water in the 2015 Virginia General Assembly;
Episode 297, 1/4/16 – Water’s on the Agenda—along with a Whole Lot Else—When the Virginia General Assembly Convenes;
Episode 302, 2/8/16 – Voting on Water in the 2016 Virginia General Assembly;
Episode 350, 1/9/17 – Old English Music Helps Preview the Old Dominion’s 2017 General Assembly;
Episode 353, 1/30/17 – Voting on Water in the 2017 Virginia General Assembly;
Episode 359, 3/13/17 – Subcommittees are Where Many Proposed Virginia Laws Start to Float or Sink.


This episode may help with the following 2010 Science SOLs.

Grades K-6 Earth Resources Theme
6.9 – public policy decisions regarding the environment.

Life Science Course
LS.11 - relationships between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.

Earth Science Course
ES.6 – renewable vs. non-renewable resources (including energy resources).
ES.10 – oceans, including economic and policy decisions affecting oceans, the coastal zone, and the Chesapeake Bay.

The episode may also help with the following 2015 Social Studies SOLs.

Virginia Studies Course
VS.3 – first permanent English settlement in America.
VS.10 – knowledge of government, geography, and economics in present-day Virginia.

Civics and Economics Course
CE.1 – social studies skills that responsible citizenship requires.
CE.7 – government at the state level.
CE.10 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

World Geography Course
WG.18 - cooperation among political jurisdictions to solve problems and settle disputes.

Virginia and United States History Course
VUS.4 – Major pre-Revolution events.

Government Course
GOVT.1 – social studies skills that responsible citizenship requires.
GOVT.8 – state and local government organization and powers.
GOVT.9 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.
GOVT.15 – role of government in Va. and U.S. economies, including examining environmental issues and property rights.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at

Following are links to previous Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels:
Episode 249 (1-19-15) – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade;
Episode 250 (1-26-15) – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade;
Episode 255 (3-2-15) – on density, for 5th and 6th grade;
Episode 282 (9-21-15) – on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten;
Episode 309 (3-28-16) – on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade; Episode 332 (9-12-16) – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.