Monday, January 7, 2019

Episode 454 (1-7-19): The Virginia General Assembly, from Jamestown in 1619 to Richmond in 2019

Click to listen to episode (4:33).

Sections below are the following:
Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.).

Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 1-4-19.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of January 7, 2019.

This week is our annual preview of the Virginia General Assembly, which convenes this year on January 9.  To start, imagine being on Jamestown Island in the mid-summer of 1619.  Which of the following mystery sounds do you think you would have heard, and which one would you probably not have heard?

SOUNDS - ~30 sec

On a hot summer day at Jamestown in 1619, you certainly could have heard waves lapping, Bald Eagles, frogs, mosquitoes, and other insects.  You probably would not have heard a Virginia-accented voice calling a subcommittee meeting to order.  But what was said and done at Jamestown 400 years ago this summer began the tradition that led to the voice you just heard, that of Virginia Delegate Terry Edmunds during a January 2018 subcommittee meeting in the Virginia General Assembly.  The annual Assembly turns 400 this year, having its origin in the first gathering of the Virginia House of Burgesses at Jamestown on July 30, 1619.

Each year on the second Wednesday in January, the General Assembly—consisting of 100 members of the House of Delegates and 40 members of the State Senate—convenes in Richmond.  During a session ranging from one to two months, the Assembly considers the state budget and two-to-three thousand bills and resolutions.  Typically 150 to 200 of those bills and resolutions relate to water resources, either directly through impacts on aquatic environments, fisheries, water supplies, or other water uses, or indirectly through impacts on energy and land uses that, in turn, affect water.  Committee and subcommittee meetings, floor sessions, lobbying activities, and citizen engagement are all part of the fast-moving and consequential Virginia legislative process.  You can join in by following the Assembly’s work and by communicating with your local delegate or senator about issues of concern. Tools to help you do so are available online at

Thanks to Lang Elliott for the Bald Eagle sound, from the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs.  We close with some music believed to have originated in the 1500s, so perhaps it was part of the sounds at Jamestown in 1619.  Here are few seconds of “Greensleeves,” performed by Timothy Seaman of Williamsburg.

MUSIC - ~ 26 sec


Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.   For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  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 Bald Eagle sound was taken from the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs-Eastern Region CD set, by Lang Elliott with Donald and Lillian Stokes (Time Warner Audio Books, copyright 1997), used with permission of Lang Elliott, whose work is available online at the “Music of Nature” Web site,

The other sounds were recorded by Virginia Water Radio, as follows:
waves – Chesapeake Bay at Kent Island, Md., June 22, 2010;
frogs (Green Frog) – Heritage Park, Blacksburg, Va., August 1, 2016;
mosquito – Pandapas Pond, Montgomery County, Va., August 8, 2017;
voice – Delegate Terry Edmunds (R-60th House District) of Halifax, Va., chairing the January 31, 2018, meeting of Subcommittee 2 of the Virginia House of Delegates Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources.

The performance heard in this episode of the traditional tune “Greensleeves,” from the 1998 album “Celebration of Centuries,” is copyright by Timothy Seaman and Pine Wind Music, used with permission.  More information about Mr. Seaman’s music is available online

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

Illustration by George Wills, of Blacksburg, Va. (
January 31, 2018, meeting of Subcommittee 2 of the Virginia House of Delegates Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources.
Virginia House of Delegates floor session, January 31, 2018.
Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax presiding over the Virginia Senate floor session, January 31, 2018.

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

National Park Service, “Historic Jamestowne/Birds,” online at

National Park Service, “Colonial National Historic Park—Virginia/Amphibians,” online at

Ian Pittaway, “Early Music Muse/Greensleeves: Mythology, History and Music. Part 1 of 3: Mythology,” July 3, 2015, online at

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

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and Library of Virginia, 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  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:

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.

Inventories of water-related bills in the Virginia General Assembly are posted on the Virginia Water Resources Research Center’s Web site at  Currently inventories for 1998-2018 are available.

Virginia Water Central News Grouper posts on the Virginia General Assembly are available online at  Items are categorized by the year of each session, from 2012 to 2019.


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (  See particularly the “Community/Organizations” subject category.

Following are links to previous episodes on the Virginia General Assembly.
Episode 143, 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.
Episode 402, 1/8/18 – The Virginia Legislature Begins Its 400th Year in 2018.
Episode 405, 1/29/18 – Voting on Water in the 2018 Virginia General Assembly.
Episode 410, 3/5/18 – Virginia Electricity Regulation and Water.


The episode—the audio, extra information, or sources—may help with the following Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs).

2013 Music SOLs

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

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.

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 Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.
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 333, 9-12-16 – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 403, 1-15-18 – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18 – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 406, 2-5-18 – on ice on rivers, for middle school.
Episode 407, 2-12-18 – on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.