Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Episode 506 (1-6-20): Action on Budget, Bills, and Other Business Commences January 8 for the 2020 Virginia General Assembly

Click to listen to episode (4:32)

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 1-3-20.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of January 6, 2020.

This week is our annual preview of the Virginia General Assembly, which convenes this year on January 8 and is scheduled to adjourn on March 7.  We start by dropping in on some of the work that went on before the opening gavel of the 2020 Assembly.  Have a listen for about 35 seconds.

VOICE – ~36 sec

“Good morning. I’m Delegate Nick Rush.  I represent the 7th District, that’s Montgomery, Pulaski, and Floyd counties.  As Charles [Delegate Charles Poindexter] and Bill [Senator William Carrico] said, we’re here for the public hearing.  We’re happy so many folks showed up today. … Know that this is the governor’s budget; it is not the House of Delegates’, Senator Carrico’s, or Charlie Poindexter’s budget.  And so we’re here to hear your comments, and then take those—as we’ve done over the last decades—to Richmond to represent your views.  Thank you all for coming.”

You’ve been listening to Virginia House of Delegates member Nick Rush during a January 2, 2020, public hearing in Blacksburg on Governor Ralph Northam’s proposed biennial state budget.  That hearing was one of four held around the state that day, following presentation of the governor’s budget in December.  Proposals from the governor and legislators’ forums for public input are two kinds of activities leading up to a General Assembly session.  Other activities include studies conducted during the year as called for by a previous General Assembly; meetings by various legislative committees and commissions, such as the State Water Commission, to consider issues for possible legislation; and pre-filing of measures by Assembly members—for example, as of January 3, almost 800 bills or resolutions had already been introduced for the 2020 session.

Once a session begins, typically over 2000 bills and resolutions will be considered, along with the budget.  Probably 100 to 200 of those measures will relate to water resources, either directly, through impacts on aquatic life, water supply, or other water uses; or indirectly, through land uses that affect water.  The budget also affects water, particularly through funding of water-related departments, such as Conservation and Recreation, Environmental Quality, Game and Inland Fisheries, and the Marine Resources Commission.

Action on measures in the General Assembly involves sub-committees, full committees, and floor debate, and passed bills go to the governor for approval, veto, or proposed changes.  All along the way, citizens, interest groups, and other stakeholders vie to have a say through information and opinions.  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 virginiageneralassembly.gov.

We close with part of a song whose title recalls what many people at the Virginia General Assembly are aiming to do for their particular issues.  Here’s some of “Try to Change It,” by Bob Gramann of Fredericksburg.

MUSIC - ~ 19 sec

Lyrics: “Try to change it; why can’t I change it? Strength of will, push and pull, I’m bettin’ on that train; strength of will, push and pull, I’m bettin’ on that train.”


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 virginiawaterradio.org, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close this show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


The excerpt from the January 2, 2020, public hearing on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed 2020-22 biennial state budget was recorded by Virginia Water Radio on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg on January 2, 2020.  The legislators for that public hearing were Del. Charles Poindexter (R-9th District; meeting chair); Delegate Nick Rush (R-7th District); and retiring Senator William Carrico (R-40th District).  Other public hearings were held on January 2 in Manassas, Richmond, and Suffolk.  The public hearings were conducted by the Virginia House of Delegates’ Appropriations Committee and the Virginia Senate’s Finance Committee.  Information from the House Appropriations Committee on those public hearings is available online (as a PDF) at http://hac.virginia.gov/press/Press%20Release%202020%20Public%20Hearings%20-%20Revised.pdf.

“Try to Change It,” from the 2001 album “See Farther in the Darkness,” is copyright by Bob Gramann, used with permission.  More information about Bob Gramann is available online at https://www.bobgramann.com/folksinger.html.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (1 min./11 sec.) of the “Cripple Creek” arrangement/performance by Stewart Scales that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Scales and the group New Standard, with which Mr. Scales plays, is available online at http://newstandardbluegrass.com.


From left, Sen. William Carrico, Del. Charles Poindexter, and Del. Nick Rush at the January 2, 2020, public hearing on Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed 2020-22 biennial budget held on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg.

Cartoon by George Wills of Blacksburg, Va. (http://www.etsy.com/people/BlacksburgArt), published originally in “Inside Virginia’s State Budget for Water,” Virginia Water Central Newletter, April 2001, p. 1; available online via http://www.vwrrc.vt.edu/water-central-news/.


Used for Audio

Jane Alvarez-Wertz, Packed public hearing in Suffolk; residents voice concerns on governor’s proposed budget, WAVY TV – Portsmouth, Va., 1/2/20.

Joe Dashiell, Gun rights advocates turn out for state budget hearing, WDBJ TV – Roanoke, Va., 1/2/20.

University of Virginia, “State Government Relations/Key Dates for the 2020 General Assembly Session,” online at https://sgr.virginia.edu/key-dates-2020-general-assembly-session.

Virginia Division of Legislative Services, “Commissions, Committees, and Councils,” online at http://dls.virginia.gov/commissions.html.

Virginia House of Delegates Appropriations Committee, “Legislative Budget Process,” online at http://hac.virginia.gov/legislative.htm.

Virginia Legislative Information System, online at https://lis.virginia.gov/lis.htm.  This site provides lists and summaries of all bills, searchable by topic, member, committee, etc.  As of January 3, 2020, “Session Statistics,” online at https://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?201+oth+STA, listed 795 House or Senate bills, resolutions, or joint resolutions introduced for the 2020 session.

Virginia Association of Counties, “Governor Northam Presents Biennium Budget Proposals,” 12/20/19, online at https://www.vaco.org/governor-presents-biennium-budget-proposals/.

Virginia General Assembly, online at http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/index.php.   This Web site offers several useful features, including member lists, session calendars, live video of floor sessions, and information on legislative processes.

Virginia Water Resources Research Center, “Virginia Water Legislation,” online at https://www.vwrrc.vt.edu/virginia-water-legislation/.  This site provides access to inventories of water-related bills in the Virginia General Assembly from 1998 through 2019.

For More Information about the Virginia General Assembly

During sessions, live streaming video is available.  The House of Delegates live video stream Web site is https://virginiageneralassembly.gov/house/chamber/chamberstream.php; the Senate live video steam Web site is http://virginia-senate.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3.  Live streaming of committee meetings also is available.  Information on live streaming of House committee meetings is online at https://publications.virginiageneralassembly.gov/display_publication/209; for Senate committee meetings, online at http://virginia-senate.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3.

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 http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/.  You can find members’ contact information at these links:
House: http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/house/members/members.php;
Senate: https://apps.senate.virginia.gov/Senator/index.php.

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 http://lis.virginia.gov/h015.htm.  For assistance, phone Legislative Automated Systems at (804) 786-9631.

Virginia Water Central News Grouper posts on the Virginia General Assembly are available online at https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=General+Assembly.   Items are categorized by the year of each session, from 2012 to 2020.


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).  See particularly the “Community/Organizations” subject category.

Following are links to previous episodes on the Virginia General Assembly.

Episode 143, 1-7-13 – annual General Assembly preview.
Episode 147, 2-4-13 – on General Assembly committees.
Episode 196, 1-13-14 – annual General Assembly preview.
Episode 247, 1-5-15 – annual General Assembly preview, with special focus on state budget.
Episode 252, 2-9-15 – annual “voting on water” episode.
Episode 297, 1-4-16 – annual General Assembly preview.
Episode 302, 2-8-16 – annual “voting on water” episode.
Episode 350, 1-9-17 – annual General Assembly preview.
Episode 353, 1-30-17 – annual “voting on water” episode.
Episode 359, 3-13-17 – on General Assembly subcommittees.
Episode 402, 1-8-18 – annual General Assembly preview.
Episode 405, 1-29-18 – annual “voting on water” episode.
Episode 410, 3-5-18 – on electricity regulation legislation in 2018 session.
Episode 454, 1-7-19 – annual General Assembly preview.
Episode 460, 2-18-19 – annual “voting on water” episode.


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.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.

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 http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

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.
Episode 483, 7-29-19 – on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school.