Monday, January 9, 2023

Episode 646 (1-9-23): Near Richmond’s James River Falls, Each Second Wednesday in January Calls the Virginia General Assembly to Order

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (5:04).

Sections below are the following:
Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Extra Information

Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.).

Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 1-6-23.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the weeks of January 9 and January 16, 2023.

MUSIC – ~12 sec – instrumental.

That’s part of “Falls of Richmond,” by Timothy Seaman of Williamsburg, Va.  The falls on the James River at Richmond are a notable geographic feature of Virginia’s capital city.  A relatively short distance from those turbulent sections of the James is one of the city’s most notable human features, the State Capitol building, home of the Virginia General Assembly.  This episode is our annual overview of the General Assembly, which this year convenes on January 11 and is scheduled to adjourn on February 25.  To start, have a listen to the music for about 30 more seconds, and see if you know the General Assembly connection to the following numbers: 405, 2 and 4, 51 and 47, 21 and 19, and, last, about 163 billion.

MUSIC – ~31 sec – instrumental.

Here are the answers:

This year will be the 405th consecutive sessions of the General Assembly started it as the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1619.

House of Delegates members are elected for 2 year terms, and Senate members are elected for 4 year terms.

The current House of Delegates has 51 Republicans and 47 Democrats, with two seats to be filled by upcoming special elections.  [1-10-23 addition, not in audio: Special elections to fill those House seats were held on January 10, 2023.]

The current Senate has 21 Democrats and 19 Republicans.  [1-10-23 correction, not in audio: As of December 31, 2022, the Senate had only 18 Republicans, after Sen. Jennifer Kiggans, representing Virginia's 7th Senatorial District, resigned to take a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.  A special election to fill that Senate seat was held on January 10, 2023.]

And finally, the Commonwealth’s current two-year budget is about $163 billion dollars; proposed changes to that budget will be a big part of the work of the 2023 session.

Besides the budget, the Assembly typically considers two-to-three thousand other bills and resolutions.  In recent years about 150 to 200 of those measures have related to water resources, either directly through impacts on aquatic environments, water supplies, or other water uses, or indirectly through impacts on energy or land uses that, in turn, affect water.  The budget also affects water, particularly through funding of natural resource-related departments, such as Conservation and Recreation, Environmental Quality, Wildlife Resources, and the Marine Resources Commission.

Action on measures involves sub-committees, full committees, and floor debate.  Passed bills go to the governor for approval, veto, or proposed changes, and bills with a governor’s veto or proposed changes return to the Assembly for further consideration during a reconvened session in April.   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

Thanks to Timothy Seaman for permission to use this week’s music, and we close with about 20 more seconds of “Falls of Richmond.”

MUSIC – ~20 sec – instrumental.


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 Stewart Scales for his banjo version of “Cripple Creek” to open and close this episode.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


“Falls of Richmond,” part of the medley …., is from the 2004 album “Virginia Wildlife,” copyright 2004 by Timothy Seaman and Pine Wind Music, used with permission.  The “Virginia Wildlife” album was a collaboration between Mr. Seaman and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (now the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources).  More information about Timothy Seaman is available online at, and complete list of his music is available online at online at  “Falls of Richmond” was used previously by Virginia Water Radio most recently in Episode 87, 11-7-11.

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


Screen shot of the Virginia Legislative Information System’s online site for following legislation in the 2023 Virginia General Assembly, accessed at, 1/9/23.

Screen shot of the Virginia Legislative Information System’s online site for information about the Virginia state budget during the 2023 Virginia General Assembly, accessed at, 1/9/23.


The General Assembly’s main Web page,, offers several useful features, including member lists, session calendars, live video of floor sessions, and information on legislative processes.  The Legislative Information System (LIS) Web site,, provides lists and summaries of all bills, searchable by topic, member, committee, etc.

Video streams of sessions and meetings for both the House of Delegates and the Senate, including committees, are available online at!hb=1&mainContentTabs=0.

Committees are key parts of the General Assembly process.  Legislation about water or about activities that can affect water may be assigned to any of several standing committees, most of which meet weekly during the General Assembly session.  Two committees that receive many (but not all) of the water-related bills are the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee, which meets weekly on Wednesdays at 1 p.m., and the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee, which meets weekly on Tuesdays, one-half hour after adjournment of the day’s floor session.  Information about all standing committees as of the 2023 session—including membership, meeting times, and legislation being considered—is available online at

To express an opinion on legislation, citizens are advised 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 also find members’ contact information at these links:
House of Delegates, at;
State Senate, at

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 more information or assistance, phone Legislative Automated Systems at (804) 786-9631 or Virginia Interactive at (804) 318-4133.

The organization Open Virginia’s Richmond Sunlight Web site, at, also offers tools for following the General Assembly and for learning about Virginia law.


Ballotpedia, “Virginia General Assembly,” online at

Friends of the James River Park, “James River Park,” online at at

James River Association: “About the James River,” online at; and “James River Maps,” online at (see Middle Section, Map 6).

Venture Richmond, “James River Activities in Downtown Richmond,” online at

Virginia Department of Elections, online at  This site has information on the special election held January 10, 2023, to fill two open House of Delegates seats and one open Senate seat (as noted in the addition/correction to the audio transcript above).

Virginia General Assembly main Web site, online at  See particularly the following specific pages:
About the General Assembly;
Citizen Involvement
Legislative Terms
Senate of Virginia
Virginia House of Delegates Member Listings

Virginia Legislative Information System, online at  For information on General Assembly committees, see  For budget information, see

Virginia Water Resources Research Center, “Virginia Water Legislation,” online at  This site provides access to inventories of water-related bills in the Virginia General Assembly from 1998 through 2022.


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

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

Episode 143, 1-7-13 – “Music for the Past and Present of the Virginia General Assembly” (annual General Assembly introduction).
Episode 147, 2-4-13 – “Committees Guide the Flow of Bills in the Virginia General Assembly.”
Episode 196, 1-13-14 – “The Virginia General Assembly on its 396 Opening Day, January 8, 2014” (annual General Assembly introduction).
Episode 247, 1-5-15 – “January Means State Budget Time in the Virginia General Assembly” (annual General Assembly introduction, with special focus on the state budget).
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” (annual General Assembly introduction).
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” (annual General Assembly introduction).
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” (annual General Assembly introduction).
Episode 405, 1-29-18 – “Voting on Water in the 2018 Virginia General Assembly.”
Episode 410, 3-5-18 – “Virginia Electricity Regulation and Water” (on legislation in the 2018 session on electricity regulation).
Episode 454, 1-7-19 – “The Virginia General Assembly, from Jamestown in 1619 to Richmond in 2019” (annual General Assembly introduction).
Episode 460, 2-18-19 – “Voting on Water in the 2018 Virginia General Assembly.”
Episode 506, 1-6-20 – “Action on Budget, Bills, and Other Business Commences January 8 for the 2020 Virginia General Assembly” (annual General Assembly introduction).
Episode 510, 2-3-20 – “Voting on Water in the 2020 Virginia General Assembly.”
Episode 522, 4-27-20
– “Virginia Enacts a New Energy Era” (on legislation in the 2020 session on electricity generation, carbon emissions, and recurrent flooding).
Episode 558, 1-4-21
– “January 13 is Opening Day for the 2021 Virginia General Assembly” (annual General Assembly introduction).
Episode 562, 2-1-21 – “Voting on Water in the 2021 Virginia General Assembly.”
Episode 611, 1-10-22
– “The Second Wednesday in January Means the Virginia General Assembly Convenes” (annual General Assembly introduction).
Episode 614, 1-31-22 – “Voting on Water in the 2022 Virginia General Assembly.”


Following are some Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that may be supported by this episode’s audio/transcript, sources, or other information included in this post.

2020 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.”

2018 Science SOLs

Grades K-5 – Earth Resources
3.8 – Natural events and humans influence ecosystems.
4.8. – Virginia has important natural resources.

Grade 6
6.9 – Humans impact the environment and individuals can influence public policy decisions related to energy and the environment.

Life Science Course
LS.9 – Relationships exist between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.

Earth Science Course
ES.6 – Resource use is complex.
ES.8 – Freshwater resources influence and are influenced by geologic processes and human activity.
ES.10 – Oceans are complex, dynamic systems subject to long- and short-term variations, including effects of human actions.
ES.11 – The atmosphere is a complex, dynamic system subject to long-and short-term variations, including effects of human actions.

Biology Course
BIO.8 – Dynamic equilibria exist within populations, communities, and ecosystems, and natural events and human activities influence local and global ecosystems and may affect the flora and fauna of Virginia.

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

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 404, 1-22-18 – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
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.
Episode 524, 5-11-20 – on sounds by water-related animals, for elementary school through high school.
Episode 531, 6-29-20 – on various ways that animals get water, for 3rd and 4th grade.
Episode 539, 8-24-20 – on basic numbers and facts about Virginia’s water resources, for 4th and 6th grade.
Episode 606, 12-6-21 – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.