The differences between the House and Senate are nearly too numerous to list; however, one bears mentioning: committee composition. In the House of Delegates, committees (with the exception of the Rules Committee) have membership proportional to the partisan composition of the entire House. The House is comprised of 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats—a narrow Republican majority. House Committees therefore have a similar composition, which leaves a slim Republican majority in committees.
The Senate is quite different. Senate committees are NOT proportional to the partisan composition of the entire Senate. The Senate is comprised of 21 Democrats and 19 Republicans—a narrow Democratic majority that includes a couple of swing voters. Senate Committees, however, do not reflect this ratio. For example, the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee’s membership consists of 12 Democrats and 3 Republicans.
Bottom line: when House Republicans’ bills on key issues—like charter schools and photo ID for voters—are heard in Senate committees, there are not enough swing votes to pass the bill to the floor.