FINDING INFORMATION ON LEGISLATION
You can find information on all legislation at the website https://lis.virginia.gov. If you know the bill number for the legislation you are tracking, you can enter it in “Bills & Resolutions” and you will be shown a summary of the bill, the bill text, its patron, and where it currently resides in the legislative process. If you are interested in finding a bill containing certain subject matter, you can do so in the same menu or by searching via keyword.
ACCESSING HOUSE/SENATE MEETING SCHEDULES
Among a ton of other information, you can find the House and Senate committee meeting schedules at https://virginiageneralassembly.gov under the “Members and Session” tab. At this webpage, you can also sign up to speak remotely at committee meetings and provide written comments. Since spoken testimony may be limited, I would highly recommend submitting written comment for each bill you intend to speak for or against.
TESTIFYING ON BILLS
If you are signed up to testify on a particular piece of legislation and are called on to speak in a committee meeting, start by thanking the committee chair, state your name, say where you are from, and inform the committee that you are a business owner or representative of your business. Briefly (and I mean briefly, testimony may be limited to 2 minutes or less) make a clear case for your position and then thank the committee members for their time.
CONTACTING YOUR LEGISLATOR(S)
Many of the same guidelines I mentioned for testifying to legislation also apply here. You can find your legislator at https://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov and you will see the contact information for your representative. When calling or emailing your legislator in support or opposition to a bill, always state your name, your address, and that you are a business owner or representative residing in his or her district. Again, it is important to share your thoughts early and often.
Of course, feel free to contact me at any time if you have any questions on pending legislation or would like more information on how to get involved.