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RPS Legislative Advocacy Update - January 8, 2020 - Day 1/60

The 2020 Virginia General Assembly is now in session! Legislators returned to Richmond this week to begin a 60-day legislative session where they will consider thousands of bills and develop a new 2-year state budget. 

There are some major changes this year due to the shift in control of the legislature from Republicans to Democrats in both the House and the Senate. Democrats now hold 55 of the 100 seats in the House of Delegates and 21 of 40 seats in the Senate of Virginia. In both chambers, new leadership has been selected, including the first female Speaker of the House, Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn from Fairfax, and the first female African-American President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Senator Louise Lucas from Portsmouth.

On Wednesday night, Governor Ralph Northam will address the legislature in his annual State of the Commonwealth Address to outline his legislative priorities this session.

Legislation 

Richmond Public Schools will be closely monitoring all legislation introduced during the session for potential impacts on our school division. In these daily reports, you can expect to read more information about specific legislation of interest that we are following and learn about how you can get involved in the process to voice your opinions and advocate for our schools.

Budget

The largest bill that the legislature will consider is the state budget. This year’s budget bill comes in at 600 pages and appropriates over $138 billion over the next two years. Many of the priorities important to RPS are budgetary matters so we will be following the budget process closely. In this section, you can expect highlights on our budget priorities and updates on the budget process.

What can you do today? 

Advocacy is a team sport and we need you to help us advocate for our schools and students! Every day, we will provide you with an advocacy action that you can do today. Some days it may be as simple as a phone call and other days we’ll provide information on in-person advocacy opportunities. There are many ways to be an advocate and we hope you will join us in advocating for equity!

The first thing to do is to visit the Virginia General Assembly website (https://virginiageneralassembly.gov/) and learn more about how the legislature operates. You can find information about all Delegates and Senators, information on visiting the Capitol, history of the House and Senate, and much more!