Virginia Resources

This State Guide provides an in-depth look at sources of law in Virginia.

Starting a Legislative History

There is no official legislative history information in Virginia, so the documents and resources that will help to establish legislative intent are varied. Make sure you have the law's bill number and chapter number before you start on a history.

Document Locations

Code of Virginia

Annotations: The Text of each statutes is followed by parenthetical information about its history. For code provisions enacted since 1950, the note refers to the appropriate volume and chapter of the Acts of the General Assembly, and to earlier code citations if a particular title has been recodified. For code provisions already in effect in 1950, the note refers to an earlier edition of the code.

Check Statutes section in this guide, also Historical Statutes for versions of superseded codes

Session Laws.

Acts also contain all joint resolutions agreed to by the General Assembly and respective House Resolutions agreed to by the body.

Check Session Laws section in this guide
Bills Check Bills & Bill Status section in this guide

Reports to the General Assembly and Special Studies

The House or Senate will sometimes order committees to prepare studies of topics important to the Assembly. The reports from these studies are compiled in a set entitled House & Senate Documents. A chronological list of House and Senate Documents from 1897 is available on the Virginia's Legislative Information System.

Virginia's Legislative Information System (from 1897)

Legislative Bill Room: Telephone: 804-786-6984, 900 E. Main Street, Pocahontas Bldg Ste W528, Richmond, VA 23219

Floor Debates

There are no paper records of the proceedings of the General Assembly. Instead, there are videotapes available for viewing at the offices of the General Assembly in Richmond. House debates are available from the 1980s to the present, and Senate debates are available for the past six months. You must call ahead to make sure the tapes are available, and you must know the dates of the proceedings you want to review.

House Clerk's office: Telephone:804-698-1530

House recordings at Library of Virginia

Senate Clerk's Office: Telephone: 804-698-7400

Newspaper: Govt & Politics section in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Rich. Times-Dispatch)

Richmond's daily newspaper, covers the General Assembly and can be a good resource for background information on legislation.

Lexis: Rich. Times-Dispatch (from 1995)

Westlaw: Rich. Times-Dispatch (from 1985)

Access points through catalog: Rich. Times-Dispatch

More access points through catalog: Rich. Times-Dispatch

Newspaper: Virginia Politics section in The Washington Post (Wash. Post)

This section in the newspaper covers Virginia legislative events.


Check access points for Wash. Post on News Research Guide.

Newspaper: Virginia Lawyers Weekly (Va. Laws. Wkly.)

A legal newspaper that covers legislative activities.

In print: Va. Laws. Wkly.: Law Library Call Number: Journals 1st Floor K26 .I1755 (1986 - , last updated in 2020 at Law Library)

Access points through catalog: Va. Lawyers Wkly.: Coverage varies by database)

Lexis: Va. Laws. Wkly. (from 2002)

Westlaw: Va. Laws. Wkly. (from 2003)

Research Guides