Virginia General Assembly 2020
WHO: The Witness at the Capitol Team are Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP) volunteers who serve as faithful citizen advocates on the VICPP issues during the legislative session. Volunteers commit for one week of the session, or for a regular presence on a day or two (e.g. I’ll be there every Tuesday). Volunteers are people of faith, clergy and lay leaders who want to learn more about how the General Assembly works and help influence policies.
WHAT: The advocates are the hands-on citizen advocates for VICPP’s priority issues. They:
- Attend and report on committee and subcommittee meetings.
- Meet with legislators and their staff members.
- Communicate the legislators’ position to the VICPP members in the districts.
- Draft background pieces and alerts for engaging the membership in the issues.
- Testify on behalf of issues VICPP is supporting.
- Participate in meetings with allies and partners, such as the Virginia Transparency Coalition, the HAV Coalition or others.
Volunteers are people of faith and comfortable talking about the faith dimensions of the issues. Current and retired clergy, deacons, student faith leaders and congregational lay leaders are sought.
WHERE: The work is in Richmond, the state capitol. If you do not live in Richmond, arrange to be in Richmond for one week, Monday through Friday, during one week of the session.
WHEN: In the early part of the session, meetings tend to be held Monday through Thursday. Towards the end of the session and right before crossover (when bills cross from one body to the other), more meetings are scheduled on Friday. Although the session technically begins on January 8, most committees will meet the following week, beginning on January 13. The session will go through March 7, but our work will probably be finished by February 28. The average day will begin at either 8:30 am or 9 am, depending on committee or subcommittee schedules, and will run till late afternoon. Sometimes, subcommittees are scheduled very early, such as 7 a.m. We will try to be present even in the early morning.
HOW: If you are interested in participating the entire time, for a week or two, or on a regular basis, please contact Kim Bobo at Kim@virginiainterfaithcenter.org.
Logistics for Witness at the Capitol
Evening emails: You will get an email or call the night before letting you know when and where to meet. We seldom know the schedule for the day until the afternoon or evening before. Sometimes Committee meetings will be scheduled at 10 p.m. for the following day. We all must remain flexible.
Meet in the Morning: We will generally meet at the first committee or subcommittee meeting a few minutes before 8:30 or a few minutes before 9, depending on what time the first committees or subcommittees meet.
Meet at noon: When the legislators go into full session, we will meet in the cafeteria and touch base on what we’ve learned. At that point, we can work on updates to districts, if appropriate.
Dates: Please confirm which dates you can participate:
Week One: January 13-17
Week Two: January 20-24
Week Three: January 27 – 31
Week Four: February 3-7
Week Five: February 10-14
Week Six: February 17-21
Week Seven: February 24-28
Patience and Flexibility: We ask for your patience and flexibility. The General Assembly is known for rescheduling and adding and dropping things at the last minute. We must all to be flexible. There is also a fair amount of waiting during long committee hearings and between meetings, so bring a book or a laptop.