Legislative Issues

The 2024 General Assembly Session will convene on January 10, 2024. 

Thanks to those who joined us on January 11, 2024 for VASWCD Legislative Day. With your support, we met many legislators championing our work. If you were unable to join on Legislative Day and are interested in coming to Richmond to meet with your local legislator please be in touch with VASWCD staff to arrange for legislative support. 

It is important your voice is heard. The VASWCD is willing to assist with local SWCD outreach including the organization of zoom meetings or a local legislative tour. Uncertain who represents your area, check out the Who’s Your Legislator tool for reference of elected officials by SWCD/locality. 

The following VASWCD legislative items are also of importance:

  • Legislative Agenda – As approved by members at the VASWCD Annual membership meeting on December 5, 2023 and to be used in advocating district needs. Use this as for talking points of key issues with your legislators. 
  • Legislative Handouts on SWCD Program Impacts: Check back to find additional talking points and ideal documents to leave behind/share with a legislator.
    • VCAP Impact Handout – Use this as a leave behind with legislators to share impact of the Virginia Conservation Assistance Program (VCAP) and it’s program efforts.
    • VASWCD Annual Report – Use this as a leave behind with legislators to share the general work and impact of the Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts and its Educational Foundation.
  • Policy Book – As approved with edits December 6, 2022. Policies are approved every three years. New policies adopted December 6, 2022 include solar, natural landscaping and engineering. 
  • General Assembly Legislative Tracking Report (2.16.24) – This report is updated during session and sent to the alldistirct list serve regularly. The VASWCD legislative tracking report is updated and posted during the General Assembly Session and tracks the status of legislation of interest to SWCDs. These reports provide a summary and impact of the legislation as well as the VASWCD position. Contact VASWCD staff if you have any questions or if there are additional pieces of legislation you wish tracked. 
  • Contact your Legislator – Now is the time to contact Delegates and Senators who are considering priority investments in Virginia’s soil and water district needs. Don’t know your legislator visit – Who’s My Legislator to map your representative. The proposed state budget released on December 20, 2023 builds on current historic funding for Virginia’s natural resources. Easy copy-and-paste messages for you to consider sharing with your legislator may be posted here during session.
  • Budget Amendments pursued by VASWCD in support of VASWCD Legislative Agenda and that may impact SWCDs are available for review in the General Assembly Tracking Report spreadsheet.

The VASWCD is also a member of VirginiaForever, a unique, diverse coalition of businesses, environmental organizations, and outdoor enthusiasts that advocates for increased government funding for water quality improvements and land conservation across the Commonwealth – including SWCD efforts. It is the only statewide organization that has a primary focus on increasing funding for natural resources protection.

We encourage SWCDs to review materials from the following zoom sessions held recently to help inform about session and budget expectations. If you are interested in joining the Legislative Committee please contact Kendall.Tyree@vaswcd.org.

  • Legislative Training: Understanding the Legislative Process, the Work of your VASWCD & the SWCD Role and Impact. Additional material: Tips on Effectively Working with Congress (government relations/lobbying) by John Peterson, VASWCD Legislative Committee Co-Chairman

These legislative reports relating to SWCD funding and the organization of water quality programs are of importance:

  • Preliminary Report of the Chapters 735 and 736 (2023) Stakeholder Advisory Group – Published January 2024 – Section 62.1-44.119:2 of the Code of Virginia directs the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry and the Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources to convene a stakeholder advisory group (of which the VASWCD serves) that reviews “annual progress and make recommendations towards the implementation of the Commonwealth’s agricultural commitments” in the Phase III Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP).
  • Chesapeake Bay Commission Technical Assistance Report The report details the importance of technical assistance and the need for improved support and funding.
  • Chesapeake Bay and Virginia Waters Clean-Up Plan Report – The report in Chapter 4 encompasses the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s report of “Annual Funding Needs for Effective Implementation of Agricultural Best Management Practices” pursuant to subsection C of §10.1-2128.1 of the Code of Virginia. This report also satisfies reporting requirements in §2.2-220.1 of the Code of Virginia regarding the Chesapeake Bay 2000 Agreement.
  • 2013 Virginia Soil & Water Conservation District Funding Study

Additional Information, bookmark these websites to quickly access legislation and General Assembly contact info: