Virginia Division of Legislative Services

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The Virginia Division of Legislative Services is a nonpartisan legislative service agency that serves the members and staff of the Virginia General Assembly.

Mission Statement

The Virginia Division of Legislative Services provides the members of the Virginia General Assembly with the highest quality legal and analytical information, support services, and advice.


The Division of Legislative Services was first formed in 1914 as the Legislative Reference Bureau. In 1930, the Legislative Reference Bureau moved from the Attorney General's jurisdiction to the General Assembly. After a series of additions in the 1960's and 1970's, the DLS became in its current form in 1989 when more legislative professionals were added to fulfill the agency's mission[1].


The Rules Committee of the Virginia House of Delegates and Virginia Senate are responsible for selecting a Director of the Division of Legislative Services. The Director must have a degree from an accredited law school as one of the main qualifications. The Director in turn hires all other staffers[2].

Services offered

Bill drafting

The Division of Legislative Services handles all bill and resolution drafting for members of the Virginia General Assembly. The DLS has a system that alerts legislators if there is an issue with proposed legislation. A bill draft in white paper returned to the legislator shows the law is in accordance with the Code of Virginia and the Virginia Constitution. A bill draft returned in gray denotes constitutional issues if the bill were to pass[3]. All bill drafting records become public after a bill is enacted into law[3].

Code revision

All revisions to the Code of Virginia are handled by the Division of Legislative Services[4].

Legislative research

The Division of Legislative Services does most legislative research for members and staff for the Virginia General Assembly. Some of the research requests the DLS gets from legislators are analyzing Virginia's laws, comparing Virginia's laws to federal laws and those in other states, analyzing administrative rules at both the state and federal level, analyzing proposed legislation in other states, analyzing legislative ideas from legislators, committees, and their staff, along with other research done on the legislator's request[5].

External links