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Government of Virginia

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The Government of Virginia is guarded and established by the Virginia State Constitution. Virginia became a 10th state of the United States on June 25, 1788 [1]. The government of Virginia is divided into three distinct branches, namely the Executive branch, the Legislative branch and the Judicial branch. Virginia is nicknamed as the "Old Dominion State".


Executive Branch of Virginia

The Virginia Executive Branch is a well functioning body of the state government and several state government departments work under the executive branch. The Governor of Virginia leads the executive branch of the government as the chief executive head.

Under the Constitution of Virginia-

  • The governor can exercise his/her executive power and functions as the head of the state’s military forces.

  • The governor of Virginia also has the unilateral power to forbid the law enacted by the state legislature which can be accomplished by attaining simple majority within the upper house and the lower house.

  • He/she can exercise some judiciary power to a limit that he can excuse convicted criminals except in the cases when an official is convicted of unlawful activities.executive department

Office of the Governor of Virgina
1111 East Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: 804-786-2211

The Lieutenant Governor of Virginia is a constitutionally elected officer. He/she has a solid influence as the ex-officio president of the state and the second in line to succeed the governor of Virginia. The lieutenant governor has the right to vote only when there is a tie situation and to break the tie. The Lieutenant governor may exercise the governor’s duties only in situations when the governor is incapable of performing his/her duties due to death, resignation, impeachment, termination from office, or other disability.

Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
102 Governor Street
Richmond, Virginia, 23219
Phone: (804) 786-2078
Fax: (804) 786-7514

The Attorney General is the highest ranking law enforcement officer for the state. He/she is the head of the Department of Law, and is regarded as both the “People's Lawyer” and the State's chief legal officer. He/she is a representative of the state and its agencies in court cases, renders legal counsel to state agencies and is also answerable in written format to the state official's questions of law.

Office of the Attorney General of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General
900 East Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: (804) 786-2071

Legislative Branch of Virginia

The Virginia Legislature is the law making and supervising body of the state government of Virginia. Virginia General Assembly is divided into the Senate and the House of Delegates. Virginia state capitol is located in Richmond.

Under the constitution of Virginia, the legislative branch has the power to -
  • Approve the budget
  • Enact laws
  • Confirm appointments of governor
  • Elect judges and other public officials

The Virginia Senate, consisting of 40 state senators, is the upper House of the state legislature. Each senator may serve for a four year term. The Virginia senate has the exclusive power to approve certain appointees designated by the constitution and by the statute and also has the power to revise the revenue bills proposed by the House of Delegates. The Lieutenant Governor acts as the Senate's presiding officer and serves for a four-year term, elected through statewide election. The President pro tempore may serve for four years and is elected by the Senate.

Learn more: Virginia State Senate

The Virginia House of Delegates, consisting of 100 members, is the lower house of the state legislature. Each member may serve for two years. The two legislatures have equal powers but all revenue raising matters must be proposed and approved in the Virginia House of Delegates, which meets at the Virginia State House in Richmond.

The Speaker leads the House and is elected by the members of the house for a 2 year term. It is a leadership position and he/she must administer the majority party agenda and delegate the duty to the members of the house. The Rules of the House dictates the duties of the Speaker. One notable duty of the Speaker is to assign bills to committee and also he has the responsibility to appoint members of the fourteen House standing committees.

Learn more: Virginia House of Delegates

Contact Speaker of the House
Capitol Office
General Assembly Building
P.O. Box 406
Richmond, Virginia 23218
Office: (804) 698-1028
Email Address: delwhowell@house.virginia.gov

District Office
P.O. Box 8296
Fredericksburg, VA 22404
Office: (540) 371-1612
Fax: (540) 371-7449

Judicial Branch of Virginia

The Judiciary is the system that employs and applies law and regulates any disputes ensuring justice in the state. The Judiciary has the authority to review the legislative and the executive actions. Virginia's court system encompasses -Judicial

  • The Supreme Court of Virginia
  • The Court of Appeals of Virginia
  • Circuit courts in 31 judicial circuits
  • General district court
  • Juvenile and domestic relations district courts in 32 districts
  • Magistrate's offices in 32 districts

Supreme Court of Virginia

The Supreme Court of Virginia is the court of highest appeal in the state and has exclusive judicial and administrative liabilities. The court consists of a chief justice and six associate justices. The Supreme Court has the exclusive legal power to retrospect the decisions made by the other courts and exercises appellate as well as original jurisdiction. The state disallows an appeal to the Supreme Court as a matter of right with the exception in cases, such as the disbarment of an attorney, the State Corporation Commission and review of the death penalty.

The original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court include-

  • Habeas corpus
  • Mandamus (an order to the office holder to perform his/her duties) Prohibition (an order to the office holder to to stop an action),
  • Actual innocence (based on biological testing)
  • Cases involving retirement, censure and removal of judges which are filed by the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission.

Contact Details:courts
Supreme Court of Virginia
P.O. Box 1315
100 North Ninth Street
Richmond, VA 23219-1315

Learn more: Supreme Court of Virginia

Court of Appeals of Virginia

The Court of Appeals of Virginia evaluates the circuit court's final decisions. Most decisions of the Court of Appeals are final but the supreme court may review the decisions if any party is not satisfied with the Court of Appeals' decisions and may appeal the Supreme Court. The court hears cases related to -

  • Domestic relations matters
  • Appeals from decisions of an administrative agency
  • Traffic infractions and criminal cases, except where a sentence of death has been imposed
  • Reviews final decisions of the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission.

Learn more: Court of Appeals of Virginia

Circuit court of Virginia

The circuit court of Virginia is the trial court having the jurisdiction to hear severe criminal cases called felonies. The circuit court hears all cases related to all civil cases with amount over $25,000 and shares its legal power with the general district court in claims from $4,500 to $25,000. Each city and county in Virginia has a circuit court.

Learn more: Circuit court of Virginia

Find the individual circuit courts

General District Court of Virginia

Each city and county in Virginia has a general district court. The court deals with -

  • Traffic violations
  • Minor criminal cases called misdemeanors
  • Performs preliminary hearings for more serious criminal cases called felonies

Find all district courts in the state

Learn more: General District Court of Virginia

Juvenile and domestic relations district court of Virginia

Each city and county in Virginia has juvenile and domestic relations district court. Certain juvenile offenses are termed as status offenses, i.e. an act is considered unlawful only because minors commit the act. The juvenile and domestic relations district court handles all cases involving -

  • Juvenile delinquency cases
  • Juveniles in traffic or criminal matters
  • Matters involving the family such as support, custody and visitation
  • Cases of family abuse
  • Child abuse or neglect cases
  • Criminal cases where the defendant and alleged victim are family or household members

Learn more: Juvenile and domestic relations district court of Virginia

Find all Juvenile and domestic relations district courts in the state

Virginia State Taxation

The Virginia Department of Taxation manages and administers a standard tax laws in the state. Tax laws include entire laws and taxes on income, sales, property, luxury, bingo, and estate. The majority of tax collected in Virginia goes to education.

Also read:

Local Tax Rate 2012 tax

Individual Tax Rate Calculator

Contact Virginia Department of Taxation
Office of Customer Services
P.O. Box 1115
Richmond, VA 23218-1115
Website: http://www.tax.virginia.gov

Complete Phone Directory

Virginia State Departments

There are various state departments in Virginia that work concurrently with the executive branch of the state government. The departments are committed to render their services in various sectors for a systematic and proper functioning of the state as a whole.

Some of the important state departments are –

Virginia Department of Education

Virginia Department of Education supervises and manages the workings of all schools, and higher education systems in the state. The department also superintends the state tests and examinations. The department’s mission is to provide world class education and best values to the students to ensure success in education, workplace and in every spheres of life.education

Contact Details:
James Monroe Building
101 N. 14th Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Website: http://www.doe.virginia.gov

Complete Phone Directory

Virginia Department of Labor and Industry

The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry is the department that administers labor law and attends to unemployment benefits. The department strives to ensure a fair wage for all workers and work to safeguard the safety and health of workers and the public.

Contact Details:
Virginia Department of Labor and Industry - Headquarters:
Main Street Centre Bldg
600 East Main Street, Suite 207
Richmond, Virginia 23219-4101
Telephone Number - Office: 804.371.2327
Fax: 804.786.2376
Website: http://www.doli.virginia.gov/index.html

Office Hours: 8:15 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., Monday – Friday

Virginia Department of Health

The Virginia Department of Health works efficiently to improve the health and living standards of the community by implementing many health regulating services and policies. The health department also has its sub divisions which provide all vital records and health statistics of the state. The health department also focuses on community and environmental health so that people lives a healthy life.

Contact Details:Heath Care
P.O. Box 2448
Richmond, Virginia 23218-2448
109 Governor Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Website: http://www.vdh.state.va.us/index.htm

Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics
2001 Maywill Street
Richmond, Virginia 23230

Complete Phone Directory

Virginia Department of Transportation

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) oversees roads, mass transit systems, ports, waterways and airways in the state. The department administers and manages the state’s highways, freeways, railways, airports, hospital heliports and implement primary programs to improve accessibility and convenient mobility with cities across the state and also with neighboring states. VDOT has implemented many programs to improve the transportation network in the state. Some of the notable programs include Highway safety corridors, Bicycling and walking, Adopt-a-Highway, Environmental programs, Storm water management, Work zone safety and Wildflowers preservation.

Contact Details:transportation
Virginia Department of Transportation
1401 E. Broad St.
Richmond, VA 23219
800-367-7623 (toll-free)
711 (hearing impaired)
Website: http://www.virginiadot.org/default.asp

Complete Transport Contact Details

Virginia Department of Treasury

The Virginia Department of Treasury plays a significant role in safeguarding the financial security of the state and also to promote economic prosperity. Additionally, it is responsible for cash management, unclaimed property, Trust Funds and producing coins and currency.

Contact Details:
Virginia Department of Treasury
101 North 14th Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: (804) 225-2142
Website: http://www.trs.virginia.gov/

Virginia Department of Military Affairs

The Virginia Department of Military Affairs is devoted to safeguard the citizens of Virginia and provides several facilities and services through community level, state level and federal level missions. The department consists of the Virginia National Guard and the Virginia Defense Force and employ forces for homeland defense and homeland security. The various divisions of the department, with the unique capabilities operate to provide military forces and efficient services to execute community, state and federal missions.

Complete Contact Information of Virginia Department of Military Affairs

Learn more: Virginia Department of Military Affairs

Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services overviews and manages agriculture and related activities such as horticulture, farm, fruit and dairy products, aquaculture, the production, processing, transportation, storage, marketing and food distribution. The department has many divisions that operate to improve the state’s agricultural outputs that that benefit producers as well as consumers. The department mainly focuses to promote the state economy and uplift Virginia agriculture and also offer consumer protection.

Contact Details:
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer ServicesAgriculture
102 Governor Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Hearing Impaired: 800.828.1120
Website: http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/index.shtml

Commissioner’s Office – 804.786.3501
Communications Office (all media requests) – 804.786.7686
Division of Animal and Food Industry Services – 804.692.0601
Division of Consumer Protection – 804.786.3523
Division of Marketing – 804.786-3530
Administrative and Financial Services – 804.786.3532
Emergency Services – 804.786.9600
Human Resource Office – 804.786.3531
Office of Consumer Affairs Charitable and Regulatory Programs – 804.786.1343
Policy, Planning and Research – 804.786-3538
State Milk Commission – 804.786.2013


  1. Virginia Statehood
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