Here’s a Breakdown of ‘Crossover,’ How It Works, and Why It Matters

Work continues on the tunnel being dug between the new Virginia General Assembly building and the State Capitol Wednesday, Sep. 7, 2022, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

By Isabel Soisson

February 7, 2023

This week marks a sort of halftime in the Virginia legislative session: crossover. It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot while the General Assembly is in session, but what is it? And why does it matter?

“Crossover day” in the Virginia General Assembly is the day in the legislative session bills must pass by in their respective chambers in order to be considered in the other chamber. In other words, a bill must pass in the House of Delegates before it can even be considered in the Senate, and vice versa. This year, that day is Feb. 7. After crossover, the only bills each chamber can consider must have already passed the other legislative chamber–the Senate can only hear House bills, and the House can only hear bills that have already passed the state Senate. This year, the General Assembly will wrap things up on Feb. 24.

As a bit of a reminder on Virginia’s legislative process, a bill is first introduced by its “chief patron” when the General Assembly convenes in January. The bill then gets assigned to a committee, and then sometimes a subcommittee, where it will either languish via a parliamentary maneuver or be reported to the full House or Senate, where it will be either passed or defeated. If a bill passes both legislative chambers, it is sent to the governor’s desk, where they will either veto it, sign it into law, or allow it to become law without their signature.

As Virginia approaches 2023’s crossover, the state’s divided government suggests that Virginia voters might not see much movement on policies that they’ve previously expressed concern over. Remember, Republicans control the House of Delegates, and Democrats have majority control of the state Senate. This means that some of the most controversial bills may pass in one chamber and fail in the other.

Still, some big Virginia issues could see compromise in the next few weeks as the legislative session finishes up for the year; 2023 is an election year for every member of the state House and Senate, and every lawmaker seeking reelection is hoping for a legislative accomplishment they can run on back in their home district.

  • Isabel Soisson

    Isabel Soisson is a multimedia journalist who has worked at WPMT FOX43 TV in Harrisburg, along with serving various roles at CNBC, NBC News, Philadelphia Magazine, and Philadelphia Style Magazine.


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