Whether the majority Democrats are inflicting destruction or enacting long overdue reforms is a matter of opinion, and whether they retain power in November’s elections depends on the voters — specifically voters in the mostly suburban districts that a few years ago routinely sent Republicans to Richmond but then decided during the Trump years to send Democrats instead.
All those things will reveal themselves in time. For now, let’s turn to the specific question at issue — the length of Virginia’s legislative sessions. How do the length of our General Assembly sessions compare to those of other states? That, like boiling an egg or baking a cake, is a matter of science — specifically the search algorithm that leads us to the websites for the National Conference of State Legislatures and Ballotpedia, both of which have a handy list of session lengths in each state.
Ballotpedia says 10 states have full-time legislatures — Alaska, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — although defining “full-time” is apparently a term of art. Even some of those states have limits on how long the legislature can meet. New Jersey’s legislature is officially considered part-time yet meets for most of the year, so that would be an 11th full-time legislature, at least in practical terms.
Four other states don’t have full-time legislatures but don’t impose any artificial lengths on sessions, either — Idaho, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Vermont. Kansas makes four and a half — its sessions are limited to 90 days in even years, but unlimited in odd years.