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Speaking in Code: Code Commission seeks comments

Lawyers may remember early-career advice to always start with the statutes. They can put that reflex to check the Virginia Code to good use by checking in with the Virginia Code Commission.

The commission, which is responsible for publishing and maintaining the Code of Virginia, is inviting feedback from the bar on setting coming priorities for its ongoing work of updating the statute books.

The “code talkers” are considering taking up Title 23, Educational Institutions, as the commission’s next recodification project to begin in 2014. Following that Title, the commission proposes to recodify Title 36, Housing, in 2016.

Neither title has been recodified since its enactment as part of the current Code of Virginia of 1950.

Generally, the commission selects a title to recodify based on the need to logically reorganize content, modernize language, and reflect current Code style and numbering schemes. To the extent practical, the commission avoids making substantive changes to the statutory text. In the event a substantive change is made, the change is highlighted and explained in the final report.

Other titles currently under consideration for future recodification include Titles 8.01 (Civil Remedies and Procedure), 22.1 (Education), 40.1 (Labor and Employment), 45.1 (Mines and Mining), and 55 (Property and Conveyances).

Presently, the commission is working on Title 33.1, Highways, Bridges and Ferries, assisted by an advisory panel of practitioners experienced in this area. Work on proposed Title 33.2, Highways and Other Surface Transportation Systems, should be finalized by the end of 2013 with resulting legislation introduced at the 2014 Session of the General Assembly.

More information on title recodifications can be found on the commission’s website.

Comments on proposed projects and priorities may be sent to Jane Chaffin at jchaffin@dls.virginia.gov or General Assembly Building, 2nd Floor, 201 North Ninth Street, Richmond, VA 23219, by June 18, 2013.

–Deborah Elkins

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