Members can serve on VML’s policy and legislative committees. In conjunction with VML’s full-time legislative staff, the members of these committees determine the direction of VML’s advocacy for the coming year.
Policy Committees – VML has 6 policy committees consisting of elected and appointed officials nominated by member localities. Each local government may nominate up to two people per policy committee, at least one of whom must be an elected official. The policy committees update the VML Policy Statements which are presented to the general membership for final approval each fall. These statements are used by the Legislative Committee to craft that year’s Legislative Program.
Legislative Committee – The VML Legislative Committee is responsible for considering and developing legislative positions. The committee consists of 24 individuals holding local elective or appointed positions, all appointed by VML’s President. The legislative committee presents the Legislative Program to the general membership for final approval each fall.
VML Legislative Staff – Using the work of the policy and legislative committees as their guides, VML staff monitor legislation and advocate for member localities. Throughout the year, legislative staff attend committee meetings, confer with state officials, coordinate with stakeholders, testify on matters that affect localities, and participate on workgroups, boards, and commissions. When the General Assembly is in session, VML staff meet regularly with their Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) counterparts and member locality liaisons to coordinate and strategize advocacy actions.
Communications, Publications and Outreach
With more of life happening online these days, VML’s communications team is working to provide more ways to keep our members informed. We continue to add video updates, forums, podcasts, and webinars to our library. Note - As of July 2023, many of the resources and publications on VML's website are restricted to members only.
Newsletter – VML publishes an electronic newsletter to subscribers bi-weekly and more frequently during the legislative session or when critical information needs to be disseminated. Our members know they can count on VML to keep them informed.
Legislative "Action Alerts" – During General Assembly sessions, VML also sends email alerts and calls for action as time sensitive issues affecting our members come before the House and Senate. VML strives to ensure that our members know when, how and why their voices are needed to promote or resist legislation important to localities.
VTC Magazine – Since 1924, VML has produced a print magazine for our members. Originally called Virginia Municipal Review, VML’s magazine, now called Virginia Town & City (VTC), is published 9 times a year. Each issue focuses on a specific theme of interest to our members. Additionally, the magazine highlights activities and achievements of our members, celebrates local government member promotions, retirements and awards and spotlights the history and culture of our members.
VML Voice Podcast – VML’s newest media addition. The VML Voice is the official podcast of the Virginia Municipal League. Each episode explores a different locality or issue but the focus is always on Virginia and the local governments that make the Commonwealth work for everyone.
VML App: Get all the information on our website in a mobile friendly format. During the Annual Conference, the VML App is used as the official conference app. Just search "Virginia Municipal League" in your App Store.
Targeted Messages – VML sends updates, and information and opportunities to our members to be disseminated within the local government as deemed appropriate.
Presentations – VML staff typically travel to member localities all over the state throughout the year, to engage with local officials, staff and communities including activities such as presentations of awards to winners of various contests and/or achievements, Town Hall sessions, education and presentations of the legislative agenda to City and Town Councils. While we hope that we will be able to resume meeting in person soon, we will be offering these options virtually while restrictions on gatherings are in effect.
Events & Training
As we all adjust to the social limitations made necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic, VML staff are committed to maintaining the benefits of VML events and training. In some cases, this will mean offering virtual sessions complemented by informational modules. In other cases, it may mean limiting the size and duration of smaller, in-person events as they become possible. Regardless, the events listed below will be offered this year in new and creative ways.
Virginia Local Elected Officials Conferences (twice yearly) offers timely and relevant training for newly elected, as well as, veteran officials. The event generally covering topics such as council manager relations; FOIA/COIA; understanding budget, finance, and local government investments.
Local Government Legislative Day (held halfway through the General Assembly session) provides an opportunity for members to gather in Richmond, hear updates from VML and partner policy staff as well as administration members and often the Governor and other elected officials. The afternoon is available to go to the General Assembly and meet with delegations to provide input on pending legislation while the evening features a reception where delegates, senators and VML members have an opportunity to network and socialize. This event will be adapted to the changing times!
Annual Conference (every fall) brings together hundreds of individuals including local elected officials, appointed managers and municipal employees, state agencies, business entities who partner with localities, subject matter experts and others interested in local government in Virginia. This event also includes the election of officers and the adoption of the Virginia Municipal League Legislative Program. Learn more about the most recent conference here >.
The 2024 VML Annual Conference will take place Oct. 13-15 at the Cavalier Marriott Hotel (4200 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451)
Regional Meetings (varies) are held throughout the state to provide local officials and staff opportunities to hear from VML’s policy team about developments at the General Assembly, upcoming legislative issues, and new policies coming into effect. These also provide an opportunity to ask questions and make requests most pertinent to the locality.
Legislative Summary – Each year, the VML staff compile a legislative report including summaries of bills that are of interest to localities. The full report is distributed to members.
Handbooks, Guides & Reports – We are pleased to offer to our members resources such as the updated Handbook for Mayors and Council Members, the guide to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, Virginia Conflict of Interests Act and the Virginia Public Records Act, and many other publications with information vital to serving in local government.
Partnerships – VML maintains active partnerships with a variety of organizations to provide benefits to our members. These organizations include the National League of Cities, Virginia Risk Sharing Association (VRSA), VML/VACo Finance, GovDeals and the American Legal Publishing Corporation.
Classified ads – Job postings are free to members. Just choose “Classifieds” and go to "Create Jobs" or search recent postings.
About the Virginia Municipal League
Founded in 1905, the Virginia Municipal League (VML) is a statewide, nonprofit, nonpartisan association of city, town and county governments working together to improve and assist local governments through legislative advocacy, research, education, and other services. VML membership consists of 37 cities, 165 towns and 8 counties.
The VML Executive Committee is made up of 13 local officials representing various localities from across the Commonwealth. The Executive Committee meets quarterly and works in conjunction with the VML Executive Director to carry out the mission of the league.
VML is your organization: Get involved
We were founded by local officials, for local officials. From simply following our electronic communications to working on a policy committee, there are a number of ways to get involved in VML.
1) Communications. You don’t want to miss the critical information that VML is sharing.
2) Annual Conference. Network with your colleagues from around the state and get the latest updates on solving local issues. The 2024 VML Annual Conference will take place Oct. 13-15 at the Cavalier Marriott Hotel (4200 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451).
3) Local Government Legislative Day. This event provides local officials the opportunity to speak with their state representatives about legislation that will impact their localities.
4) Policy Committees. To get more involved in legislative advocacy, ask your locality to nominate you to serve on one of our policy committees. There are six committees that cover the following topics: Community & Economic Development, Infrastructure, Transportation & Environmental Quality, Finance, General Laws, and Human Development & Education.
5) Local Elected Officials Conferences (Winter and Summer) Both new and seasoned public officials will benefit from this valuable opportunity to learn from speakers with extensive experience working with local government officials. In addition to required training on FOIA/COIA, the conference offers an excellent opportunity to learn what it takes to succeed as an elected official. Topics pertinent to local officials such as budgeting, risk management, and cybersecurity will also be covered.