Augusta County; removal of county courthouse, authorization by electorate. (HB902)

Introduced By

Del. John Avoli (R-Staunton)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Removal of county courthouse; Augusta County; authorization by electorate. Allows Augusta County to hold a referendum on the courthouse removal in 2022, despite the 10-year waiting requirement, if plans are developed for (i) relocating to a newly constructed courthouse in Augusta County and (ii) either (a) the renovation and expansion of the current courthouse in the City of Staunton or (b) the construction of a new courthouse in the City of Staunton. The bill specifies that both plans are to be schematic, prepared by a licensed architect, include good faith estimates of the costs of construction, including necessary acquisition of property, and be made available to the public at least two months before the planned referendum. The result of the referendum shall be binding. The bill also directs the architect preparing the plans to consider options for reducing record storage space requirements and for shared use of facilities within Staunton and to develop a plan for the preservation of the existing courthouse regardless of which plan is chosen. This bill is identical to SB 283. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


01/12/2022Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/12/22 22102108D
01/12/2022Referred to Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns
01/24/2022Assigned CC & T sub: Subcommittee #1
02/04/2022House subcommittee amendments and substitutes offered
02/04/2022Subcommittee recommends reporting (8-Y 1-N)
02/11/2022Committee substitute printed 22105194D-H1
02/11/2022Reported from Counties, Cities and Towns with substitute (20-Y 2-N) (see vote tally)
02/13/2022Read first time
02/14/2022Read second time
02/14/2022Committee substitute agreed to 22105194D-H1
02/14/2022Engrossed by House - committee substitute HB902H1
02/15/2022Passed by temporarily
02/15/2022Reconsideration of Passed by temporarily agreed to
02/15/2022Read third time and passed House (98-Y 0-N)
02/15/2022VOTE: Passage (98-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/16/2022Constitutional reading dispensed
02/16/2022Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
02/21/2022Senate committee, floor amendments and substitutes offered
02/22/2022Reported from Privileges and Elections with substitute (14-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)
02/22/2022Committee substitute printed 22106859D-S1
02/24/2022Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/25/2022Read third time
02/25/2022Reading of substitute waived
02/25/2022Committee substitute agreed to 22106859D-S1
02/25/2022Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute HB902S1
02/25/2022Passed Senate with substitute (38-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)
03/01/2022Senate substitute rejected by House 22106859D-S1 ( 0-Y 99-N)
03/01/2022VOTE: Rejected (0-Y 99-N) (see vote tally)
03/03/2022Senate insisted on substitute (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
03/03/2022Senate requested conference committee
03/04/2022House acceded to request
03/07/2022Conferees appointed by Senate
03/07/2022Senators: Hanger, Mason, Bell
03/09/2022Conferees appointed by House
03/09/2022Delegates: Avoli, Campbell, R.R., Hudson
03/11/2022Passed by temporarily
03/12/2022C Amended by conference committee
03/12/2022Conference substitute printed 22107909D-H2
03/12/2022Conference report agreed to by House (97-Y 0-N)
03/12/2022VOTE: Adoption (97-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
03/12/2022Conference report agreed to by Senate (38-Y 2-N) (see vote tally)
03/21/2022Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB902ER)
03/21/2022Signed by President
03/22/2022Signed by Speaker
03/22/2022Enrolled Bill communicated to Governor on March 22, 2022
03/22/2022G Governor's Action Deadline 11:59 p.m., April 11, 2022
04/11/2022Governor's recommendation received by House
04/11/2022Governor's substitute printed 22108185D-H3
04/27/2022Placed on Calendar
04/27/2022Motion to pass by Governor's recommendation agreed to
04/27/2022Communicated to Governor on April 27, 2022
04/27/2022G Governor's Action Deadline 11:59 p.m., May 27, 2022
05/27/2022G Approved by Governor-Chapter 806 (effective - see bill)
05/27/2022G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0806)


Ingrid writes:

To allow this bill to succeed is to undermine the results of an Augusta County referendum and to generally reward bad behavior, mostly, though not exclusively, on the part of Augusta County elected officials.
First, it would allow Augusta County elected officials to ignore the clear will of their constituents, who in 2016 voted overwhelmingly (2-1) against moving the Augusta County courts out of Staunton.
Second, passing this bill messages to Augusta County elected officials that acting in bad faith is acceptable, as demonstrated by them repeatedly refusing, out of hand, any and all contributions made by the City of Staunton to help offset costs of maintaining Staunton as the County seat and keeping the courts here.
Third, the timing of the draft resolution for County and City consideration on supporting this bill was such that it came across to us City residents as an ultimatum, with no time for us to understand what was afoot. While not opining here on the merits of the underlying arrangement proposed (i.e. Courthouse moves to Verona in exchange for essentially giving the City of Staunon several buildings and a lot), the whole way in which the resolution was hastily brought up for a City Council vote was a travesty.

Randall Wolf writes:

I do not support this bill that discounts the vote taken in 2016 that was to last ten years. Augusta County residents voted 2-1 to not move the courthouse to Verona. That vote should be respected. Keeping the courthouse in Staunton also allows for sharing of court space between the county and city.

Lallon Pond writes:

I am writing to urgently request that you do not pass SB283 out of your committee and to continue to vote “no” after crossover until it is totally killed. I am a Staunton City resident, and I have heard from my neighbors as well as Augusta County residents that they are NOT in favor of this bill. In the referendum that was held in 2016, the vote was overwhelmingly (2-1) NOT in favor of moving the Augusta County courts out of Staunton. People think their votes in the referendum are being ignored. This is not the way local politics should work.

Brenda O Mead writes:

Vote no on HB 902!

The residents of Augusta County spoke 6 years ago, by a 2 to 1 margin, to keep the Courthouse in Staunton. The County dragged its feet on maintenance and renovations of the facilities until judiciary action was taken to require the County to address the issues.

Now they come before the General Assembly to nullify the voices of their citizens and try again to get the answer they want.

As a member of Staunton City Council it is my obligation to let you know that this bill hurts Staunton citizens, and ignores the voters of Augusta County.

It sets a dangerous precedent that voters can no longer trust their elected leaders to follow the law.

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