Date of Award

Winter 1991

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Management

Committee Director

Wolfgang Pindur

Committee Member

Leonard I. Ruchelman

Committee Member

G. William Whitehurst

Committee Member

William H. Wallace


This study addresses the following two questions: (1) How does the Virginia General Assembly process bills which are proposed by local governments in Virginia? and (2) Are there identifiable factors in this legislative process which could be impacted by local governments to influence legislative outcomes? These questions are addressed by focusing on ten case studies of environmental issues contained in legislative proposals of six cities in Hampton Roads Virginia for the 1987, 1988, and 1989 sessions of the General Assembly. The case data were compiled from records of the General Assembly, media accounts, and interviews with 19 legislators and other legislative actors and observers. The cases represent both issues which gained the desired legislation and those which did not. Through the case study results and interview data specific factors are identified which affect the outcome of legislative initiatives. Most prominent among these are: Committee support; Perceived saliency; Support of the governor; and the regulatory and precedent setting content of the bill. These factors are analyzed to provide conclusions as to what steps local government policy makers can take to improve legislative outcomes.