The Lieutenant Governor presides daily over the Virginia Senate. In the Lieutenant Governor's absence, a president pro tempore presides, usually a powerful member of the majority party. The Senate is equal with the House of Delegates, the lower chamber of the legislature, except that taxation bills must originate in the House, similar to the federal U.S. Congress.
Members of the Virginia Senate are elected every four years by the voters of the 40 senatorial districts on the Tuesday succeeding the first Monday in November. The last election took place on November 6, 2007. There are no term limits for Senators.
In the 2007 Virginia state elections, the Democratic Party reclaimed the majority in the Senate for the first time since 1999, when the Republican Party took control of the Senate for the first time in history.