VA General Assembly Update

VA General Assembly Update
As legislative issues of importance to the business community are considered at the state and local level, the Hampton Roads Chamber will keep you informed by providing weekly updates. Check out this week's "Legislative Review".

Produced by the Hampton Roads Chamber
Friday, February 24, 2017

Economic Development Reform Measures

  • There are three bills that change the governance and operating structure of the Virginia Department of Economic Development under consideration in the General Assembly.  HB 2471 (Jones R-76th), SB 1238 (Hanger R-24th) and SB 1574 (Ruff R-15th).
  • The Virginia Economic Developers Association has taken positions regarding the legislation as follows:
    • Board – two new seats for fiscal oversight
    • Board Chair from Board membership
    • Board member terms, 6 years
    • Board status, supervisory
    • Hold 6 meetings annually
    • Develop Strategic Plan and review every 4 years
    • Financial reporting annually
    • Creation of incentives/grant administration division
    • Annual Marketing Plan with economic development regions
    • Create International Trade Advisory Committee

Broadband Bill Advances
HB 2108 (Byron R-22nd)- what was initially a 15-page Broadband Deployment Act now provides additions to the existing Virginia Wireless Services Authorities Act.  The bill adds transparency to local broadband authority expenses and rates.

Rex Alphin Announces for 64th House of Delegates Seat
Rex Alphin recently announced that he is running as a Republican for the 64th District House Seat.  Alphin currently serves as chairman of the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors.  The seat is currently held by Delegate Rick Morris.

Virginia’s Board of Medicine Approves New Emergency Regulations
The 2017 Session of the Virginia General Assembly focused on a new and growing opioid epidemic.  According to the Virginia Department of Health, the state saw 822 opioid overdose deaths in the first 9 months of 2016.  Senator Ben Chafin (R-38th) and Delegate Todd Pillion (R-4th) proposed several bills related to opioid, including one that established a work group to establish stricter guidelines for health care providers in training.

The Virginia Board of Health recently approved new emergency regulations that will give it the authority to specifically regulate the prescribing of opioid for pain.

Governor Requesting Changes to Proposed House and Senate Versions of the Budget
Governor McAuliffe (D Virginia) has requested a few changes to budgets proposed by state lawmakers.  The budget conferees will now work to resolve differences prior to February 25th and present a balanced budget to the Governor.

The Governor has asked the General Assembly to consider funding increasing mental health services in jails, improving the state’s election system and funding for cyber security and bio science.  To create new monies the Governor has proposed cutting the 400th anniversary of representative government in Jamestown celebration by $5M and cutting GO Virginia by $15M.

Airbnb Legislation Provides More Authority to Local Governments
Senate Bill 1578 (Norment R-3rd) provides local governments the option to adopt ordinances requiring people to register before they put their homes up for short term rentals.  These registrations would provide local governments with the information needed to regulate the rentals and collect taxes.  Fees and penalties of up to $500 could be imposed on individuals who fail to register.  The bill also requires an ABC license for those homeowners that wish to serve alcohol.

The bill was SUPPORTED by the Hampton Roads Chamber.

Quinnipiac Approval Poll
Official                       Overall                       Independents           Dem                Rep

Trump                         38/56                          37/57                          3/98                81/11
Warner                       58/26                          54/29                          78/10              39/42
Kaine                         57/37                          55/37                          94/3                13/78
McAuliffe                   51/34                          48/35                          82/6                17/69

Uranium Mining Ban Upheld
A federal appeals court recently rejected Virginia Uranium’s arguments that the Federal Atomic Energy Act should over-ride the Commonwealth’s mining regulations.  The General Assembly has maintained a moratorium on the mining of uranium in Virginia for the safety of residents, lands and waterways.  The Chamber SUPPORTS the moratorium.

Transportation Lock Box
House Joint Resolution 693 is a first resolution of a Constitutional Amendment requiring the General Assembly to maintain permanent and separate transportation funds to include the Commonwealth Transportation Fund, Transportation Trust Fund, Highway Maintenance and Operating Fund and other funds established by law for transportation.  The Chamber SUPPORTS the resolution.

 

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