Virginia General Assembly Legislative Update

Tagged in: Advocacy
Virginia General Assembly Legislative Update

News and Notes from the Virginia General Assembly



Monday, February 4, 2013
 


Medicaid Reform and Coverage Extension under the Affordable Care Act
The Hampton Roads Chamber recently received a letter from the Presidents and “CEO’s” of all five health systems in our region asking for support of Medicaid reform and coverage extension from the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The Affordable Care Act contains some of the most drastic cuts that Virginia hospitals have ever experienced, more than $4.5 billion by 2022 if Virginia takes NO ACTION.

Medicaid is the only source of health coverage for children, the elderly, the disabled and the extremely poor.  The General Assembly has the opportunity to seek a Medicaid waiver from portions of the Affordable Care Act that will give Virginia the flexibility to cover an additional 400,000 Virginians and access $3.9 billion in federal funding.  At the same time, Virginia can create an additional 30,000 jobs.

A letter urging Medicaid reform and coverage extension was sent to Governor McDonnell and members of the Hampton Roads General Assembly delegation. Click here to access the letter.

Transportation Study Supports Governor McDonnell’s Transportation Plan
A study by Chmura Economics and Analytics recently released confirms the benefits of Governor Bob McDonnell’s proposed “Virginia’s Road to the Future” transportation funding and reform package.  The study revealed that his plan is revenue neutral and should result in lower gas prices for Virginia consumers.
The study concluded:

  • Competitive pressure of the gasoline retail market implies that when the gas tax is removed, retail prices will come down.  The study indicates that the retail price for gas could be reduced by 16.6 cents or 95 percent of the 17.5 cents per gallon eliminated gas tax.
  • Using available data, the fiscal impact of the Governor’s proposal is essentially revenue neutral considering its impact on the Combined General Fund or Transportation Fund.
  • The new proposal will generate more revenue for transportation in the future as transportation revenue – tied to sales tax – is expected to grow faster than the current motor fuel tax revenue.
  • The gas tax is more regressive than the sales tax.  As a result, removing the gas tax will create a less-regressive tax structure than existing law, benefiting low-income households.
  • The elimination of the gas tax will increase overall sales at Virginia gas stations by $123 million.

Virginia Statewide Transportation Survey Key Findings
*Conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and Frederick Polls, January 19-21, 2013

Key Findings

  • 83% of Virginia voters say it is important for a transportation plan to pass this session.
  • 4 in 5 voters see the shortfall in the new construction budget as a big concern.
  • 62% of voters favor Governor McDonnell’s plan – 31% oppose it.

The Greater Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Alliance and the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce support the Governor’s transportation proposal contained in HB 2313 and SB 1355.  We have expressed the willingness to work with both parties in the General Assembly to develop and pass real and sustainable funding for the Commonwealth.

House and Senate Finance Committees passed Governor McDonnell’s Transportation bills on January 30th and 31st
HB 2313 (Speaker Bill Howell)/SB 1355 (Senator Newman)

  • Raises registration fees for the Mass Transit Fund and Inter-city Passenger Rail Operating and Capital Fund.
  • Raises the state sales tax from 4% to 4.8% with revenue to the Commonwealth Transportation Fund.
  • Designates funds from the “Internet Sales Tax” for transportation.
  • Eliminates the state’s 17.5 cents per gallon gas tax

(Chambers Support)

House Votes to Prevent “Card Check” in Union Elections 69-30
HB 1385 (Comstock) protects the right of an individual employee to vote by secret ballot in labor proceedings.

(Chambers Support)
 
House Votes 69-30 in Favor of Right-to-Work Constitutional Amendment
HJ 536 (Bell) protects the right to work status of Virginia’s workers.

(Chambers Support)

Senate Passes Two-Term Governor
SJ 276 (Garrett) permits Governor in 2017 to succeed himself/herself in office.

(Chambers Support)

House Courts Advances Tort Reform Package Including Use of Depositions for Summary Judgment Motions
HB 1708 (Habeeb) allows for motions for summary judgment to be based in whole or in part, upon depositions, answers to interrogatories, or affidavits.
HB 1709 (Habeeb) dismissal of action by non-suit, fees and costs.
HB 1618 (Gilbert) restricts list of Category B venues for court cases.

(Chambers Support)

Senate Education and Health Committee Turns down Post-Labor Day Opening Bill
SB 1099 (Smith) allowing local school boards the authority for setting opening of school year.

(Chambers Opposed)


During the General Assembly session, please feel free to contact the Chamber’s governmental affairs staff regarding any business issue or concern.

Ira Agricola – 664-2572 or iagricola@hrccva.com
Dean McClain – 664-2560 or dmcclain@hrccva.com
Candace Reid – 664-2572 or creid@hrccva.com

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