Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Workers Comp - The House Commerce and Labor Sub-committee rejected a bill that would have established a statutory fee schedule based on Medicare to set prices on workers comp care. The same sub-committee passed HB1083 (Kilgore/Ware) that includes a number of reform measures supported by the Chambers. While Virginia enjoys the 4th lowest Workers Comp insurance premiums in the country with a "cost per worker" that is 30% lower than the national median, our position is that we should consider reasonable reforms that protect the strengths of the current system.
Utility Bill Draws Some Opposition - HB1059 is designed to allow Dominion to charge ratepayers for six and a half years of capital development costs on North Anna 3 nuclear plant in its operating rates. Firms opposing the measure have communicated their concerns over the powers of the State Corporation Commission relative to rate making. The utility has positioned HB1059 as a needed means to recover investment in a new nuclear power plant to meet future energy needs in Virginia.
House Passes Ethics Reform
The Virginia House of Delegates passed HB1211 (Gilbert R-15th) on a 98 to 1 vote. The bill puts a $250 cap on gifts from lobbyist and anyone with business before the state and it creates an ethics advisory council that will oversee and update Virginia's financial disclosure system. A similar bill (SB649) has passed the Senate on a 39-1 vote.
Minimum Wage Bill Passes Senate then Defeated in House Committee
SB590 (Marsden D-37th) - increased the minimum wage from the current federally mandated level of $7.25 per hour to $8.25 per hour effective July 1, 2014 and to $9.25 per hour effective July 1, 2015. The measure failed to advance in a House Committee after "crossover." The Chambers favor a federally mandated minimum wage.
House Bills Eliminating the Current Labor Day Waiver Law Passed and will Head to Senate for Consideration
HB577 (Stolle R-83rd), HB333 (Greason R-32nd) and HB610 (Robinson R-27th) all make substantial changes to the current Labor Day Waiver Law in Virginia. All of these measures are OPPOSED by the Chambers. The bills will likely be referred to Senate Education and Health which is chaired by Senator Louise Lucas (D-18th). Hospitality business representatives from across Virginia will testify in opposition to the bills once they are docketed
Senate and House Budgets to Report on Sunday, February 16
Once released, each Chamber will vote for approval of its budget. After approval, 6 budget conferees from the House of Delegates and 6 budget conferees from the Virginia Senate will work to negotiate a final budget that is presented to the Governor. Speaker Bill Howell has appointed Delegate Kirk Cox, Delegate Chris Jones, Delegate John O'Bannon, Delegate Steve Landes, Delegate Tag Greason and Delegate Johnny Joannou to represent the House of Delegates.
Marketplace Virginia Resolution of Support
The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee passed the following Resolution of Support to find a Private Market-Based solution that will ensure the reform and expansion of Medicaid in Virginia. Please click here to review a copy of the resolution.