Week 22023 Legislative Session January 23rd - 27th
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Week 2 Summary
The second full week of the 2023 General Assembly session is in the books. This year is fast paced, close to 2,000 bills have been introduced. However, hundreds of bills have been killed or merged. This week was filled with action as crossover is fast approaching and starts on February 7th.
In case you missed last week, these summaries will be broken into three sections. First, I will provide highlights of the week. Next, I will give updates on the bills we are advocating for or opposing. Lastly, I will feature bills we are keeping an eye on. Furthermore, this week I have added hyperlinks to the bills so you can review them. I have also added hyperlinks to the State Senators and Delegates mentioned below in case you would like to voice your support or opposition on their legislation. Thank you, Tracey White, for this suggestion!
If you are tracking a bill, that I do not have on our watch list, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or if it’s urgent call my cell at 703-946-6109.
Highlights from Week 2 (January 23rd through January 27th)
This week, I had the pleasure of working with Delegate Elizabeth Bennett-Parker on HB 2050. This bill would allow local and regional public bodies to convene all-virtual public meetings. As a commissioner on NVTC, I strongly support it. Scott McGeary and I helped with a handful of House and Senate Republicans on General Laws Committees (SB 1351). Unfortunately, the House version died in Subcommittee #4. But due to Delegate Bennett-Parker’s persistence it passed the Senate Committee. If you are willing to support this legislation, please reach out to me!
This week we met with Delegate Mike Webert to discuss his bill, HB 1858. This will allow the Dulles Greenway to implement distanced based tolling. Furthermore, on Tuesday and Wednesday, I helped set up and attended a handful of meetings with Renee Hamilton, CEO of the Dulles Greenway, and key legislators on this bill. We were lucky to have Jason Stanford of the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance (NVTA) join us. We had positive conversations with Democrat Delegates David Reid, Brianna Sewell and Ken Plum. We were also able to meet with Subcommittee Chair Scott Wyatt. The Senate version of this bill SB 1162 passed Senate Transportation and is in front of the Finance and Appropriations.
If you are advocating for or against legislation for your organization, please let me know and I will provide you the same service!
Later, Wednesday, I had the honor of meeting with Secretary of Labor Bryan Slater. One of the Chamber’s top priorities is helping the Administration accomplish the thirty-year effort to consolidate our workforce programs. This initiative started under Governor Doug Wilder and has been a lifelong effort of our own Chamber Board Member Jim Dyke. This Thursday, Jim, Scott, and I all testified on behalf of this effort in House Commerce and Energy Committee. The Senate version SB 1470 will be in front of the General Laws Committee next week. Please reach out to your State Delegate and Senators to express your support. Additional information on the House and Senate bills is below.
Transportation Budget Amendments (Thanks Jason!)
Jason Stanford of NVTA brought a few budget amendments that impact transportation in our region to my attention. The first amendment, Item 451 #3, was introduced by Senator Dave Marsden. This would create a Smart Scale Working Group to reevaluate our current process. As it stands, our region is only getting $115 million of the $1.7 billion available in the current round, including $0 HHP funding. We strongly support this amendment!
On the other hand, Item 452 #18 introduced by Senator Scott Surovell. It will prevent VDOT from moving forward with 495 Express Lanes from Springfield to the Wilson Bridge. This project is a top priority for our Chamber and therefore, we oppose it. The Committee reports for all three of these are due by Sunday, February 5th. We will keep you posted.
SB 818 Public elementary and secondary schools; programs of instruction on mental health education.
Introduced by Senator Lionell Spruill requires each public school to provide an additional age-appropriate course of instruction on mental health. This bill has been assigned the Education, Subcommittee of Public Education. We applaud the Senator for his approach and strongly support this.
SB 926 Emergency Department Care Management Grant Program and Fund; report.
Introduced by Senator Barbara Favola it would provide grants to eligible hospitals for care management and medical services to frequent users of their ER’s. This has been reported from Finance and Appropriations with amendments. It is awaiting a floor vote in the Senate. We support this bill.
SB 980 Secretary of Transportation; Disadvantaged Business Enterprises; work group; report.
Introduced by Senator Dave Marsden this bill will increase the participation of businesses owned by underrepresented individuals in the state procurement process in transportation. We support this bill.
SB 1048 Research and development expenses tax credits.
Introduced by Senator Jeremy McPike this would provide a tax credit for major research and development expenses up to $300,000. It increases to $400,000 if research is conducted with higher education institutions. This bill is currently sitting in Finance and Appropriations. We support this bill.
SB 1078 Siting of data centers; impacts on resources; site assessment.
Introduced by Senator Chap Petersen this bill would prevent any data center constructed within a mile of a NPS facility or state park. The Committee on Local Government voted 7-3 to refer this to the Rules Committee. Senator Petersen indicated this is not a good sign. We do not support this bill.
SB 1101 Paid family and medical leave program; Virginia Employment Commission required to establish.
Introduced by Senator Jennifer Boysko and referred to Commerce and Labor. Our Chamber represents many large organizations that have implemented these objectives. By applying a mandate, it will hamstring our organization’s ability to create better benefit programs. We do not support this bill.
SB 1106 Transportation Partnership Opportunity Fund; funds for transportation projects
Introduced by Senator Stephen Newman. This bill will benefit economic development projects in Northern Virginia, by funding transportation. Furthermore, funding must still be appropriated by the General Assembly. The bill passed the Senate Transportation Committee and was referred to Senate Finance this week. We support this bill.
SB 1213 Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation; universal license recognition.
Introduced by Senator Ryan McDougle, if passed it would establish a criteria for an individual licensed, certified, or having work experience in another state to apply for licensure in Virginia. This was reported to Senate Finance and Appropriations. We support this bill!
HB 1378 State Air Pollution Control Board; regulations; low-emissions and zero-emissions vehicle standards.
Introduced by Delegate Tony Wilt this passed the House along Party Lines 52-48. It has been referred to the same Senate Committee that killed the companion bill already. We do not support this bill.
HB 1508 Virginia Education Success Account Program; established, report.
Introduced by Delegate Glenn Davis. The Education Committee voted along party lines 11-10 with amendments to report this to the Appropriations Committee. We do not have a position yet.
HB 1783 Natural gas utilities; retail supply choice.
Introduced by Delegate Israel O’Quinn this legislation ensures every person has access to retail natural gas. This bill passed the House along party lines 52-47. It has been referred to the Senate Commerce and Labor. We support this bill.
HB 1842 Economic development; Virginia Business Ready Sites Acquisition Fund and Program.
Introduced by Delegate Barry Knight it would allow the state to acquire project-ready sites. It passed the House in a bipartisan fashion 97-3 on January 24th, with two Republicans and one Democrat voting no. This has been referred to Senate Appropriations and Finance. We support this legislation.
HB 2195 Department of Workforce Development and Advancement created; consolidation of the Commonwealth's workforce development policies and programs; report.
This bill introduced by Delegate Kathy Byron (SB 1470 introduced by Senator Frank Ruff) would create the Department of Workforce Development and Advancement. This passed the House Commerce and Energy Committee on Party lines 12-10 and was referred to Appropriations. We support this.
HJ 460 Constitutional amendment; repeal of same-sex marriage prohibition (first reference).
I spoke to Delegate Mark Sickles this week and much to our dismay, we fear this bill will be killed. We still strongly support this.
Bills the Chamber is watching.
The following bills we are monitoring. If these get traction, they could become priorities. Please note, I have only hyperlinked the Senators and Delegates who were not previously mentioned.
- Senator Barbara Favola: SB 827 Hospital emergency departments; required security and training, regulations.
- We support this bill with an amendment that would exempt freestanding ER’s.
- Senator Bryce Reeves: SB 836 Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Advisory Committee; established.
- Spoke to Senator Reeves and we expressed our support of this bill.
- Senator John Cosgrove: SB 865 Highway use fee; exemptions, low-speed vehicles.
- We oppose this.
- Senator Bill DeSteph: SB 904 Workers' compensation; post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorder, or depressive disorder.
- We support this.
- Senator Chap Petersen: SB 954 Virginia Public Procurement Act; construction management and design-build contracting.
- Senator Dick Saslaw: SB 1265 Virginia Electric Utility Regulation Act.
- Senator John Edwards: SB 1338 Health insurance; pharmacy benefits managers; employee welfare benefit plans.
- Senator Monty Mason: SB 1425 Health insurance; ensuring fairness in cost-sharing.
- Companion bill HB 1782. We oppose these.
- Senator Scott Surovell: SB 1461 Virginia College Opportunity Endowment and Fund; established.
- We support this legislation and are working with the Senator.
- Senator Chap Petersen: SB 1496 Natural gas utility facility replacement projects; exemption from planning, subdivision of land.
- Delegate Bobby Orrock: HB 1449 Emergency medical services providers; administration of prescription medication.
- We support this bill.
- Delegate Tim Anderson: HB 1479 Employer-provided childcare; creates a tax credit for taxable years 2023 through 2027.
- We support this.
- Delegate Glenn Davis: HB 1491 Small business; redefines for the purposes of certain programs.
- Delegate Terry Austin: HB 1496 Commonwealth Mass Transit Fund; 2.5 percent of Fund allocated to CROC for operating purposes.
- Companion is SB1079. We support these bills.
- Delegate Carrie Coyner: HB 1526 Student literacy measures; scope, students in grades four through eight.
- We strongly support this!
- Delegate Nadarius Clark: HB 1534 Loan repayment programs; creates program for mental health professionals.
- We strongly support this.
- Delegate Terry Kilgore: HB 1770 Virginia Electric Utility Regulation Act.
- Delegate Israel O’Quinn: HB 1777 Phase I Utilities; annual rate true-up reviews.
- Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn: HB 1791 Veterans' Behavioral Health Services Grant Matching Fund; established.
- We strongly support this and hope it is picked back up.
- Delegate Michael Webert: HB 1858 Roadways under Va. Hwy. Corporation Act of 1988; operating under Public-Private Transp. Act of 1995.
- Senate Companion SB1162 introduced by Senator Dave Marsden. We support these!
- Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn: HB 1895 Employee protection; prohibited retaliation, prohibited nondisclosure.
- Delegate Betsy Carr: HB 2047 Affordable housing; local zoning ordinance authority; comprehensive plan.
- We support this legislation.
- Delegate Kathleen Murphy: HB 2073 Interstate Medical Licensure Compact and Commission; created.
- Delegate Terry Kilgore: HB 2311 Virginia Electric Utility Regulation Act; renewable energy; eligible sources for renewable energy.
- Delegate Israel O’Quinn: HB 2386 Virginia Power Innovation Fund and Program; created.
- We support this legislation.
- Delegate Nick Freitas: HB 2427 Hospital price transparency; private right of action, patient payment disputes.
- We oppose this bill.
- Delegate Bill Wiley: HB 2500 Virginia Public Procurement Act; private contracts; payment of subcontractors.
As always, we serve to assist you. If anyone has any questions, concerns or would like to participate in the weekly update calls on Friday at 8AM, please contact me!