Post written by Grafton DeButts, Vice President of Membership & Government Affairs
Due to the Governor’s Special Session proclamation made last week, the General Assembly will stay in session an additional 16 days. This would make the total session length 46 days which is traditional during an odd-year session.
Many major pieces of legislation that pose a substantial threat to doing business in the Commonwealth have been tabled for 2021 including, HB1755 (Carter – Prince William) which would repeal “Right To Work” provisions in the Code of Virginia has yet to be assigned to a committee, SB1330 (Boysko – Loudoun/Fairfax) which sought to mandate paid family and medical leave through an assessment on employers and their employees will not make it to the floor for a vote this session, and HB1937 (Rasoul – Roanoke) which would have prohibited any new energy production facilities which use fossil fuels to be established in 2022 was defeated in committee.
Here’s a list that highlights some the bills we’re advocating for or against and their impact on our business community.
- More Dulles Greenway Oversight – HB1832: This bill authored by Delegate Subramanyam (Dulles) will provide the State Corporation greater access to the detailed financial health of owners of the road and use it in a more transparent process to determine what a fair return on investment and toll rate should be. The Chamber testified in favor of this bill before the House Transportation Subcommittee along with County leadership in favor of this bill. This bill has passed the house and is currently in the Senate. There is a high likelihood of this bill passing because its twin bill in the Senate authored by Senator Bell has passed as well.
- Voluntary Family Medical Leave – SB1219: Another member of the Loudoun Delegation, Senator Barbara Favola, was the chief patroon this bill that would call for a study to determine how to incentivize the business community to voluntarily provide a 12-week family medical leave benefit for their employees through a private insurance marketplace. SB1219 would form a stakeholder group to begin that study as well as remove legal roadblocks for private insurers. This bill has passed the Senate and is currently in the House Labor and Commerce Committee.
In Opposition of:
- Additional Regulation on Utility Upgrades – HB1934: Targeted at the energy industry, HB1934 would require any utility company that must place or repair a utility pipe over twelve inches to acquire Board of Supervisors approval. This legislation could potentially lead to delays in upgrading aging infrastructure and extension to future commercial and economic development projects. This bill was defeated in committee.
- Extension of ABC License Review – HB2131: We are joined in our opposition by the Virginia Winery Association and Virginia Craft Brewers Association. This bill would double the amount of time, from 15 to 30 days, that a business seeking an ABC license would be open to objections to their application. As written this bill would not pass. It has since been heavily edited, but the Chamber will continue to monitor for its impact on the hospitality industry.
- Class Action Lawsuits – SB1180: This bill would allow civil courts in Virginia to begin hearing class action lawsuit cases. The Chamber opposed this bill due to the legal burden’s it places on the business community and court system as well as the negative impact on Virginia’s ranking as a Top State for Business. This bill passed the Senate on a party-line vote and has been referred to the House Committee of Courts for Justice.
If there are any bills that you have questions about, or that your organization is seeking advocacy on, please don’t hesitate to contact Vice President of Membership & Government Affairs, Grafton deButts, 703-431-8443.