News and Notes from the Virginia General Assembly
Points of Contact: Ira Agricola, Senior Vice President &
Candace Reid, Manager, Governmental Affairs
Representing: Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce &
Greater Williamsburg Chamber &Tourism Alliance
Monday, January 25, 2010
No portion of this communication may be retransmitted or reproduced without the expressed permission of the
Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber will lobby against the following bills: SB 239(Watkins R-10th), SB 562(Puckett D-38th), and HB 647(Armstrong D-10th).
All of these bills permanently expand our state’s unemployment law by extending benefits to two of the following: part-time workers who seek part-time work, workers enrolled in a state-approved training program, voluntary separations from work for “compelling family reasons” and dependents allowances to UI recipients with children.
We support a U.I. program that pays defined benefits to individuals who become unemployed through no fault of their own and who are available for and look for full time work.
The Chamber will continue to lobby against the elimination of the dealer discount. Our members face significant costs in collecting the Commonwealth’s sales tax including: training personnel, credit card interchange fees, documenting tax exempt sales, updating software, programming cash registers and managing tax audits and appeals.
BPOL Revision Proposed
Delegate Chris Jones (R-76th) has patroned HB 985 that excludes commissions paid on any sale or purchase of a security paid to an independent registered representative from the BPOL tax.
Rest Stop Privatization Study
A proposed JLARC study that was intended to look at all aspects of privatization of portions of the state’s rest areas was passed by when JLARC’s director proposed that the Virginia Transportation Research Council conduct the study.
ABC Store Privatization
SB 443(Obenshain (R-26th) and HB 342(Marshall (R-14th) have been introduced to revamp the current ABC system and move to privately operated stores.
Concerns Raised over OLF Bills
Two bills that have been introduced by Senator Quayle (R-13th) and Delegate Barlow (D-64th) could have impacts on the viability of Oceana Naval Air Station. A letter outlining specific concerns was sent to the patrons on January 21st by the City of Virginia Beach.
Pre-Labor Day School Opening
HB 799 (Greyson (R-32nd) proposed that local school boards are responsible for determining opening of school year. The Chamber OPPOSES this measure because of its impact on tourism. On 2/21/10 the House Education Subcommittee recommends laying on the table by voice vote.
Senate Finance Committee Restructured
With a 22-18 edge in the Virginia Senate, Democrats decided to cut membership from 16 to 15 members. This eliminated the potential of Senator Frank Wagner (R-7th) from serving on the panel. Democrats hold a 9-6 edge on the Senate Finance Committee.
Highlights of Governor McDonnell’s State of the Commonwealth Address
Governor Bob McDonnell will be asking the General Assembly for the following: double the funding for the Governor’s Opportunity Fund, $5 million more for the Mega Site Fund, $3.6 million for the Virginia Tourism Corporation and $2 million to promote the movie industry.
A target for the new funding is the biotech industry. McDonnell would also make increasing local and state revenue one of the criteria for funding. Focus was also placed in the address for making Virginia the “Energy Capital of the East Coast.”
Payday Lenders Face Additional Local Authority
HB 412(Oder R-94th) and HB 413(Oder R-94th) authorize localities to limit payday lending through requiring special use permits and other local ordinances.
Offer of Judgment and Summary Judgment
Legislation supported by the Chamber. SB 363(Blevins R-14th) and HB 306, 309, 310(O’Bannon R-73rd).
These civil justice measures would allow a party to a civil action to use depositions in support of a motion for summary judgment. The other would provide for an offer of judgment system for civil cases similar to that of the federal system.
Cash Proffer Revision
HB 374(Cosgrove R-78th) prohibits the collection of a cash proffer payment until the period between the final inspection and issuance of the certificate of occupancy. This measure is supported by the Chamber.
The Virginia Economy
Total general fund revenue collections grew 5.5% in December – the first positive monthly growth in 16 months. The unemployment rate was 6.4% in November.
Chief of Staff – Martin Kent
Chief Job Creation Officer – LT Governor Bolling
Senior Advisor for Policy – Eric Finkbeiner
Assistant for Commonwealth Preparedness – Terrie Suit
Secretary of Administration – Lisa Hicks-Thomas
Secretary of Agriculture & Forestry – Todd Haymore
Secretary of Commerce & Trade – Jim Cheng
Secretary of the Commonwealth – Janet Polarek
Secretary of Education – Gerard Robinson
Secretary of Finance – Ric Brown
Secretary of Health & Human Resources – Bill Hazel
Secretary of Natural Resources – Doug Domenech
Secretary of Public Safety – Marla Decker
Secretary of Technology – Jim Duffey
Secretary of Transportation – Sean Connaughton