Chamber Helps Shape a Pro-Business Environment in Hampton Roads

Tagged in: Advocacy
Chamber Helps Shape a Pro-Business Environment in Hampton Roads
The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce advocates for legislation, policy and the partnerships necessary to keep its members in business for years to come.

The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce sets the conditions that allows business to succeed. Because our member businesses employ a workforce of approximately 250,000 of the region’s citizens, we advocate for legislation, policy and the partnerships necessary to keep our members in business for years to come.  Most businesses can’t afford a full time lobbyist, so the Chamber gives you that luxury. We connect our members to elected officials and key decision makers locally and nationally and advocate on behalf of the business community.

During Virginia’s 2015 General Assembly session, our business community celebrated many successes. While it was a non-budget year for the state legislature, much of the emphasis of the session was on adopting a revised balanced budget to adjust to lower than expected revenue. In the end, a budget was adopted that spends $1 Billion less in general fund revenue than the originally adopted budget. Noteworthy budget inclusions were teacher pay raises, additional funding for a healthcare safety net and funds for two veterans care centers.

There were a number of pro-business bills and resolutions adopted during the 2015 session:

  • HJ490 - a bill incorporating Virginia’s Right to Work law as part of the state constitution
  • HB1608 - Prohibits local government from requiring a wage floor
  • HB1400/SB800 - Increases the Governor’s deal closing, opportunity fund
  • HB1986 - Improves Virginia’s Workforce Development structure
  • HB1886/HB1887 - Improves the Commonwealth’s Public/Private Transportation Partnership Act and provides clarity in transportation funding priorities for structurally deficient bridges and pavement
  • SB1349 - Freezes current electric rates for five years in return electric utilities will not be subject to biennial reviews by the SCC.

Additionally, a bill to eliminate the existing waiver system for a post-labor day school start in Virginia was defeated. Thank you to all our members who redoubled our efforts by contacting our legislators. Virginia businesses work hard to contribute to Virginia's economy and it is important for the Commonwealth to balance its educational and economic responsibilities. The current waiver system accomplishes that balance very well, not to mention this would have been an estimated $360M loss. With your help, this bill was defeated, protecting the integrity of Virginia’s existing Labor Day Law.

Even though the General Assembly has convened for the 2015 session, there are ongoing policy issues we’ll need to address and bring to a discussion moving forward.  Rest assured your Chamber will continue to be engaged in public policy and state legislative issues in the months ahead.  All 140 members of the Virginia General Assembly are facing election in November and the Chamber’s Governmental Affairs team will be assessing the candidates and addressing any concerns at this time.

The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce is always looking out for the best interests of the business community.  The Chamber is influential.  The Chamber is impactful.  And with your participation our collective voice in the region and in the Commonwealth is even stronger and more commanding as we strive to improve the economy and quality of life in the region.

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