The 2020 General Assembly Session
As you know, much has changed in the state legislature over the past several months as a result of the November elections. Prior to November 2019, Republicans held slim majorities in the House of Delegates and the State Senate. The Democrat’s electoral victories in November allowed them to take control of both chambers, giving them a 55-45 majority in the House of Delegates and a 21-19 majority in the State Senate.
The implication of this shift in the balance of power is multi-faceted – but one of the most consequential impacts is the change in various leadership positions within the Democrat and Republican caucuses, as well as the chairs, vice-chairs, and composition of the committees.
In the House of Delegates, Democrats elected Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn (NVBIA) as Speaker of the House of Delegates, an extremely powerful position in the state legislature. Democrats also elected Delegate Charniele Herring (NVBIA) as House Majority Leader and Delegate Rip Sullivan (NVBIA) as House Democrat Caucus Chair. Now in the minority, Republicans elected Delegate Todd Gilbert (SVBA and TVBA) as House Minority Leader, Delegate Kathy Byron (RRHBA and HBA of Central Virginia) as House Republican Caucus Chair, and Delegate Jay Leftwich (TBA) as House Republican Whip. In the State Senate, Democrats elected Senator Dick Saslaw (NVBIA) as Majority Leader, Senator Mamie Locke (TBA) as Senate Democrat Caucus Chair, and Senator Louise Lucas (TBA) as Senate President Pro-Tempore.
House and Senate Committees play an important role in the legislative process – they are responsible for vetting each bill, soliciting input from stakeholders, making amendments as needed, and sometimes deciding to not send a bill to the full chamber. This year, every House and Senate Committee will have a new Chair and Vice-Chair. In the House of Delegates, many of the bills that directly impact our industry are sent to Counties, Cities, and Towns, General Laws, and Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources. In the State Senate, most of the bills that impact our industry are sent to Local Government, General Laws, and Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources.
We look forward to working with each of the new caucus leaders and committee chairs and vice-chairs in their new roles!
2020 Session Legislation Overview
As of today, over two thousand bills and study resolutions have been introduced for consideration during the 2020 Session. At this time, HBAV has identified 291 pieces of legislation that have a direct or indirect impact on the residential land development and construction industry. For the past several weeks, the HBAV team has been reviewing each bill as they have been introduced and will continue to do so over the next several days.
HBAV’s 2020 Legislative Agenda:
Building Vibrant Communities by Strengthening Housing Affordability
As HBAV wrote in the Washington Post this summer
, the most pressing issue for the residential land development and construction industry is the dire need to address the shortage of housing available for individuals and families across the income spectrum. Demand for housing at all price-points is rising while supply remains stagnant. Although CNBC ranked Virginia as the
Best State for Business,
Virginia was ranked 32
in cost of living. Virginia’s continued economic vitality (and relatedly, it’s standing as the best state for business) will be dependent upon our ability – or inability – to address the affordable housing crisis.
The growing scarcity and complexity of financing for new developments combined with the rising price of land, labor, and materials are noteworthy impediments to meeting the demand for new housing. Although some of those impediments are outside the scope of the state legislature, the Virginia General Assembly is uniquely positioned to work collaboratively with local governments to modernize our approach to land-use and zoning, remove local barriers to affordable housing, and implement innovative incentives that help “bend the cost curve” for affordable housing developments.
During the 2020 Session, HBAV is seeking three pieces of legislation to help local governments and the housing industry meet the demand for housing at all price-points by reducing financial and local regulatory barriers to entry for these types of projects. HBAV will also be advancing legislation to create voluntary incentives for the industry to preserve and plant trees, and clarify Virginia’s Vested Rights statutes.
How to Support the Housing Industry During Session
There are several ways to support HBAV and the housing industry during the 2020 Session – and you don’t have to attend any meetings, join the HBAV Legislative Committee, or dial-in for conference calls. Our success is the result of an engaged membership and we welcome all of your input!
HBAV Expertise Survey:
Despite being a “long session”, bills move quickly through the process. As bills are introduced or placed on committee dockets, HBAV sends out emails to our members to solicit their input and feedback. To do so efficiently, we have created the HBAV Expertise Survey which allows us to reach out directly to members about bills that are in their area of expertise.
Please fill out this survey by clicking here.
Contact your Delegates and Senators:
The HBAV Government Affairs team will meet with Delegates and Senators on a daily basis over the next 60 days. But legislators also like to hear from constituents and business owners in their districts.
By completing the survey here
, we will be able to connect you directly with your representative in the House of Delegates and State Senate when there is legislation of importance to the industry.