The General Assembly met on April 22nd for reconvened session to debate and vote on Governor Northam's amendments to scores of bills, as well as the state budget. While the budget debate is likely to continue later on in the summer during a special session due to declining state revenues, several bills were acted on that we have been following closely.
- HB 395 and SB 7, which raise the Commonwealth's minimum wage on a tiered basis, were both amended by the governor and agreed to by the General Assembly to make their effective dates May 1, 2021.
- HB 582 and SB 939, which provide permission to localities to engage in collective bargaining agreements with public employees, were also amended to an effective date of May 1, 2021.
- As with the previously mentioned bills, HB 358 and SB 182, which allow localities to require Project Labor Agreements for public works projects, were amended to an effective date of May 1, 2021.
In addition to the legislation above, Governor Northam also amended the bills below to assist small business owners and localities in recovering from COVID-19
- NEW: HB 1505 provides additional funding for the Small Business Investment Grant Fund. More information about this fund can be found by clicking this link.
- NEW: HB 881 and SB 971 permit the usage of "gray machines", or gambling "games of skill" for the next year with an additional tax to be levied. The revenue from this tax will be distributed in part to localities as well as a state-run COVID-19 Relief Fund.
A Chamber priority bill which would expand healthcare options for small businesses (
) is now before the Governor for either his approval or veto. We strongly urge Governor Northam to pass this bill so small business owners have more healthcare options to provide for their employees.