2020 General Assembly Session - Week 6
The Week in Review
This was crossover week in Richmond, which means that both the House of Delegates and the Senate completed work on their respective bills and are now sending those remaining to the other body for consideration. There have been many developments over the past few weeks regarding policies that would greatly affect our region's business community, and I would like to give you a brief update on some legislation of note.

First of all - two bills seeking to raise Virginia's minimum wage have passed their respective legislative bodies and have now "crossed over" for further consideration. House Bill 395 , which passed the House on a 55-45 vote, would raise the Commonwealth's minimum wage to $10 per hour on July 1st of this year. Annual increases would then occur until the state minimum wage reaches $15 per hour in year 2025.

Senate Bill 7 takes a dramatically different approach to raising the state's minimum wage. After annual statewide increases to begin on January 1st, 2021 at $9.50 per hour, future minimum wage increases after year 2023 (when the wage reaches $11.50 per hour) would be different in each "minimum wage region". These regions will determined by the Department of Labor and are to be areas with similar median household incomes and costs of living. The calculation of future minimum wage increases for each minimum wage region in year 2024 and beyond will be based off the median household income differential between regions throughout Virginia compared to the region with the highest median household income in the state. SB 7 passed the Senate on a 21-19 vote.

While we are concerned with proposals that seek to raise the minimum wage, we are pleased to report that attempts to mandate employers implement an expensive one-size fits all paid family leave program have been defeated this legislative session. Efforts to repeal our status as a right to work state were stopped as well, which is great news for business owners, their employees, and Virginia's status as the #1 state to do business.

As session moves forward in these final few weeks, we'll keep you up to date with how to stay involved in defeating efforts that would negatively affect our local economy. Please contact Terry Durkin, Vice President of Public Policy at tdurkin@roanokechamber.org should you wish to become involved in our advocacy efforts or would like more information on legislation before the General Assembly.
In the News
General Assembly Bill Tracking
Economic Development

Del. Lee Carter
Right to work; repeals provisions of Code that refers to denial or abridgement.

  • 02/11/20 House: Left in Appropriations

OPPOSE
DEFEATED

Del. Mark Levine
Establishes a procedure by which a local alternative minimum wage may be imposed in any locality.

  • 01/28/20 House: Failed due to lack of motion

OPPOSE
DEFEATED

Sen. Dick Saslaw
Minimum wage; increases to $10 per hour effective July 1, 2020.

  • 02/11/20 Senate: Passed Senate (21-Y 19-N)

OPPOSE
PASSED SENATE

Del. Jeion Ward
Minimum wage, increases to $10 per hour effective July 1, 2020 (as amended)

  • 02/11/20 House: VOTE: Passage (55-Y 45-N)

OPPOSE
PASSED HOUSE

Del. Terry Kilgore
Establishes the Virginia Brownfield Renewable Energy and Coal Mine Grant Fund and Program.

  • 02/11/20 House: Left in Appropriations

SUPPORT
DEFEATED

Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy
Paid family and medical leave program.

  • 02/11/20 House: Left in Appropriations

OPPOSE
DEFEATED

Del. Sam Rasoul
Study; Department of Rail and Public Transportation; Commonwealth Corridor passenger rail service; report

  • 02/11/20 House: Left in Appropriations

SUPPORT
DEFEATED

Sen. Dick Saslaw
Fair share fees

  • 02/09/20 Senate: Passed by indefinitely in Commerce and Labor (12-Y 3-N)

OPPOSE
DEFEATED

Sen. Mark Obenshain
Interstate 81 Corridor; motor vehicle fuels sales tax. Limits the application of the additional motor vehicle fuels sales tax imposed under current law in all counties and cities in Planning Districts 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 to those counties or cities in Planning District 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 in which a portion of Interstate 81 is located

  • 02/04/20 Senate: Passed by indefinitely in Finance and Appropriations (11-Y 3-N 1-A)

OPPOSE
DEFEATED

Del. Terry Austin
Transportation bonds; I-81. Authorizes issuance of bonds in an amount up to $2 billion for revenue-producing projects in the Interstate 81 corridor.

  • 02/05/20 House: Incorporated by Appropriations (HB1414-Filler-Corn) by voice vote

SUPPORT
INCLUDED IN SPEAKERS TRANSPORTATION BILL

Sen. John Edwards
Virginia Tourism Authority; Governor's New Airline Service Incentive Fund

  • 02/06/20 Senate: Read third time and passed Senate (40-Y 0-N)

SUPPORT
PASSED SENATE
Workforce Development & Education

Del. Hala Ayala
STEAM programs; establishes STEAM Education Fund
  • 01/29/20 House: Subcommittee recommends laying on the table (6-Y 1-N)
SUPPORT
DEFEATED

Del. Terry Kilgore
DOE; experiential learning and workforce development opportunities in high-demand fields, report.

  • 02/03/20 House: Subcommittee recommends striking from docket (6-Y 0-N)

SUPPORT
DEFEATED

Sen. Bill DeSteph
Apprentice agreements; ratio of journeymen to apprentices

  • Senate: Failed to report (defeated) in General Laws and Technology (4-Y 10-N)

SUPPORT
DEFEATED

Sen. Bill DeSteph
Public institutions of higher education; State Council of Higher Education for Virginia; business advisory committee.

  • 01/30/20 Senate: Continued to 2021 in Education and Health (15-Y 0-N)

SUPPORT
NO FURTHER ACTION THIS SESSION

Del. David Bulova
Early childhood care and education; licensing.  

  • 02/11/20 House: VOTE: Passage (89-Y 11-N)

SUPPORT
PASSED HOUSE
Research and Technology

Del. Jay Jones
Research and development tax credits; extends sunset date, aggregate caps.

  • 02/11/20 House: VOTE: Passage (91-Y 8-N)

SUPPORT
PASSED HOUSE

Del. Mark Sickles
Commonwealth of Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority; created.

  • 02/10/20 House: VOTE: Passage (94-Y 5-N)

SUPPORT
PASSED HOUSE
Healthcare

Del. Chris Hurst
Health insurance; association health plans

  • 02/04/20 Senate: Referred to Committee on Commerce and Labor

SUPPORT
PASSED HOUSE

Sen. Monty Mason
Group health benefit plans; bona fide associations; benefits consortium.

  • 01/24/20 Senate: Read third time and passed Senate (35-Y 2-N)

SUPPORT
PASSED SENATE

Sen. John Edwards
Virginia Health Benefit Exchange

  • 01/27/20 Senate: Incorporated by Commerce and Labor (SB732-McClellan) (14-Y 0-N)

MONITOR

STAY CONNECTED:

Terry Durkin
Vice President of Public Policy
 Roanoke Regional Chamber 
TDurkin@RoanokeChamber.org
540.682.2111