There was a lot of movement this week on priority legislation being tracked by your public policy team, and we would like to give you a brief update on where a few of these bills currently stand post-crossover.
We are now starting to gain more clarity on how the bills seeking to raise the minimum wage are taking shape after a Senate floor session this week.
House Bill 395
was conformed to
Senate Bill 7
, which signals that the regional approach to applying a minimum wage increase in Virginia is likely.
Here's a brief reminder as to where SB 7 currently stands: 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 are to be areas with similar median household incomes and costs of living. 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.
We are continuing to monitor this situation and share concerns that a minimum wage increase of the magnitude being discussed could still negatively affect some of our region's businesses and employees. With that said, leadership in the House and Senate are determined to raise the minimum wage, and SB 7 to this point offers a more moderate approach than HB 395.
We are also keeping a close eye on a few other pieces of legislation that would place additional burdens on our business community.
House Bill 624
would require businesses with 100 employees or more to report demographic information about their employees annually to the division of human rights at the attorney general’s office. Efforts are underway to amend this bill
at the Senate committee level to lessen this
Senate Bill 868
House Bill 1663
are causes of
concern that we are focused on in conjunction with the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.
These bills could have the effect of inundating our state court system with frivolous wrongful termination lawsuits, since they remove the requirement that these suits first be filed through a human rights agency "gatekeeper" that has the discretion to toss frivolous wrongful termination suits before making it to court. These bills would also remove the punitive damages cap for wrongful termination suits. SB 868 and HB 1663 are currently being held up in the legislative process while negotiations to moderate their approach are conducted.
Below, you will find our bill tracker with additional legislation we have our eye on and where they currently stand in the legislative process. We will continue to stand strong for our regional business community by meeting with legislators and testifying before House and Senate committee meetings on bills that would impact our local economy. Please contact Terry Durkin, Vice President of Public Policy at firstname.lastname@example.org should you wish to become
involved in our advocacy efforts
or would like more information on legislation before the General Assembly.