2020 General Assembly Session - Week 7
Week 7 Update Sponsored By:
The Week in Review
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 hardship .

Additionally, Senate Bill 868 and 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 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.

  • 02/18/20 House: Referred to Committee on Labor and Commerce)

OPPOSE
PASSED SENATE

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

  • 02/20/20 Senate: Passed Senate with substitute with amendment (21-Y 19-N)

OPPOSE
PASSED HOUSE AND SENATE WITH AMENDMENT

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

  • 02/19/20 House: Subcommittee recommends reporting with substitute (7-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.  

  • 02/12/20 Senate: Referred to Committee on Education and Health

SUPPORT
PASSED HOUSE
Research and Technology

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

  • 02/12/20 Senate: Referred to Committee on Finance and Appropriations

SUPPORT
PASSED HOUSE

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

  • 02/19/20 Senate: Rereferred to Finance and Appropriations

SUPPORT
PASSED HOUSE
Healthcare

Del. Chris Hurst
Health insurance; association health plans

  • 02/20/20 Senate: Passed Senate with substitute (40-Y 0-N)

SUPPORT
PASSED HOUSE AND SENATE

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

  • 02/18/20 House: Subcommittee recommends reporting with substitute (8-Y 0-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
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STAY CONNECTED:

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