Committee Action in Week 2 Heats Up
After an initial week of session that was mostly organizational in nature, the 2nd week of session kicked off with many committees and subcommittees beginning to consider legislation for the first time. Some of this week’s highlights included:

  • The Senate Committee on Education recommended that Senator John Edward’s SB 1020 be referred to the Senate Committee on Finance on a 15-0 vote. This legislation would establish the Virginia Transportation Museum as a state agency and make it eligible for increased funding. 
  • Chamber President & CEO Eric Sichau and Vice President of Public Policy Terry Durkin were on hand to lend support during SB 1020’s initial hearing in subcommittee, where it advanced on a 5-0 vote.

  • Several of Delegate Joe McNamara’s tax relief and reform bills were heard in the House Committee on Finance this week and received successful votes (HB 1405, HB 2138, HB 2319). Terry was on hand in committee to speak in favor of legislation that would make lower the corporate income tax rate. 
  • Tax reform legislation and how to best spend the Commonwealth’s surplus funding will continue to be a source of debate between the Republican led House and the Democratic led Senate.

  • The House Committee on Commerce and Energy advanced HB 1783 on a 12-9 vote, which would prohibit public entities from limiting natural gas as a retail energy choice for businesses and residential customers
  • Some businesses in energy intensive trades - like manufacturers - rely on natural gas and this bill would add stability for those energy intensive industries. HB 1783 will advance to the floor of the House, where it will receive a vote from the full body.
Legislation We're Watching
Created with guidance provided by the Chamber's 2023 Legislative Agenda, our bill tracker has been sent to our legislators from Virginia's Blue Ridge region to inform them of our business community's priorities.

We encourage Chamber members to contact their General Assembly members in support of legislation that improve's our region's business climate. If you have any additional questions on how best to reach your legislator, please email Terry at tdurkin@roanokechamber.org.
Advocacy 101 - How to be an Effective Advocate this Legislative Session

You can find information on all legislation at the website https://lis.virginia.govIf you know the bill number for the legislation you are tracking, you can enter it in “Bills & Resolutions” and you will be shown a summary of the bill, the bill text, its patron, and where it currently resides in the legislative process. If you are interested in finding a bill containing certain subject matter, you can do so in the same menu or by searching via keyword.


Among a ton of other information, you can find the House and Senate committee meeting schedules at https://virginiageneralassembly.gov under the “Members and Session” tab. At this webpage, you can also sign up to speak remotely at committee meetings and provide written comments. Since spoken testimony may be limited, I would highly recommend submitting written comment for each bill you intend to speak for or against.


If you are signed up to testify on a particular piece of legislation and are called on to speak in a committee meeting, start by thanking the committee chair, state your name, say where you are from, and inform the committee that you are a business owner or representative of your business. Briefly (and I mean briefly, testimony may be limited to 2 minutes or less) make a clear case for your position and then thank the committee members for their time. 


Many of the same guidelines I mentioned for testifying to legislation also apply here. You can find your legislator at https://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov and you will see the contact information for your representative. When calling or emailing your legislator in support or opposition to a bill, always state your name, your address, and that you are a business owner or representative residing in his or her district. Again, it is important to share your thoughts early and often.

Of course, feel free to contact me at any time if you have any questions on pending legislation or would like more information on how to get involved.
In the News
Terry Durkin
Vice President of Public Policy
 Roanoke Regional Chamber