Check out this issue of The Slice, the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association's digital newsletter, for all the latest information in our industry. Watch for upcoming issues in your email box, and read on for all the news...
2020 VRLTA ADVOCACY EFFORTS
 
A key reason VRLTA exists is to advocate for the tourism and hospitality industries. Thanks to all of you who have gotten involved with VRLTA's work to impact legislation this General Assembly session. Our efforts have made a difference, and we have a number of wins to show for it...

  • Tipped Wage Increase: SB79 would increase the tipped wage to 50% of the minimum wage. The bill was stricken at the request of the sponsor in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee 14-0.
  • Right to Work Repeal: HB153 and SB426 were both measures that would have repealed Virginia’s Right to Work law. HB153 was left in the House Appropriations Committee to die, whereas SB426 was killed in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee along a bipartisan vote of 12-3.
  • Limiting Short Term Rental Regulations in Localities: HB1474 would have prohibited localities from limiting the number of nights permitted for short term rentals, and the number of properties that could be listed on short term rental platforms. HB1474 was stricken from the House calendar and defeated.
  • Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program: HB328HB825, and SB770 all would have created a family and medical leave insurance program that would be managed by the state and funded by payroll taxes on both employees and employers. HB328 and HB825 were left in the House Appropriations Committee to die, and SB770 was passed by indefinitely by the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee by a vote of 16-0. These measures will be studied by the Commonwealth before the next legislative session.
  • Prohibiting Employers from Requiring Employee Provide Work Materials: HB417 would have precluded employers from requiring that employees to provide any necessary materials, including uniforms. This bill was defeated in the House Labor and Commerce, Subcommittee #1.
  • Motion Picture Tax Credits: HB1318 and SB923 would extend the sunset date for the motion picture production tax credit. HB1318 was passed by the House 73-26, and SB923 passed the Senate 36-4.

However, there are a number of items we are still keeping close tabs on...

  • Minimum Wage Increases: HB395 and SB7 both would increase the Virginia Minimum Wage to $15 per hour, but the Senate version incorporates a regional minimum wage approach. Neither bill makes changes to the tipped wage. HB395 was passed 55-45, and SB7 was passed along a vote of 21-19. HB395 was conformed to the Senate legislation and has been passed by the Senate 21-19 and sent back to the House where they have rejected the amendment. SB7 has been scheduled to be heard this week in the House Labor and Commerce Committee.
  • Mandatory Paid Leave: HB418HB898HB1684SB481, and SB1069 would all require that employers have to provide up to five days of paid sick leave or face civil penalties. HB898 incorporated the two other house bills, and it was left in the House Appropriations Committee to die. SB481 incorporated the other senate bill and has passed the Senate, and the bill was amended slightly in the House Labor and Commerce Committee and sent on a 13-9 vote to the House Appropriations Committee where it was reported 12-10 and is now headed to the House floor for a final vote.
  • Regional Lodging Taxes for Transportation: HB729HB1414, and SB890 all include provisions that increase the regional lodging tax in Northern Virginia from two percent to three percent to fund Metro. HB729 was passed 55-45, HB1414 was passed 56-42, and SB890 was passed 23-17. Meanwhile, HB1726, and SB1038 both include provisions that would impose a one percent increase to fund public transit in Hampton Roads. HB1726 passed the House 59-38, and SB1038 passed the Senate 22-18. HB729, HB1414, and HB1726 have been referred to the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee for consideration. SB890 was sent to the House Appropriations Committee where it was amended and reported 13-8.
  • Local Taxing Authority: HB785 and SB588 would both allow all counties to levy meals, lodging, and admissions taxes without General Assembly approval or referendum requirements. The Senate bill does have caps on the taxes that can be levied, and the House bill does not. HB785 passed the House 60-38, and HB588 passed the Senate 24-15. HB785 was conformed to the Senate bill in the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee and sent to the Senate floor where the amended bill was passed 23-12. SB588 was conformed to the House bill in the House Finance Committee and sent to the floor where it was passed on a vote of 58-40.

The General Assembly session ends March 7 .
STILL WANT TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD?

There is still time to act on our current campaigns:

NEW VRLTA PARTNER!
 
We are pleased to announce USI as VRLTA's newest Silver Partner. USI is one of the largest insurance brokerage and consulting firms in the world , delivering property and casualty, employee benefits, personal risk, program and retirement solutions to large risk management clients, middle market companies, smaller firms and individuals. Headquartered in Valhalla, New York, USI connects together over 7,000 industry leading professionals across approximately 200 offices to serve clients’ local, national and international needs. USI has become a premier insurance brokerage and consulting firm by leveraging the USI ONE Advantage®, an interactive platform that integrates proprietary and innovative client solutions, networked local resources and expertise, and enterprise-wide collaboration to deliver customized results with positive, bottom line impact. USI attracts best-in-class industry talent with a long history of deep and continuing investment in our local communities.
Need more information? Reach out to one of our contacts:

Holly Miller
SVP, Regional Non-Profit Practice Leader
P: 703.205.8715
 
Chad Thompson
Senior Vice President
P: 703.205.8784
UPCOMING CHAPTER MEETINGS & OTHER VRLTA EVENTS
 
Gather with colleagues at an upcoming VRLTA event! Learn about topics relevant to the industry, mix and mingle with peers, and connect with legislators.

Click event name below to learn more or register...
 
SERVSAFE: NEW OPTIONS!

The Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association will no longer be offering ServSafe classes directly through the Association. Instead, VRLTA is pleased to recommend some preferred training partners for ServSafe classes. Each of these vendors has undergone a vetting and approval process to ensure that class participants will receive a high-quality training experience. We are pleased to be working with four preferred partners at this time: 
 
  • Bailey's Consulting Services: 757-376-5152 or jbailey009@yahoo.com
  • Raise the Grade: https://www.raisethegrade.com/
  • RVA Food Safety: https://www.rvafoodsafety.com/
  • TSC Associates: https://www.tscassociates.com/

 
If your organization is interested in becoming a preferred training partner for VRLTA, note that you must have a Virginia address and be a VRLTA member. Please reach out to Jim Wilson at  jim@vrlta.org  or 804.288.3065, extension 203 for more information.
AAHOA HOSTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS EVENTS
 
Join AAHOA at their upcoming town hall meetings and learn more about Human Trafficking.

Events will take place:

  • Roanoke, March 3, 5:00 - 8:30 pm, Holiday Inn Roanoke-Tanglewood, 4468 Starkey Road, Roanoke
  • Hampton Roads, March 4, 5:00 - 8:30 pm, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, 943 J. Clyde Morris Blvd, Newport News
  • Richmond, March 5, 5:00 - 8:30 pm, Quality Inn North, 801 E. Parham Road, Richmond

To sign up for these free events (open to the public), visit this link .