VRLTA Government Affairs Update – Call Agenda
TODAY - Friday, February 14, 2020 – 2:00pm
Dial-in Info: 202-602-1295
Access Code: 789-103-256#
  • Welcome – Gary Cohen – Government Affairs Committee Chair
  • Bill Tracker – Robert Melvin
  • VRLTA Tipped Wage/ Minimum Wage Advocacy Efforts Update – Robert Melvin/ Eric Terry
  • Regional Lodging Taxes/ Tax Equalization Advocacy Efforts – Robert Melvin/ Eric Terry
  • Phone 2 Action Advocacy Tool – Robert Melvin
  • ABC Legislation and Regulations – Tom Lisk
  • AHLA/AAHOA/NRA Updates – Eric Terry/ Chris Savvides/ Vinay Patel
  • Other New Business
The Virginia General Assembly has officially reached the halfway point of the legislative session, also known as crossover. At this point, any bills that have not passed the house of origination are now dead for the year. The Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association would like to take a moment to share with you an update on some of the major legislative proposals we have been following.

  • Minimum Wage Increases: HB395 and SB7 both would increase the Virginia Minimum Wage $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.
  • Right to Work Repeal: HB153 and SB426 were both measures that would have repealed Virginia’s Right to Work law.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.
  • Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program: HB328, HB825, 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.
  • Mandatory Paid Leave: HB418, HB898, HB1684, SB481, 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.
  • 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.
  • Strikes by Government Employees: HB67 would allow government employees to strike. This measure was stricken from the docket of the House Labor and Commerce Committee on a vote of 16-0.
  • 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.
  • 1099 Tax Parity: HB730 and SB211 would require that gig economy contractors, like short term rental hosts have to comply with the same income tax reporting requirements as any other contractor by requiring that these contractors have to use the 1099-MISC ($600 reporting threshold) rather than the 1099-K ($20,000 reporting threshold). HB730 passed the House 58-40, and HB211 passed the Senate 40-0.
  • Limiting Short Term Rental Regulations in Localities: HB1417 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. HB1417 was stricken from the House calendar and defeated.
  • 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.
  • Regional Lodging Taxes for Transportation: HB729, HB1414, 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 to fund public transit in Hampton Roads. HB1726 passed the House 59-38, and SB1038 passed the Senate 22-18.
  • 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.

As you can see there have been some wins for our industry, but there are still many bills that would be harmful to the hospitality and tourism industry that we are working to defeat.

Should you have questions or concerns, please contact VRLTA Director of Government Affairs, Robert Melvin at robert@vrlta.org

Cindy Maish, the Community Outreach and Planning Specialist for the Richmond District Office with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recently shared some compliance-related materials to guide members on important labor issues.
The USDOL has a reference guide to assist businesses in understanding the laws that they enforce, found here:  https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/legacy/files/Digital_Reference_Guide_FLSA.pdf
In addition, the USDOL Wage and Hour Division also provided us with information on the Payroll Audit Independent Determination Program (PAID):  https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/paid
Their website also includes information on the following issues:
If you have questions, reach out to Cindy at 540-510-5360 or  maish.cindy@dol.gov

VRLTA is using a new advocacy tool, and we invite you to sign up to receive specific information related to legislative activity in Virginia and at the federal level. This is the best way to get information from VRLTA during General Assembly session and beyond. You must opt in
Please text:
Restaurant News: VARESTAURANT to 52886
General Legislative News: VANEWS to 52886 
Committee Chair
Gary Cohen - Glory Days Grill
Committee Members
Steve Helms - Primland
Matt Simmons - Capital Ale House
Brad Capps - The Breakers Resort
John Shaffer - Luray Caverns
Doug Wilkins - BF Saul
Tony Stafford - Ford's Fish Shack
Randy Thompson - VistaGraphics, Inc.
Frank Brunetto - Rueger Restaurant Group
Nav Patel - Marquee Hospitality
Chris Savvides - Black Angus Restaurant
Charles Friend - Residence Inn Charlottesville
Beth Erickson - Visit Loudoun
Jim Wordsworth - JR's Stockyards
Advising Members
Tom Lisk - Cozen O'Connor
Shannon Conway - ABC Subcommittee Chair 
Rita McClenny - Virginia Tourism Corporation
Barry Biggar - Visit Fairfax - VRLTA Board Chair
Eric Terry - VRLTA
Robert Melvin - VRLTA