General Assembly Update – Week 4
Week four of the General Assembly saw several late nights of committee meetings working through bills in the two Chambers to meet their deadline of Crossover on February 7. For the Chamber there were some wins and losses.
One loss in particular being HB 1491 sponsored by Delegate Glenn Davis at the request of the Hampton Roads Chamber. This bill would have changed the definition of a small business to 250 or fewer employees AND average annual gross receipts, less the cost of goods sold by the business, of $10 million or less averaged over the previous three years. Currently it is 250 or fewer employees OR the average annual gross receipts.
Changing this definition to make the environment more competitive for small businesses has been a topic in the General Assembly for many years. In 2020 the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) issued a report to the Governor with several recommendations for changes that would support small businesses. One of those changes was changing the definition, as proposed in HB 1491. The bill failed in a General Laws Subcommittee on a 5-3 vote.
While we were not successful this year, the Chamber will continue to work with legislators to pass laws that support small businesses.
One of the wins this week for the business community was the advancement of bills to consolidate the workforce development processes in the state. This is an initiative to create a centralized Department of Workforce Development and Advancement.
Virginia currently has six cabinet secretaries, 12 state agencies and 35 different programs dealing with workforce development. Secretary of Labor Bryan Slater told legislators these bills would take these 12 agencies and put them under one new agency allowing for a comprehensive strategy and approach to workforce development throughout the state.
A 2015 JLARC study found that workforce development programs in Virginia were not meeting the needs of employers. It said that finding qualified employees was a problem as well as navigating the state’s system for workforce development. Governor Glenn Youngkin identified this last year as a key issue for his administration to address. Both the Senate and House versions of this legislation will be considered by each Chamber by February 7.
Two other notes from this week on issues of interest to the Chamber –
Vice President of Governmental Affairs
|Sunday, February 5||House Appropriations and Senate Finance & Appropriations Committees to complete action on Budget Bills.|
|Tuesday, February 7||Crossover (last day for each house to act on its own legislation, except Budget Bills)
Amendments to Budget Bills available
|Thursday, February 9||Houses of origin to complete action on Budget Bills|
|Wednesday, February 15||Last day to act on Budget Bills and revenue bills of other house and appoint conferees|
|Monday, February 20||Last day for committee action on remaining bills|
|Thursday, February 23||Last day to act on remaining bills and appoint conferees|
|Saturday, February 25||Session adjourns sine die|
|Monday, March 27||Last day for Governor’s action on legislation|
|Wednesday, April 12||Reconvened session|