Movements in Legislation & Advocacy
The 2021 Session of the General Assembly adjourned sine die (Latin for adjourning with no appointed day for resumption) on February 8. The General Assembly convened its 2021 Special Session on February 10 and adjourned sine die on March 1. While unusual, this special session was called by Governor Northam due to the inability of each body to obtain a 2/3 vote in favor of the usual 15-day extension. All legislation was finalized on April 7 at the reconvened session to address the Governor’s amendments and vetoes (there were no vetoes this year) on legislation passed in the 2021 General Assembly Session.
During the session, the General Assembly considered 1,476 pieces of legislation, which is well short of the 2,000-3,000 bills typically considered. This decrease was due to the bill limits set by each body, seven bills for each House member and twelve bills for each Senate member.
While the number of bills that the Joint Legislative Committee (JLC) actively tracked and monitored was about the same, the potential impact on the A&E community was not as dramatic. Nevertheless, JLC’s involvement helped influence the direction of several of the bills that might have had an impact. Of particular interest:
HOUSE BILL NO: HB 5002
Establish Small Business & Women-owned & Minority- Owned Business Procurement Enhancement Programs
This bill was passed out of the House but did not make it out of the Senate. ACEC Virginia supported this legislation; however, it did not pass in its current form. Because we did not oppose the bill Secretary of Commerce and Trade Ball agreed that ACEC/VA & AIA could have a “seat at the table” for the discussion and help recommend others, like VTCA and AGC. It was proposed that the revised bill would be introduced again in the special session called in August to help allocate the federal relief money. Unfortunately, this bill was not allowed to be presented during the Special Session and now expect it to be reintroduced during the 2022 General Assembly.
HOUSE BILL NO: HB 2259
Governor; issuance of licenses to persons denied by the regulatory board
This bill would have allowed the Governor to issue a license usually granted by a regulatory board under the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation to any person whose application for such license to such board has been denied. ACEC Virginia believes that the process in place for regulating engineering should not be circumvented. Therefore, we actively opposed this legislation, and it was successfully defeated.
We are currently working to simplify term contracts language in the Code to provide consistency for projects since localities are now handling many projects. Over the summer, the language will be developed with representatives from the A/E industry, then vetted with all interested parties before looking for a patron in the 2022 General Assembly.