Movements in Legislation & Advocacy
2022 General Assembly Recap
The House and Senate adjourned on Saturday, February 26, 2022 without a budget. They will continue to negotiate and when there is a resolution, the General Assembly will be called back for a Special Session.
It is a complex set of issues / controversies that is causing this stalemate. Very simply stated:
House budget had $1 Billion in Tax Cuts
- Senate budget did not propose huge tax cuts, but rather spent the $1 B on their set of spending priorities.
- The budget conferees never agreed on how much to do in tax cuts. Therefore, without knowing how much money there was to spend, there was no way for the budget conferees to start negotiating the rest of the budget.
- On top of “tax cut / no tax cut” problem, is the problem created by the Executive Branch’s miscalculation on how much funding K-12 schools need. (There is a formula which allocates school funding to local governments. When running the formula the Executive Branch underestimated how much was needed.)
The solution agreed to by the House and the Senate was to pass a “stop gap” budget that fixes immediate needs, adjourn session, and continue to negotiate.
According to a floor speech given by the Chair of House Appropriations, here is what the “stop gap” budget does:
Allocates $900.4 Million to the Rainey Day Fund (required by the Constitution)
- Appropriates $100 Million for capital cost overruns (Current construction projects that are over budget due to inflation.)
- Sends $250 Million to the Virginia Retirement System. (Required so that VRS is properly funded)
- Spends a total of $276.8 Million to fix the school funding error.
All other issues in the budget will be negotiated in the future.
Bills of particular interest to the engineering industry are note below.
- HB 2500 Virginia Public Procurement Act; payment clauses to be in construction contracts/SB 1313 Construction contracts; payment clauses to be included in certain contracts. These bills seek to clarify legislation passed in the 2022 Session that provided that payment by the party contracting with a contractor shall not be a condition precedent to payment by the contractor to any lower-tier subcontractor in construction contracts awarded by state or local government agencies or private entities. The bills clarify certain definitions throughout the Code for consistency between public and private construction contracts.
- HB 2195 Workforce development; consolidation of policies and programs, etc. (Companion Bill, SB 1470) – signed on and supported by the JLC. This bill is a recommendation of the Small Business Commission and creates the Department of Workforce Development and Advancement to administer workforce development services and training programs. It directs the Secretary of Labor to conduct a comprehensive review of the Commonwealth’s workforce development programs and make recommendations to address a wide range of subjects relating to improving the effectiveness and efficiency of such programs. The Secretary is also required to convene a stakeholder work group to advise the Secretary during the transition period.
- HB 2180 Professional and Occupational Regulation, Department of; universal license recognition. This bill establishes criteria for an individual licensed, certified, or having work experience in another state to apply to a regulatory board within the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation and be issued a professional or occupational license or government certification if certain conditions are met. It originally would have included geologists and interior designers, but with intense opposition the bill was amended to specifically not apply to any professional services
There will be many retirement from the General Assembly this year, here is the highlights More retirements will be coming over next few weeks. Here is a good article summarizing who is leaving and why: https://www.virginiamercury.com/2023/02/24/general-assembly-tracker-everyone-who-says-they-arent-coming-back-next-year/