|RICHMOND, VA – Governor Glenn Youngkin signed 738 bills into law, offered substantive and technical amendments to 78 bills, and vetoed three bills, taking action on a total of 819 bills sent to his desk during the 2023 General Assembly Session.
“At the conclusion of the Session, I was honored to sign key pieces of bipartisan legislation that bolster law enforcement, cut red tape, make Virginia more competitive, and build on my commitment to restore excellence in education. While the 2023 Session leaves many big items unfinished, including the adoption of a budget that offers serious tax relief for Virginians and makes significant investments like our Right Help, Right Now initiative to transform behavioral health care, we have made significant progress in advancing commonsense policies that deliver for everyone,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin.
SIGNED BILLS INCLUDE:
- HB 1563 (Fowler) and SB 1240 (Obenshain) – Expands the agricultural sales and use tax exemption to include items used in the construction of indoor agricultural facilities.
- HB 1660 (Wilt) and SB 1239 (Obenshain) – Extends the Virginia Dairy Producer Margin Coverage Premium Assistance Program and establishes a fund to protect dairy producers from extraordinarily low milk prices.
- HB 2445 (Bennett-Parker) – Renews and expands the Wholesome Food Tax Credit for Virginia farmers who donate surplus food to food banks.
- HB 1526 (Coyner) and SB 1175 (Lucas) – Expands several provisions of the Virginia Literacy Act, effective with the 2024–2025 school year, and currently applicable to students in kindergarten through grade three, to students in grades four through eight.
- HB 1554 (Brewer) and SB 943 (Suetterlein) – Requires each public high school in the Commonwealth to publicly identify on its official website the faculty member responsible for special education transition planning and coordination at such high school.
- HB 1592 (Davis) and SB 1072 (Bell) – Requires principals to notify parents when their children are bullied at school.
- HB 1630 (Coyner) and SB 1479 (Lucas) – Reduces from twelve to six months the required break in service for a teacher, bus driver, school administrator, or school security officer, and requires a six month break in service for specialized student support staffers to return to work full time and continue to receive their pension. Finally, the bill requires VRS to submit a report regarding options for employing certain enumerated positions part-time during the required six-month break in service period.
- HB 1659 (Bell) and SB 830 (Favola) – Directs the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, the Department of Education, and relevant stakeholders to develop and disseminate standards for the transition of services and transfer of records for students with disabilities who reach the age of majority.
- HB 1704 (Bell) and SB 821 (Surovell) – Requires each division superintendent to annually designate an employee in the local school division as the division safety official whose duty is to receive all reports required to be made pursuant to relevant law.
- HB 1762 (Reid) – Establishes the Teacher Reengagement Program for the purpose of addressing instructional personnel shortages and COVID-19 pandemic-related student learning loss.
- HB 1884 (Wampler) – Requires the work group established by the Secretary of Education to study and develop a plan relating to revisions to SOL assessments to consider the effectiveness of assessments for students with disabilities.
- HB 2225 (Batten) and SB 1253 (Dunnavant) – Ensures parents are involved in their children’s education by requiring school boards to provide parents and teachers with their child’s SOL test results.
- SB 1367 (Vogel) – Clarifies that no child whose parent allows the child to engage in independent activities without adult supervision shall for that reason alone be considered to be an abused or neglected child.
- SB 1430 (Suetterlein) – Requires the Department of Education to convene a stakeholder work group to make recommendations on reducing barriers to and improving the access of paid work-based learning experiences for English language learner students.
- HB 1643 (Kilgore) and SB 1121 (Hackworth) – Declares that the policy of the Commonwealth is to encourage the capture and use of coal mine methane in Virginia’s energy supply, and directs the Virginia Department of Energy to research beneficial uses of coal mine methane.
- HB 1779 (O’Quinn) -Creates the Nuclear Education Grant Fund to award competitive grants to Virginia colleges and schools for the creation of employment and training pathways in the nuclear power industry, including nuclear engineering and welding.
- HB 1781 (O’Quinn) and SB 1116 (Hackworth) - Empowers the Southwest Virginia Energy Research and Development Authority to promote energy projects on former coal sites, develop Southwest’s energy workforce and supply chains, and advance Southwest Virginia’s energy industry.
- HB 2178 (Morefield) - Adds coal mine methane extraction to the jobs eligible to receive green and alternative energy job creation tax credits.
- HB 2305 (Webert) – Provides that any petition by Dominion or Appalachian Power Company to construct and operate a solar electrical generating facility must demonstrate that the proposed facility was subject to competitive procurement or solicitation.
- HB 2386 (O’Quinn) and SB 1464 (Vogel) – Creates the Virginia Power Innovation Fund to jump start the development of innovative energy technologies in Virginia and begins the process of creating a Virginia nuclear innovation hub.
Healthcare & Human Resources
- HB 1403 (Tata) – Requires any public higher education institution that maintains and operates university housing during scheduled intersessions to provide access to such housing at no cost to any foster care student.
- HB 1573 (Walker) and SB 970 (Mason) – Directs that questions about mental health must be dropped from licensing applications for health professionals. Instead, the questions will ask if licensees have any reason to believe they would pose a risk to the safety or well-being of patients, and if applicants are able to perform the essential functions of a practitioner, either with or without a reasonable accommodation.
- HB 1709 (Cherry) and SB 1424(Pillion) – Adds employees of the Department of Corrections designated by the Director of the Department to the list of persons who are authorized to possess and administer naloxone or other opioid antagonists.
- HB 1963 (Runion) and SB 945 (Suetterlein) – Directs the Department of Medical Assistance Services to take steps to amend the Family and Individual Supports, Community Living, and Building Independence waivers to provide greater financial flexibility to individuals with developmental disabilities who are receiving waiver services.
- HB 1976 (Bell) and SB 1299 (Deeds) – Permits the director of a facility where a person is awaiting transport to the facility of temporary detention pursuant to a temporary detention order to release the person if an employee or a designee of the local community services board, in consultation with the person’s treating physician, (i) conducts an evaluation of the person, (ii) determines that the person no longer meets the commitment criteria, (iii) authorizes the release of the person, and (iv) provides a discharge plan.
- HB 2216 (Leftwich) and SB 1347 (Cosgrove) – Requires health insurance companies to provide coverage for mobile crisis response services.
- HB 2290 (Brewer) and SB 1314 (Dunnavant) – Allows mothers to petition a court to order noncustodial fathers to share the cost of pregnancy and delivery expenses.
- SB 1232 (Dunnavant) – Requires that the death of any individual in a state hospital or training center must be investigated by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
- SB 1414 (Pillion) – Establishes the Commonwealth Opioid Abatement and Remediation Fund to receive funds from a direct settlement, judgment, verdict, or other court order relating to consumer protection claims regarding the manufacturing, marketing, distribution, or sale of opioids that are intended to be used for opioid abatement or remediation, excluding funds designated for transfer to the Opioid Abatement Authority.
- SB 1415 (Pillion) – Allows any person to possess and administer naloxone or other opioid antagonist used for overdose reversal other than naloxone in an injectable formulation with a hypodermic needle or syringe in accordance with protocols developed by the Board of Pharmacy in consultation with the Board of Medicine and the Department of Health, provided that certain other conditions enumerated in current law are met.
- HB 1628 (Coyner) – Expands the use of the Wetland and Stream Replacement Fund for other purposes in addition to the purchase of mitigation bank credits.
- HB 1665 (Marshall) and SB 1205 (Lewis) – Extends local land use approvals that were valid and outstanding as of July 1, 2020 to hold businesses harmless from economic disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- HB 1805 (Bloxom) and SB 1401 (Lewis) – Allows the Virginia Resources Authority to finance community development housing projects, including those for low-income families.
- HB 2312 (Head) and SB 1263 (Hackworth) – Defines stop work orders and allows for the recovery of fees and expenses related to the appeal process by subjects of frivolous stop work orders.
- SB 1114 (Stanley) – Creates the Virginia Residential Sites and Structures Locator database to assist localities in marketing structures and parcels suitable for residential or mixed-use development or redevelopment.
- HB 1416 (Brewer) and SB 1436 (Dunnavant) – Supporting victims of sexual assault by reinstating the requirement that individuals charged with certain crimes are required submit to STI testing.
- HB 1478 (Ballard) and SB 1207 (McDougle) – Targets gang activity by updating the gang statute to include crimes committed by modern gangs.
- HB 1555 (Brewer) and SB 1373 (Vogel) – Requires that colleges and universities incorporate human trafficking awareness and prevention training into their freshman year orientation programs.
- HB 1572 (Walker) and SB 1291 (Deeds) – Provides that it is a Class 1 misdemeanor for any person to knowingly report, or cause another to report in reliance on intentionally false information provided by such person, a false emergency communication to any emergency personnel that results in an emergency response.
- HB 1606 (Tata) – The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working Definition of Antisemitism as a tool for education, training, and combating hate crimes.
- HB 1682 (Wyatt) and SB 1188 (Reeves) – Classifies fentanyl as a “weapon of terrorism” and increases the penalty for manufacturers or distributors of drugs which include fentanyl.
- HB 1691 (Greenhalgh) and SB 1099 (Norment) – Expands the qualified uses of the School Resource Officer Grants Program and Fund for the hiring of School Security Officers and equipment for ensuring school safety.
- HB 1699 (Cherry) – Criminalizes the sale or purchase of a child or minor under the care of a parent or guardian
- HB 1822 (Avoli) – Clarifies that individuals who have solicited minors for sex offenses would be required to disclose such offenses on an employment application.
- HB 1885 (Byron) and SB 1396 (Stuart) – Establishes the crime of organized retail theft that makes it a Class 3 felony for any person who conspires or acts in concert with another person to commit simple larceny of retail property from one or more retail mercantile establishments.
- HB 1916 (Batten) and SB 910 (Newman) –Expands the duties and investigation authority of public higher education threat assessment teams to help ensure the safety on College campuses around the Commonwealth.
- HB 1931 (Durant) and SB 973 (Peake) – Creates a Class 6 felony for any civilly committed sexually violent predator who tampers with or in any way attempts to circumvent the operation of his GPS equipment while on conditional release.
- HB 2020 (Wachsmann) and SB 1073 (Hackworth) – Prohibits any unmanned aircraft system from dropping items within any state or local correctional facility or juvenile correctional center and prohibits the use of such devices to obtain video or images of inmates.
- HB 2387 (Lopez) – Creates a $300 firearm tax credit to encourage gun safety across the Commonwealth.
- SB 869 (Cosgrove) – Provides that if a retired law-enforcement officer was employed by a local school division as a school security officer on or after January 1, 2020, but before January 1, 2023, and had a bona fide break in service of at least one month between retirement and employment as a school security officer, such person is not required to establish the 12-month break in service that would otherwise be required by law.
- SB 896(McDougle) – Adds petit larceny to the list of offenses included in the definition of “racketeering activity.”
- SB 1359 (Norment) – Requires each new threat assessment team member at each public elementary and secondary school to complete an initial threat assessment training and that all threat assessment team members to complete refresher training every three years.
- HB 1485 (Webert) and SB 1129 (Hanger) – Changes the contingency for the effective date of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan to allow consideration of a combination of point or nonpoint source pollution reduction commitments other than agricultural best management conservation practices when determining whether the Commonwealth’s commitments in the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan have been satisfied.
- HB 1634 (Bulova) and SB 1187 (Lewis) – Encourages localities to consider strategies to address resilience in their comprehensive plans.
- HB 1664 (Hodges) and SB 897 (Stuart) – Establishes the Governor’s Blue Catfish Processing, Flash Freezing, and Infrastructure Grant Program and authorizes the Governor to award grants to political subdivisions from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund as part of the Program. Such grants, in amounts up to $250,000, shall be awarded as reimbursable grants to support blue catfish processing, flash freezing, and infrastructure projects.
- HB 1950 (Bloxom) and SB 1160 (Stuart) – Directs the Virginia Marine Resources Commission to review and update its “Guidelines for Establishment, Use and Operation of Tidal Wetland Mitigation Banks in Virginia” and its regulations, Wetlands Mitigation-Compensation Banks and Supplemental Guidelines.
- SB 959 (Hanger) – Establishes that nutrient credits generated through stream restoration projects that are certified or recertified by the Department of Environmental Quality and located in tributaries outside of the Chesapeake Bay watershed may be calculated using a delivery factor deemed by the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality to be based on the best available scientific and technical information appropriate for the tributaries outside of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
- SB 1388 (Lewis) – Directs the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) to develop plans for studying the ecology, fishery impacts, and economic importance of menhaden populations in the waters of the Commonwealth and to provide a report on its findings to the Chairmen of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources and the House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources and the Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources.
Veterans and Military
- HB 1388 (Fowler) and SB 915 (Morrissey) – Establishes the Virginia National Guard Passport that authorizes a member of the Virginia National Guard to enter state parks without paying a parking or admission fee.
- HB 1624 (Ballard) and SB 1071 (Bell) – Adds military service members transitioning from military to civilian life to the list of persons supported by the program for mental health and rehabilitative services administered by the Department of Veterans Services.
- HB 1759 (Reid) – Directs the Commissioner of the Department of Veterans Services to convene a workgroup to study and develop recommendations for implementing a statewide strategic plan to guide legislation to make Virginia the best state for veterans.
- HB 2077 (Murphy) – Requires all attorneys who hold accreditation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to assist veterans with VA-related claims and appeals processes to provide a written disclosure informing all clients of the free services provided by the Department of Veterans Services for service members, veterans, and their families.
- HB 2080 (Murphy) and SB 1372 (Vogel) – Establishes special license plates for supporters of women veterans bearing the legend SUPPORT WOMEN VETERANS.
- HB 2246 (Cordoza) – Authorizes unremarried surviving spouses of persons eligible to receive a special license plate for military service to also receive such special license plates.
- HB 2362 (Wiley) and SB 924 (DeSteph) – Provides that, from such funds as may be appropriated or otherwise received for such purpose, the Commonwealth shall pay any burial fee for (i) a member of the National Guard and Reserve or (ii) a deceased spouse of a member or veteran of the United States Armed Forces or of the National Guard and Reserve, regardless of whether such spouse’s death precedes or succeeds the death of the member or veteran.
- HB 2373 (Wyatt) and SB 1210 (Mason) – Increases the income tax deduction to $5,000 for National Guard members.
- SB 955 (Ruff) – Provides that public institutions of higher education may enter into special arrangement contracts with the Virginia Department of Military Affairs for the purpose of providing reduced rate tuition charges for no more than 50 members of the Virginia National Guard receiving state tuition assistance grants per year.
- HB 2180 (Morefield) and SB 1213 (McDougle) – Universal license recognition law which cuts red tape and makes Virginia more attractive to out-of-state workers to bring them to Virginia.
- HB 2194 (Byron) and SB 1422 (Pillion) – Supports individuals in attaining an industry-based credential by increasing the workforce credential grant from $3,000 to $4,000.
- HB 2195 (Byron) and SB 1470 (Ruff) – Streamlines state workforce programs and establishes the Department of Workforce Development and Advancement.
Making Government Work for You
- HB 2171 (Williams) – Provides that no rule, regulation, or order issued by the Governor or other governmental entity pursuant to the Commonwealth of Virginia Emergency Services and Disaster Law shall impose restrictions on the operation of a place of worship that are more restrictive than the restrictions imposed on any other business, organization, or activity.
- HB 1951 (Bloxom) and SB 1478 (Lewis) – Makes the Chincoteague pony the official pony of the Commonwealth.
- HB 1968 (Mullin) – Directs the Virginia Department of Historic Resources to designate signs recognizing Green Book locations across the Commonwealth to recognize all of Virginia’s history.
AMENDED BILLS INCLUDE:
- HB 1438 (Anderson) and SB 997 (Mason) – Adds recycling of oyster shells to the list of eligible activities for the Oyster Replenishment Fund. The Governor has offered amendments requiring the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) to determine the aggregate amount of funds available specifically for encouraging oyster shell donations and the distribution method. The amendments further direct VMRC to consider providing grants to recipients of oyster shell donations that are used in oyster restoration projects when those shells are donated to nonprofits. Senator Mason’s bill creates the Oyster Shell Waste Diversion Fund for the purpose of diverting oyster shells from landfills and promoting their beneficial reuse in oyster restoration. The Governor has offered amendments conforming this bill to Delegate Anderson’s HB 1438.
- HB 2325 (Bloxom) and SB 1438 (Stuart) – Prohibits foreign adversaries of the United States from acquiring interest in Virginia’s agricultural land. The Governor has offered technical and clarifying amendments related to enforcement.
- HB 2332 (Campbell) and SB 1308 (Deeds) – Reduces the requirement from 100 acres to 50 acres for a site that isn’t a brownfield to qualify for a VEDP site development grant. The Governor offered an amendment that stipulates that only localities without 100-acre sites are eligible for site development grants on 50-acre sites.
- SB 956 (Ruff) – Allows localities to create business improvement and recruitment districts, consisting of fees charged to businesses to fund business improvements, promotions, and recruitment efforts. The Governor has offered amendments that would require that business improvement and recruitment districts be located in areas where local businesses and structures require rehabilitation and changes the methodology for a qualifying from a weighted to a simple majority.
- HB 1842 (Knight) – Creates the Virginia Business Ready Sites Acquisition Program, which directs VEDP to acquire and develop project-ready sites for economic development and enter into agreements with private employers for development. The Governor’s amendments streamline processes and focus the program on large-scale projects.
- SB 1280 (Dunnavant) – Requires public institutions of higher education to adopt policies requiring students to participate in internships or work-based learning experiences as part of their degree programs without prolonging the degree completion time and directs the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia to convene a work group to develop, adopt, and implement these policies. Public colleges and universities will have until July 1, 2025, to determine whether such policies are logistically and fiscally feasible. The Governor has offered an amendment to accelerate this effort by focusing this work on baccalaureate institutions.
- HB 1840 (Knight) and SB 1211 (Lucas) – Renames the Eastern Virginia Medical School and the schools and divisions formerly affiliated with it and allows Old Dominion University to offer medical and health sciences education and research through its teaching hospitals. The Governor offered amendments to provide that the EVMS-ODU merger is not effective until the requirements are met and that the Chair of House Appropriations, Chair of Senate Finance, and the Governor certify the provisions have been met.
- SB 1453 (McPike) – Requires every school board to develop a plan for the placement and use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) in every public elementary and secondary school and to place an AED in every public school in the school division. The Governor has offered an amendment to require the Virginia Department of Education to publish on their website all public and private grants available for the purchase of defibrillators.
- HB 2222 (Hayes) – Allows successful graduates of accredited surgical assistant training programs to practice under certain conditions prior to licensure. The Governor has offered amendments to address critical workforce shortages within the healthcare field by expanding the bill to include surgical technologists, and give the Board of Health discretion over the credentialing requirements for surgical assistants and surgical technologists, as well as approved job training and apprenticeship programs.
- SB 1515 (Stanley) – Creates a civil cause of action for any commercial entity that knowingly or intentionally publishes or distributes on the Internet material harmful to minors, as defined in the bill, and that does not take reasonable steps to verify that the age of a person attempting to access such material harmful to minors is 18 years of age or older. The Governor’s expands protections for minors personal information and sensitive data by updating the definition of minor in other parts of the code.
- SB 1459 (McDougle)- Prohibits any employee or agent of any public body or person or entity contracting with any such public body from downloading or using any application, including TikTok or WeChat, or accessing any website developed by ByteDance Ltd. or Tencent Holdings Ltd. on any government-issued device or owned device or while connected to any wired or wireless Internet network owned, operated, or maintained by the Commonwealth. The underlying bill as a limited carve-out for law enforcement needs. The Governor offered an amendment to clarify that the chief law enforcement officer of any locality, including towns, and any public institution of higher education, can also authorize use for public safety purposes.
- HB 2169 (Williams) and SB 1361 (Morrissey) – Removes the provision exempting the Parole Board from the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, meaning its parole decisions would have to be made at public meetings. The Governor has offered an amendment to require the Parole Board to notify the Commonwealth’s Attorney and victim services representative when determining if a prisoner will be released to strengthen victims’ rights.
- HB 2024 (Leftwich) and SB 1310 (Deeds) – Ensures the Commonwealth does not publish the personal information of active and retired federal, Virginia, and Virginian judges, justices, and magistrates who request that the Commonwealth not publish it. The Governor has offered an amendment to clarify the definition of judges and provides that anyone who pickets or parades near or to a residence used or occupied by a judge, juror, witness, court officer, or court employee in an effort to interfere with, obstruct, or impede the administration of justice is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
- HB 2294 (Kilgore) and SB 903 (Hanger) – Limits the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) allowed in hemp-derived products and restructures the licensing requirements for the sale of industrial hemp. The Governor has offered an amendment to ensure certain non-intoxicating therapeutic products will still be available to the people who rely on them.
- SB 1492 (DeSteph) – Allows off-duty Virginia State Police officers to carry firearms inside Capitol Square, Commonwealth agencies, and offices. The Governor has offered an amendment to expand this bill to include Virginia Capitol Police.
- HB 2296 (Hope) and SB 1350 (Ebbin) – Directs the Secretary of Finance to determine how to enforce and administer licensing, age verification, product verification, and advertising restrictions on manufacturers, distributors, and retail dealers of liquid nicotine. The Governor has offered an amendment assigning the responsibility for the assessment to the Virginia Alcohol Beverage Authority rather than the Secretary of Finance.
- HB 2275 (Kilgore) and SB 1166 (Surovell) – Increases the membership of the Commission on Electric Utility Regulation (the Commission) to include citizen experts and requires Virginia Energy Plan drafts and updates and utility Integrated Resource Plans to be presented at a public meeting of the Commission. The Governor has offered amendments that adds the requirement that citizen expert members have experience in advocating on behalf of ratepayers and appoints an attorney with the Office of the Attorney General’s Division of Consumer Counsel as an ex officio member of the Commission. The Governor’s amendments also require the Commission to prepare ratepayer impact statements quantifying the expected impact of energy legislation on utility customer bills and removes the requirement that Virginia Energy Plan drafts assembled by future governors be presented at a public meeting of the Commission.
- HB 2026 (O’Quinn) and SB 1231 (Lewis) – Removes the requirement for Dominion and Appalachian Power Company to retire all biomass electrical generating units by December 31, 2028. The bill provides that certain biomass-fired facilities may qualify as renewable energy standard eligible sources. This bill also directs the Department of Forestry to convene an advisory panel to evaluate biomass-powered electric generating units, and to develop best management practices for biomass facilities. The Governor has offered amendments to increase SCC oversight of generation plant retirements and grant the SCC the authority to defer renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requirements if compliance threatens grid reliability or security. The Governor’s amendments also deem new nuclear and zero-emission hydrogen generators and NOVEC’s biomass facility in Halifax County as eligible to comply with renewable portfolio standards.
- HB 2444 (Bloxom) and SB 1441 (Locke) – Provides for preferred recovery of costs associated with the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) electric generation components that will benefit the Commonwealth economically. To increase ratepayers’ protection, the Governor’s amendment ensures competitive solicitation for the second phase of CVOW development.
- SB 1035 (McPike) – Designates bridges as eligible for state of good repair funds if at least one major component receives a poor general condition rating to improve bridges to extend their service life, and changes the funding distribution from needs-based distribution with percentage limits for each transportation district to needs-based distribution among highway construction districts. The Governor has offered an amendment that would restore the minimum funding level for the formula of distribution.
- HB 2338 (McQuinn) and SB 1326 (McClellan) – Directs the Commonwealth Transportation Board to use up to 30 percent of available funds in the Transit Ridership Incentive Program to support local, regional, and state entities in improving the accessibility of transit bus passenger facilities. The underlying bill allowed for funds to be used to purchase electric vehicles, a goal which is duplicative other programs. The Governor’s allows TRIP funds to be used to improve public safety at bus stops and on buses.
AMENDMENTS TO HB 1400
HB 1400 (Knight) – This bill amends Chapter 2 of the Acts of Assembly of 2022, Special Session I. The Governor has offered four amendments limited to technical adjustments for time-constrained programs and funding purposes.
LETTER FROM GOVERNOR: While I approve of the general purpose of this bill, I am returning it without my signature and requesting that four amendments be adopted. I commend the General Assembly for its diligent work this session.
Given the significance of this bill, it’s important to adopt a targeted approach, and the enrolled bill allocates additional funding to a select few core services that have been thoughtfully prioritized.
My amendments are nevertheless necessary and limited to technical adjustments for time-constrained programs and funding purposes.
While this bill’s passage is significant, it does not mark the end of this session’s work.
Through the first eight months of the fiscal year, tax collections are surpassing expectations, confirming at least $3.6 billion in unanticipated resources. I look forward to working with the General Assembly to develop a budget that provides $1 billion in tax relief for Virginians and delivers over $2.6 billion for our shared goals of job growth, public safety, education excellence, and behavioral health services.
I urge the General Assembly to approve these amendments promptly to reenroll the budget without delay.
- Amendment 1: This amendment recognizes changes in estimated revenue collections resulting from the passage of HB1595 / SB882 regarding conformity of the Commonwealth’s taxation system to the Internal Revenue Code. The amendment also recognizes adjustments to balances associated with various balance sheet actions for required deposits and future planned appropriation of contingent amounts from prior year excess revenue collections including the Revenue Stabilization Fund Deposit, Virginia Retirement System Deposit, and the 2022 Capital Supplement Pool. This amendment also makes technical corrections to the total appropriations summary included in Enactment 1 of Chapter 2
- Amendment 2: (This amendment provides general fund for the anticipated cost of providing mandated cash assistance benefits.)
- Amendment 3: This amendment corrects an American Rescue Plan Act State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF) allocation included in Chapter 2, 2022 Special Session I. Specifically, this amendment allows the Department of Medical Assistance Services and the Department of Social Services to utilize a total of $38 million in SLFRF amounts to provide for federally required actions to review and redetermine Medicaid enrollees following the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency. The original allocation per Chapter 2 is not allowable under federal guidelines for the use of SLFRF.
- Amendment 4: This amendment provides authority for the Department of Planning and Budget to approve a short-term, interest-free, treasury loan authorization to the Southeastern Universities Research Association Doing Business for Jefferson Science Associates, LLC for the construction of a high-performance data facility. Issuance of the treasury loan is contingent upon certification that the U.S. Department of Energy has approved the project. Repayment of the treasury loan will be determined by the Governor and General Assembly at a future date when/if the loan issuance is undertaken.
SB 1051 (McPike) – Allows utility companies and broadband service providers to park their vehicles on private property temporarily without the owner’s consent and prohibit property owners from removing or towing the vehicle for up to 72 hours.
VETO STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR: Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto Senate Bill 1051, which allows public utility and broadband service vehicles to be temporarily left on private property without the owner’s consent.
Although I understand the need to ensure the necessary maintenance of services, this bill violates the fundamental rights of property owners. As a cornerstone of our society, property rights must not be eroded for convenience or expediency.
Furthermore, this bill may result in disputes between property owners and service providers, leading to unnecessary conflict and animosity. The Commonwealth would be better served by encouraging communication between service providers and property owners rather than enacting legislation that undermines individual liberty.
Accordingly, I veto this bill.
HB 1536 (Jenkins) – Requires the Department of Human Resource Management to update the Grievance Procedure Manual (GPM).
VETO STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR: Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 1536, which requires the Department of Human Resource Management to update the Grievance Procedure Manual to require the Office of Employment Dispute Resolution to review and issue a written decision when a party fails to comply with the grievance procedures.
The current Grievance Procedure Manual provides a process to address party noncompliance. There is a collaborative process for notifying the other party of noncompliance and providing time for the party to rectify it. In the event that noncompliance continues, the Office of Employment Dispute Resolution may be requested to issue a ruling. During the hearing phase, parties may also raise any alleged noncompliance, which will be reviewed by the hearing officer and resolved by the Office of Employment Dispute Resolution.
However, the proposed legislation would require the Office of Employment Dispute Resolution to review all aspects of the grievance process, including all decisions made by hearing officers, to determine noncompliance regardless of whether both parties are satisfied with the outcome. This would lead to increased workload and possible delays, ultimately hindering the efficiency of the current collaborative process. Additionally, the Department of Human Resources Management issues such rulings routinely, pursuant to the authority provided in §§ 2.2-1202.1(5) and 2.2-3003(G).
The legislation does not achieve its intended goals and will have unintended consequences such as increased workloads and delays in resolving complaints.
Accordingly, I veto this bill.
SB 1085 (Ebbin) – Directs the State Police to convene a work group of specific stakeholders to examine the issue of vehicle noise in the Commonwealth.
VETO STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR: Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto Senate Bill 1085, which directs the Superintendent of State Police to convene a work group to examine the issue of vehicle noise in the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth made a significant bipartisan step by enforcing a primary offense for exhaust systems that are not in good working order last year. The proposed legislation is unnecessary.
Accordingly, I veto the bill.