The 2013 General Assembly convened on January 9 for a 45 day "short," non-budget session. The Commonwealth's legislators will consider more than 2,000 bills and resolutions and adopt budget amendments to the State's current $86 billion budget.
The Chamber's top legislative priority is funding our transportation infrastructure. Governor Bob McDonnell has proposed legislation that would create $3.2 billion in new transportation funding over a five year period. The Governor's proposal would eliminate the State's motor fuel tax of 17.5 cents per gallon and replace it with an increase in the sales tax of .8% to 5.8%. Other components of the funding plan include a General Fund increase dedicated for transportation from .50% to .75%, dedication of the "internet sales tax" to transportation, and various fee increases.
Prior to the "crossover," the Governor's plan had passed out of the Finance Committees in the House of Delegates and Senate. Substantial amendments regarding funding sources is antipated to be forthcoming for both parties as the session proceeds.
The top environmental issue under consideration in 2013 is lifting the moratorium on Uranium mining and potentially adopting regulations governing the mining in Virginia. The Hampton Roads Chamber has not taken a position on this issue.
The hospitality and tourism industries continue to be united in efforts to retain the Virginia’s Labor Day school start waiver law. There have been 19 bills introduced in the 2013 session that would alter the current law. The Chamber is working with a broad group of hospitality stakeholders to defeat the measures.
Legal reform is another key area of focus for the Chamber. Five business sponsored bills have been introduced including one that would allow for motions of summary judgment to be based in whole or part on depositions.
Regarding health care, the Chamber joined in opposition to a bill that would have forced Virginia workers comp providers to use a federal medicare fee schedule. We have also sent a letter to the Governor and our delegation urging Medicaid reform in Virginia to protect the interest of our hospital systems as they care for our region's poor.
During the General Assembly Session, the Chamber emails its members weekly "News and Notes" to update the status of business related legislation. Members also receive "Action Alerts" urging members to contact their elected representatives on matters of key importance, such as transportation funding. Our strategy is to inform, engage and collaborate with other business interests.
If you have concerns or questions, please contact the Chamber’s Governmental Affairs team: