The 46-day “short” session of the Virginia General Assembly began on January 12, 2011. This is a “non-budget” year, but much of the focus remains on the prioritization of the Commonwealth’s fiscal resources.
There are many factors that create the day-to-day “political” environment in the State legislature. The House of Delegates is controlled by a republican majority and the Virginia Senate by a democratic majority. This is also an election year in Virginia, when all members in the House of Delegates stand for election in November.
Governor Bob McDonnell has introduced a pro-business legislative agenda in areas including transportation, higher education reform, economic and tourism development, state pension reform, and ABC privatization.
The Hampton Roads Chamber endorsed the Governor’s $4 billion transportation package. Major transportation funding bills have been amended and were passed by committee votes including; HB2527 patroned by Speaker William J. Howell and SB1446 patroned by William C. Wampler, Jr. While these measures do not contain the long-term sustainable funding component that the Chamber sought, this funding will reduce congestion, put people to work and fund a number of significant projects in Hampton Roads. There is a strong indication that the funds will go further since highway construction costs are in a steep decline.
The Chamber’s 2011 General Assembly session priorities included issues such as Post Labor Day School Opening, Workers Compensation, Unemployment Insurance, Insurance Mandates, Economic Development, Higher Education Reform, and Tourism Development. Chamber members receive weekly electronic “Legislative News and Notes which provide detailed information during the session. In addition, the Chamber’s electronic “Legislative Call-to- Action Alerts” allow you to take action and send e-mails and/or letters directly to elected officials regarding important time-sensitive business-related issues. View the Chamber’s latest Legislative News and Notes.
After the 2011 General Assembly Session ends, the votes taken by our Hampton Roads delegation will be analyzed and endorsements will be made by the Hampton Roads Business Political Action Committee (HRBizPAC). A final report of legislative accomplishments will also be completed and shared with our membership.
During the General Assembly session, please contact the Chamber’s governmental affairs team with any business issues or concerns. Ira Agricola can be reached at 757-664-2570 and Candace Reid at 757-664-2572.