COVID-19 Business Recovery
COVID-19 Business Resources
2021 General Assembly Special Session

2021 General Assembly Special Session
2021 General Assembly Special Session
2021 General Assembly Special Session
Lawmakers introduced a total of 1,555 bills in the 2021 General Assembly Session where 1,033 of them were carried over and considered in the 2021 General Assembly Special Session.

The pieces of legislation considered most relevant to the business community include the Paycheck Protection Program Loan Deductibility, the defeat of the repeal of Right-to-Work, and support of the advanced recycling legislation.

Your Hampton Roads Chamber engaged and collaborated to help shape policies to support a pro-business environment. One of the most significant victories for the business community this year was the compromise relating to tax conformity legislation.

HB1935 / SB1146 were the bills that would “conform” the Commonwealth’s tax system to the Federal tax code.

Both of these bills allowed businesses who took PPP loans to exclude the forgiven loan amount from their income. However, the Virginia House of Delegates and Virginia Senate offered different relief on the tax deductibility of expenses paid with PPP loans. The Senate would allow deductions by all businesses up to $100,000, and the House would allow un-incorporated businesses to deduct up to $25,000 of expenses. These bills went into the “Committee of Conference” where members of the legislature were appointed to resolve differences between the bills. The conferees included: Hampton Roads’ Delegate Knight, Delegate Watts, Delegate Torian, Senator Newman, Senator Howell, and Senator Barker. This committee agreed on the Senate’s posture of $100,000 deductibility for ALL businesses with an emergency clause. Both bills passed each body and will be signed by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. Upon their signature, it will go to the Governor’s desk where his signature is absolutely imperative. Once signed, it will be effective immediately.

The Hampton Roads Chamber weighed in heavily and successfully advocated for the $100,000 deductibility with an emergency clause. This was a significant win for the business community as COVID recovery continues.

Right-to-Work Law Upheld

Another win for our members was the defeat of the repeal of Right-to-Work. The Right-to-Work law was established on January 12, 1947, and made Virginia the fifth oldest RTW state in the United States. This law guarantees, “No person can be compelled, as a condition of employment, to join or not to join, nor to pay dues to a labor union." RTW laws are crucial to maintaining Virginia's competitiveness. Virginia regained the top state for business by CNBC in 2019, due in part to right-to-work. Companies also consider RTW laws as a significant factor in deciding where to locate or expand. Companies will look to other states to set up operations if Virginia's RTW law is changed, putting the state at a competitive disadvantage. The Hampton Roads Chamber governmental affairs team met with legislators to express opposition to the repeal of RTW. As a result, the bill targeting this law, HB1755, was defeated. 

The Hampton Roads Chamber also championed support of advanced recycling this Session. There is an exciting new technology that utilizes an enclosed chemical process to manipulate the chemical make-up (molecules) in discarded plastics.  During this process, plastic waste can be transformed from a solid to a liquid or a gas, or can be reformed as a solid and reused. We can reform and reuse while reducing discarded plastic in landfills and creating investment and jobs for Virginians.  A win for the environment and the economy!The process is known as Advanced Recycling and it is a growing industry. The bill, SB1164, clarifies that the processes used in Advanced Recycling are manufacturing processes and not solid waste.  This helps ensure that Advanced Recycling may be appropriately recognized and regulated as a manufacturer. Last year, Virginia Economic Development officials recruited the Commonwealth’s first Advanced Recycling Company, Braven Environmental.  Other companies are considering investing in Virginia and passage of this bill secured further encouragement for more investment opportunities and job growth.

The Hampton Roads Chamber's philosophy is to inform, engage, and collaborate to shape public policy in support of a pro-business environment.

Our governmental affairs team’s significant contact with elected officials, collaboration with N.F.I.B, peer Chambers in Prince William County, Northern Virginia, Richmond, as well as the Virginia State Chamber and daily lobbying are measures of the commitment to being an impactful advocate for our business community. Your Chamber will continue to advocate on your behalf and strive to cultivate pro-business policy.

The Hampton Roads Chamber, on behalf of the business community in the region, is especially proud of the members of our delegation who fought hard to maintain Virginia as the Nation’s top state for business. Pro-business policies will positively impact Virginia families as we all share the common goals of increasing employment and growing our economy. The Chamber is honored to work with such a dedicated group of state elected officials. 

There were several pro-business bills that have already been signed into law or are currently awaiting the Governor’s signature to become law. Below you will find a list of some of these legislative items. 

  • Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back (G3) Program and Fund (HB2204/SB1405) passed with overwhelming support. The Virginia Chamber was an early supporter and advocate for this program.

  • Retail Sales and Use Tax Exemption for PPP (HB2185) passed and is headed to the Governor’s desk for signature.

  • COVID 19 Vaccine Administration (HB2333/SB1445) passed the General Assembly earlier this session and has been signed into law. This bill expands the pool of eligible health care providers to administer the vaccine.

  • Initiatives to Reduce Unemployment Among Veterans (SB1279) passed with unanimous support.

  • Child Care Provider Pilot Program (SB1316) passed House and Senate with unanimous support.

There were many bills proposed that, if enacted, would threaten Virginia’s business and legal climates. Below you will find a list of some of the anti-business bills, including the proposed legislation to repeal Virginia’s Right-to-Work law, that was defeated or amended to reduce the negative impact on Virginia's business climate. 

  • Right-to-Work (HB1755)

  • Green New Deal Act (HB1937)

  • Mandatory Hazard Pay (HB2015)

  • Moratorium on Fossil Fuel Projects (HB2292)

  • Mandatory Paid Family and Medical Leave Program (HB2016 and SB1330)

  • Increased Environmental Permitting Standards (SB1373/HB2221)

  • Class Action (SB1180)

  • Limit Employer Ability to Discharge Employee (HB1754)

  • Mandated Paid Sick Leave (HB2137) (this bill was amended to apply only to home health care workers paid for by Medicaid) 

  • Arbitration agreements (SB1384)

  • Studying the Options for Universal Health Care (HB2271)

The General Assembly will return to Richmond (in person and virtual) on Wednesday, April 7 for the Reconvened Session. This is a one-day session when the legislature meets to consider and act on Governor amendments and vetoes. 

To learn more about how the Hampton Roads Chamber advocates the views of the business community to our elected representatives at the state and local levels visit the Advocacy page.

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