Bills are on the move this fourth week of session here in Richmond! I have had several “losses” this week with my legislation, but they are outweighed by my “wins”.
This is the last full week before Crossover Day, when House bills must be sent to the Senate and vice versa. Subcommittee dockets are multiple hours long to account for the dozens of bills we must hear and long lines of public testimony from citizens who travel to the Capitol from all corners of Virginia to share their positions on legislation. Floor sessions are starting to stretch out too as we debate and vote on final passage for all of those bills that survive and make it to the Floor.
So far this week, I have had four bills come up for their first subcommittee hearings. Two were heard in Finance Subcommittee #1: HB 197, which sought to create a modest solar installation tax credit, and HB 518 which I reintroduced from last year to give retired Foreign Service Officers an income tax subtraction on their retirement pensions. Unfortunately, both of these bills failed to report from the subcommittee.
My HB 531, heard in the Compensation and Retirement Subcommittee of Appropriations, was continued to the 2025 session and thus will not continue on this year. This bill would have added injuries or diseases from conditions resulting from repetitive and sustained physical stressors to the definition of “occupational disease” under the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act. The bill was one of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) recommendations from their 2018 study of Virginia’s Workers’ Compensation.
HB 1273 requires public bodies to include responsible bidder criteria in their invitations to bid for all non-transportation construction projects above $250,000 and at least 12.5% of labor from approved apprenticeship programs. This bill passed out of subcommittee by a vote of 5-2 and awaits its hearing in full General Laws.
I have four bills that will be voted on final passage on the House Floor today: the first is HB 201 which requires that our region’s transportation entities Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, and the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission include elected members of the House of Delegates as appointed members.
HB 523 is a continuation of my charitable gaming cleanup from past sessions.
HB 525 restricts the frequency of voter referendums to establish a casino in an eligible host city to only every three years. This three year-limit is precedent for referendums to establish new historical horse racing gaming emporiums.
And finally, HB 527 authorizes 50/50 charitable raffles to be conducted by electronic means.
On 2nd read (and up for debate) today will be my multi-year effort to create a policy of consultation between Virginia’s federally recognized Tribal Nations and certain state agencies when evaluating permits relating to environmental, cultural, or historic resources that have the potential to impact said Tribal Nations. This legislation remains one of the top legislative priorities of our tribal nations here in Virginia.
Headed to the Floor later this week will be HB 698, which establishes a retail adult-use market for cannabis, HJ 10, which extends the Joint Subcommittee to Study the Feasibility of Establishing the Virginia Gaming Commission for two additional years, and HB 199, which allows state funds to be used for the Virginia Brownfield and Coal Mine Renewable Energy Grant Fund and Program. Current law prohibits allocating funds to the program unless federal funds are utilized.
If all of these bills are voted on favorably by my House colleagues, by the end of this week I will have sent 12 of my 23 pieces of legislation over to the Senate with more on the way by Crossover Day.