Thursday, January 16, 2014
Multiple bills introduced to delay deadline on stormwater compliance
To date at least four identical bills have been introduced to delay from July 1, 2014, to July 1, 2015, the date by which all Virginia counties will be required to assume responsibility for managing their stormwater management programs.
The bills are HB 697 (Poindexter), HB 1071 (Ferris), HB 1117 (Wright) and SB 530 (Hanger). All House bills have been referred to the “Chesapeake” subcommittee of the House Agriculture Committee. SB 530 has been referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee.
SB 469 (Smith) provides a one-year delay (from July 1, 2014 to July 1, 2015) for localities with less than 11 percent of their land area draining into the Chesapeake Bay. These would mostly be localities in Southside and southwest Virginia.
Additional information about the progress of bills providing for a statewide delay in the implementation date (which are supported by VACo) will be written in future issues of Capitol Contact. As the January 17 deadline for filing bills approaches we expect additional stormwater bills to be introduced.
VACo Contact: Larry Land, CAE
Line of Duty Act bills pose problems
The bills make the LODA mandate on localities worse by giving the program back to the state, but then paying for it by using local telecommunications tax revenues. LODA provides public safety officers who are disabled while employed and their families with benefits, including health insurance coverage. The state created the program and then shifted responsibility for payment to localities in 2011, while keeping benefit determination in the hands of the Virginia Department of Accounts.
VACo’s policy “calls on the General Assembly to fully fund the Line of Duty Act (LODA) obligations and return LODA to a state program. LODA benefit eligibility determinations should be the responsibility of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission and not the State Comptroller’s Office.”
The bills were scheduled to come up before the Senate Courts of Justice Committee on January 13, but VACo successfully lobbied to refer the bills to the Senate Finance Steering Committee so that the full financial impacts on localities and the state can be further scrutinized.
Delegate Chris Jones, House Appropriations Chair, introduced HJR 103 (Jones) that would require JLARC to complete a comprehensive review of LODA, including the cost of the program by November 2015. He stated to the full Appropriations Committee that all LODA bills in the House will be wrapped into this study resolution.
Please share with VACo any impacts these bills will have on your county.
Other important “stormwater” bills supported by VACo
HB 261 (Scott) and SB 423 (Hanger) are companion measures that authorize the State Water Control Board to adopt regulations that create a procedure for approving permits for individual parcels in a common plan of development, provide a General Permit for Discharges of Stormwater from Construction Activities that omits unneeded information on post-construction water quality standards and provide reciprocity with other states regarding certification of best management practices.
The bills also allow the submission of an agreement in lieu of a permit where land-disturbing activity results from the construction of a single-family residence. The three provisions in the bills are consistent with positions in VACo’s 2014 Legislative Program.
Like all stormwater bills, HB 261 has been referred to the Chesapeake Subcommittee of the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee. SB 261 has been referred to the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee.
HB 58 (Hodges) allows a locality administering a Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) to consider appeals by aggrieved permit applicants or permit holders in a manner consistent with hearing processes that already exist within the locality. The bill also stipulates that a local process for hearing appeals “shall also include an opportunity for judicial review in the circuit court of the locality in which a land disturbance occurs.”
HB 649 (Ransone) allows for the submission of an agreement in lieu of a Virginia Stormwater Management Plan where certain land-disturbing activity is the result of the construction of a single-family residence outside of a common plan of development.
VACo Contact: Larry Land, CAE
Bills relating to pre-school education and kindergarten tabled
By a voice vote a House Education subcommittee rejected HB 462 (Krupicka) on January 15. This is a bill that would have required all local school divisions to provide full-day kindergarten.
On January 16, the Senate Education and Health Committee voted to have SB 372 (Edwards) studied over the next year by the Secretary of Education. SB 372 would have required all school divisions to provide early childhood education programs for four year olds and five year olds who are not eligible to attended kindergarten programs.
VACo Contact: Larry Land, CAE
VACo on the Go Legislative Edition: Speaker Bill Howell
William Howell, Speaker of the House of Delegates, talks with VACo about Medicaid expansion, local business taxes and the historic transportation bill that was passed last year.
Register for the 2014 Local Government Day
The Virginia Association of Counties, Virginia Municipal League and the Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions will host Local Government Day at the General Assembly on Thursday, February 6.
The event will be held at the Richmond Marriott, located at 500 East Broad Street in downtown Richmond.
Staff will report on legislation affecting local governments. Local officials are encouraged to participate in committee meetings and lobby state legislators at the Capitol. In the evening, local officials are urged to invite their state legislators to dinner.
The cost of the event, which includes a box lunch, is $45 per person.
VACo Contact: Carol Cameron