Please urge Budget Conferees to fund state’s commitment to jail costs

February 28, 2014

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

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THE ISSUES

Please urge Budget Conferees to fund state’s commitment to jail costs

ACTION
The introduced budget provided only half of the state’s share of jail per diem payments to local and regional jails for the remainder of the current budget year, FY 2014. VACo members, please contact Budget Conferees to fund the state’s commitment to jail costs.

THE ISSUE
According to the Compensation Board this created a deficit for the state share of funding for inmates in local and regional jails by $4.82 million. The Senate budget provides this additional $4.82 million above the introduced budget to address this deficit in FY2014 but no funding was provided in the House budget to address this issue.

Click here to view a chart with a breakdown of the fiscal impact on your county jail or county supported regional jail if Budget Conferees fail to include the $4.82 million.

TALKING POINTS

• For Delegates: Please ask your delegate, especially House Appropriations Committee members, to urge House Budget Conferees to provide $4.82 million in jail per diem payments left unfunded in HB 29 in order to meet the state’s statutory commitment for funding jail costs in the current budget year, FY 2014.

For Senators: Please thank your Senator, especially Senate Finance Committee members for including $4.82 million in jail per diem payments in SB 29, which was left unfunded in the introduced budget and HB 29.  Also ask Senators to remind Senate Budget Conferees about the importance of maintaining this funding to meet the state’s statutory commitment for funding jail costs in the current budget year during budget negotiations.

KEY CONTACTS
House Appropriations Committee: Jones (Chairman), Ingram, Cox, Landes, O’Bannon, Lingamfelter, Poindexter, Massie, Scott, Peace, Greason, Knight, Anderson, Garrett, Stolle, Joannou, Brink, Howell, A.T., BaCote, Dance, Torian, Hester.

Senate Finance Committee: Colgan (Co-Chair), Stosch (Co-Chair), Howell, Saslaw, Norment, Hanger, Watkins, Marsh, Lucas, Ruff, Wagner, Edwards, Puckett, Puller, Deeds, Locke, McEachin.

House Budget Conferees: S. Chris Jones; R. Steve Landes; M. Kirk Cox; John M. O’Bannon, III; Thomas A. Greason; and Johnny S. Joannou.

Senate Budget Conferees: Walter A. Stosch; Charles J. Colgan; Janet D. Howell; Thomas K. Norment, Jr.; Emmet W. Hanger, Jr.; John C. Watkins; Richard L. Saslaw.

VACo Contact: Erik Johnston

 

Bill that makes preliminary subdivision plats optional passes Senate Committee
HB 209 (Marshall, D.W.) passed the Senate Local Government Committee on February 25 with nearly unanimous support. VACo worked to oppose this bill throughout this General Assembly session because it causes problems for the development community and for localities throughout the Commonwealth. Committee members raised concerns about the bill brought forward by their localities, but in the end chose to support the bill.

The bill eliminates the authority of localities to require a land development applicant to submit a preliminary subdivision plat for tentative approval if the project includes less than 50 lots. This bill is a priority for the Homebuilders Association of Virginia, whose membership wants to eliminate local authority to require a preliminary plat, thus giving them the option to go straight to final plat submission for projects with less than 50 lots.

Removing the requirement for preliminary subdivision plat review for subdivisions with less than 50 lots may encourage developers to stage larger development projects in phases to avoid the preliminary process. Further, in many parts of the state most or all development projects are less than 50 lots. The preliminary plat process is intended to help developers and localities work out the basic design issues of roads, utilities, storm drainage and lot layout to prevent rework during the more expensive process of final subdivision plat review.

The bill will likely be up for consideration before the full Senate early next week.

VACo Contact: Erik Johnston

 

Update on CSA-related bills
SB 426 (Hanger) was reported out of the House Health, Welfare, and Institutions Committee on February 27 and referred to House Appropriations Committee. The bill places the State Executive Council (SEC) under the Administrative Process Act (APA), which has been a longstanding VACo policy. VACo supports this bill and will update its progress in the House Appropriations Committee.

SB 153 (Stuart) was laid on the table in the House Appropriations Health & Human Resources Subcommittee on February 25. VACo spoke in support of the bill. SB 153 would have allowed localities in Planning District 16 to use local CSA funds for the purpose of providing special education and related services when a public school special educational program is able to provide services comparable to those of an approved private school special educational program.

VACo Contact: Beau Blevins

 

Senate Finance Committee takes action on two benefit related bills
The Senate Finance Committee passed HB 1105 (Ingram) on February 26 but added a clause that the bill will not become effective unless the budget includes an appropriation of $8.6 million to reduce the unfunded liability in the group life insurance program. The bill and its companion in the Senate, SB 102 (Ruff), provide a minimum group life insurance death benefit of $8,000 for retirees with at least 30 years of service. This minimum benefit level is indexed at a rate of 2.25 percent and thus will increase over time. Both bills cost localities a combined total of around $300,000 in additional payroll contributions per year, beginning in FY2015. The House Budget includes funding to cover the annual increase of $170,000 to cover state employees, but does not include funding for the unfunded liability or the cost increase for localities.

Senate Finance voted to carry over HB 877 (Jones) to 2015. The bill allows school boards to administer 403(b) deferred compensation plans for teachers in the new hybrid retirement plan. The original bill included the same option for local government 457 deferred compensation programs, but was amended to only include 403(b) plans for teachers. The Senate Finance Committee carried over the Senate companion, SB 422 (Watkins), for a year as well.

VACo Contact: Erik Johnston

 

VACo keeps extension of annexation moratorium clean of exceptions
SB 312 (Vogel) passed a House Counties, Cities and Towns Subcommittee on February 26 with the support of VACo. The bill extends the restrictions on granting city charters, filing annexation notices and instituting annexation proceedings and county immunity proceedings until July 1 following the 2014-2016 biennium bill. VACo successfully worked to keep efforts to provide exceptions for large towns out of the bill.

VACo Contact: Erik Johnston

 

Childcare subsidy bill reaches agreement
SB 662 (Favola) was passed out of House Health, Welfare, and Institutions Subcommittee #3 last week. VACo spoke in support of the bill, which allows any county operating under the urban county executive form of government to continue using a local sliding scale of 2.5 to 10 percent in determining copayment responsibilities for families receiving child-care subsidy. The Virginia Department of Social Services has agreed to issue a letter allowing this scale to remain in place and therefore has reached agreement outside of the legislative process.

VACo Contact: Beau Blevins

 

Bill requires localities have personnel policies that address the use of public property
HB 494 (Lingamfelter) passed the Senate Local Government Committee on February 25. HB 494 is improved since its introduction but VACo spoke against the bill because it sets a bad precedent for the state micromanaging local human resource policies and may impact some counties that do not currently have a policy. The bill requires that every locality, with the exception of towns having a population of less than 3,500 that do not have a personnel policy, to establish personnel policies covering the use of public property by officers and employees of the locality. Such policies would have to address the use of telephones, computers, and related devices and peripheral equipment that are the property of the locality for (i) personal use, to the extent that such use interferes with the employees’ productivity or work performance, or (ii) political activities.

VACo Contact: Erik Johnston

 

Donations by localities to charitable institutions
SB 549 (Puckett) passed the House of Delegates on February 26. The bill clarifies that localities may make gifts and donations to any nonprofit tax-exempt organization that is engaged in providing emergency relief, including providing the repair or replacement of private property damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster. VACo worked to support this bill.

VACo Contact: Erik Johnston

 

VACo on the Go Legislative Edition: Delegate Terry Kilgore
Virginia Delegate Terry Kilgore talks with VACo Deputy Executive Director Dean Lynch about rural issues, the budget and healthcare reform.

Click here to watch the video.

VACo Contact: Dean Lynch, CAE

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