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Bill would waive stormwater fees for religious and nonprofit organizations


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Bill would waive stormwater fees for religious and nonprofit organizations

HB 1293 (Morris) requires localities to waive stormwater utility fees for properties owned by churches and nonprofit organizations. For the same types of organizations, the measure also requires the State Water Control Board to waive stormwater program fees for permits to conduct land-disturbing activities.

Since 1991, Virginia’s local governments have been authorized to adopt stormwater utility fees as an effective tool for defraying costs associated with management of local stormwater programs mandated under Virginia law and the federal Clean Water Act. Counties that have not adopted stormwater utility fees may wish to do so in the future.

VACo opposes HB 1293 for the following key reasons:

  • Exemptions for churches and nonprofit organizations will shift costs to other users, such as homeowners and businesses.
  • Churches and nonprofit organizations are eligible for fee reduction credits when they install, operate and maintain a facility (such as parking lots) that achieve a permanent reduction in stormwater flow or pollutant loadings.

HB 1293 has been referred to the Chesapeake subcommittee of the House Agriculture Committee, which meets at 4 p.m. every Thursday in the Fifth Floor Conference Room of the General Assembly Building.

VACo Contact: Larry Land


TNC bill heard in Senate subcommittee, moves to full committee

SB 1025 (Watkins) is comprehensive legislation authorizing and regulating transportation network companies (aka TNCs and known corporately as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar). This bill was referred out of the Senate Transportation subcommittee on TNC’s on January 19 and will be heard in the Senate Transportation Committee on January 21.

SB 1025 is the result of a summer long workout with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) involving VACo and other stakeholders. The bill establishes that TNC’s will be regulated by DMV and the state. It will not place responsibilities on local law enforcement.

VACo’s supports the bill but wants to ensure that appropriate public safety regulations and standards remain and are clarified in the legislation. VACo will continue to provide updates.

VACo Contact: Beau Blevins


Elections bills to be considered this week

Several bills addressing the cost of elections to localities are up for consideration this week. HB 1300 (Ware) requires the appropriate political party to reimburse in full each county and city conducting a primary election at the direction of the Commonwealth. The bill also shifts payment of the costs of a presidential primary election from the Commonwealth to the proper political party committee. HB 1301 (Ware) requires the state to reimburse localities the whole amount of compensation and expenses for electoral board members and general registrars.

VACo supports both these bills that will be up for consideration this Wednesday at 5 p.m. in the House Privileges and Elections Subcommittee on Campaign Finance.

HB 1433 (Cole) will also be considered in this committee. The bill reassigns duties of the electoral board related to absentee voting and campaign finance to the general registrars. It also adds language describing general registrars as the director of elections in the locality that they serve. The State Board of Elections workgroup of General Registrars and Electoral Board Members brought this bill forward as a joint recommendation. SB 1092 (Vogel) is nearly identical to HB 1433, but it also requires that localities be reimbursed in full for the compensation and expenses of electoral board members and general registrars. The bill will be considered at the Elections Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.

VACo Contact: Erik Johnston


First Day Introduction Bills

VACo supports SB 1140 (Garrett) and HB 1865 (Kilgore) that requires bills with a local fiscal impact to be introduced no later than the first day of the regular session of the General Assembly. This is designed to give localities and the Commission on Local Government more time to review the fiscal impacts of bills before they are considered. The bills will be heard in the Senate Rules and House Rules committees

VACo Contact: Dean Lynch and Erik Johnston


Bills introduced on land application of industrial waste

HB 1364 (Peace) and HB 1381 (Fowler), as introduced, are identical bills that would authorize localities to adopt ordinances requiring testing and monitoring of the land application of industrial wastes. The bills’ provisions are similar to provisions in Section 62.1-44.19:3.10.I of the Code of Virginia that allow local testing and monitoring of biosolids (processed sewage sludge.)

HB 1364 also requires the State Water Control Board to adopt emergency regulations mandating persons to collect a fee from the generator of the industrial wastes and remit the fee to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

VACo supports both measures, which have been referred to the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee.

HB 1363 (Peace) would make it unlawful to apply industrial wastes in the counties of Hanover, King William or New Kent. The bill contains an emergency clause. The measure has been referred to the Chesapeake subcommittee of the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee.

HJR 506 (Ware) and HJR 516 (Fowler) are resolutions that direct DEQ to study the long-term effects of the storage and land application of industrial wastes and biosolids (processed sewage sludge) on public health, residential wells and surface and ground water. The bill was referred to the House Rules Committee.

VACo Contact: Larry Land


Bills give localities flexibility to ensure notice to community

VACo supports HB 1438 (R.P. Bell) and HB 1405 (Head), which are similar bills that allow localities the option of meeting certain notice requirements by utilizing alternatives to a newspaper of general circulation. HB 1405 only applies to localities with a population over 50,000.

VACo supports allowing all localities greater flexibility in meeting notice requirements. The bills will be heard on Wednesday at 4 p.m. in Subcommittee 2 of the House Counties, Cities and Towns Committee.

VACo Contact: Erik Johnston


Measures introduced on Local Composite Index

HB 1514 (Minchew) and SB 1091 (Vogel) require that land use taxation be utilized as a factor when calculating the local composite index (LCI). HB 1514 has been referred to the Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee of the House Education Committee. SB 1091 is in the Senate Education and Health Committee.

HJR 514 (Webert) and SJR 288 (Vogel) are identical resolutions that requests the Department of Education to (i) determine, for each of the 95 localities that have adopted ordinances to provide for the use value assessment and taxation of certain real estate, the use value of all applicable (a) real estate devoted to agricultural use, (b) real estate devoted to horticultural use, (c) real estate devoted to forest use, and (d) real estate devoted to open-space use, as those terms are defined in the Code of Virginia, and (ii) recalculate the Composite Index of Local Ability to Pay for each locality after taking into consideration such use values.

Respectively, these measures have been referred to the House Rules Committee and the Senate Rules Committee.

VACo Contact: Larry Land


Bill creates administrative burden that would tie up local business processes

VACo opposes HB 1404 (Head), which provides that in any instance that a person is seeking a business permit, a license or an application for any similar local government approval, the locality shall provide documentation and instructions that outline all steps necessary to obtain the permit, license or approval. The locality shall also specify any further permit, license, or other approval that may be required to complete the original project or business activity and shall disclose the expected time required by the locality for the completion of each step of the process to obtain the permit, license, or other approval.

Localities already provide citizens and businesses with written and oral assistance with permit, license and application processes. Localities also work to evaluate customer satisfaction and share best practices that help streamline and improve local processes for citizens and businesses alike. The proposed legislation requires localities to produce documentation and timelines for every conceivable situation presented by one citizen rather than allowing localities the flexibility to deploy limited staffing resources to the most pressing customer service needs.

The bill is likely to be up for consideration this Wednesday at 4 p.m. in Subcommittee 2 of the House Counties, Cities and Towns Committee. To view the Commission on Local Government’s Estimate of Local Fiscal Impact on this bill, click here.

VACo Contact: Erik Johnston


Public Safety Mandates

SB 974 (Ruff) was stricken from the Senate Courts of Justice Committee on January 19 at the request of the patron. The bill would have required a locality to reimburse the Department of State Police for training costs if the locality hires an officer of the Department of State Police within five years of the officer’s completion of basic training at a police school operated and funded by the Department of State Police.

VACo is also working to oppose HB 1520 (Lindsey), which requires sheriffs, local police and the State Police to transport and provide security for government officials, members of civic organizations and other dignitaries.

VACo Contact: Erik Johnston


Register for the 2015 County Government Day at the General Assembly on February 5

Thursday, February 5
Registration Form
Register Online
Richmond Marriott Downtown

The Virginia Association of Counties invites county officials to VACo County Government Day at the General Assembly on February 5 at the Richmond Marriott.

VACo staff will report on legislation affecting local governments, then county officials are encouraged to go to the Capitol to participate in committee meetings and advocate state legislators. In the evening, county officials are strongly encouraged to invite their state legislators to dinner.

Preliminary Agenda

9 a.m. – VACo Board of Directors’ meeting

11 a.m. – Registration

Noon – Keynote Speaker | VACo staff legislative briefings (box lunch provided)

Afternoon – Visit Capitol and advocate legislators

Evening – Make plans to take your state legislators to dinner

Also please plan on joining VACo members at the Rural Caucus Reception and Dinner on February 4.

Rural Caucus Reception and Dinner
February 4
Registration Form
Register Online
Richmond Marriott Downtown

VACo Contact: Carol Cameron


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