After passing the senate by a wide margin, SB 1495 (Surovell) cleared its first hurdle by unanimous vote in the House Courts of Justice Committee’s Subcommittee #2 on February 13. The legislation provides that any person aggrieved by an enforcement action by a locality, where the enforcement action was based upon a willful disregard for applicable law, regulation, or ordinance, shall be entitled to an award of compensatory damages and to an order remanding the matter to the locality with a direction to terminate such enforcement and may be entitled to reasonable attorney fees and court costs.
VACo opposed the measure as it would create a financial remedy against localities that does not currently exist. The result will be an increase in claims brought against counties that would discourage the enforcement of the violation of local ordinances. SB 1495 now heads to the full committee where it is likely to be heard on Wednesday afternoon.