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Commonwealth's Counties

Substitute bill jeopardizes 50 percent state funding of capital costs for regional jails


Substitute bill jeopardizes 50 percent state funding of capital costs for regional jails
VACo, the Virginia Association of Regional Jails and VML worked with the Senator Ryan McDougle on amendments to SB 1049 (McDougle) that preserve the 50 percent reimbursement for expansions and renovations of existing regional jails. This amended bill passed through the Senate and effectively only reduced from 50 percent to 25 percent the maximum state reimbursement for any new regional jails. The House Appropriations Committee adopted a substitute to the bill on February 18, which requires all future capital projects at existing and future regional jails to receive authorization in the state budget and only be eligible for a 25 percent reimbursement.

VACo opposed this committee substitute that ends the 50 percent reimbursement and supports the bill as passed by the Senate that maintains the incentive put in place by the state for existing regional jails to receive up to a 50 percent reimbursement. The Virginia Sheriffs’ Association took the opposite position and spoke in favor of reducing the 50 percent reimbursement to 25 percent for all regional jails.

The Governor’s introduced budget decreased the reimbursement from 50 percent to 25 percent, but the Senate budget has an amendment that grandfathers the higher reimbursement ratio for the existing regional jails. The budget amendment, however, is contingent on the passage of SB 1049 in the form passed by the Senate.

VACo is working to maintain the 50 percent reimbursement.

VACo Contact: Erik Johnston, CAE


Bill impacting local CSBs fails in committee
SB 1410 (Deeds) failed to report out of the House Health, Welfare and Institutions Subcommittee #3 on February 18. The bill mandated the certification of crisis intervention specialists and crisis intervention specialists licensed as clinical supervisors. SB 1410 also required community services boards (CSBs) and behavioral health authorities to employ or contract with certified crisis intervention specialists for evaluations for emergency custody or temporary detention.

SB 1410 would have had significant fiscal impacts on local governments, particularly for those who fully or partially fund CSBs. Per the legislation, CSBs expected there to be, at a minimum, a $13 million impact on local budgets. Further, the bill would have had negative impacts on the CSB workforce as employers would have had to attract and hire a more highly certified workforce, replacing many existing employees with many years of experience. VACo appreciates the help from its members to defeat the bill.

VACo Contact: Beau Blevins


Improvements to workforce development system move forward
SB 1372 (Ruff) and HB 1986 (Byron) are major overhauls of the state’s workforce development system that have become identical and passed the Senate and House on February 19. The bills make numerous VACo supported changes designed to better coordinate the delivery of workforce development and training programs at the state, regional and local levels. The legislation does this by creating the Workforce Development Consortium, establishing a full-time director position dedicated to supporting the operations of the Virginia Board of Workforce Development (Board), requiring a regional convener of workforce development partners, and utilizing WIOA reserve funds for incentive programs to increase workforce credential attainment.

The bill supports VACo’s legislative priority of improving the state’s workforce development system by encouraging and facilitating better cooperation between the business community and the numerous stakeholders involved in Virginia’s workforce investment system. The bill also makes important strides to increase the focus on training more individuals with skills needed by business and industry.

VACo did hear from county members about concerns with the legislation’s requirement that Workforce Investment Boards spend a 40 percent minimum level of fiscal support for workforce credential attainment, which is tied to a federal definition of training that may change in the future as federal regulations evolve. The McAuliffe Administration has committed to continue to work with counties and their WIBs during implementation of the law on any issues that may arise with the federal definition of training.

VACo Contact: Erik Johnston, CAE


Bill allowing localities to join state health insurance plan does not make it out of committee
SB 866 (Chafin), a VACo supported bill that gives local school boards and local governing bodies the option to jointly elect to include their employees and eligible dependents in the state employee health plan, is unlikely to make it out of the House Appropriations Committee. The Compensation and Retirement Subcommittee of House Appropriations Committee met for the last time on February 19 without acting on the bill.

VACo Contact: Erik Johnston, CAE



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