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JLARC Adopts Workplan for 2024

The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) met on May 21 and formally approved its plan of work for the remainder of the year.  Planned studies include several items of interest to local governments:

  • Data centers: The Commission’s study resolution directs staff to review the overall impacts of the data center industry in Virginia, to include factors affecting future growth; the impacts of data centers on natural, historic, and cultural resources, and on energy demand and supply; effects on local revenue; and effects on residents, such as noise pollution.  Staff are also directed to “identify guidance and assistance state agencies could provide to local governments for use in making decisions about the location and expansion of data centers” and to assess the potential benefits of more geographic diversity in data center industry growth, as well as Virginia’s competitiveness in attracting data centers, to include reviewing the existing data center tax exemption.  (Planned briefing:  December 2024)
  • Access to broadband: This study directs staff to review the state’s efforts to expand access to broadband throughout the Commonwealth, including an evaluation of the effective use of funds provided through state programs; determine whether the state has taken advantage of federal broadband programs, as well as whether the state is prepared to distribute forthcoming federal funds; determine whether the state is equipped to monitor broadband deployment projects and assist stakeholders; and assess progress towards the state’s universal connectivity goals.  (Planned briefing:  December 2024)
  • Virginia Department of Health: This study will provide a review of the operations and management of the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), to include the adequacy of its staffing structure and its financial management.  The study will also assess the management and operations of the Office of Emergency Management Services, the extent to which VDH has used federal COVID-19 funding to improve its response to future public health emergencies, and the agency’s healthcare workforce pipeline programs.  (Planned briefing:  November 2024)
  • Tolling and traffic congestion reduction: This study will review the state’s efforts to reduce traffic congestion on I-81 and in Northern Virginia and on I-95 through tolling and public-private partnerships.  Staff will evaluate the clarity of tolling information for drivers in Northern Virginia; determine the effect of public-private partnerships on the state’s ability to address congestion; and evaluate the availability and sustainability of funding for congestion-related improvements on I-81, to include potential opportunities to raise additional revenues for this purpose.  (Planned briefing:  June 2024)
  • Potential transfer of the Department of Juvenile Justice to the Health and Human Resources Secretariat: This study will examine the feasibility, costs, and benefits of transferring the Department from the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security to the Secretary of Health and Human Resources.  The study resolution notes that many youths admitted to DJJ’s direct care programs may have mental health or substance use disorders and that the juvenile system is intended to be remedial rather than punitive.  (Planned briefing: December 2024)
  • Higher education institutional outlook, academic program alignment, and costs: This study has been divided into two briefings, the first of which will focus on trends in student enrollment, the alignment of degree offerings with skills needed to meet workforce needs, factors contributing to institutions’ revenues, and institutions’ financial sustainability.  The second briefing will address institutional spending, staffing, and cost of attendance, as well as opportunities to reduce the cost of public higher education.  (Planned briefings in September and October 2024)
  • Virginia Commonwealth University Health System Authority: This study will review the VCU Health System Authority’s structure and the relationship between the health system and the university, to include an evaluation of the Health System’s procurement function and oversight of capital projects.  (Planned briefing:  June 2024)

JLARC staff will also provide periodic reports as part of JLARC’s ongoing oversight of economic development incentives, the Virginia Retirement System, the Virginia College Savings Plan, and the Virginia Information Technologies Agency.  Staff will also be preparing JLARC’s suite of annual reports (a review of state spending, a review of state spending on the Standards of Quality, and a comparison of Virginia with other states on a variety of data points).  The full workplan for 2024, which includes the scheduled briefings for each JLARC meeting, is available at this link.

VACo Contact:  Katie Boyle

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