Tuesday, January 7, 2014
2014 General Assembly set to convene; look for Capitol Contact on Tuesdays and Thursdays
The 2014 General Assembly session will span 60 days, and legislators will deliberate on many issues critical to local government, including tax, state budget, education funding, pension funding and other public policy matters.
VACo will continually provide updates during the session through Capitol Contact and its General Assembly mobile website. To ensure that you and members of board of supervisors are receiving Capitol Contact, please send Gage Harter your best e-mail address.
Capitol Contact is published every Tuesday and Thursday. In addition, VACo will e-mail county officials Capitol Contact Alerts and talking points on many issues before they are heard by select committees.
Please check VACo’s website and mobile site often to get the latest information and bill updates. Also, be on the lookout for periodic VACo videos on issues that affect counties. VACo will continue to release its newsletter, County Connections, around the first and 15th of each month.
To use the VACo mobile website, open your mobile browser and visit www.vaco.org/generalassemblymobile.html.
January 8 – General Assembly convenes
January 10 – Last day to submit Budget Amendments
January 17 – Last day for bill introduction
February 11 – Crossover day
February 26 – Last day for each house to complete work on Budget Bill
March 8 – Adjourn Sine Die
April 23 – Veto session
VACo supports Stormwater Management bill
HB 261 (Scott) makes several helpful changes to Virginia’s Stormwater Management Law.
• Authorize the State Water Control Board, by regulation, to create procedures for approving land disturbances on an individual parcel located within a common plan of development that has already been permitted as part of a common plan of development. This would remove duplications in the permitting process that exist under current regulations.
• Require the State Water Control Board to amend Virginia’s version of the Clean Water Act General Permit for Discharges of Stormwater from Construction Activities by omitting unneeded information relating to post-construction water quality standards. This would simplify Virginia’s stormwater program by making the general permit for stormwater discharges from construction activities more consistent with requirements in Virginia’s Erosion and Sediment Control Law.
• Allow local governments to require an “agreement in lieu of a plan” for land-disturbing activities for a single-family residence that is not part of a common plan of development. This provision should substantially reduce costs associated with stormwater compliance for individual lot owners.
All three of the above provisions are consistent with position statements in VACo’s 2014 Legislative Program. VACo expects several other bills to be introduced for the purpose of making Virginia’s stormwater management program less difficult for localities to implement.
VACo Contact: Larry Land, CAE
Bills to watch in the 2014 session
HB 5 (Ware) – Provides for reimbursement by the Commonwealth to the localities of the full cost of compensation and expenses of electoral board members and general registrars.
HB 6 (Ware) – Provides that each county and city conducting a primary election at the direction of the Commonwealth shall be reimbursed in full for the costs of the primary election by the proper political party committee.
HB 15 (Marshall R.) – Requires the disclosure on statements of economic interests for legislators and certain state and local government officers of gifts in excess of $100 made to immediate family members if such gift is made by a business, governmental entity, or individual that has transacted or is transacting business with the Commonwealth or its agencies, departments, or political subdivisions within 12 months from the date of the gift. The bill also requires the disclosure on statements of economic interests for legislators and certain state and local government officers of liabilities owed by businesses in which the filer or an immediate family member holds an ownership interest.
HJ 5 (Marshall R.) – Establishes a 14-member joint subcommittee to evaluate the adequacy of Virginia’s current ethics laws governing the conduct of public officials, including the General Assembly Conflicts of Interests Act and the State and Local Government Conflicts of Interests Act, and make recommendations for improvements in the laws and the procedures used to enforce them.
SB 21 (Smith) – Lowers the value above which state and local government officers and members of the General Assembly must disclose specific economic interests on their Statements of Economic Interests from $10,000 to $5,000.
SB 23 (Alexander) – Requires the disclosure on statements of economic interests for legislators and certain state and local government officers of gifts in excess of $1,000 made to immediate family members if such gift is made by a registered lobbyist or a business, governmental entity, or individual that has transacted or is transacting business with the Commonwealth or its agencies, departments, or political subdivisions within 12 months from the date of the gift.
HB 95 (Head) – Allows localities with a population of 50,000 or greater to meet certain notice requirements by utilizing their websites, radio or television instead of a newspaper of general circulation.
HB 150 (Minchew) – Provides that regional jail authorities enjoy sovereign immunity in the performance of government functions.
Freedom of Information
HB 193 ( Minchew) – Removes the requirement that a public body approve by a majority vote of the members present at a meeting the remote participation in the meeting by one of its members. The bill instead requires the public body to approve by a majority vote a policy allowing participation of its members by electronic communication. Once adopted, the public body shall apply this policy uniformly to its entire membership.
HB 174 ( Farrell) – Adds a records exemption for administrative investigations conducted by a local inspector general or other local investigator appointed by the local governing body of any county, city or town or a school board which by charter, ordinance or statute has responsibility for conducting an investigation relating to allegations of fraud, waste or abuse by any officer, employee, department or program of the locality or school division.
HB 289 ( Albo) – Eliminates the limitation for cooperative procurement for construction in excess of $200,000 by a local public body from the contract of another local public body that is more than a straight line distance of 75 miles from the territorial limits of the local public body procuring the construction.
HB 290 (Albo) – Makes changes to the provisions of the Virginia Public Procurement Act related to job order contracting.
VACo Contact: Phyllis Errico, CAE
Register for the 2014 Local Government Day
The Virginia Association of Counties, Virginia Municipal League and the Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions will host Local Government Day at the General Assembly on Thursday, Feb. 6.
The event will be held at the Richmond Marriott, located at 500 East Broad Street in downtown Richmond.
Staff will report on legislation affecting local governments. Local officials are encouraged to participate in committee meetings and lobby state legislators at the Capitol. In the evening, local officials are urged to invite their state legislators to dinner.
The cost of the event, which includes a box lunch, is $45 per person
VACo Contact: Carol Cameron