To help you keep up with what’s going on at the association – we created VACo Trending. This page compiles the latest communications on a legislative issue, an educational event and VACo produced blogs, videos and podcasts.

STATE BUDGET

Capitol Contact: Key Elements of the 2018-2020 Biennium Budget | Governor Northam signed the FY 2018 “caboose” and 2018-2020 biennium budgets on June 7, marking the resolution of a months-long impasse. The following is an analysis of key elements of the biennium budget, which makes investments in county priorities such as K-12 education, mental health, early childhood, and public safety. | VACo Contact: Katie Boyle | June 20, 2018


The Budget Impasse Ends | After lengthy floor discussion, the Senate passed FY 2018 “caboose” and 2018-2020 biennium budgets in the early evening of May 30. The House subsequently voted to accept the Senate’s amendments, which eliminated the need for a conference committee. | VACo Contact: Katie Boyle | June 1, 2018


County Pulse Podcast: The Virginia State Budget Impasse | Host Dean Lynch interviews Katie Boyle on the state budget situation. | VACo Contact: Dean Lynch | May 24, 2018


Budget Resolution Delayed | Senators returned to Richmond yesterday to continue work on the state budget, but local governments will have to wait at least another week for resolution of the budget impasse. After the Senate Finance Committee met last week to receive briefings from staff and discuss potential amendments in concept, it was anticipated that the Committee would meet yesterday to vote on a budget proposal in advance of a scheduled Senate floor session. | VACo Contact: Katie Boyle | May 23, 2018


State Budget Discussions Continue | Senators returned to Richmond this week to continue discussions on the state budget. After a floor session that was largely procedural, the Senate Finance Committee met on May 14 and again the following day to receive a report on state revenues and discuss budget amendments offered by Senators, several of which addressed Medicaid expansion, the central sticking point between the House and Senate budgets, in advance of anticipated action on the budget next week. | VACo Contact: Katie Boyle | May 18, 2018

BROADBAND

Blueprint for Broadband | This year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) found that almost 29 percent of rural Virginians lack access to highspeed internet. To compare, only 2.8 percent of Virginians who live in urban areas lack access. VACo believes that closing the digital divide ensures that all Virginia communities can compete in the 21st century economy. Connectivity is critical for emergency communications, education, economic development, health care, and more. | VACo Contact: Khaki LaRiviere | July 3, 2018


VACo Proposes National Policy to Deploy Rural Broadband | Across the nation, rural localities still lack access to affordable and quality high-speed Internet. Broadband deployment should mirror the electrification of rural America. Utilizing federal Rural Electrification Administration loans, cooperatives built distribution networks for electricity to be purchased from utilities to be resold to members. | VACo Contact: Khaki LaRiviere | June 29, 2018


Sherrin Alsop column: How we brought broadband to rural Virginia | For the past several summers, the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) has conducted regional meetings across the state to listen to local leaders share their most pressing issues. Many counties, especially in the rural parts of Virginia, have emphasized the vital importance of broadband. No longer is internet access a luxury, but very much a necessity, especially in a county’s effort to develop economic and education opportunities. | VACo Contact: Khaki LaRiviere | June 23, 2018


County Pulse Podcast: Connecting Rural Virginia to the Internet | County Pulse Host Dean Lynch speaks with VACo’s Joe Lerch and Khaki LaRiviere about broadband connectivity in rural Virginia. | VACo Contact: Dean Lynch | June 11, 2018

REGIONAL MEETINGS RECAPS

Regionalism, Rural Broadband, and Restoring State Funding Support are Top Issues at Region 12 Meeting | State and local leaders met on June 21 in Grayson County to discuss issues ranging from K-12 funding and lack of connectivity to disincentives in state economic development dollars. Delegate Will Morefield led a robust discussion on the changes made to the Commonwealth’s Development Opportunity Fund HB 222 (Morefield)/SB 883 (Stanley). | VACo Contact: Khaki LaRiviere | June 25, 2018


Discussions at the Region 5 Meeting focus on a plethora of issues | County leaders engaged in a robust conversation about issues ranging from agriculture to broadband to staffing volunteer fire departments to teacher shortages at the Region 5 Meeting in Albemarle County. | VACo Contact: Angela Inglett | June 18, 2018


VACo Regions 1 & 4 Meeting brings local leaders from Accomack County to Charlotte County for robust discussions | VACo traveled to Dinwiddie County on May 30 for its second 2018 Regional Meeting. Around 60 local government leaders from 11 counties attended the joint meeting of VACo Regions 1 & 4. Also in attendance were representatives from VACo Sponsors: the Berkley Group, VACORP, VACo/VML Finance, and NORESCO. | VACo Contact: Angela Inglett | June 1, 2018


VACo Region 2 Meeting tackles issue of providing internet access to rural areas | Close to 50 county officials kicked off the start of VACo’s regional meeting schedule at Westmoreland State Park on the evening of May 22. Rob Jones with the recently formed Virginia Rural Broadband Coalition and King and Queen County administrator Tom Swartzwelder led an interactive discussion on overcoming the obstacles to providing affordable, high-speed internet access to citizens in areas where service is unavailable or unreliable. | VACo Contact: Joe Lerch, AICP | June 1, 2018