Home Budget, Economy Virginia General Assembly 2024 Session Enters Its Final Week…Likely with Budget Not...

Virginia General Assembly 2024 Session Enters Its Final Week…Likely with Budget Not Completed

Along with the budget, some big issues (e.g., arena, Metro funding) remain outstanding...

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by Cindy, cross-posted from VAPLAN

The final week of (regular) session is ahead. It’s pretty apparent that the budget negotiations will not be completed before they need to adjourn sine die next Saturday, so they will have to come back for a special session to vote on the budget. Below we highlight what passed, what failed, and what’s outstanding as we go into the last week.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK, Lieutenant Governor Sears gives the world’s worst “apology” after misgendering Senator Danica Roem: “Let it be known, I am not here to upset anyone. I am here to do the job that the people of Virginia have called me to do. And that is to treat everyone with respect and dignity. I myself at times have not been afforded that same respect and dignity. But in this body, and as long as I am President of the Senate, and by the grace of god, I will be treated with respect and dignity and I will treat everyone else with respect and dignity.”

What passed:

  • Third time is the charm for a bill (SB14-McPike; HB805-Rasoul) to allow all localities to raise their local sales tax (if the voters approve in a referendum) to fund school construction projects–currently only nine localities have been approved to do so by the General Assembly.
  • 5 day waiting period for purchasing a firearm (HB1195-Hayes; SB273-Subramanyam) passed both chambers.
  • House (HB418-Simon) and Senate (SB259-Surovell) bills to allow class action lawsuits in Virginia (currently Virginians can participate in federal class action suits, but there is no such cause of action in Virginia state courts) passed on party-line votes.
  • Paid Family and Medical Leave insurance program bill (Boysko) passed both the House and the Senate. It would begin paying claims of up to eight weeks for covered individuals beginning January, 2027, paid for through payroll deductions into the program.
  • Bill (SB212-Rouse)to legalize and regulate so-called skill game machines is headed to the Governor’s desk, although he has expressed concerns with the bills. The House cognate (HB590-Hayes) has not yet had its final floor vote.
  • Bills (HB698-Krizek; SB448-Rouse) to create a legal retail marijuana market have passed both chambers. Applications for licenses accepted 9/2024, with preference given to microbusinesses including those who suffered hardships due to the war on marijuana; retail sales begin 5/2025; tax rate is 11.625%.
  • House (HB568-Askew) and Senate (SB517-Williams-Graves) bills to remove the tax exemption for Daughter of the Confederacy and other Confederacy organizations are on their way to the Governor’s desk.
  • HB925 (Shin) to require 48 hours written notice on a vehicle in a residential parking lot before it can be towed for expired registration passed both chambers.
  • SB274 (Deeds) to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board to increase drug pricing transparency and look for ways to lower costs passed both chamber. The House cognate (Delaney) should be voted on in the Senate next week.

What failed/was left in committee:

  • SB628 (Aird) to allow Petersburg to hold a referendum on whether to host a casino was left in House Appropriations.
  • A bill (HB210-Martinez) to allow trusts and medical directives to be signed and notarized electronically, and wills to be executed by electronic means failed to pass on the Senate floor.
  • House (HB834-Cousins) and Senate (SB427-Deeds) versions of the Second Look legislation to allow judges (with approval of prosecutor and victims) to reconsider long sentences in light of rehabilitative work done by the incarcerated person died in House and Senate Appropriations committees.
  • A *crappy* outcome on the Senate floor for a bill regarding notifying owners of alternative sewage systems of their maintenance responsibilities (HB1052-Batten).
  • SB316 (Salim) to allow the Town of Vienna to require a 10 year tree canopy in developments failed in the House, requiring a 2/3 majority vote.

What’s still outstanding:

  • The House budget bills HB29 and HB30 are in conference (conferees are Delegates Torian, Sickles, Bulova, Carr, Austin, Bloxom; and Senators Lucas, Deeds, Locke, Boysko, McDougle, Pillion). The Senate budget bills, per custom and tradition, were left in the House Appropriations committee.
  • HB81 (Simon) to eliminate the common-law crime of suicide reported from Senate Courts late this week and will have a floor vote early next week.
  • HB107 (Sullivan) to create the Electric Vehicle Rural Infrastructure program reported from Senate Finance and Approps but has not yet been to the Senate floor.
  • Related but not identical junk fee consumer protection bills have passed both chambers but will most likely need a conference committee. The House bill (Helmer) pertains solely to entertainment ticket prices–the Senate put a re-enactment clause on it stating that it would have to be passed again next session to take effect. The Senate bill (Pekarsky) pertains to junk fees more broadly for all sorts of consumer products–the House “conformed” it to their ticket price bill before passing it. Stay tuned.
  • After passing the House with bipartisan support, the Restroom Access Act (Coyner) to allow certain people with medical conditions to use employee restrooms was docketed to the wrong committee in the Senate, and will be heard in Commerce and Labor on Monday.
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