– Priority Bills to Balance Budget, Boost Economy & Restore Prosperity Advance – Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) and House Majority Caucus Chairman Samuel A. “Sam” Nixon, Jr. (R-Chesterfield) today highlighted the many legislative successes so far by members of the Republican Majority Caucus through the halfway point of the 2009 Session of the Virginia General Assembly. The announcement comes at the 2009 session’s midway mark, commonly referred to as “crossover.” By that date, which this year fell on February 10, each house must have acted on the bills filed by its respective members.
“During these trying economic times, Virginians rightly expected their elected state officials to advance practical solutions that will balance the budget without earmarks, hasten economic recovery and restore prosperity to Virginia’s ailing economy,” noted Howell. “House Republicans have delivered real results to the financial challenges citizens are facing. Our aggressive reform agenda sets forth a fiscally responsible approach to dealing with the kitchen-table concerns of Virginia families, businesses and taxpayers. Our strong majority caucus has developed new ideas, received support from Democrats and Independents and achieved House passage of scores of positive reforms.
“House Republicans successfully passed legislation to improve job creation, stimulate economic development, support educators, make higher education more affordable, ensure health insurance coverage for small businesses, ease congestion on Virginia’s transportation system and promote alternative energy development and conservation. Most of these bills garnered overwhelming bipartisan support, producing valuable momentum as these common-sense measures now go to be considered by the Senate of Virginia.”
“Offering practical solutions to Virginia’s challenges is a hallmark of House Republican leadership in the General Assembly,” said Chairman Nixon. “With our Commonwealth confronting the most difficult economic environment in decades, it is essential to build and expand upon our many accomplishments. Our individual legislative solutions, along with the House’s fiscally prudent action on amendments to the 2008-2010 biennial budget without raising taxes, displays the reasoned and comprehensive approach taken by House Republicans this year to help meet Virginia’s challenges. The overwhelming bipartisan support for many items on our agenda underscores the ability of Republicans to govern effectively and responded appropriately to the concerns of Virginians.”
Below is a partial list of measures advanced by the House Republican Caucus – grouped by topic – that the House of Delegates approved by the February 10 midpoint deadline of the 2009 Session.
ECONOMIC RECOVERY & STIMULUS
HB 1600 (Del. Putney – Bedford) House to Pass on Feb. 12 Expedites five significant higher education capital projects worth $230 million to start construction one year sooner in order to stimulate creation of 3,400 new jobs and advance higher learning opportunities.
HB 1600 (Del. Putney – Bedford) House to Pass on Feb. 12 Supports efforts to increase economic development and marketing efforts in Virginia by providing an additional $3 million for tourism to leverage $13.5 million in private sector investments, restoring $500,000 to the Economic Development Partnership, and increasing the deal-closing Governor’s Opportunity Fund.
HB 2575 (Del. Putney – Bedford) Passed House 99-0 Extends by 10 years the successful major business facility job tax credit and expedites the drawdown of those credits over the next two years to help stimulate much-needed job creation in the private sector.
HB 2550 (Del. Cox – Colonial Heights) Passed House 99-0 Provides innovative financing for large, job-creating economic development projects that create over 400 new jobs and invest over $250 million in Virginia communities.
HB 2583 (Del. Merricks – Pittsylvania) Passed House 91-3-4 Retains a portion of state revenue holdings in Virginia financial institutions, increasing their capital holdings by almost $400 million so they can reinvest in local jobs and stimulate the local credit market.
HB 2437 (Del. Byron – Campbell) Passed House 99-0 Allows manufacturers' corporate income tax to be based on sales, phased in by 2013, thereby helping Virginia remain competitive to retain and create approximately 9,000 high-paying manufacturing jobs.
HB 2056 (Del. Hamilton – Newport News) Passed House 97-0-1 Provides economic grant incentives for workforce training programs and facilities to support an advanced workforce training program in Hampton Roads that creates 1,000 new jobs.
ECONOMIC SECURITY & PROSPERITY
HB 1600 (Del. Putney – Bedford) House to Pass on Feb. 12 Provides $1.5 million for the Virginia Jobs Investment Program to support training programs for a major automotive supplier that will create 318 new jobs and invest $194 million in Virginia.
HB 1938 (Del. Peace – Hanover) Passed House 99-0 Increases to $2,000 the amount of the livable tax credit for Virginians purchasing a new home or retrofitting an existing residency to improve accessibility.
HB 2262 (Del. Kilgore – Scott) Passed House 99-0 Strengthens the Attorney General’s enforcement authority under the Mortgage Lender and Broker Act to go after predatory mortgage lenders using fraud and deception.
HB 2031 (Del. D. Marshall – Danville) Passed House 98-0 Requires the licensure and registration of mortgage loan originators and establishes licensing procedures and criteria to ensure consumer protection.
HB 2132 (Del. J. Miller – Manassas) Passed House 99-0 Allows localities to cooperate with school divisions to offer residential housing assistance grants and other arrangements to provide affordable housing alternatives to teachers and other educational staff.
HB 2096 (Del. Orrock – Caroline) Passed House 98-0 Encourages charity organizations, like Habitat for Humanity, to build affordable housing by allowing localities to waive building permit and other local fees.
HB 2354 (Del. Landes – Augusta) Passed House 99-0 Allows for the temporary suspension of any mandate on a local government by a state agency if it would help alleviate the localities’ fiscal hardships.
HJ 647 (Del. O’Bannon – Henrico) Passed House 98-1 Increases the amount that can be appropriated to the Rainy Day Fund to strengthen Virginia’s ability to effectively weather future economic downturns.
HJ 640 (Del. Saxman – Staunton) Passed House 56-43 Protects in the State Constitution Virginia’s Right-to-Work status, a key cornerstone of why Virginia has been ranked #1 in the nation as the best place for business to do business.
GOVERNMENT REFORM & TRANSPARENCY
HB 1634 (Del. Saxman – Staunton) Passed House 78-14-3 Closes the loophole on fundraising by elected officials while in legislative session in order to eliminate the influence of campaign contributions on the consideration and outcome of legislation.
HB 1883 (Del. Nixon – Chesterfield) Passed House 98-0 Strengthens the transparency and oversight of lobbyist registration by increasing reporting and reforming compliance procedures.
HB 2463 (Del. O’Bannon - Henrico) Passed House 95-3 Creates an Efficiency Review Commission to systematically review every agency of state government to make certain that they are necessary and are performing their work efficiently and without redundancy.
HB 2285 (Del. Cline – Rockbridge) Passed House 99-0 Improves spending transparency through Virginia’s searchable database website to include more information on state revenues, appropriations and expenditures.
HB 2657 (Del. Griffith – Salem) Passed House 99-0 Prohibits the use of the Commonwealth’s publicly owned Executive Mansion for partisan political fundraising events.
ENERGY INDEPENDENCE & ALTERNATIVE RESOURCES
HB 2404 (Del. Bell – Albemarle) Passed House 98-0 Creates the Virginia Universities Clean Energy Development and Economic Stimulus Foundation to assist in identifying and administering the development of alternative energy sources to create jobs and promote energy independence.
HB 2531 (Del. Kilgore – Scott) Passed House 87-12 Encourages energy conservation, primarily by businesses, by examining the development of energy conservation and demand-response targets that can be accomplished through cost-effective demand-side management portfolios.
HB 2152 (Del. Rust – Fairfax) Passed House 99-0 Provides for relief from capacity charges that discourage renewable energy generation without increasing the cost of energy to consumers.
HB 2175 (Del. Hogan – Halifax) Passed House 80-18 Breaks down barriers in the regulation process for completing small renewable energy projects so more projects can be built faster and at a lower cost, helping to reduce electric grid consumption.
HB 2172 (Del. Hogan – Halifax) Passed House 97-2 Streamlines the regulatory process for renewable energy generation projects so they can be connected more easily into the existing electrical grid for aid in addressing overall energy demand through the use of alternative energy resources.
HB 2371 (Del. Nutter – Montgomery) Passed House 98-0-1 Encourages consumer-driven choices for commercial costumers generating renewable power by providing real-time, dynamic energy rates so utilities can bring that renewable power into their overall grid to lower overall costs and satisfy demand.
HB 2268 (Del. Poindexter – Franklin) Passed House 99-0 Expands the definition of renewable energy to encourage new alternative energy projects with greater use of organic, biomass sources to meet rising energy demand.
HB 1633 (Del. Saxman – Staunton) Passed House 58-41 Directs the royalties from exploration of domestic energy sources that will create local jobs to transportation improvements, Chesapeake Bay clean-up, renewable energy research and home energy assistance.
HB 2001 (Del. Cosgrove – Chesapeake) Passed House 98-0 Expands the eligibility of the Biofuels Production Incentive Grant Program to include advanced biofuels that are made from winter cover crops, cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin oil and algae.
HB 2002 (Del. Cosgrove – Chesapeake) Passed House 98-0 Encourages the production of sustainably produced biofuels made from traditional agricultural crops as part of Virginia’s comprehensive energy plan.
HEALTH CARE REFORM
HB 1600 (Del. Putney – Bedford) House to Pass on Feb. 12 Restores the 200 MR Waiver slots cut by Governor Kaine in his budget amendments and funds an additional 200 slots in order to reduce the urgent waiting list for the MR Waiver program.
HB 1600 (Del. Putney – Bedford) House to Pass on Feb. 12 Dedicates $1.5 million in additional funding for critical and cost-effective early intervention services for children with developmental delays, including children with autism and autism spectrum disorder.
HB 2024 (Del. D. Marshall – Danville) Passed House 99-0 Reduces the number of uninsured Virginians by allowing small businesses that do not currently offer health insurance to their employees to offer plans with the choice of what mandates to cover.
HB 1598 (Del. Hamilton – Newport News) Passed House 88-0-1 Revises the criteria for issuance of a Certificate of Public Need which will result in increased competition in the delivery of health care services, opening greater access to high quality care.
HB 2044 (Del. Nixon – Chesterfield) Passed House 96-0-1 Creates an advisory committee of health care and technology experts to assist in developing standards for health care information systems that reduce medical errors, reduce costs and save lives.
HB 1853 (Del. Cox – Colonial Heights) Passed House 99-0 Sets out an aggressive goal of eliminating the urgent care waiting list for the home and community-based MR Waiver program that grows by one family within the next 10 years (by 2018-2020 biennium).
HB 2061 (Del. Hamilton – Newport News) Passed House 99-0 Reforms the process for placing juveniles in outpatient mental health treatment services and monitoring those cases.
HB 2557 (Del. Nixon – Chesterfield) Passed House 99-0 Applies any mandate that may be imposed on small businesses to the state employee health insurance plan and requires information on cost and utilization of any proposed mandate.
K-12 AND HIGHER EDUCATION
HB 1600 (Del. Putney – Bedford) House to Pass on Feb. 12 Expands access and creates more in-state Virginia students by providing $12.5 million for new enrollment at Virginia’s public institutions of higher education and setting aside 70% of those slots for Virginians.
HB 1600 (Del. Putney – Bedford) House to Pass on Feb. 12 Lessens the possibility of schools having to layoff younger teachers and helps schools divisions better manage their budgets by establishing a Teacher and Support Staff Enhanced Retirement Incentive Plan.
HB 2464 (Del. Morgan – Gloucester) Passed House 98-0-1 Continues and improves upon the 2005 landmark restructuring of Virginia’s higher education system
HB 1965 (Del. Saxman – Staunton) Passed House 50-47 Creates an income tax credit for businesses that support public school scholarships for families that decide to send their students to the school of their choice. Part of the qualifying education expenses covered by such scholarships would be services used for children with autism spectrum disorder.
HB 2104 (Del. Janis – Henrico) Passed House 59-39 Provides a grant for families in Virginia with a child who has autism spectrum disorder to use at a private school if their child is demonstrating substantial unmet academic or development progress in a public school.
HB 2018 (Del. Rust – Fairfax) Passed House 72-24 Creates a permanent, perpetual School Construction Revolving Fund to better assist local school districts in financing construction and renovation. Leveraging innovative public-private financing and expertise will help build needed classrooms faster, at lower costs and in a more dynamic way.
HB 2304 (Del. Griffith – Salem) Passed House 98-0 Maintains the one-year period in which anyone aggrieved by a decision on special education program placement, eligibility or other matters made in a due process hearing may appeal to a circuit court. The State Board of Education has proposed decreasing the time-period to 90 days.
HJ 678 (Del. Tata – Virginia Beach) Passed House 95-0 Requests Virginia’s public higher education administration study methods to attract students to the Virginia Community College system for teacher preparation programs.
HB 1579 (Del. Oder – Newport News) Passed House 67-31 Increases transportation funding for Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads and other regions of the Commonwealth by dedicating a portion of future growth in existing revenue sources so Virginia can reinvest in its roads, rail and transit, increase mobility and strengthen the flow of job-creating commerce.
HB 2066 (Del. Hamilton – Newport News) Passed House 68-29-1 Improves the Public-Private Partnership Transportation Act by streamlining the regulatory process to increase the number of public-private projects that could be built faster and at a lower cost.
HB 2079 (Del. Oder – Newport News) Passed House 65-31-1 Expedites improvements and expansion of two transportation projects critical to Hampton Roads – the Downtown Tunnel/Midtown Tunnel/MLK Extension project and the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel.
HB 2019 (Del. Rust – Fairfax) Passed House 99-0 Directs the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) to designate corridors of statewide significance in the Statewide Transportation Plan and localities to include them in their comprehensive plans.
HJ 620 (Del. Oder – Newport News) Passed House 99-0 Locks-up from legislative raids the Transportation Trust Fund by an amendment to the Constitution of Virginia so money dedicated and supposed to go to transportation actually is used for transportation.
HB 2351 (Del. Landes – Augusta) Passed House 99-0 Dedicates a portion of future surplus funds to the Natural Resources Commitment Fund and increases the share allocated from the Fund to the Agriculture Best Management Practices Cost-Share Program.
HB 2168 (Del. Abbitt – Appomattox) Passed House 98-0 Improves the ability to clean up Virginia’s waterways from storm-water nonpoint pollution through a nutrient offset program that allows compliance through offsets in the same tributary.
HB 2165 (Del. Lohr – Rockingham) Passed House 98-0 Makes it easier for Virginia farmers to undertake small-scale conversions of renewable biomass from feedstock produced on the farm for energy production.
HB 2646 (Del. Poindexter - Franklin) Passed House 92-7 Establishes a market-based betterment loan program to address onsite sewage systems or alternative discharging sewage systems in order to reduce threats to public health as well as ground and surface waters.
HB 2565 (Del. Knight – Virginia Beach) Passed House 98-0 Encourages localities to develop lease of development rights, transfer of development rights and agricultural and forestal districts with assistance from the Office of Farmland Preservation.
LAW ENFORCEMENT AND PUBLIC SAFETY
HB 1600 (Del. Putney – Bedford) House to Pass on Feb. 12 Protects children from online predators by appropriating $1.0 million to the Northern Virginia and Southern Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces.
HB 2402 (Del. Bell – Albemarle) Passed House 99-0 Combats identify theft in cases where people obtain money, loans and credit through the use of identifying information of another person.
HB 1868 (Del. Janis – Henrico) Passed House 96-0 Increases permanently penalty for underage drinking and driving to a Class I misdemeanor to deter reckless behavior by young people.
HB 2041 (Del. Iaquinto – Virginia Beach) Passed House 91-7 Removes drunk drivers from Virginia roadways by requiring the instillation of an ignition interlock system so convicted drunk drivers will not put other law-abiding Virginians in harm’s way.
HB 1693 (Del. Albo – Fairfax) Passed House 99-0 Strengthens Virginia’s DUI laws by requiring mandatory jail sentence when a blood alcohol test is done at a hospital
HB 2358 (Del. Gilbert – Shenandoah) Passed House 73-25 Redefines the “triggerman rule” as it applies to capital murder cases to include accessories and principles in the second degree in cases dealing with terrorism and murder for hire.
HB 2638 (Del. Pogge – James City) Passed House 75-22 Expands the death penalty for those convicted of the murder of law-enforcement officers including auxiliary police officers and deputy sheriffs and fire marshals and assistant fire marshals.
OTHER IMPROVEMENTS TO VIRGINIA’S QUALITY OF LIFE
HB 1732 (Del. Cox – Colonial Heights) Passed House 97-0 Develops and deploys an automated system for the electronic preparation of veterans’ disability claims (similar to “Turbo Vet”) so more of our veterans can receive their disability payments in a timely manner.
HB 1727 (Del. Cole – Spotsylvania) Passed House 99-0 Establishes an interstate compact to remove barriers to educational success imposed on children of military families because of frequent moves and deployment of their parents.
HB 1712 (Del. Janis – Henrico) Passed House 98-0 Conforms Virginia’s absentee ballot laws to similar federal laws to make certain that all absentee ballots from active duty military personnel are counted.
HB 1877 (Del. Cosgrove – Chesapeake) Passed House 97-0-1 Allows law enforcement officers including firefighters, EMS personnel and other first responders to vote by absentee ballot.
HB 2579 (Del. Byron – Campbell) Passed House 62-36 Adds an ultrasound to the information given a woman considering an abortion under informed consent to give better assurance on the gestation age than the current approach of guessing.
HB 2634 (Del. Cline – Rockbridge) Passed House 64-34 Requires that any person, who seeks an abortion past the first trimester, must allow their unborn child to receive anesthesia so that they do not feel the pain that is ending their lives.
HJ 648 (Del. O’Bannon – Henrico) Passed House 97-0 Amends the Virginia Constitution to allow for exemption from property taxes for disabled veterans.
HJ 725 (Del. Bell – Albemarle) Passed House 68-31 Protects private property rights by amending the Virginia Constitution to narrowly define under what circumstances eminent domain powers can used for public use.
Note: This list is not intended to be a complete compilation of all House Republican-sponsored legislation in the 2009 Session. For more details about a bill listed above, please contact the office of the delegate who patroned the measure.