Package Highlighted by Historic Transportation Investment; Measure to Expand Access to Higher Education; New Tools to Encourage Job Growth and Economic Development; Proposals to Reform State Government RICHMOND – Heading into the second half of the 2011 General Assembly Session, Governor Bob McDonnell’s legislative agenda has been met with strong bipartisan support. The Governor’s agenda is highlighted by innovative proposals in four key areas. · The Governor’s $4 billion transportation funding plan will provide for the greatest investment in transportation in the Commonwealth in a generation. · The “Preparing for the Top Jobs of the 21st Century: The Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011” will increase access and affordability of higher education in the Commonwealth, creating a pathway towards awarding 100,000 more degrees over the next 15 years. · McDonnell’s government reform proposals continue his ongoing work to make state government smaller and smarter. · The Governor’s “Opportunity at Work” initiative builds on the success of last year’s legislation that provided the Commonwealth new tools and resources in the effort to attract new businesses to Virginia and help existing businesses expand. Virginia’s unemployment rate has fallen from 7.2% last February to 6.7%.
The Governor’s 2011 agenda follows his successful effort last session to reduce state spending to 2006 levels, while seeing 80% of his legislation become law.
Speaking about the success of his initiatives at the halfway point, Governor McDonnell commented, “Over the last month, the General Assembly has worked together in a bipartisan manner to find real solutions, fix some of the biggest problems the state faces, and increase opportunities for all Virginians. While Washington, D.C. can too often get bogged down in partisan battles, in Virginia we are taking a different approach, and we are moving in the right direction. Our top four priorities this year address the most significant challenges facing our Commonwealth and our citizens. We need new roads, more Virginia students in colleges and universities, a more efficient and limited government and support for the private sector job creators who are pivotal to our future economic prosperity. I am heartened that so many legislators, from both sides of the aisle, are working with us to get our proposals on these issues enacted, and I thank them for their partnership with our Administration.”
McDonnell continued, “We are on track to pass higher education reform legislation that will ensure more accountability and make college more affordable and accessible for our students, and create a roadmap towards issuing 100,000 more degrees in the Commonwealth over the next 15 years. We will pump $4 billion into roads, bridges and rail over the next three years – the most funding invested in transportation in a generation. Through government reform legislation we are prioritizing spending, streamlining state agencies and making government more responsive and accountable to the taxpayers. We are adding more new job-creating tools and resources to help us better compete with other states and countries around the world for the jobs and opportunities of the 21st Century.”
Governor Bob McDonnell’s 2011 Legislative Agenda at Crossover
Opportunity to Learn HB 2314 – Establishes the Education Improvement Scholarship program. SB1459/HB2510 – Creates the Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011 (“Top Jobs for the 21st Century”).
Opportunity at Work SB 1326/HB 1447 – Creates a Refundable Research and Development Incentive for start ups and early stage firms in targeted industries. SB 1264/HB 1837 – Establishes a program to incentivize vineyard establishment and winery expansion. SB 1379/HB 1982 – Streamlines the Governor’s Opportunity Development Fund to more effectively implement the program. HB 2052 – Protects the right to vote by secret ballot on labor organization representation. SB 1193/HB 2285 – Authorizes tourism zone projects to keep portion of sales tax to provide gap financing. SB 1360/HB 2316 – Creates Clean Energy Manufacturing Incentive Grant Program. SB 1485/HB 2324 – Bolsters the Commonwealth Research and Commercialization Fund to grow Virginia’s innovation economy. SB 1481/HB 2531 – Creates the Virginia port volume increase tax credit. SB1136 – Creates an international trade facility incentive. SB1447 – Directs revenue generated by commercial spaceflight to the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority.
Get Virginia Moving SB 1446/HB 2527 – Omnibus Transportation Funding Plan HB 1648 – Enables allocations from the Rail Enhancement Fund to be used as matching funds for federal grants to support rail projects. HB 1758 – Provides that those cities and towns that decide to take over responsibility for their construction programs must notify the Commonwealth Transportation Board by December 31 for implementation the following fiscal year SB 1135/HB 1957 – Amends the powers and duties of the Commonwealth Transportation Board. HB 2000 – Provides that the Governor appoints an additional member to the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board of Directors. SB 1109/HB 2040 – Authorizes the use of inmate labor at rest areas along the interstate highway system. HB 2105 – Excludes any person who is not a public service corporation and who provides electric vehicle charging service at retail from the meaning of the terms "public utility," "public service corporation," or "public service company." SB 1335/HB 2197 – Provides a tax credit to employers for expenses incurred in allowing employees to telework pursuant to a signed telework agreement. SB 1004/HB 2233 – Exempts the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) from paying any fee for remote access to land records. SB 1282/HB 2385 – Grants a $50 per container income tax credit for any company shipping cargo containers via barge or rail. HJ 511 – Constitutional amendment to permanently protect the Commonwealth Transportation Fund from transfers to the General Fund. SB 856 – Requires the Virginia Department of Transportation to accept unsolicited proposals for construction of the Patriots Crossing (Third Crossing) project at Hampton Roads. SB 1126 – Provides for the duration of contract terms for environmental location, design and inspection work to one initial term of two years and clarifies that the sum of all projects in a one-year term may not exceed $5 million.
Smaller, Smarter Government HB 1592 –Requires all state agencies and regional bodies to put requests for proposal and invitations to bid on the Virginia Department of General Services' website. HB 1842 – Makes policy improvements to certain boards, commissions, and councils. HB1951 – Raises the minimum contract amount required for bid, performance, or payment bonds to $500,000. HB 2058 – Consolidates several water quality reports on progress in cleaning Virginia’s impaired waters. HB 2076/SB1477 – Consolidates disparate positions into one central, independent agency and transform the State’s Internal Auditor into an Inspector General with enhanced authority to proactively pursue complaints concerning fraud, waste and abuse in state government. HB 2201 – Provides that the Department of Planning and Budget, in consultation with the Virginia Department of Accounts, shall require all agencies of the Commonwealth to participate in the Payroll Service Bureau operated by the Virginia Department of Accounts. HB 2277 – Provides that citizen members of boards, committees, councils, or other collegial bodies, who are appointed at the state level, who receive three or more travel reimbursements annually shall be required to participate in the Electronic Data Interchange Program administered by the Virginia Department of Accounts as a condition of accepting such appointment. HB 2282 – Requires the Director of the Virginia Department of General Services to develop a plan providing for the replacement of vehicles in the centralized fleet that are rotated out of service with vehicles that operate using natural gas, electricity, or other alternative fuels, to the greatest extent practicable. HB 2319/SB 1382 – Provides that the assessment of mandates imposed on local government currently required include a detailed cost-benefit analysis and utilization of performance-based metrics to determine the value of the mandate in relation to the required or intended output or desired result. HB 2337/2338 – Provides that whenever a state agency or local government sends any mail or notice by certified mail then any additional mail or notice that is sent by such state agency pertaining to the same subject matter and purpose may be sent by regular mail. HB 2376 – Removes Virginia Department of Social Services agency mandates related to office space of local social services. HB 2435 – Directs the Virginia Department of Corrections to eliminate mandates related to contract inmate classification reporting requirements imposed on localities. HB 2520/SB 1471 – Eliminates certain advisory boards and commissions. SB 912 – Changes the Commonwealth’s biennial appropriations start on July 1 of odd-numbered years SB 1001 – Changes the authorities of the Virginia Board of Corrections. SB 1057 – Authorizes state executive branch agencies to develop one consolidated report for submission instead of multiple reports. SB 1213 – Directs the State Board of Elections to make mail voter registration application forms available where hunting and fishing licenses are sold. HJ 693 – Constitutional amendment regarding the taking or damaging of private property for public use.
Most Veteran-Friendly State SB 0959/HB 1719 – Provides to a veteran or his/her spouse, free of charge, one copy of vital record, if that record is to be used in the determination of eligibility for state or federal veterans benefits. SB 0892/HB 1761 – Permits the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management to offer voluntary TRICARE supplement health coverage under the Commonwealth’s IRC Section 125 cafeteria plan. SB1279/HB 1848 – Provides clarification to Virginia institutions of higher education that a Virginia domiciled military spouse does not forfeit domicile status due to accompanying the active duty service member while stationed outside of Virginia. SB 1361/HB 1862 – Extends the expiration of certain licenses, certifications, registrations or other documents held by the spouse of a service member when stationed overseas. SB 0824/HB1868 – Increases educational opportunity for veterans by waiving the one-year residency requirement needed to qualify for in-state tuition rates.