June 8, 2020

The 2020 Session wrapped up on Sunday, March 8th with the General Assembly adopting the budget on Thursday, March 12th. This Session was difficult for the Retail Industry with an exorbitant amount of bills that negatively impact businesses. Below you will find a list of issues that will go into law on July 1, 2020, with the exception of the minimum wage increase that has been postponed.

 

 

   


 

 


Minimum Wage (Due to Covid 19 will now go into effect May 1, 2021)
Minimum Wage was one of our major issues for the 2020 Session. VRF worked hard to make sure that the retail voice was heard throughout the process. Both the House and the Senate each had a version of this legislation. The Senate’s version included several amendments that attempted to mitigate the impact on business, while the House version was going to have an even bigger negative impact on businesses because those amendments were not included in their version. Both bills ended up in Conference at the end of Session in order to come up with a compromise between the two chambers.
 
House Bill 395 and Senate Bill 7  will increase to $9.50 as of May 1, 2021; to $11 as of January 1, 2022; and $12 as of January 1, 2023. It will then freeze at $12 for two years (January 1, 2023 – January 1, 2025).

In order for the increase to continue after 2025, the General Assembly must re-enact this legislation prior to July 1, 2024. This means that they must vote on the legislation again, and it must pass both bodies and be signed by the Governor. If this occurs, the increase will continue and effective January 1, 2025 the minimum wage will be $13.50, and then January 1, 2026 it will increase to $15. Each year thereafter it will increase based on the CPI-U.
 
Another aspect of this legislation is that a study on the impact of a regional minimum wage is included as well. Beginning January 1, 2022, the Virginia Department of House and Community Development, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority, and the Virginia Employment Commission will conduct a study on the feasibility and potential impact of instituting a regional minimum wage.
  


 
Felony Threshold for Larceny
There were several bills introduced this Session to raise the felony larceny threshold in Virginia. If you remember, the threshold was just raised two years ago from $200 to $500 with the understanding that it would not be raised again for some time. However, this year there is legislation to raise it to $1000, $1500, and $2000. The Governor’s Criminal Reform package included an initiative raising it to $1000 as seen in House Bill 995 and Senate Bill 788which passed and will become law.
  



Shopping Carts
Senate Bill 631: This legislation holds the retailer responsible for someone stealing their shopping carts off of the retailer’s property and dumping them elsewhere. This means that the victim of a crime has to pay a fee because someone stole their property, if the victim (the retailer) does not pick the shopping cart up within 15 days notice. If notified by the locality, the retailer must go pick up the stolen shopping cart, wherever it may be, otherwise the retailer will be charged a $300 fee per shopping cart. This is only applicable in two localities, Arlington and Fairfax, for now.
  



Plastic Bag Tax
Senate Bill 11 and House Bill 534:  These Bills implement a local option $0.05 tax on plastic bags from Grocery Stores, convenience stores, or drug stores with a delayed enactment of January 1, 2021. Retailers will receive $0.02 back for the for two years, and then $0.01 back there after. This “retailer discount” shall be accounted for in the form of a deduction when submitting the tax return and paying the amount due in a timely manner. This tax will be administered, collected, and enforced by the Tax Commissioner in the same manner that retail sales and use tax is done.
  

  • HB 534 Disposable plastic bag; local tax – applies to plastic bags only and is statewide
  • SB 11 Disposable paper and plastic bags; local taxation per bag when provided to consumers – applies to plastic bags only and applies to planning district 8 (NOVA) with the option for other localities to opt in

  



Worker’s Compensation

  • HB 46 Workers' compensation; employer to notify employee of intent
  • HB 55 Worker cooperatives; established as a category of cooperative associations
  • HB 617 Workers' compensation; repetitive motion injuries  

  


 
Employer Mandates/Private Cause of Action

  • HB 108 Legal holidays; Election Day
  • HB 330 Employment; covenants not to compete, low-wage employees, civil penalty
  • HB 622 Limiting employees' sharing of wage information; prohibited, civil penalty
  • HB 624 Human Rights, Division of; requirements for equal pay irrespective of sex  
  • HB 689 Wage payment statements; statement of earnings  
  • HB 798 Employment; prohibited retaliatory action
  • HB 827 Virginia Human Rights Act; discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth
  • HB 1049 Prohibited discrimination; sexual orientation and gender identity
  • HB 1147 Epinephrine required in certain public places
  • SB 530 Possession and administration of epinephrine; restaurant employee
  • SB 548 Unemployment compensation
  • SB 601 Legal holidays; Election Day
  • SB 712 Virginia Human Rights Act; discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth
  • SB 868 Discrimination; prohibited in public accommodations, etc., causes of action

  



Environmental Issues

  • HB 533 Expanded polystyrene food service containers; prohibition on dispensing, civil penalty  (now included re-enactment clause, which means they will have to pass this again next Session for the Ban to go into effect) 
  • HB 1154 Litter taxes; increases annual amount of tax
  • HB 1354 Plastic Pollution Prevention Advisory Council; established
  • SB 590 Advanced recycling; incentives in income tax, sales tax, and machinery and tools tax

  



Tax Issues:

  • HB 486 Henry and Pittsylvania Counties and City of Danville; additional sales and use tax
  • HB 785 Local taxing authority
  • HB 888 Sales tax exemption; gun safes
  • HB 1262 Transient occupancy tax; certain counties
  • SB 107 Transient occupancy tax; removes July 1, 2021, sunset date from Arlington County, etc.
  • SB 224 Gloucester County; additional sales and use tax, appropriations to incorporated towns
  • SB 268 Retail Sales and Use Tax; exemption for certain gun safes
  • SB 588 Tax authority of localities; parity between cities and counties
  • SB 943 Mecklenburg County; additional sales and use tax, appropriations to incorporated towns

  



Nonpayment of Wages/ Worker Misclassification

  • HB 123 Nonpayment of wage; private action, liability for payment of wages due under construction contracts
  • HB 336 Nonpayment of wages; investigations –
  • HB 337 Nonpayment of wages; discriminatory actions prohibited
  • HB 984 Misclassification of workers; cause of action
  • HB 1199 Employee misclassification; retaliatory actions prohibited, civil penalty
  • HB 1407 Misclassification of employees as independent contractors; Department of Taxation to investigate
  • SB 48 Nonpayment of wages; discriminatory actions prohibited
  • SB 49 Nonpayment of wages; investigations
  • SB 429 Child support; withholding from income of an independent contractor
  • SB 662 Employee misclassification; retaliatory actions prohibited, civil penalty
  • SB 744 Misclassification of employees as independent contractors; Department of Taxation to investigate
  • SB 838 Nonpayment of wages; private action; liability for payment of wages due
  • SB 894 Misclassification of workers; cause of action

  



Energy

  • HB 868 Electric utilities; right to shop
  • HB 889 Electric utilities; retail competition
  • HB 1526 Virginia Clean Economy Act
  • HB 1664 Electric utilities; offshore wind development, facilities located in federal waters
  • SB 94 Virginia Energy Plan; relating to the Commonwealth Energy Policy
  • SB 851 Electric utility regulation; environmental goals
  • SB 860 Electric utilities; offshore wind development
  • SB 998 Offshore wind generation facilities; development of facilities

  



ABC

  • HB 390 Alcoholic beverage control; license and fee reform
  • HB 923 Alcoholic beverage control; possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages by interdicted persons
  • HB 1088 Alcoholic beverage control; walking tour permit
  • SB 181 Alcoholic beverage control; commercial lifestyle center
  • SB 389 Alcoholic beverage control; license and fee reform  
  • SB 395 Alcoholic beverage control; residency requirement for licensure
  • SB 497 Alcoholic beverage control; mixed beverage restaurant license; mini bottles  
  • SB 833 Alcoholic beverage control; cocktail supply shop license