General Assembly 2021

We wrapped up the first week of the 2021 General Assembly Session, which consisted of both the House and the Senate organizing and adopting the rules that will govern throughout this most unusual Session. The House will be meeting virtually for all meetings, and the Senate will be meeting in person at the Science Museum of Virginia so that Senators can be appropriately socially distanced. 

Your VRF lobbyists will be able to represent your voice by testifying virtually and “meeting” with legislators virtually as well. This is why it is so imperative, as was said in last week's email, to participate in any Action Alerts you receive from VRF. Our Action Alerts are just one more way for your voice to be heard directly by legislators on issues that impact your business.

When it comes to the legislation that will have an impact on the retail industry, there has been a huge number of bills that have been introduced so far. Virginia Retail Federation currently has close to 150 bills in our tracking list. This list will continue to grow as bills hit the system. To find a complete list of bills we are tracking, click here.

In addition, Virginia Retail Federation is a member of the Coalition for a Strong Virginia Economy along with 30 other business groups, in order to create a unified business voice on many of the VRF’s priority issues for the 2021 session.
 

Priority Issues for VRF:

Paid Leave

Multiple bills have been introduced that mandate business provide one form of paid leave or another. There are bills that create a payroll tax/insurance program that would provide a certain amount of leave for employees if they met specific criteria; and there are bills that require flat number of days per year of leave for each employee. 

What does this mean for you? 
Not only will these mandates potentially be costly for your business, but they could also limit the flexibility you have to work with each employee on an as needed basis. In the retail industry, you will not only be paying for the employee who takes paid leave; but you will mostly likely have to pay someone to cover that employee's shift while they are out, which would mean you will be paying two people for one job.

What can you do?
When you see an Action Alert on this issue, please make sure to click through to contact your legislator for the district where your business is located, as well as for the district where your residence is to let them know how this will impact your business.

  • HB 2016 - Ayala - Paid family and medical leave program. 
  • HB 2103 - Reid - Certain public & private employers to provide earned paid sick time. 
  • HB 2137 - Guzman - Paid sick leave; employers to provide to certain employees.
  • SB 1159 - Favola - Use sick leave for the care of immediate family members.
  • SB 1219 - Favola - Bureau of Insurance; paid family leave; report.
  • SB 1330 - Boysko - Paid family and medical leave program.

Mandated State Run Retirement Program

A bill has been introduced that directs the governing board of the Virginia College Savings Plan to establish the VirginiaSaves Program. This will be an automatic enrollment payroll deduction individual retirement account (IRA) retirement savings program. Participation in the program is mandatory for all employers with five or more employees that don’t already offer a qualifying retirement savings program for employees. 

What does this mean for you?
If you have five or more employees and do not already offer a qualified retirement savings program, as delineated in the legislation, you will be required to participate in this state-run program. Creating an added cost of doing business during an already difficult economic time. 

What can you do?
When you see an Action Alert on this issue, make sure to click through to contact your legislator for the district where your business is located as well as for the district where your residence is to let them know how this will impact your business.

Hazard Pay

Legislation has been introduced that requires employers of “essential workers” to pay hazard pay after an executive order is issued which includes a stay-at-home or shelter-in-place order. This means that employers must compensate essential workers at a rate of at least one and one-half times that workers regular rate of pay for any hours worked during the closure order. In addition, PPE must be provided for essential workers as well. Under this legislation, an essential worker is an individual employed as a health care provider, home care provider, airport worker, or employed by an essential retail business. 

What this means for you?
This means that if you qualified as an essential retail business during the COVID-19 pandemic, you would be required to pay hazard pay for all employees during a stay at home order. This legislation will apply to future pandemics or states of emergency as well.

What can you do? 
When you see an Action Alert on this issue, make sure to click through to contact your legislator for the district where your business is located as well as for the district where your residence is located to let them know how this will impact your business.

  • HB 2015 - Ayala - Essential workers; hazard pay; personal protective equipment; civil penalty.

Legislation Listed by Topic:

ABC

  • HB 1735 - Ware - Alcoholic beverage control; privileges of farm winery licensees and limited brewery licensees.         
  • HB 1738 - Wampler - Alcoholic beverage control; local outdoor refreshment areas.
  • HB 1845 - VanValkenburg - Alcoholic beverage control; license fee reform.
  • HB 1879 - Bulova - Alcoholic beverage control; sale and delivery of mixed beverages and pre-mixed wine.
  • HB 2051 - Bourne - Alcoholic beverage control; local outdoor refreshment areas.
  • HB 2131 - Lopez - Alcoholic beverage control; license application, locality input.
  • HB 2136 - Batten - Alcoholic beverage control; mobile retailer license created.
  • HB 2266 - Ayala - Alcoholic beverage control; local outdoor refreshment areas.
  • SB 1299 - Bell - Alcoholic beverage control; sale and delivery of mixed beverages and pre-mixed wine.
  • SB 1345 - Vogel - Alcoholic beverage control; license applications; notice requirements.
  • SB 1346 - Stuart - Alcoholic beverage control; mobile retailer license.
  • SB 1388 - Reeves - Alcoholic beverage control; sale and delivery of mixed beverages for off-premises consumption.
  • SB 1428 - Locke - Alcoholic beverage control; operation of government stores; sale of low alcohol beverage coolers.

Privacy

Worker Classification

Employer Mandates

  • HB 1754 - Carter - Employer or other person; retaliatory discharge of employee prohibited.
  • HB 1785 - Ward - Employment health and safety standards; heat illness prevention.
  • HB 1848 - Sickles - Virginia Human Rights Acts; adds discrimination on the basis of disability.
  • HB 1862 - Helmer - Employee protections; medicinal use of cannabis oil.
  • HB 1864 - Price - Virginia Human Rights Act; expands definition of employer.
  • HB 1871 - Batten - Motor vehicles used for the delivery of property; trade dress.
  • HB 1897 - Jenkins - Summons for unlawful detainer; notice to tenant, adverse employment actions prohibited.
  • HB 2032 - Gooditis - Employees providing domestic service; application of laws applicable to employee safety.
  • HB 2045 - Bourne - Civil action for deprivation of rights; duties and liabilities of certain employers.
  • HB 2063 - Mullin - Virginia Overtime Wage Act; overtime compensation employees, penalties.
  • HB 2140 - Guzman - Alternative application for employment for persons with a disability; DHRM, to create a process.
  • HB 2155 - Watts - Virginia Human Rights Act; nondiscrimination in employment, sexual and workplace harassment.
  • HB 2161 - Tran - Active military or a military spouse; prohibits discrimination in public accommodations, etc.
  • HB 2242 - LaRock - COVID-19 immunization; prohibition on requirement; discrimination prohibited.
  • HB 2275 - Gooditis - Food and drink permit requirements.
  • SB 1228 - Boysko - Virginia Equal Pay Act; civil penalties.
  • SB 1310 - McClellan - Employment; domestic service; Human Rights Act.
  • SB 1358 - Hashmi - Employment health and safety standards; heat illness prevention.
  • SB 1360 - McClellan - Virginia Human Rights Act; nondiscrimination in employment; sexual harassment.
  • SB 1410 - Bell - Prohibited discrimination; status as active military or a military spouse.

Civil Liability Immunity - COVID 19 Claims 

  • HB 2143 - Miyares - COVID-19 virus; immunity from civil claims related to the transmission of or exposure to the virus.

Public Health Emergency

  • HB 2066 - Webert - Public health emergency; reports of suspected violations of orders and regulations, penalty.
  • HB 2134 - Batten - Employee classification; provision of personal protective equipment in response to a disaster.
  • SB 1362 - Lewis - Employers; reporting outbreaks of COVID-19; emergency.

Right to Work

  • HB 1755 - Carter - Right to work; repeals provisions of Code that refers to denial or abridgement.

Tax

  • HB 1771 - Freitas - Income tax, state and corporate; tax credit for employers of National Guard members, etc.
  • HB 1787 - McNamara - Income tax, state; establishes an exclusion for Paycheck Protection Plan loan forgiveness.
  • HB 1788 - McNamara - Income tax, state; rolling conformity with the Internal Revenue Code.
  • HB 1935 - Watts - Income tax, state; conformity with the Internal Revenue Code.
  • HB 1939 - Wyatt - Food and beverage tax; single-serving salads, definition of "single-serving."
  • HB 1956 - Avoli - Income tax, state; late payment penalty.
  • HB 1999 - Murphy - Tax Commissioner; waiver of accrual of interest in the event that Gov. declares state of emergency.
  • HB 2158 - Watts - Retail sales and transient occupancy taxes; on room rentals, Destination Marketing Fund created.
  • HB 2185 - Byron - Retail sales and use tax; exemption for personal protective equipment.
  • SB 1170 - Norment - Additional local sales and use tax to support schools.
  • SB 1286 - Deeds - Income tax; rate increase; funding for schools and law-enforcement officer salaries.
  • SB 1326 - Hanger - Local cigarette taxes; regional cigarette tax boards.
  • SB 1353 - Marsden - Corporate income tax; combined reporting requirements.
  • SB 1394 - Petersen - Income tax exclusion for Paycheck Protection Plan loan forgiveness; deductibility.
  • SB 1398 - Norment - Retail sales and transient occupancy taxes on room rentals.
  • SB 1403 - Pillion - Sales tax; exemption for personal protective equipment; emergency.

Unemployment Compensation

  • HB 1977 - Askew - Unemployment compensation; overpayments due to administrative error.
  • HB 2037 - Tran - Unemployment compensation; benefits, suitable work, benefits charges.
  • HB 2040 - Hudson - Unemployment compensation; failure to respond, continuation of benefits, repayment of overpayments.

Minimum Wage

  • HB 1786 - Ward - Minimum wage; farm laborers or farm employees.
  • HB 1954 - Avoli - Minimum wage; application to certain persons providing fire or emergency medical services.
  • HB 2270 - Marshall - Minimum wage; effective dates of scheduled increases; emergency.

TANF

  • HB 1820 - Helmer - Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; food stamp program, eligibility, postsecondary education.

Energy

  • HB 1835 - Subramanyam - Electric utilities; rate reductions.
  • HB 1859 - Guy - Clean energy and other programs; local financing when owner costs are incurred.
  • HB 1907 - Sullivan - Electric utilities; advanced renewable energy buyers.
  • HB 1919 - Kory - Local green banks; authorizes a locality, by ordinance, to establish.
  • HB 1937 - Rasoul - Green New Deal Act; establishes a moratorium, effective January 1, 2022, etc.
  • HB 1984 - Hudson - Electric utilities; triennial review, proceeding by SCC, fair rates of return.
  • HB 2048 - Bourne - Electric utility regulation; purchasing from competitive suppliers.
  • HB 2049 - Bourne - Electric utilities; eliminates customer credit reinvestment offsets.
  • HB 2057 - Ware - Electric utilities; triennial review.
  • HB 2200 - Jones - Electric utilities; triennial review.
  • HB 2265 - Freitas - Regulation of electric utilities; development of renewable energy facilities.
  • HB 2281 - Ware - Virginia Clean Economy Act; non-bypassable charges; energy-intensive trade-exposed (EITE).
  • SB 1420 - Edwards - Electric utilities; nonjurisdictional customers; third party power purchase agreements.

Environmental

  • HB 1902 - Carr - Expanded polystyrene food service containers; prohibition, civil penalty.
  • HB 1965 - Bagby - State Air Pollution Control Board; low-emissions and zero-emissions vehicle program.
  • HB 2173 - Plum - Advanced recycling; definition.
  • HB 2227 - Kory - Uniform Statewide Building Code; amendments, energy efficiency and conservation.
  • SB 1164 - Hanger - Advanced recycling; not considered solid waste management; definition.
  • SB 1224 - Boysko - Uniform Statewide Building Code; amendments; energy efficiency and conservation.
  • SB 1282 - Morrissey - Greenhouse gas emissions inventory; regulations.
  • SB 1284 - Favola - Commonwealth Clean Energy Policy.

Transportation

Workers Compensation

  • HB 1985 - Hurst - Workers' compensation; presumption of compensability for COVID-19.
  • HB 2207 - Jones - Workers' compensation; presumption of compensability for COVID-19.
  • HB 2228 - Guzman - Workers' compensation; injuries caused by repetitive and sustained physical stressors.
  • SB 1342 - Vogel - Workers' compensation; presumption of compensability for COVID-19.
  • SB 1351 - Lewis - Workers' compensation; claims not barred.
  • SB 1375 - Saslaw - Workers' compensation; presumption of compensability for COVID-19.

Food Delivery

  • HB 2062 - Willett - Food delivery platforms; agreements required, penalty.

Tobacco

  • HB 2164 - Hope - Tobacco; prohibits person from selling product at retail without license from ABC Authority.

Product Ban

  • HB 2250 - Kory - Humane Cosmetics Act; civil penalties.
  • SB 1379 - Boysko - Humane Cosmetics Act; civil penalties.

Small Business

  • HB 1784 - Ward - Small Business Procurement Enhancement Program; established, report.
  • HB 1830 - Head - Virginia Small Business Financing Authority; members to have small business lending experience
  • HB 2172 - Mundon King - Small, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses; right to appeal denial of initial certification
  • HB 2183 - Wilt - Small businesses; Department of SBSD to publish on its website a resource to assist businesses.
  • SB 1369 - Obenshain - Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity; definitions; small business.

Miscellaneous

  • HB 1740 - Cole, M.L. - Signs on certain highways; rotation of eligible entities.
  • HB 1780 - Carter - Public employees; prohibition on striking, exception.
  • HB 1788 - McNamara - Income tax, state; rolling conformity with the Internal Revenue Code.
  • HB 1814 - Krizek - Garnishment of wages; protected portion of disposable earnings.
  • HB 1906 - Carter - Campaign finance; prohibited contributions from corporations, civil penalty.
  • SB 1296 - Spruill - State Coordinator of Emergency Management; establishment of Emergency Management Equity.
  • SB 1298 - Bell - Tourism improvement districts.
  • SB 1418 - McPike - Implementation of federal mandates; grants by the Commonwealth; certification of employment.