Governor Northam has signed the Tax Conformity legislation into law. Due to the emergency clause, the legislation goes into effect immediately and is retroactive. This means that it will not be necessary to file an extension on your taxes to accommodate the typical July legislation start date in order to benefit from this legislation.



Most importantly, the legislation conforms to the federal tax exemption for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness and certain funding received under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. The bill permits a deduction for Taxable Year 2020 of up to $100,000 for business expenses funded by forgiven PPP loan proceeds. 

  • View the full details from the Virginia Department of Taxation here

The 2021 General Assembly Session adjourned Sine Die on Monday, March 1, 2021. This year was one for the history books with regard to how the Session took place due to COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing measures. Overall, Retail had a successful year and many of the bills that would have had a negative impact on our industry were defeated.

We want to thank all of our members for their strong participation in the action alerts we sent out this year. Your voices were heard and had a great impact on the outcome of certain legislation.

Below is list of bills and their status, broken down by category.

 

 

Tax Conformity – Passed

The House and the Senate each had their own version of Tax Conformity bills this year. The main issue at hand was the cap amount for deductions of business expenses for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans. Both bills, as passed the body of origin, allowed for a business that received a PPP loan to exclude the forgiven loan amount from their income, however each instilled a cap for maximum deduction to cover one’s business expenses related to their PPP Loans.

The Senate version created a $100,000 cap, while the House version only allowed a deduction up to $25,000. This issue came down to the end, where the conference committee ultimately decided to go with the Senate version: $100,000 cap with an Emergency Clause.

After this legislation is signed by the Governor, businesses will be eligible to deduct up to $100,000 of business expenses related to the PPP loan or Rebuild Virginia Loan. While we initially advocated for full deductibility, it was clear at the beginning Session that was not on the table. At that point, VRF along with a huge business coalition began to advocate for the $100,000 cap, which will allow full deductibility for 80% of Virginia Small Businesses that received a PPP loan. This was a huge victory for Small Business.

 

HB 1935 - Watts - Income tax, state; conformity with the Internal Revenue Code. (Passed both the House and Senate and is on its way to the Governor for Signature – once signed, it will go into effect immediately due to the emergency clause)

SB 1146 - Howell - Income tax, state; conformity with the Internal Revenue Code (Passed both the House and Senate and is on its way to the Governor for Signature – once signed, it will go into effect immediately due to the emergency clause)

 

Conformity Budget Amendment:

Conformity to Internal Revenue Code (language only)

Item 4-14 #3c

Explanation: (This amendment advances Virginia’s date of conformity with the Internal Revenue Code from December 31, 2019, to December 31, 2020. The amendment generally conforms Virginia's tax code to both the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA), 2021, with certain exceptions consistent with SB 1146. The amendment provides a deduction of up to $100,000 for business expenses funded by forgiven loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and provides an income tax subtraction of up to $100,000 for grant funds received under the Rebuild Virginia program.)

 


 

Paid Leave

 

Multiple bills were introduced that mandate businesses to provide one form of paid leave or another. There were bills that would 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.

Only two bills on this subject passed both bodies, neither of which have an impact on Retail. The first is Delegate Guzman’s bill for Paid Sick Leave for Essential Home Health Workers. The second is Senator Favola’s legislation that directs the State Corporation Commission’s Bureau of Insurance to conduct a report on allowing the sale of individual and group Paid Family Leave plans in Virginia.

 

Paid Leave Legislation – before Governor for Signature:

 

HB 2137 - Guzman - Paid sick leave; employers to provide to certain employees (Substitute passed both House and Senate and now it is on its way to Governor for Signature)

  • Amended in Senate to only apply to Essential Home Health Care Workers

 

SB 1219 - Favola - Bureau of Insurance; paid family leave; report.

  • Directs the State Corporation Commission's Bureau of Insurance (the Bureau) to review and make policy recommendations to meet the goals identified in the "Paid Family and Medical Leave Study" published by the Offices of the Secretary of Commerce and Trade and the Chief Workforce Development Advisor in September 2020 as part of a statewide paid family and medical leave program to be administered by the Commonwealth.
  • The bill requires the Bureau to convene a stakeholder group to participate in the process, which is required to include representatives from the insurance industry and the business community, labor organizations, advocates for paid family leave, and other interested parties. The bill requires the Bureau to report its findings and recommendations to the Senate Committees on Commerce and Labor and Finance and Appropriations and the House Committees on Labor and Commerce and Appropriations by November 30, 2021.

 

Defeated Paid Leave Legislation:

 

HB 2016 - Ayala - Paid family and medical leave program (Laid on the Table (defeated) in House Appropriations Subcommittee 8-Y 0-N)

  • Requires the Virginia Employment Commission to establish and administer a paid family and medical leave program with benefits beginning January 1, 2024. Under the program, benefits are paid to eligible employees for family and medical leave. Funding for the program is provided through premiums assessed to employers and employees beginning in 2023. The amount of a benefit is 80 percent of the employee's average weekly wage, not to exceed 80 percent of the state weekly wage, which amount is required to be adjusted annually to reflect changes in the statewide average weekly wage. The measure caps the duration of paid leave at 12 weeks in any application year. The bill provides self-employed individuals the option of participating in the program.

 

HB 2103 - Reid - Certain public & private employers to provide earned paid sick time. (Laid on the table (defeated) in House Appropriations Subcommittee 8-Y 0-N)

  • Requires public and private employers with 35 or more full-time equivalent employees to provide eligible employees, defined in the bill, with earned paid sick time and paid sick time. The bill provides for an eligible employee to earn up to 40 hours of earned paid sick time depending on the amount of hours the eligible employee has averaged over the previous year or, for a new employee, is projected to work. An eligible employee shall not earn or use more than 40 hours of earned paid sick time in a year, unless the employer selects a higher limit. The bill provides that earned paid sick time may be used (i) for an eligible employee's mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; an eligible employee's need for medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; or an eligible employee's need for preventive medical care; or (ii) to provide care to an eligible employee's family member, defined in the bill, under similar circumstances.
  • The bill prohibits employers from taking certain retaliatory actions against employees related to earned paid sick leave and authorizes the Commissioner of Labor and Industry, in the case of a knowing violation, to subject an employer to a civil penalty not to exceed $150 for the first violation, $300 for the second violation, and $500 for each successive violation, if the second or successive violation occurs within two years of the previous violation. The Commissioner of Labor and Industry may institute proceedings on behalf of an employee to enforce compliance with this bill and to collect specified amounts from the employer, which shall be awarded to the employee. Alternatively, an aggrieved employee is authorized to bring a civil action against the employer in which he may recover double the amount of any unpaid earned sick time and the amount of any actual damages suffered as the result of the employer's violation. However, an aggrieved employee is required to seek redress through the employer's human resources department prior to filing an administrative complaint or civil action. The bill has a delayed effective date of January 1, 2023.

 

SB 1159 - Favola - Use sick leave for the care of immediate family members. (Stricken at the request of the Patron)

  • Requires employers with a sick leave program to allow an employee to use his sick leave for the care of an immediate family member. The measure applies only to employers that have 25 or more employees and that provide paid sick leave that allows an employee to be absent from work in the event of the employee's own incapacity, illness, or injury. The measure applies only to employees who work at least 30 hours per week, and it caps the amount of sick leave that may be used for the care of immediate family members at five days per calendar year.

 

SB 1330 - Boysko - Paid family and medical leave program. (Passed by Indefinitely in Senate Commerce and Labor Committee 12-Y 3-N)

  • Requires the Virginia Employment Commission to establish and administer a paid family and medical leave program with benefits beginning January 1, 2024. Under the program, benefits are paid to eligible employees for family and medical leave. Funding for the program is provided through premiums assessed to employers and employees beginning in 2023. The amount of a benefit is 80 percent of the employee's average weekly wage, not to exceed 80 percent of the state weekly wage, which amount is required to be adjusted annually to reflect changes in the statewide average weekly wage. The measure caps the duration of paid leave at 12 weeks in any application year. The bill provides self-employed individuals the option of participating in the program.

 

 


 

 

Mandated State-Run Retirement Program – Before Governor for Signature

 

Chairman Torian introduced legislation 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 25 or more employees that don’t already offer a qualifying retirement savings program for employees. Employers will not be required to contribute, but will be required to establish an account and complete payroll deductions for employees that do not opt out of participation. An eligible Employee must work at least 30 hours a week. Program enrollment will begin July 2023.

 

HB 2174 - Torian – Virginia Saves Program; established. (Passed both the House and Senate, and on its way to the Governor for Signature)

  • Directs the governing board of the Virginia College Savings Plan (the Board) to establish an automatic enrollment payroll deduction individual retirement account (IRA) retirement savings program, to be known as the VirginiaSaves Program (the Program). The Board shall administer the Program and develop requirements, procedures, and guidelines for the Program, including default contribution rates, procedures for enrollment and withdrawal, and procedures for noncompliance. Moneys in the Program shall be invested in a manner deemed appropriate by the Board.
  • Participation in the Program is mandatory for eligible employers, defined in the bill as self-employed individuals, sole proprietors, and nongovernmental employers having 25 or more employees that do not offer a qualified retirement plan to their employees. Each eligible employee, defined generally as an individual employed by an eligible employer, shall be enrolled in the Program unless the employee elects not to participate in the Program.
  • The bill contains provisions limiting the liability of the Board, the Plan, and the Commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions for obligations associated with the Program. The Commonwealth shall have no duty or liability to any party for the payment of any retirement savings benefits accrued by any individual under the Program. Participating employers shall not (i) have any liability for an employee's decision to participate in or opt out of the Plan, (ii) be a fiduciary over the Program, or (iii) have any liability or responsibility related to the operation of the Program.
  • The Program shall be established, and enrollment shall begin, no later than July 1, 2023.

 

 


 

 

Unemployment Compensation

 

Unemployment Compensation—Before Governor for Signature

 

HB 2040 - Hudson - Unemployment compensation; failure to respond, continuation of benefits, repayment of overpayments. (Passed both House and Senate with Amendments)

  • Codifies Governor’s Executive Order allowing unemployment recipients to continue to receive benefits during their appeals process to determine eligibility, and waives any overpayments due to extensions of benefits during appeals process that is eventually denied or due to administrative error by VEC.
  • Senate Amendments that reduce impact on small businesses – the amendments add a sunset provision to the legislation, which sunsets entire proposal to July 1, 2022 to only apply to pandemic. And the amendments dedicate $19 million in budget to pay for policy decision rather than on employers.

 

 

Budget Amendment for Funding of Program:

Item 131 #3c

First Year - FY2021

Second Year - FY2022

 

 

Commerce and Trade

Virginia Employment Commission

$0

$18,973,959

GF

 

0.00

5.00

FTE

 

Language


Page 125, line 13, strike "$574,596,796" and insert "$593,570,755".

Page 126, after line 19, insert:

"K. Out of the amounts in this item, $18,923,959 from the general fund in the second year is provided to reimburse the Unemployment Compensation Fund for any forgiven overpayments of state unemployment insurance benefits pursuant to the provisions of House Bill 2040, 2021 General Assembly. Of the amounts included in this paragraph, $250,000 the second year from the general fund is provided to the Commission for administrative costs. The funding provided in this paragraph is contingent on the passage of House Bill 2040, 2021 General Assembly."

 

Explanation: (This amendment provides $18.9 million in the second year from the general fund to support costs for the Virginia Employment Commission to forgive the overpayment of benefits under certain conditions. House Bill 2040 requires any forgiveness of overpayments to be reimbursed from the general fund to the state's UI trust fund. This amendment provides $18.7 million for the reimbursement provisions of the bill. It also includes $250,000 from the general fund for administrative cost incurred by the Virginia Employment Commission.)

 

 

Unemployment Compensation – Defeated Legislation

 

HB 2037 - Tran - Unemployment compensation; benefits, suitable work, benefits charges. (Passed by in definitely (defeated) in Senate Commerce and Labor Committee)

  • Provides that, under specific conditions related to the COVID-19 virus, work will not be deemed suitable and benefits will not be denied to any otherwise eligible individual for refusing to accept new work if (i) the individual presents satisfactory evidence that such individual (a) has tested positive for COVID-19, (b) has been otherwise directed by a physician to quarantine due to COVID-19, or (c) is providing care for an immediate family member who has tested positive for COVID-19; or (ii) the individual has a reasonable belief, based on satisfactory evidence, that the workplace is unsafe because it does not meet governmental-mandated COVID-19 health and safety standards for the workplace, including standards issued by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Department of Labor and Industry, or the Department of Health, or through an executive order or directive issued by the Governor. The bill provides, that for individuals who refuse to accept an offer of work based on such conditions, no benefits charges will be deemed to be the responsibility of the previous employer, unless the individual has refused an offer to return to work to his previous employer because the individual has a reasonable belief that the workplace is not in compliance with the Department of Labor and Industry's standards for the prevention of COVID-19. The provisions of the bill expire 30 days after the expiration or revocation of all states of emergency declared by the Governor related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

 


 

 

Hazard Pay - Defeated

 

Delegate Ayala introduced legislation that required 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. This legislation was defeated in House Appropriations Committee because of the large fiscal impact that it would have on the State Budget.

 

HB 2015 - Ayala - Essential workers; hazard pay; personal protective equipment; civil penalty. (Passed by Indefinitely in House Appropriations Committee 21-Y 0-N)

  • Requires, that following the declaration by the Governor of a state of emergency that includes or is followed by any additional executive order in furtherance of such declaration that includes a stay-at-home or shelter-in-place order, employers shall (i) compensate each of their essential workers at a rate not less than one and one-half times the essential worker's regular rate of pay for any hours worked during the closure order and (ii) provide their essential workers with personal protective equipment related to the state of emergency and recommended for the relevant work site or job task by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry, the State Department of Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The bill defines "essential worker" as an individual employed as a health care provider, home care provider, or airport worker or by an essential retail business, as specified in the bill. The bill subjects violators to the same civil penalties, and provides the same cause of action for an employer's failure to pay the required hazard pay, as are currently imposed for failing to pay wages generally.

 

 


 

 

Privacy – Before Governor for Signature

 

HB 2307 - Hayes - Consumer Data Protection Act; establishes a framework for controlling and processing personal data. (Passed both House and Senate, now before Governor for Signature)

  • Establishes a framework for controlling and processing personal data in the Commonwealth. The bill applies to all persons that conduct business in the Commonwealth and either (i) control or process personal data of at least 100,000 consumers or (ii) derive over 50 percent of gross revenue from the sale of personal data and control or process personal data of at least 25,000 consumers. The bill outlines responsibilities and privacy protection standards for data controllers and processors. The bill does not apply to state or local governmental entities and contains exceptions for certain types of data and information governed by federal law. The bill grants consumer rights to access, correct, delete, obtain a copy of personal data, and to opt out of the processing of personal data for the purposes of targeted advertising. The bill provides that the Attorney General has exclusive authority to enforce violations of the law, and the Consumer Privacy Fund is created to support this effort. The bill directs the Joint Commission on Technology and Science to establish a work group to review the provisions of this act and issues related to its implementation, and to report on its findings by November 1, 2021. The bill has a delayed effective date of January 1, 2023. This bill is identical to SB 1392.

 

SB 1392 - Marsden - Consumer Data Protection Act. (Passed the Senate 36-Y 0-N 1-A)

  • Establishes a framework for controlling and processing personal data in the Commonwealth. The bill applies to all persons that conduct business in the Commonwealth and either (i) control or process personal data of at least 100,000 consumers or (ii) derive over 50 percent of gross revenue from the sale of personal data and control or process personal data of at least 25,000 consumers. The bill outlines responsibilities and privacy protection standards for data controllers and processors. The bill does not apply to state or local governmental entities and contains exceptions for certain types of data and information governed by federal law. The bill grants consumer rights to access, correct, delete, obtain a copy of personal data, and to opt out of the processing of personal data for the purposes of targeted advertising. The bill provides that the Attorney General has exclusive authority to enforce violations of the law, and the Consumer Privacy Fund is created to support this effort. The bill directs the Joint Commission on Technology and Science to establish a work group to review the provisions of this act and issues related to its implementation, and to report on its findings by November 1, 2021. The bill has a delayed effective date of January 1, 2023. This bill is identical to HB 2307.

 

 


 

 

Worker Classification – Defeated

 

HB 2296 - Robinson - Worker classification; independent contractors.(Left in Commerce and Labor Committee)

  • Provides that in a proceeding involving allegations of worker misclassification an individual or business is not considered an employee with respect to a hiring party if the person qualifies as an independent contractor relative to the hiring party under the common law right-of-control test as established by the Internal Revenue Service Revenue Ruling 87-41, by an applicable determination of the Internal Revenue Service, or if (i) the individual or business signs a written contract with the hiring party stating that the individual or business is self-employed or is being engaged as an independent contractor and containing certain acknowledgments, (ii) the individual or business has the right to control the manner and means by which the final result of the work is to be accomplished, and (iii) four or more additional criteria provided for in the bill are satisfied. The bill also provides that a hiring party alleging that a worker misclassification claim is frivolous or improper may file a motion to dismiss such claim. The bill provides that a contract or written agreement expressly stating that a claimant is not considered an employee is considered as prima facie evidence of a violation of frivolous pleading provisions.

 

SB 1323 - Dunnavant - Worker classification; independent contractors. (Passed by Indefinitely in Senate Judiciary Committee (10-Y 5-N)

  • Provides that in a proceeding involving allegations of worker misclassification an individual or business is not considered an employee with respect to a hiring party if the person qualifies as an independent contractor relative to the hiring party under the common law right-of control test as established by the Internal Revenue Service Revenue Ruling 87-41, by an applicable determination of the Internal Revenue Service, or if (i) the individual or business signs a written contract with the hiring party stating that the individual or business is self-employed or is being engaged as an independent contractor and containing certain acknowledgments, (ii) the individual or business has the right to control the manner and means by which the final result of the work is to be accomplished, and (iii) four or more additional criteria provided for in the bill are satisfied. The bill also provides that a hiring party alleging that a worker misclassification claim is frivolous or improper may file a motion to dismiss such claim. The bill provides that a contract or written agreement expressly stating that a claimant is not considered an employee is considered as prima facie evidence of a violation of frivolous pleading provisions.

 

 


 

 

Employer Mandates

 

Employer Mandates –  before Governor for Signature:

 

HB 1848 - Sickles - Virginia Human Rights Acts; adds discrimination on the basis of disability. (Passed both House and Senate, and now before Governor for Signature)

  • Adds discrimination on the basis of disability as an unlawful employment practice under the Virginia Human Rights Act. The bill also requires employers, defined in the bill, to make reasonable accommodation to the known physical and mental impairments of an otherwise qualified person with a disability, if necessary to assist such person in performing a particular job, unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer. The bill also prohibits employers from taking any adverse action against an employee who requests or uses a reasonable accommodation, from denying employment or promotion opportunities to an otherwise qualified applicant or employee because such employer will be required to make reasonable accommodation to the applicant or employee, or from requiring an employee to take leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided to the known limitations related to the disability. The bill creates a cause of action against any employer who denies any of the rights to reasonable accommodation afforded by the bill and permits the court or jury to award compensatory damages, back pay, and other equitable relief.

 

HB 1862 - Helmer - Employee protections; medicinal use of cannabis oil. (Passed both House and Senate with Amendments, before Governor for Signature)

  • Prohibits an employer from discharging, disciplining, or discriminating against an employee for such employee's lawful use of cannabis oil pursuant to a valid written certification issued by a practitioner for the treatment or to eliminate the symptoms of the employee's diagnosed condition or disease. The bill provides that such prohibition does not (i) restrict an employer's ability to take any adverse employment action for any work impairment or to prohibit possession during work hours or (ii) require an employer to commit any act that would cause the employer to be in violation of federal law or that would result in the loss of a federal contract or federal funding.

 

HB 1864 - Price - Virginia Human Rights Act; expands definition of employer. (Passed both House and Senate, now before Governor for Signature)

  • Expands the definition of "employer" for all purposes of the Virginia Human Rights Act to include a person employing one or more domestic workers, as defined in the bill.

 

HB 2032 - Gooditis - Employees providing domestic service; application of laws applicable to employee safety. (Passed both the House and the Senate, now on its way to Governor for Signature)

  • Provides that individuals who are engaged in providing domestic service are not excluded from employee protection laws and the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act.

 

HB 2063 - Mullin - Virginia Overtime Wage Act; overtime compensation employees, penalties. (Passed the House and Senate with Amendments, now on its way to Governor for Signature)

  • Requires an employer to compensate its employees who are entitled to overtime compensation under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act at a rate not less than one and one-half times the employee's regular rate of pay, defined in the bill, for any hours worked in excess of 40 hours in any one workweek. The bill includes provisions for calculating overtime premiums due to fire protection and law-enforcement employees by certain public sector employers. The penalties provided by the bill for an employer's failure to pay such overtime wages, including civil and criminal penalties, are the same as currently provided for failing to pay wages generally. The statute of limitations for bringing a claim for a violation of the bill is three years.

 

HB 2140 - Guzman - Alternative application for employment for persons with a disability; DHRM, to create a process. (Passed both House and Senate, now before Governor for Signature)

  • Directs the Department of Human Resource Management to create an alternative application process for the employment of persons with a disability. The process must be noncompetitive in nature and provide state agencies using the process an option for converting positions filled through the noncompetitive process into positions that are normally filled through a competitive process. The bill directs the Department of Human Resource Management to develop and disseminate a policy to implement the provisions of the bill.

 

HB 2161 - Tran - Active military or a military spouse; prohibits discrimination in public accommodations, etc. (Passed both the House and the Senate, now before the Governor for Signautre)

  • Prohibits discrimination in public accommodations, employment, and housing on the basis of a person's military status, defined as a member of the uniformed services of the United States or a reserve component thereof or a spouse or other dependent of the same. The bill also prohibits terms in a rental agreement in which the tenant agrees to waive remedies or rights under the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act prior to the occurrence of a dispute between the landlord and the tenant.

 

SB 1310 - McClellan - Employment; domestic service; Human Rights Act. (Passed both the House and the Senate, now before the Governor for Signature)

  • Provides that individuals who are engaged in providing domestic service are not excluded from employee protection laws and laws regarding the payment of wages. The measure also provides that the prohibitions on nondiscrimination in employment of the Virginia Human Rights Act apply to employers that employ one or more domestic workers.

 

SB 1410 - Bell - Prohibited discrimination; status as active military or a military spouse. (Passed the Senate 39-Y 0-N)

  • Prohibits discrimination in public accommodations, employment, and housing on the basis of a person's military status, defined as a member of the uniformed services of the United States or a reserve component thereof or a spouse or other dependent of the same. The bill also prohibits terms in a rental agreement in which the tenant agrees to waive remedies or rights under the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act prior to the occurrence of a dispute between the landlord and the tenant. This bill is identical to 

 

 

Employer Mandates that have been defeated:

 

HB 1754 - Carter - Employer or other person; retaliatory discharge of employee prohibited. (Passed by indefinitely in Senate Commerce and Labor 10-Y 5-N)

  • Prohibits an employer or other person from discharging or taking other retaliatory action against an employee if such action is motivated by the knowledge or belief that the employee has filed a claim or taken or intends to take certain actions under the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act. Currently, retaliatory discharges are prohibited only if the employer discharges an employee solely because the employee has taken or intends to take such an action.

 

HB 1785 - Ward - Employment health and safety standards; heat illness prevention. (Stricken by Patron)

  • Requires the Safety and Health Codes Board to adopt regulations establishing standards designed to protect employees from heat illness, defined in the bill. The measure authorizes an employee to bring an action based on a violation of such standards in which injunctive relief and monetary damages may be sought.

 

HB 1897 - Jenkins - Summons for unlawful detainer; notice to tenant, adverse employment actions prohibited. (Failed to report (defeated) in Senate Judiciary Committee7-Y 8-N)

  • Requires any summons for unlawful detainer to include a notice to the tenant that it is unlawful for his employer to discharge him from employment or take any adverse personnel action against him for appearing at an initial or subsequent hearing on such summons, provided that he has given reasonable notice of such hearing to his employer.

 

HB 2045 - Bourne - Civil action for deprivation of rights; duties and liabilities of certain employers.(Laid on the table (defeated) in Courts Civil Subcommittee 6-Y 2-N)

  • Creates a civil action for the deprivation of a person's rights by a law-enforcement officer and provides that a plaintiff may be awarded compensatory damages, punitive damages, and equitable relief as well as reasonable attorney fees and costs. The bill provides that sovereign immunity and limitations on liability or damages shall not apply to such actions and that qualified immunity is not a defense to liability for such deprivation of rights. Finally, the bill provides that any public or private entity that employs or contracts for the services of a law-enforcement officer owes a duty of reasonable care to third parties in its hiring, supervision, training, retention, and use of such officers under its employment or contract.

 

HB 2155 - Watts - Virginia Human Rights Act; nondiscrimination in employment, sexual and workplace harassment. (Failed to report (defeated) in Senate Judiciary Committee 6-Y 7-N)

  • Makes it an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer, labor organization, or employment agency to engage in workplace harassment, including sexual harassment, as defined in the bill. The bill also provides (i) a non-exhaustive list of factors to consider when determining whether certain conduct constitutes workplace harassment, (ii) guidelines for when a court may find an employer liable for workplace harassment, (iii) that a person claiming to be aggrieved by an unlawful discriminatory practice may file a written complaint with the Division of Human Rights within two years of the occurrence of the alleged unlawful discriminatory practice, and (iv) that an aggrieved person who has been provided a notice of his right to file a civil action for such grievance may do so within one year of receiving such notice. The bill also amends the definition of "employer" to mean a person employing five or more employees, instead of 15 or more employees under current law, for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, and any agent of such a person.

 

HB 2242 - LaRock - COVID-19 immunization; prohibition on requirement; discrimination prohibited.(Tabled (defeated) in House Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee 18-Y 3-N)

  • Prohibits the State Health Commissioner and the Board of Health, the Board of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, the Department of Health Professions and any regulatory board therein, and the Department of Social Services from requiring any person to undergo vaccination for COVID-19 and prohibits discrimination based on a person's vaccination status with respect to any COVID-19 vaccine (i) with regard to education, employment, insurance, or issuance of a driver's license or other state identification or (ii) in numerous other contexts. The bill also prohibits the inclusion of any patient immunization information in the Virginia Immunization Information System (VIIS) unless the patient has consented, in writing, to inclusion of his information in the VIIS.

 

HB 2275 - Gooditis - Food and drink permit requirements. (Defeated on Senate Floor 18-Y 21-N)

  • Directs the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services (the Commissioner), after conducting the required inspection, to issue a permit for the operation of any food manufacturer, food storage warehouse, or retail food establishment. The bill prohibits the operation of such manufacturer, warehouse, or establishment without a permit unless the inspection finds no significant health hazard and the business is awaiting receipt of its permit, which shall be processed within 30 days of the inspection. The bill authorizes the Commissioner to deny, suspend, or revoke such permit for certain violations and authorizes the Commissioner to suspend such permit and seek an expedited informal fact-finding proceeding if conditions exist that present a significant and immediate public health hazard.
  • The bill requires the Commissioner to issue a permit to any manufacturer, warehouse, or establishment that is legally operating on July 1, 2021, and has satisfactorily completed its most recent inspection. The bill also authorizes the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services to adopt regulations to administer the permitting process and directs the Commissioner to develop a written appeal process for use when a permit is suspended.

 

SB 1228 - Boysko - Virginia Equal Pay Act; civil penalties. (Passed by Indefinitely in Senate Commerce and Labor Committee 15-Y 0-N)

  • Prohibits public and private employers from discriminating between employees on the basis of membership in a protected class in the payment of wages or other compensation, including benefits, by paying wages or other compensation to employees who are members of a protected class at a rate less than the rate at which it pays wages or other compensation to employees who are not members of the protected class for substantially similar work. The measure also prohibits an employer from discriminating between employees by providing less favorable employment opportunities on the basis of membership in a protected class, limiting an employee's right to discuss wages, relying on the wage history of a prospective employee in considering the prospective employee for employment or determining the wages that the prospective employee is to be paid by the employer upon hire, or taking certain retaliatory actions against an employee. The measure also establishes criteria for when wage differentials between employees are permitted, but requires an employer to (i) provide a prospective employee with the wage range for the position for which the prospective employee is applying upon request or prior to inquiring about the prospective employee's wage expectations or providing an offer of compensation and (ii) maintain records of the wages and wage rates, job classifications, and other terms and conditions of employment for a period of three years. The measure gives an employee who is the subject of a violation a right of action to recover, for certain violations, the greater of compensatory damages or $10,000, liquidated damages, punitive damages, and attorney fees. Violations are also subject to civil penalties.

 

SB 1358 - Hashmi - Employment health and safety standards; heat illness prevention. (Stricken by Patron)

  • Requires the Safety and Health Codes Board to adopt regulations establishing standards designed to protect employees from heat illness, defined in the bill. The measure authorizes an employee to bring an action based on a violation of such standards in which injunctive relief and monetary damages may be sought.

 

SB 1360 - McClellan - Virginia Human Rights Act; nondiscrimination in employment; sexual harassment. (Recommitted to Judiciary Committee off of Senate Floor (defeated))

  • Clarifies, by defining sexual harassment and workplace harassment, what constitutes an unlawful employment practice if engaged in by an employer. The bill also provides (i) a non-exhaustive list of factors to consider when determining whether certain conduct constitutes workplace harassment, (ii) that a person claiming to be aggrieved by an unlawful discriminatory practice may file a written complaint with the Division of Human Rights within two years after the occurrence of the alleged unlawful discriminatory practice, and (iii) that an aggrieved person who has been provided a notice of his right to file a civil action for such grievance may do so within one year of receiving such notice and may be awarded reasonable attorney fees, including costs and reasonable litigation expenses if the court or jury finds in his favor. The bill also amends the definition of "employer" to mean a person employing five or more employees, instead of 15 or more employees under current law, for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, and any agent of such a person.

 

 


 

 

Larceny—Passed

 

HB 2290 - Plum - Larceny; repeals punishment for conviction of second or subsequent misdemeanor. (Passed both House and Senate, now before Governor for Signature)

  • Repeals the enhanced penalties for a second or subsequent misdemeanor larceny conviction. Under current law, when a person is convicted of a second larceny offense, he shall be confined in jail not less than 30 days nor more than 12 months, and for a third, or any subsequent offense, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

 

 


 

 

Civil Liability Immunity – COVID-19 Claims – Defeated

 

HB 2143 - Miyares - COVID-19 virus; immunity from civil claims related to the transmission of or exposure to the virus. (Left in House Courts of Justice Committee

  • Provides immunity to persons, as defined in the bill, from civil causes of action arising from any act or omission alleged to have resulted in the contraction of or exposure to the COVID-19 virus, provided such person has complied with applicable federal, state, and local policies, procedures, and guidance regarding COVID-19. The bill further provides immunity to persons who design, manufacture, label, or distribute any personal protective equipment in response to the COVID-19 virus from any civil cause of action arising out of the use of such equipment. The bill contains an emergency clause, and the immunities provided by such bill expire two years after the expiration or revocation of all states of emergency declared by the Governor related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

 


 

 

Public Health Emergency

 

Public Health Emergency – legislation before Governor for signature:

 

HB 2134 - Batten - Employee classification; provision of personal protective equipment in response to a disaster. (Passed both House and Senate, now before Governor for Signature)

  • Prohibits the consideration, in any determination regarding whether an individual is an employee or independent contractor, for the purposes of a civil action for employment misclassification, unemployment compensation, and workers' compensation, of the provision of personal protective equipment by a hiring party to the individual in response to a disaster caused by a communicable disease of public health threat for which a state of emergency has been declared.

 

Public Health Emergency legislation that has been defeated

 

HB 2066 - Webert - Public health emergency; reports of suspected violations of orders and regulations, penalty. (Tabled in House Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee 12-Y 9-N)

  • Provides that any system created by the Department of Health to receive information regarding an alleged violation of an order or regulation of the Board of Health or the Commissioner of Health enacted in response to a public health emergency related to a communicable disease of public health threat shall require, for each report received, the name, address, telephone number, and email address of the individual making the report. The bill makes knowingly making a false report of such violation a Class 1 misdemeanor. The bill contains an emergency clause.

 

SB 1362 - Lewis - Employers; reporting outbreaks of COVID-19. (Laid on the table (defeated) in House Appropriations Committee 8-Y 0-N)

  • Requires that, upon determination that a worksite cluster of COVID-19 has occurred at a workplace with 50 or more employees, the Department of Health (the Department) shall make a report available to the public on a website maintained by the Department that includes (i) the name of the employer at which a worksite cluster has been reported and (ii) the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported by such employer. The Department shall also report when previously reported outbreaks are under control. The bill defines "worksite cluster" as five or more cases with illness onset or initial positive results within a 14-day period and a likely epidemiologic linkage between cases. The bill provides that the provisions of the act shall expire upon expiration of the Governor's declared state of emergency in response to the continued spread of the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. The provisions of the bill are contingent on funding in a general appropriation act.

 

 


 

 

Right to Work—Defeated

 

HB 1755 - Carter - Right to work; repeals provisions of Code that refers to denial or abridgement. (Left in House Labor and Commerce Committee (Defeated))

  • Repeals the provisions of the Code of Virginia that, among other things, prohibit any agreement or combination between an employer and a labor union or labor organization whereby (i) nonmembers of the union or organization are denied the right to work for the employer, (ii) membership in the union or organization is made a condition of employment or continuation of employment by such employer, or (iii) the union or organization acquires an employment monopoly in any such enterprise.

 

 


 

 

Tax

 

Tax legislation – Before Governor for Signature:

 

HB 1999 - Murphy - Tax Commissioner; waiver of accrual of interest in the event that Gov. declares state of emergency. (Passed both House and Senate, before Governor for Signature)

  • Authorizes the Tax Commissioner to waive interest for any class of taxpayers when he finds that imposing interest has caused, or would cause, undue hardship to such class of taxpayers because of a natural disaster or other reason. The bill allows the Tax Commissioner to grant such waiver only if the Governor declares a state of emergency in the Commonwealth with respect to such natural disaster or other reason.

 

HB 2185 - Byron - Retail sales and use tax; exemption for personal protective equipment. (Passed both House and Senate, before Governor for signature – will become law upon signature due to emergency clause)

  • Establishes a retail sales and use tax exemption for personal protective equipment, defined in the bill. The exemption would be available to any business that has in place a COVID-19 safety protocol that complies with the Emergency Temporary Standard promulgated by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry and that meets other criteria. The exemption would sunset one day after the first day following the expiration of the last executive order issued by the Governor related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the termination of the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard and any permanent COVID-19 regulations adopted by the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board. The bill contains an emergency clause.

 

HJ 563 - Watts - Corporate tax; DLS to establish group to assess transitioning to unitary combined reporting system. (Passed both House and Senate, now on its way to Governor for Signature)

  • Directs the Division of Legislative Services, in conjunction with the Department of Taxation, to establish a work group to assess the feasibility of transitioning to a unitary combined reporting system for corporate income tax purposes.

 

SB 1326 - Hanger - Local cigarette taxes; regional cigarette tax boards. (Passed both House and Senate, now before Governor for Signature)

  • Provides that, if a locality did not impose a cigarette tax as of January 1, 2021, the locality is prohibited from imposing a cigarette tax unless it is a member of a regional cigarette tax board. The bill also prohibits any locality from imposing a cigarette tax after January 1, 2026, unless such locality is a member of a regional cigarette tax board. The bill defines a regional cigarette tax board as a board with at least 10 member localities that is responsible for administering the cigarette taxes of all of its member localities.

 

SB 1398 - Norment - Retail sales and transient occupancy taxes on room rentals. (Passed both House and Senate with amendments, now before Governor for Signature)

  • Provides that retail sales and hotel taxes on transient room rentals shall be computed on the basis of the total charges or the total price paid for the use or possession of the room. For those cases in which a hotel or similar establishment contracts with an intermediary to facilitate the sale of the room and the intermediary charges the customer for the room and such facilitation efforts, the bill requires the intermediary to separately state the taxes on the bill or invoice provided to the customer and to collect the taxes based upon the total charges or the total price paid for the use or possession of the room. The bill requires an amount equal to the estimated state sales tax revenue generated from the tax on accommodations fees to be appropriated to the Virginia Tourism Authority each fiscal year to be used for promoting tourism.

 

SB 1403 - Pillion - Sales tax; exemption for personal protective equipment; emergency. (Passed both House and Senate, before Governor for signature – will become law upon signature due to emergency clause)

  • Establishes a retail sales and use tax exemption for personal protective equipment, defined in the bill. The exemption would be available to any business that has in place a COVID-19 safety protocol that complies with the Emergency Temporary Standard promulgated by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry and that meets other criteria. The exemption would sunset one day after the first day following the expiration of the last executive order issued by the Governor related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the termination of the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard and any permanent COVID-19 regulations adopted by the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board. The bill contains an emergency clause.

 

Budget Amendment on Unitary Combined Reporting:

Item 3-5.23 #1c

     

Finance

Corporate Income Tax Informational Reporting

 

Language

Page 664, after line 37, insert:

"§ 3-5.23 CORPORATE INCOME TAX INFORMATIONAL REPORTING

A.1. Corporations that are members of a unitary business must file a report, in a manner prescribed by the Tax Commissioner, for the unitary combined group containing the unitary combined net income of such group. The report shall be based on taxable year 2019 computations and include, at a minimum the difference in tax owed as a result of filing a unitary combined report, computed according to the method or methods specified by the Tax Commissioner, compared to the tax owed under the current filing requirements.

2. "Unitary business" means a single economic enterprise made up either of separate parts of a single business entity or of a commonly controlled group of business entities that are sufficiently interdependent, integrated, and interrelated through their activities so as to provide a synergy and mutual benefit that produces a sharing or exchange of value among them and a significant flow of value to the separate parts. A "unitary business" includes that part of the business that meets the definition in this section and is conducted by a taxpayer through the taxpayer's interest in a partnership, whether the interest in that partnership is held directly or indirectly through a series of partnerships or other pass-through entities. A "unitary business" shall not include persons subject to, or that would be subject to if doing business in the Commonwealth, the insurance premiums license tax under Chapter 25 (§ 58.1-2500 et seq.), Code of Virginia, or the bank franchise tax under Chapter 12 (§ 58.1-1200 et seq.)

3. The report must be submitted to the Department of Taxation on or before June 1, 2021, which date shall not be extended.

4. Members of a unitary combined group shall exclude as a member and disregard the income and apportionment factors of any corporation incorporated in a foreign jurisdiction (a "foreign corporation") if the average of its property, payroll and sales factors outside the United States is eighty percent (80%) or more. If a foreign corporation is includible as a member in the unitary combined group, to the extent that such foreign corporation's income is subject to the provisions of a federal income tax treaty, such income is not includible in the unitary combined group net income. Such member shall also not include in the unitary combined report any expenses or apportionment factors attributable to income that is subject to the provisions of a federal income tax treaty. For purposes of this paragraph, "federal income tax treaty" means a comprehensive income tax treaty between the United States and a foreign jurisdiction, other than a foreign jurisdiction which the organization for economic co-operation and development has determined has not committed to the internationally agreed tax standard, or has committed to the international agreed tax standard but has not yet substantially implemented that standard, as identified in the then-current organization for economic co-operation and development progress report.

B. Any corporation required to submit such report to the Department of Taxation that fails to do so on or before June 1, 2021, or that makes a material omission or misstatement in connection with such report shall be subject to a penalty of $10,000. The Tax Commissioner shall have the authority to waive such penalty upon a determination that the requirement would cause an undue hardship. All requests for waiver shall be transmitted to the Tax Commissioner in writing.

C. The Tax Commissioner shall on or before December 1, 2021, based on the information provided in income tax returns and the data submitted under this section, submit a report to the Chair of the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee, the Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, and the Chair of the House Finance Committee."

Explanation: (This amendment requires corporations that are members of a unitary business to file an informational report with the Department of Taxation for the unitary combined group containing the unitary combined net income of the group. The report must be based on taxable year 2019 computations and include, at a minimum the difference in tax owed as a result of filing a unitary combined report compared to the tax owed under the current filing requirements. Any corporation required to submit such report that fails to do so on or before June 1, 2021, or that makes a material omission or misstatement in connection with such report is subject to a penalty of $10,000, unless waived by the Tax Commissioner upon a determination that the requirement would cause an undue hardship.)

 

 

Tax legislation that has been defeated:

 

HB 1771 - Freitas - Income tax, state and corporate; tax credit for employers of National Guard members, etc. (Laid on the Table (defeated) in House Appropriations Subcommittee 5-Y 2-N)

  • Provides for taxable years 2021 through 2025 a nonrefundable tax credit against individual and corporate Income taxes for (i) wages paid by an employer to an employee who is a Virginia National Guard member or (ii) income of a self-employed Virginia National Guard member attributable to his business. The amount of the credit shall be 25 percent if such member was in a military pay status for 65 days or more during such taxable year or 15 percent if such member was in a military pay status for 45 days or more during such taxable year. The credit shall not be allowed if such member was in a military pay status for fewer than 45 days during such taxable year.

 

HB 1787 - McNamara - Income tax, state; establishes an exclusion for Paycheck Protection Plan loan forgiveness. (Laid on the table (defeated) in House Finance Committee 13-Y 9-N)

  • Establishes an income tax exclusion for forgiveness of indebtedness on a loan received under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act through the Paycheck Protection Plan. The exclusion would be available starting in taxable year 2020.

 

HB 1788 - McNamara - Income tax, state; rolling conformity with the Internal Revenue Code. (Laid on the table (defeated) House Finance Committee 22-Y 0-N)

  • Provides that, beginning with taxable year 2021, Virginia shall generally conform to federal tax laws on a rolling basis, meaning that Virginia tax laws incorporate changes to the Internal Revenue Code as soon as Congress enacts them. However, the bill provides that, unless subsequently adopted by the General Assembly, Virginia shall not conform to any amendments to the Internal Revenue Code that have an impact of more than 0.25 percent on general fund revenues in the fiscal year in which the amendment was enacted or any of the next four fiscal years. The Secretary of Finance, in consultation with the Chairmen of the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations and the House Committees on Appropriations and Finance, shall be responsible for determining when an amendment meets these criteria. The Secretary of Finance shall also provide an annual report to such chairmen on the fiscal impact of amendments to the Internal Revenue Code.

 

HB 1939 - Wyatt - Food and beverage tax; single-serving salads, definition of "single-serving."(Laid on the table (defeated) in House Finance Subcommittee 8-y 2-N)

  • Defines the term "single-serving" for purposes of local meals or food and beverage taxes as having the same meaning as "serving" or "serving size" as those terms are defined in the Code of Federal Regulations.

 

HB 1956 - Avoli - Income tax, state; late payment penalty. (Left in House Finance Committee (defeated))

  • Provides that the Department of Taxation shall not assess a late payment penalty to the entire tax or to any unpaid balance of the income tax owed by an individual unless and until the taxpayer fails to file his return by the time fixed by law for filing a return or by the time prescribed pursuant to a filing extension, as applicable. Under current law, the late payment penalty is assessed at the time a return is received by the Department if payment is not made in full when due.

 

HB 2158 - Watts - Retail sales and transient occupancy taxes; on room rentals, Destination Marketing Fund created. (Stricken from Docket)

  • Provides that retail sales and hotel taxes on transient room rentals shall be computed on the basis of the total charges or the total price paid for the use or possession of the room. For those cases in which a hotel or similar establishment contracts with an intermediary to facilitate the sale of the room and the intermediary charges the customer for the room and such facilitation efforts, the bill requires the intermediary to separately state the taxes on the bill or invoice provided to the customer and to collect the taxes based upon the total charges or the total price paid for the use or possession of the room. The bill provides that tax revenue attributable to the charge for the service provided by the intermediary, whether accruing to the state or a locality, shall be dedicated to destination marketing. The funds accruing to the state shall be deposited into the Destination Marketing Fund, created in the bill. Half of such funds shall be distributed by the Virginia Tourism Authority in the form of grants to local tourism authorities and the other half shall be expended by the Authority.

 

SB 1170 - Norment - Additional local sales and use tax to support schools. (Laid on table (defeated) by House Finance Subcommittee 7-Y 4-N)

  • Adds Isle of Wight County to the list of localities that, under current law, are authorized to impose an additional local sales and use tax at a rate not to exceed one percent, with the revenue used only for capital projects for the construction or renovation of schools.

 

SB 1286 - Deeds - Income tax; rate increase; funding for schools and law-enforcement officer salaries. (Left in Senate Finance and will be heard by Senate Finance Subcommittee on tax reform in the off season)

  • Increases from 5.75 percent to 5.9 percent the income tax rate on income over $150,000. Under current law, the top marginal rate of 5.75 percent applies to income over $17,000. The rate change applies starting with taxable year 2021. The bill requires revenue from the increase to be appropriated for nonrecurring capital expenditures of school divisions and salary increases for state and state-supported law-enforcement officers.

 

SB 1353 - Marsden - Corporate income tax; combined reporting requirements. (Left in Senate Finance, but will be referred to the Senate Finance Subcommittee on tax reform to meet in the off season)

  • Requires, for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2022, unitary combined reporting for Virginia corporate income tax purposes. The bill also expires the minimum tax on telecommunications companies beginning in taxable year 2022.

 

SB 1394 - Petersen - Income tax exclusion for Paycheck Protection Plan loan forgiveness; deductibility. (Incorporated by Senate Finance into SB1146)

  • Establishes an income tax exclusion for the forgiveness of indebtedness on a loan received under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act through the Paycheck Protection Program. The exclusion would be available starting in taxable year 2020. No taxpayer shall be denied an otherwise allowable deduction by reason of the exclusion.

 

 


 

 

Minimum Wage – Defeated 

 

HB 1786 - Ward - Minimum wage; farm laborers or farm employees. (Failed to report (defeated) in Senate Commerce and Labor Committee 5-Y 10-N)

  • Eliminates the exemption from Virginia's minimum wage requirements for persons employed as farm laborers or farm employees.

 

HB 2270 - Marshall - Minimum wage; effective dates of scheduled increases; emergency. (Passed by Indefinitely in House Labor and Commerce Subcommittee 5-Y 3-N)

  • Postpones the effective date of scheduled increases to the Virginia minimum wage. The initial increase to $9.50, currently set to take effect on May 1, 2021, will take effect on January 1, 2022, under the bill. The bill postpones the effective dates of all other scheduled increases by one year. The bill also postpones by one year (i) a joint review of the feasibility and potential impact of instituting a regional minimum wage in the Commonwealth by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority, and the Virginia Employment Commission and (ii) the deadline by which the General Assembly is required to reenact the provisions increasing the minimum wage to $13.50 and $15.00 in order for those increases to take effect. The bill contains an emergency clause.

 

 


 

 

TANF – Before Governor for Signature

 

HB 1820 - Helmer - Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; food stamp program, eligibility, postsecondary education. (Passed both House and Senate, now before Governor for Signautre)

  • Allows Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and food stamp recipients, to the extent permitted by federal law and regulations, to satisfy or earn exemption from applicable work and training requirements through enrollment in postsecondary education. The bill directs the Department of Social Services to utilize certain strategies to promote such postsecondary education opportunities and streamline the process for certifying compliance therewith. The bill also directs the Board of Social Services, in implementing the Commonwealth's food stamp program, to (i) establish broad-based categorical eligibility, (ii) set the gross income eligibility standard at 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, and (iii) not impose an asset limit.

 

 


 

 

Energy

 

Energy legislation –Signed by Governor:

 

HB 1859 - Guy - Clean energy and other programs; local financing when owner costs are incurred. (Signed by Governor, effective 7/1/2021)

  • Changes the parameters for local ordinances authorizing loan contracts for the installation by property owners of clean energy, resiliency, or stormwater management improvements. The bill provides that if the property owner incurred the costs of improvements to be refinanced or reimbursed within the two years prior to the closing date of the financing, the loan amount may include the total costs of the improvements to be refinanced or reimbursed. The bill removes the requirement that the applicable local ordinance include the proposed interest rate for the loan program and the maximum aggregate dollar amount that may be financed with respect to a property, and it provides that no loan offered under the program shall be used to improve a residential dwelling that contains fewer than five dwelling units or a residential condominium. The bill alters the fee options available to the locality and provides that the placement of a voluntary special assessment lien does not require a new assessment of the value of the real property. The bill contains technical amendments.

 

 

Energy legislation – before Governor for Signature:

 

HB 1907 - Sullivan - Electric utilities; advanced renewable energy buyers. (Passed both House and Senate, now before Governor for Signature)

  • Provides that certain accelerated renewable energy buyers that are customers of Dominion Energy Virginia and had subscribed to, as of March 1, 2020, a voluntary companion experimental tariff offering for the purchase of renewable attributes from renewable energy facilities that requires a renewable facilities agreement and the purchase of a minimum of 2,000 renewable attributes annually is exempt from the allocation of the net costs related to procurement of new solar or onshore wind generation capacity, energy, or environmental attributes, or energy storage facilities, by Dominion Energy Virginia. The exemption is based on the amount of Renewable Energy Certificates associated with the customer's renewable facilities agreements associated with the tariff offering in proportion to the customer's total electric energy consumption, on an annual basis.

 

HB 1919 - Kory - Local green banks; authorizes a locality, by ordinance, to establish. (Passed both House and Senate with substitute, now before Governor for signature)

  • Authorizes a locality, by ordinance, to establish a green bank to promote the investment in clean energy technologies in its locality and provide financing for clean energy technologies, defined in the bill. The bill establishes certain powers and functions of a green bank, including developing rules and procedures, financing and providing loans for clean energy projects, and stimulating demand for renewable energy. The bill requires the green bank to be a public entity, quasi-public entity, or nonprofit entity and requires the locality to hold a hearing and publish notice in a newspaper of general circulation prior to establishing the green bank.

 

SB 1420 - Edwards - Electric utilities; non-jurisdictional customers; third party power purchase agreements. (Passed both House and Senate, now before Governor for Signature)

  • Provides that for pilot programs under which an owner or operator of a renewable energy generation facility sells electricity to an eligible customer-generator through a third party power purchase agreement, both jurisdictional and non-jurisdictional customers may participate on a first-come, first-serve basis.

 

 

Energy legislation that has been defeated:

 

HB 1835 - Subramanyam - Electric utilities; rate reductions. (Incorporated by House Labor and Commerce Committee into HB1914)

  • Eliminates provisions that limit any rate reduction ordered by the State Corporation Commission in the first triennial review of Dominion Energy Virginia after January 1, 2021, to $50 million in annual revenues and provides that in any triennial review, regardless of whether the Commission has ordered bill credits, the utility earned above its authorized rate of return during the test period under review, or the utility has made a request regarding any customer credit reinvestment offsets, the Commission may order any rate reduction it deems necessary and appropriate unless it finds that the resulting rates will not provide the utility with the opportunity to (i) fully recover its costs of providing its services and (ii) earn not less than a fair combined rate of return on its generation and distribution services.

 

HB 1914 - Helmer - Electric utilities; triennial review, period costs, rate reductions. (Passed by Indefinitely by Senate Commerce and Labor Committee 8-Y 7-N)

  • Provides that in a triennial review proceeding, certain utility generation and distribution costs that are not proposed for recovery under various cost recovery mechanisms, at the State Corporation Commission's discretion, may be attributed to the test periods under review and deemed fully recovered or, if the utility has earned below a certain threshold, may be deferred for recovery over future periods. Under current law, such attribution is required unless the utility has earned below a certain threshold, in which case deferred recovery of the costs is required. The provisions of the bill apply to the first triennial review of Dominion Energy Virginia conducted after January 1, 2021. This bill incorporates HB 1835.

 

HB 1937 - Rasoul - Green New Deal Act; establishes a moratorium, effective January 1, 2022, etc. (Left in House Labor and Commerce Committee (defeated))

  • Establishes a moratorium, effective January 1, 2022, on approval by any state agency or political subdivision of any approval required for (i) electric generating facilities that generate fossil fuel energy through the combustion of a fossil fuel resource; (ii) import or export terminals for fossil fuel resources; (iii) certain maintenance activities relating to an import or export terminal for a fossil fuel resource; (iv) gathering lines or pipelines for the transport of any fossil fuel resource thatrequire the use of eminent domain on private property; (v) certain maintenance activities relating to such gathering lines or pipelines; (vi) refineries of a fossil fuel resource; and (vii) exploration for any type of fossil fuel, unless preempted by applicable federal law. The measure also requires that at least 80 percent of the electricity sold by a retail electric supplier in calendar years 2028 through 2035 be generated from clean energy resources. In calendar year 2036 and every calendar year thereafter, 100 percent of the electricity sold by a retail electric supplier is required to be generated from clean energy resources. The clean energy mandates apply to a public utility or other person that sells not less than 1,000 megawatt hours of electric energy to retail customers or generates not less than 1,000 megawatt hours of electric energy for use by the person. The Director of the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy is authorized to bring actions for injunctions to enforce these requirements. The measure requires the Department to adopt a Climate Action Plan that addresses all aspects of climate change, including mitigation, adaptation, resiliency, and assistance in the transition from current energy sources to clean renewable energy. The measure provides that any retail electric supplier that fails to meet any goal or benchmark is liable for a civil penalty equal to twice the cost of the financial investment necessary to meet such goal or mandate that was not achieved, or three times the cost of the financial investment necessary to meet such goal or benchmark that was not achieved if not met in an environmental justice community.
  • The measure provides that it is the goal of the Commonwealth to achieve a 36 percent reduction in electric energy consumption in buildings by 2036. The measure requires the Department, in coordination with the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice (Council) to establish performance benchmarks for environmental justice communities and to establish programs for jobs for people in environmental justice communities. The measure requires the Council to develop and make available to each state agency training modules designed to facilitate the promotion of environmental justice.
  • The measure requires the Department to establish the Transitioning Workers Program (the Program) to provide support for workers in the fossil fuel industry and affected communities and provide such workers job training, relocation support, income and benefit support, and early retirement benefits. The measure provides for funding such program by 20 percent of the revenue generated by the allowance auction established by the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality. The measure prohibits the Commission from approving construction of any new utility-owned generating facilities that emit carbon dioxide as a by-product of combusting fuel to generate electricity. The measure requires that all utility costs associated with the construction of, acquisition of, or agreements to purchase the energy, capacity, and environmental attributes of certain required generation and storage facilities are recovered through the utility's rates for generation and distribution services.
  • The measure requires that under the renewable energy portfolio standard program, Dominion Energy Virginia and American Electric Power be required to produce their electricity from 80 percent renewable sources by 2028 and 100 percent by 2036. The measure increases the incremental energy efficiency savings that each investor-owned incumbent electric utility is required to achieve that start in 2022 at 2.4 percent for American Electric Power and Dominion Energy Virginia of the average annual energy retail sales by that utility in 2020 and increases those savings annually.

 

HB 1984 - Hudson - Electric utilities; triennial review, proceeding by SCC, fair rates of return. (Passed by Indefinitely (defeated) in Senate Commerce and Labor Committee 11-Y 4-N)

  • Provides that the State Corporation Commission, in any triennial review proceeding, including the first triennial review proceeding conducted after January 1, 2021, for Dominion Energy Virginia, may use any methodology it finds consistent with the public interest to determine fair rates of return on common equity for the utility's generation and distribution services. In any such triennial review, regardless of whether the utility earned above or below its authorized rate of return during the test period under review, the Commission also may order any increases or decreases to the utility's rates for generation and distribution that it deems necessary and appropriate, as long as the resulting rates provide the utility with the opportunity to (i) fully recover its costs of providing its services and (ii) earn an authorized rate of return.

 

HB 2048 - Bourne - Electric utility regulation; purchasing from competitive suppliers. (Passed by Indefinitely (defeated) in Senate Commerce and Labor Committee 11-Y 4-N)

  • Authorizes individual retail customers of electric energy to purchase electric energy provided 100 percent from renewable energy from any licensed competitive supplier of electric energy, including any incumbent electric utility. Currently, such customers may purchase electric power from such suppliers, other than an incumbent electric utility that is not the incumbent electric utility serving the exclusive territory in which the customer is located, only if their incumbent electric utility does not offer an approved tariff for electric energy provided 100 percent from renewable energy. The measure also provides that a cooperative utility customer eligible to take service under a tariff for electric energy provided 100 percent from renewable energy is prohibited from purchasing electric energy provided 100 percent from renewable energy from a licensed supplier, except such customer is authorized to continue purchasing renewable energy pursuant to the terms of a power purchase agreement in effect on the date the cooperative serving it filed with the Commission such tariff for electric energy provided 100 percent from renewable energy for the duration of such agreement.
  • The measure requires that, within three months after the enactment of this act or within three months after beginning to offer a 100 percent renewable energy product to residential customers, whichever is later, licensed competitive suppliers that offers 100 percent renewable energy to residential customers in the service territory of Dominion Energy Virginia or Appalachian Power, to submit a proposal to the State Corporation Commission for consideration and approval to offer discounted service to low-income customers. The measure requires such proposal to include a 100 percent renewable product to be offered to a minimum number of low-income customers at a rate ten percent lower than the incumbent electric utility’s standard residential rate for non-renewable supply service for a minimum initial term of twelve months.

 

HB 2049 - Bourne - Electric utilities; eliminates customer credit reinvestment offsets. (Passed by Indefinitely (defeated) in Senate Commerce and Labor Committee 11-Y 4-N)

  • Eliminates customer credit reinvestment offsets under which a utility is allowed, upon request, to reduce or eliminate amounts of overearnings that otherwise would be required to be credited to customers by applying a customer credit reinvestment offset for expenses on new solar and wind generation facilities and electric distribution grid transformation projects.

 

HB 2057 - Ware - Electric utilities; triennial review. (Incorporated by House Labor and Commerce Committee into HB2200)

  • Makes various changes to procedures under which the State Corporation Commission reviews the earnings and sets the rates of investor-owned incumbent electric utilities. The bill requires the Commission, in determining a fair rate of return on common equity for an investor-owned utility, to consider the average of either (i) the returns on common equity reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission for the three most recent annual periods for which such data is available by not less than a majority of a selected peer group of the utility or (ii) the authorized returns on common equity that are set by the applicable regulatory commissions for the same selected peer group. Under current law, the Commission is required to set such return not lower than either such average.
  • The bill provides that in a triennial review proceeding, certain utility generation and distribution costs that are not proposed for recovery under various cost recovery mechanisms, at the Commission's discretion, may be attributed to the test periods under review and deemed fully recovered or, if the utility has earned below a certain threshold, may be deferred for recovery over future periods. Under current law, such attribution is required unless the utility has earned below a certain threshold, in which case deferred recovery of the costs is required. The bill requires the Commission to direct that 100 percent of the amount of a utility's earnings above a certain threshold be credited to customers' bills. Under current law, the Commission is required to direct that 70 percent of such overearnings be credited to customers' bills.
  • The bill provides that if revenue reductions related to energy efficiency measures or other programs cause a utility to earn below a certain threshold, or if for reasons other than revenue reductions the utility earns below a certain threshold, the Commission may order increases to the utility's rates for generation and distribution services necessary to recover such revenue reductions. Under current law, the Commission is required to order such an increase. The bill eliminates provisions that limit any rate reduction ordered by the Commission in the first triennial review of Dominion Energy Virginia after January 1, 2021, to $50 million in annual revenues. The bill provides that the Commission may determine that certain capital investment amounts by a utility may offset any customer bill credit amounts. Under current law, such the Commission is required to determine that such investments offset customer bill credit amounts. The bill provides that in any triennial review the Commission may order any rate increase or decrease to a utility's rates for generation and distribution services it deems necessary and appropriate, so long as the resulting rates provide the utility with the opportunity to fully recover its costs and earn an authorized rate of return on its generation and distribution services. The provisions of the bill apply to all triennial reviews, including the first triennial review of Dominion Energy Virginia conducted after January 1, 2021.

 

HB 2200 - Jones - Electric utilities; triennial review. (Passed by Indefinitely (defeated) in Senate Commerce and Labor Committee 11-Y 4-N)

  • Makes various changes to procedures under which the State Corporation Commission reviews the earnings and sets the rates of investor-owned incumbent electric utilities. The bill requires the Commission, in determining a fair rate of return on common equity for an investor-owned utility, to consider the average of either (i) the returns on common equity reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission for the three most recent annual periods for which such data is available by not less than a majority of a selected peer group of the utility or (ii) the authorized returns on common equity that are set by the applicable regulatory commissions for the same selected peer group. Under current law, the Commission is required to set such return not lower than either such average.
  • The bill provides that in a triennial review proceeding, certain utility generation and distribution costs that are not proposed for recovery under various cost recovery mechanisms, at the Commission's discretion, may be attributed to the test periods under review and deemed fully recovered or, if the utility has earned below a certain threshold, may be deferred for recovery over future periods. Under current law, such attribution is required unless the utility has earned below a certain threshold, in which case deferred recovery of the costs is required. The bill requires the Commission to direct that 100 percent of the amount of a utility's earnings above a certain threshold be credited to customers' bills. Under current law, the Commission is required to direct that 70 percent of such over earnings be credited to customers' bills.
  • The bill provides that if revenue reductions related to energy efficiency measures or other programs cause a utility to earn below a certain threshold, or if for reasons other than revenue reductions the utility earns below a certain threshold, the Commission may order increases to the utility's rates for generation and distribution services necessary to recover such revenue reductions. Under current law, the Commission is required to order such an increase. The bill eliminates provisions that limit any rate reduction ordered by the Commission in the first triennial review of Dominion Energy Virginia after January 1, 2021, to $50 million in annual revenues. The bill provides that the Commission may determine that certain capital investment amounts by a utility may offset any customer bill credit amounts. Under current law, such the Commission is required to determine that such investments offset customer bill credit amounts. The bill provides that in any triennial review the Commission may order any rate increase or decrease to a utility's rates for generation and distribution services it deems necessary and appropriate, so long as the resulting rates provide the utility with the opportunity to fully recover its costs and earn an authorized rate of return on its generation and distribution services. The provisions of the bill apply to all triennial reviews, including the first triennial review of Dominion Energy Virginia conducted after January 1, 2021. This bill incorporates HB 2057.

 

HB 2265 - Freitas - Regulation of electric utilities; development of renewable energy facilities. (Passed by Indefinitely in House Labor and Commerce Subcommittee 6-Y 4-N)

  • Repeals provisions (i) requiring the Air Pollution Control Board to adopt regulations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from any electricity generating unit in the Commonwealth and authorizing the Board to establish an auction program for energy allowances; (ii) prohibiting the State Corporation Commission from approving any new utility-owned generation facilities that emit carbon dioxide as a by-product of energy generation, in certain circumstances; (iii) declaring that statutory allowances for energy derived from sunlight, onshore wind, offshore wind, and storage facilities are in the public interest; and (iv) relating to the development of solar and wind generation and energy storage capacity, development of offshore wind capacity, and generation of electricity from renewable and zero-carbon sources. The bill provides that planning and development activities for new nuclear generation facilities are in the public interest.

 

HB 2281 - Ware - Virginia Clean Economy Act; non-bypassable charges; energy-intensive trade-exposed (EITE). (Laid on the Table (defeated) in House Labor and Commerce Subcommittee 6-Y 4-N)

  • Defines EITE industries as companies that are constrained in their ability to pass through carbon costs due to international competition, companies that engage in the importation of products that cause emission leakage, and critical infrastructure facilities identified by certain federal agencies. The bill directs the State Corporation Commission to establish an EITE customer exemption program for non-bypassable charges in certain provisions of the Virginia Clean Economy Act related to the generation of electricity from renewable and zero-carbon sources and the development of offshore wind capacity.

 

 


 

 

Environmental

 

Environmental legislation that is before Governor for Signature:

 

HB 1902 - Carr - Expanded polystyrene food service containers; prohibition, civil penalty. (Passed by both House and Senate, with amendments, now before Governor for signature)

  • Prohibits the dispensing by a food vendor of prepared food to a customer in a single-use expanded polystyrene food service container, as defined in the bill. The bill requires certain chain restaurants to stop using such containers by July 1, 2023, and sets the date for compliance by all food vendors as July 1, 2025. The bill provides a process by which a locality may grant consecutive one-year exemptions to individual food vendors on the basis of undue economic hardship. The bill provides a civil penalty of not more than $50 for each day of violation, to be collected in a civil action brought by the Attorney General or the relevant locality. The penalties collected are to be deposited in the Litter Control and Recycling Fund or to the treasury of the relevant locality, as appropriate. A portion of the penalties deposited in the Fund are to be used for public information campaigns to discourage the sale and use of expanded polystyrene products. Finally, the bill directs the Department of Environmental Quality to post to its website information on compliance and the filing of complaints.

 

HB 1965 - Bagby - State Air Pollution Control Board; low-emissions and zero-emissions vehicle program. (Passed by both House and Senate, with amendments, now before Governor for signature)

  • Directs the State Air Pollution Control Board to implement a low-emissions and zero-emissions vehicle program for motor vehicles with a model year of 2025 and later. Regulations adopted by the Board to implement the program are exempt from the Administrative Process Act and shall not become effective prior to January 1, 2024. The bill requires that the regulations adopted by the Board will allow any motor vehicle manufacturer to establish a Virginia-specific zero-emission vehicle credit account and to make a initial deposit into its account. Such credits may be traded or sold or used to meet up to 18 percent of the manufacturer's zero-emissions vehicle program credit requirements in any model year. The bill also authorizes the State Corporation Commission to exclude sales related to such vehicles from certain energy efficiency calculations.

 

HB 2227 - Kory - Uniform Statewide Building Code; amendments, energy efficiency and conservation. (Passed by both House and Senate, with substitute, now before Governor for signature)

  • Directs the Board of Housing and Community Development, upon each publication by the International Code Council of a new version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), to consider adopting amendments to the Uniform Statewide Building Code to address changes in the IECC related to energy efficiency and conservation.

 

SB 1164 - Hanger - Advanced recycling; not considered solid waste management; definition. (Passed by both House and Senate, with substitute, now before Governor for signature)

  • Defines "advanced recycling" as a manufacturing process for the conversion of post-use polymers and recovered feedstocks into basic hydrocarbon raw materials and other materials. The bill provides that advanced recycling shall not be considered solid waste management. The bill also defines "gasification," "post-use polymer," and other terms related to advanced recycling.

 

SB 1282 - Morrissey - Greenhouse gas emissions inventory; regulations. (Passed by both House and Senate, with substitute, now before Governor for signature)

  • Directs the Department of Environmental Quality to conduct a statewide baseline and projection inventory of all greenhouse gas emissions and to update such inventory every four years. The bill requires that the inventory be published and included in the annual report of the State Air Pollution Control Board. The bill also authorizes the Board to adopt regulations necessary to collect data needed to conduct, update, and maintain the inventory. The bill exempts proprietary information collected by the Department from the mandatory disclosure requirements of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.

 

SB 1284 - Favola - Commonwealth Clean Energy Policy. ((Passed by both House and Senate, with substitute, now before Governor for signature)

  • Establishes the Commonwealth Clean Energy Policy, replacing the Commonwealth Energy Policy. The bill sets out the energy policy and objectives of the Commonwealth Clean Energy Policy, which include: (i) the Commonwealth recognizes that effectively addressing climate change and enhancing resilience will advance the health, welfare, and safety of the residents of the Commonwealth and that addressing climate change requires reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the Commonwealth's economy sufficient to reach net-zero emission by 2045 in all sectors, including the electric power, transportation, industrial, agricultural, building, and infrastructure sectors; (ii) the Commonwealth recognizes the need to promote environmental justice and ensure that it is carried out throughout the Commonwealth and the need to address and prevent energy inequities in historically economically disadvantaged communities; and (iii) the Commonwealth must continue to prioritize economic competitiveness and workforce development in an equitable manner.

 

 

Environmental Legislation that has been defeated:

 

HB 2173 - Plum - Advanced recycling; definition. (Stricken from docket)

  • Defines "advanced recycling" as a manufacturing process for the conversion of post-use polymers and recovered feedstocks into basic hydrocarbon raw materials and other materials. The bill also defines "gasification," "post-use polymer," and other terms related to advanced recycling.

 

SB 1224 - Boysko - Uniform Statewide Building Code; amendments; energy efficiency and conservation. (Left in General Laws and Technology (defeated))

  • Requires the Board of Housing and Community Development to adopt amendments to the Uniform Statewide Building Code within one year of publication of a new version of the International Code Council's International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) to address changes related to energy efficiency and conservation. The bill requires the Board to adopt Building Code standards that are at least as stringent as those contained in the new version of the IECC.

 

 


 

 

Transportation – Defeated

 

HB 1910 - Cole, J.G. - Regional transportation authorities; creation (Left in House Transportation Committee (defeated))

  • Authorizes two or more adjacent counties or cities to form a regional transportation authority to engage in regional transportation projects. The bill sets forth the procedures for forming such authority and determining the membership of its governing board. Ordinances adopted by each member of such authority would set forth the local taxes, fees, and revenues to be contributed by each locality to such authority.

 

HB 1871 - Batten - Motor vehicles used for the delivery of property; trade dress. (Laid on the table in House Transportation Subcommittee (defeated) 10-Y 0-N)

  • Requires motor vehicles used for the delivery of property to the purchaser to display a logo, insignia, or emblem identifying the person or entity with which the driver of the vehicle is associated during the delivery.

 

 


 

 

Workers Compensation

 

 

Worker’s Compensation Legislation – before Governor for Signature:

 

SB 1351 - Lewis - Workers' compensation; claims not barred. (Passed by both House and Senate, now before Governor for signature)

  • Provides that an order issued by the Workers' Compensation Commission awarding or denying benefits shall not bar by res judicata any claim by an employee or cause a waiver, abandonment, or dismissal of any claim by an employee if the order does not expressly adjudicate such claim.

 

 

Worker’s Compensation Legislation that has been defeated:

 

HB 2228 - Guzman - Workers' compensation; injuries caused by repetitive and sustained physical stressors. (Laid on the table (defeated) by House Appropriations Subcommittee 7-Y 1-N)

  • Provides that, for the purposes of the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act, "occupational disease" includes injuries from conditions resulting from repetitive and sustained physical stressors, including repetitive and sustained motions, exertions, posture stress, contact stresses, vibration, or noise. The bill provides that such injuries are covered under the Act. Such coverage does not require that the injuries occurred over a particular period, provided that such a period can be reasonably identified and documented and further provided that the employment is shown to have primarily caused the injury, considering all causes.

 

 


 

 

ABC

 

 

ABC legislation – Before Governor for Signature:

 

HB 1845 - VanValkenburg - Alcoholic beverage control; license fee reform. (Passed both House and Senate, now before Governor for signature)

  • Delays the effective date of the 2020 alcoholic beverage control license and fee reform from July 1, 2021, to January 1, 2022. During the period of delay and subject to certain requirements, the bill allows on-premises wine or beer licensees to sell wine or beer for off-premises consumption and allows such licensees, as well as off-premises wine or beer licensees, to deliver wine or beer that the licensee is authorized to sell without a delivery permit. The bill contains a technical amendment and an emergency clause.

 

HB 1879 - Bulova - Alcoholic beverage control; sale and delivery of mixed beverages and pre-mixed wine. (Passed by both House and Senate, now before Governor for signature)

  • Allows distillers that have been appointed as agents of the Board of Directors (the Board) of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (the Authority), mixed beverage restaurant licensees, and limited mixed beverage restaurant licensees to sell mixed beverages for off-premises consumption and deliver such mixed beverages to consumers subject to requirements set forth in the bill. The bill allows the Board to summarily revoke a licensee's privileges to sell and deliver mixed beverages for off-premises consumption for noncompliance with the requirements set forth in the bill or applicable provisions of current law. The bill also allows farm winery licensees to sell pre-mixed wine for off-premises consumption. The bill directs the Authority to convene a work group to study the sale and delivery of mixed beverages and pre-mixed wine for off-premises consumption and report its findings to the Chairmen of the House Committee on General Laws and the Senate Committee on Rehabilitation and Social Services by November 1, 2021. The provisions of the bill sunset on July 1, 2022.

 

HB 2131 - Lopez - Alcoholic beverage control; license application, locality input. (Passed by both House and Senate, with substitute, now before Governor for signature)

  • Adds the chief administrative officer of a locality to the list of persons who may be sent notice of certain license applications by the Board of Directors (the Board) of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority. The bill also expands the definition of criminal blight, for which the locality may require a property owner to take corrective action, to include a condition existing on real property that endangers public health or safety and is caused by (i) the regular presence on the property of persons in possession of controlled substances and (ii) the discharge of a firearm under certain conditions.

 

HB 2266 - Ayala - Alcoholic beverage control; local outdoor refreshment areas. (Passed by both House and Senate, with substitute, now before Governor for signature)

  • Renames the "local special events" license as the "outdoor refreshment area" license. The bill allows the Board of Directors of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority to increase the frequency and duration of events held under such license after adoption of an ordinance by a locality requesting such increase in frequency and duration. Under current law, localities are limited to holding 16 events per year under such license, with each event lasting no more than three consecutive days, except during the effective dates of any rule, regulation, or order that is issued by the Governor or State Health Commissioner to meet a public health emergency and that effectively reduces allowable restaurant seating capacity. The bill also increases the state and local license fees for outdoor refreshment area licenses issued pursuant to a local ordinance. This bill incorporates HB 2051.

 

SB 1299 - Bell - Alcoholic beverage control; sale and delivery of mixed beverages and pre-mixed wine. (Passed by both House and Senate, with substitute, now before Governor for signature)

  • Allows distillers that have been appointed as agents of the Board of Directors (the Board) of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (the Authority), mixed beverage restaurant licensees, and limited mixed beverage restaurant licensees to sell mixed beverages for off-premises consumption and deliver such mixed beverages to consumers subject to requirements set forth in the bill. The bill allows the Board to summarily revoke a licensee's privileges to sell and deliver mixed beverages for off-premises consumption for noncompliance with the requirements set forth in the bill or applicable provisions of current law. The bill also allows farm winery licensees to sell pre-mixed wine for off-premises consumption. The bill directs the Authority to convene a work group to study the sale and delivery of mixed beverages and pre-mixed wine for off-premises consumption and report its findings to the Chairmen of the House Committee on General Laws and the Senate Committee on Rehabilitation and Social Services by November 1, 2021. The provisions of the bill sunset on July 1, 2022. This bill incorporates SB 1388.

 

SB 1428 - Locke - Alcoholic beverage control; operation of government stores; sale of low alcohol beverage coolers. (Passed by both House and Senate, with amendments, now before Governor for signature)

  • Prohibits the Board of Directors (the Board) of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority from selling in government stores low alcohol beverage coolers not manufactured by licensed distillers. Under current law, the Board may sell any low alcohol beverage coolers in government stores. The bill has a delayed effective date of January 1, 2022.

 

 

ABC legislation that has been defeated:

 

HB 1735 - Ware - Alcoholic beverage control; privileges of farm winery licensees and limited brewery licensees. (Left in House General Laws Committee (defeated))

  • Expands the privileges of farm winery licensees by allowing them to sell at retail beer manufactured by limited brewery licensees for on-premises consumption. The bill also expands the privileges of limited brewery licensees by allowing them to sell at retail wine manufactured by farm winery licensees for on-premises consumption.

 

HB 1738 - Wampler - Alcoholic beverage control; local outdoor refreshment areas. (Left in House General Laws Committee (defeated))

  • Defines "outdoor refreshment area" and permits the governing body of any locality in the Commonwealth to designate, by ordinance, up to three outdoor refreshment areas within such locality. The bill provides that such ordinance would permit the consumption of alcoholic beverages within the outdoor refreshment area, provided that such alcoholic beverages are purchased from a permanent retail on-premises licensee located within such designated area and are contained in disposable containers with a maximum capacity of no more than 16 fluid ounces that clearly display the selling licensee's name or logo. The bill requires the locality, prior to adopting such an ordinance, to create a public safety plan for each outdoor refreshment area.

 

HB 2051 - Bourne - Alcoholic beverage control; local outdoor refreshment areas. (Incorporated by House General Laws into HB22266)

  • Defines "outdoor refreshment area" and permits the governing body of any locality in the Commonwealth to designate, by ordinance, up to three outdoor refreshment areas within such locality. The bill provides that such ordinance would permit the consumption of alcoholic beverages within the outdoor refreshment area, provided that such alcoholic beverages are purchased from a permanent retail on-premises licensee located within such designated area and are contained in disposable containers with a maximum capacity of no more than 16 fluid ounces that clearly display the selling licensee's name or logo. The bill requires the locality, prior to adopting such an ordinance, to create a public safety plan for each outdoor refreshment area.

 

HB 2136 - Batten - Alcoholic beverage control; mobile retailer license created. (Laid on the table in House General Laws Subcommittee 7-Y 1-N)

  • Creates a mobile retailer license, which authorizes the licensee to sell wine and beer during events within designated areas for on-premises consumption or in closed containers for off-premises consumption. The bill requires such licensees to (i) comply with any requirements or limitations imposed by the Board of Directors of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority and (ii) serve food, prepared on or off premises, whenever wine or beer is served. The bill allows such licenses to be granted to persons operating a mobile retail venture that sells wine or beer to patrons at special events or private gatherings through trucks or trailers equipped with no more than four beverage taps.

 

SB 1345 - Vogel - Alcoholic beverage control; license applications; notice requirements. (Passed by Indefinitely by Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee 14-Y 0-N)

  • Directs the Board of Directors (the Board) of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority to make available on its website a list of all license applications that have been filed with the Board. The bill requires that such list include information regarding the type of license applied for, the proposed location of the licensed premises, a statement that objections to the license must be submitted within 30 days, and any other information deemed necessary by the Board. The bill also requires the license applicant to publish notice of the application at least once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation that is widely circulated in the county, city, or town wherein such applicant proposes to engage in such business.

 

SB 1346 - Stuart - Alcoholic beverage control; mobile retailer license. (Passed by Indefinitely by Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee 11-Y 2-N 1-A)

  • Creates a mobile retailer license, which authorizes the licensee to sell wine and beer during events within designated areas for on-premises consumption or in closed containers for off-premises consumption. The bill requires such licensees to (i) comply with any requirements or limitations imposed by the Board of Directors of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority and (ii) serve food, prepared on or off premises, whenever wine or beer is served. The bill allows such licenses to be granted to persons operating a mobile retail venture that sells wine or beer to patrons at special events or private gatherings through trucks or trailers equipped with beverage taps.

 

SB 1388 - Reeves - Alcoholic beverage control; sale and delivery of mixed beverages for off-premises consumption. (Incorporated by Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee into SB1299)

  • Allows distillers that have been appointed as agents of the Board of Directors (the Board) of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (the Authority), mixed beverage restaurant licensees, and limited mixed beverage restaurant licensees to sell mixed beverages for off-premises consumption and deliver such mixed beverages to consumers subject to requirements set forth in the bill. The bill allows the Board to summarily revoke a licensee's privileges to sell and deliver mixed beverages for off-premises consumption for noncompliance with the requirements set forth in the bill or applicable provisions of current law. The bill also allows farm winery licensees to sell pre-mixed wine for off-premises consumption.

 

 


 

 

Food Delivery—Before Governor for Signature

 

HB 2062 - Willett - Food delivery platforms; agreements required, penalty. (Passed by both House and Senate, now before Governor for signature)

  • Prohibits a food delivery platform, as defined in the bill, from submitting orders on behalf of a consumer or arranging for the delivery of an order from a restaurant, as defined in the bill, without first obtaining an agreement with the restaurant expressly authorizing the food delivery platform to take orders and deliver food prepared by the restaurant. The bill provides that a violation of such agreement requirement is a prohibited practice under the Virginia Consumer Protection Act.

 

 


 

 

Tobacco – Defeated

 

HB 2164 - Hope - Tobacco; prohibits person from selling product at retail without license from ABC Authority. (Laid on the Table (defeated) by House Appropriations Subcommittee 7-Y 0-N)

  • The bill prohibits any person from selling any tobacco product at retail without first obtaining a license from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (the Authority). The bill prohibits the sale of tobacco products and hemp products intended for smoking from vending machines. The bill imposes civil penalties on licensees for selling tobacco products without a license and for selling tobacco products to persons under age 21. Licenses would be subject to annual renewal and subject to revocation for violations of federal, state, or local laws related to tobacco products. The bill creates the Tobacco Retail Administration Subfund for the purpose of funding the Authority's costs of administering licenses and enforcing laws related to tobacco retail licensing.
  • The bill updates, for the purpose of the crime of selling or distributing tobacco products to a person younger than 21 years of age, the definition of "tobacco products" by including in such definition products currently defined as nicotine vapor products or alternative nicotine products. The bill also removes provisions prohibiting the attempt to purchase, purchase, or possess tobacco products and hemp products intended for smoking by persons younger than 21 years of age. The bill also removes the exception allowing the sale of tobacco products to active-duty military personnel who are 18 years of age or older.

 

 


 

 

Product Ban—Before Governor for signature

 

HB 2250 - Kory - Humane Cosmetics Act; civil penalties. (Passed by both House and Senate, with substitute, now before Governor for signature)

  • Prohibits a cosmetics manufacturer from: (i) conducting or contracting for cosmetic animal testing that occurs in the Commonwealth on or after January 1, 2022; (ii) manufacturing or importing for profit into the Commonwealth any cosmetic or ingredient thereof, if the cosmetics manufacturer knew or reasonably should have known that the cosmetic or any component thereof was developed or manufactured using cosmetic animal testing that was conducted on or after January 1, 2022; or (iii) beginning July 1, 2022, selling or offering for sale within the Commonwealth any cosmetic, if the cosmetics manufacturer knows or reasonably should know that the cosmetic or any component thereof was developed or manufactured using cosmetic animal testing that was conducted on or after January 1, 2022. Violations are subject to a civil penalty of up to $5,000 and an additional $1,000 for each day the violation continues. The bill preempts any local regulation on cosmetic animal testing. This bill is identical to SB 1379.

 

SB 1379 - Boysko - Humane Cosmetics Act; civil penalties. (Passed by both House and Senate, with substitute, now before Governor for signature)

  • Prohibits a cosmetics manufacturer from: (i) conducting or contracting for cosmetic animal testing that occurs in the Commonwealth on or after January 1, 2022; (ii) manufacturing or importing for profit into the Commonwealth any cosmetic or ingredient thereof, if the cosmetics manufacturer knew or reasonably should have known that the cosmetic or any component thereof was developed or manufactured using cosmetic animal testing that was conducted on or after January 1, 2022; or (iii) beginning July 1, 2022, selling or offering for sale within the Commonwealth any cosmetic, if the cosmetics manufacturer knows or reasonably should know that the cosmetic or any component thereof was developed or manufactured using cosmetic animal testing that was conducted on or after January 1, 2022. Violations are subject to a civil penalty of up to $5,000 and an additional $1,000 for each day the violation continues. The bill preempts any local regulation on cosmetic animal testing. This bill is identical to HB 2250.

 

 


 

 

Small Business

 

 

Small Business Legislation – Before Governor for Signature:

 

 

HB 1830 - Head - Virginia Small Business Financing Authority; members to have small business lending experience. (Passed both House and Senate, now before Governor for Signature)

  • Requires at least five of the nine citizen members of the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority to have experience in small business lending. This bill is a recommendation of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission.

 

HB 2172 - Mundon King - Small, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses; right to appeal denial of initial certification (Passed both House and Senate, now before Governor for Signature)

  • Requires the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity to adopt regulations to establish a process for businesses that are denied initial certification as a small, women-owned, or minority-owned business to appeal such denial on the basis that the Department made a mistake in denying the business's application for certification. This bill is a recommendation of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission.

 

 

Small Business Legislation that has been defeated:

 

HB 1784 - Ward - Small Business Procurement Enhancement Program; established, report. (Left in House General Laws Committee (defeated))

  • Establishes the Small Business Procurement Enhancement Program (the Program) with a statewide goal of 42 percent of small business utilization in all discretionary spending by state agencies in procurement orders, prime contracts, and subcontracts. In addition, the bill (i) provides for a small business set-aside for competition among all small businesses for state agency purchases of up to $100,000 for goods, nonprofessional services, and construction and up to $80,000 for professional services and (ii) establishes certification criteria for participation in the Program by business operations on the basis of the total number of employees or annual gross receipts, averaged over the previous three years.

 

HB 2183 - Wilt - Small businesses; Department of SBSD to publish on its website a resource to assist businesses. (Left in House General Laws Committee (defeated))

  • Requires the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (the Department) to publish on its website, by November 1 of each year, a resource to assist small businesses in the Commonwealth to navigate recent changes in the law impacting small businesses. The bill requires each state agency to submit to the Department, by September 1 of each year, a list of all statutory or regulatory changes that have become effective in the previous fiscal year or are known to become effective in the current fiscal year that will impact the operations and labor requirements of a broad spectrum of small businesses in the Commonwealth. The bill provides that each state agency is only responsible for submitting statutory and regulatory changes that the state agency is responsible for implementing or enforcing and requires the responsible state agency to include a summary of the change, written in layman's terms, and contact information for the agency. If a state agency determines it is not responsible for any such statutory or regulatory changes, the bill requires such agency to notify the Department. The bill defines "statutory or regulatory change" to mean any act of assembly or any new regulation or amendment to an existing regulation that occurred as a result of an act of assembly. The bill requires the Interdepartmental Board to establish criteria that will be used by state agencies in identifying statutory and regulatory changes that will impact the operations and labor requirements of a broad spectrum of small businesses in the Commonwealth.

 

SB 1369 - Obenshain - Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity; definitions; small business. (Laid on the Table (defeated) in House Appropriations Subcommittee 6-Y 2-N)

  • Redefines "small business" for the purpose of programs for the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity to allow a cooperative association organized pursuant to Chapter 3 (Cooperative Associations) of Title 13.1 as a nonstock corporation to qualify as a small business if it is at least 51 percent independently controlled by one or more members who are U.S. citizens or legal resident aliens and, together with affiliates, has 250 or fewer employees or average annual gross receipts of $10 million or less averaged over the previous three years. The bill also redefines "small business" for the purpose of programs for the Virginia Public Procurement Act to allow a cooperative association organized pursuant to Chapter 3 (Cooperative Associations) of Title 13.1 as a nonstock corporation to qualify as a small business if it is controlled by one or more members who are U.S. citizens or legal resident aliens and, together with affiliates, has 250 or fewer employees or average annual gross receipts of $10 million or less averaged over the previous three years.

 

 


 

 

Miscellaneous

 

 

Before Governor for Signature:

 

HB 1814 - Krizek - Garnishment of wages; protected portion of disposable earnings. (Passed both House and Senate, now before Governor for Signature)

  • Provides that the Virginia minimum hourly wage shall be used to calculate the amount of a person's aggregate disposable earnings protected from garnishment if it is greater than the federal minimum hourly wage.

 

SB 1296 - Spruill - State Coordinator of Emergency Management; establishment of Emergency Management Equity. (Passed both House and Senate, now before Governor for Signature)

  • Provides for the State Coordinator of Emergency Management to establish an Emergency Management Equity Working Group to ensure that emergency management programs and plans provide support to at-risk individuals and populations disproportionately impacted by disasters.

 

SB 1298 - Bell - Tourism improvement districts. (Passed both House and Senate, now before Governor for signature)

Authorizes any locality to create a local tourism improvement district plan, consisting of fees charged to businesses and used to fund tourism promotion activities and capital improvements. Under the bill, the locality is authorized to contract with a nonprofit entity to administer the activities and improvements.

 

 

Defeated:

 

HB 1780 - Carter - Public employees; prohibition on striking, exception. (Left in House Labor and Commerce Committee (defeated)

  • Exempts employees of a local school board from the prohibition on striking, and from termination of employment for striking, by public employees

 

 

 

 

 

Governor Northam Increases Capacity Limits for Outdoor Sports and Entertainment Venues as COVID-19 Hospitalizations and Infection Rates Continue to Fall, Vaccinations Rise

 

Indoor capacity limits to remain in place, overnight summer camps can open May 1 with mitigation measures

 

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that as COVID-19 hospitalizations and infection rates continue to decline and vaccinations rise in Virginia, certain outdoor sports and entertainment venues may begin to operate at increased capacity starting Monday, March 1. He amended Executive Order Seventy-Two with the next steps of the “Forward Virginia” plan to safely and gradually ease public health restrictions while mitigating the spread of the virus.

 

“Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of all Virginians, hospitalization and positivity rates across the Commonwealth are the lowest they have been in nearly three months,” said Governor Northam. “As key health metrics show encouraging trends and we continue to ramp up our vaccination efforts, we can begin to gradually resume certain recreational activities and further reopen sectors of our economy. Even as we take steps to safely ease public health guidelines, we must all remain vigilant so we can maintain our progress—the more we stay home, mask up, and practice social distancing, the more lives we will save from this dangerous virus.”

 

The Commonwealth will maintain a Safer at Home strategy with continued strict health and safety protocols including physical distancing, mask-wearing requirements, gathering limits, and business capacity restrictions. The current modified Stay at Home order will expire on February 28, 2021.

 

Governor Northam is beginning to ease public health restrictions by taking steps to increase capacity limits in outdoor settings, where evidence shows the risk of airborne transmission of COVID-19 is lower. The key changes in the Third Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two include:

 

  • Social gatherings: The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase from 10 to 25 people for outdoor settings, while remaining at 10 persons for indoor settings.
  • Entertainment venues: Outdoor entertainment and public amusement venues will be able to operate with up to 1,000 individuals or at 30 percent capacity, whichever is lower. If current trends continue, these venues may be able to operate at 30 percent capacity with no cap on the number of people permitted to attend starting in April. Indoor entertainment and public amusement venues must continue to operate at 30 percent capacity with a cap of 250 people. All entertainment venues were previously limited to a maximum of 250 individuals.
  • Dining establishments: The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol will be permitted until midnight, extended from 10:00 p.m. All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms still must be closed between midnight and 5:00 a.m. 
  • Overnight summer camps: As of May 1, overnight summer camps will be able to open with strict mitigation measures in place. Registration can begin now.

 

 

The new guidelines will be effective for at least one month and mitigation measures may be eased further if key health metrics continue to improve. Current guidelines for retail businesses, fitness and exercise, large amusement venues, and personal grooming services will remain in place. Individuals are strongly encouraged to continue teleworking if possible.

 

The full text of Third Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two and Order of Public Health Emergency Nine is available here.
Updated guidelines for specific sectors can be found here.

 

Last week, Governor Northam amended Executive Order Seventy-Two to increase the number of spectators permitted at outdoor youth sporting events to 250. 

 

Visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia for more information and answers to frequently asked questions.

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Photo credit: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

 

Please see the National Retail Federation’s announcement below on changes made by the Biden Administration to the Paycheck Protection Program, including  a 14-day period, starting February 24th, during which only businesses with fewer than 20 employees can apply for relief through the program:

Yesterday, President Biden announced several reforms to the Paycheck Protection Program as a means to help the smallest businesses and those that have been left behind in previous relief efforts. The changes include:

  • Institute a 14-day period, starting Wednesday, during which only businesses with fewer than 20 employees can apply for relief through the Program.
  • Help sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals receive more financial support.
  • Eliminate an exclusionary restriction that prevents small business owners with prior non-fraud felony convictions from obtaining relief through the Paycheck Protection Program.
  • Eliminate an exclusionary restriction that prevents small business owners who are delinquent on their federal student loans from obtaining relief through the Paycheck Protection Program.
  • Ensure access for non-citizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents by clarifying that they may use Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) to apply for relief.

 

Resource Links:

 

 

 

 

In the press conference held by Governor Northam today, March 19, 2020, the Governor announced a few things that will hopefully help our members. You can find the link to the full press release here, and a summary of the pertinent information is below.