The overwhelming majority of Governor Bob McDonnell's 2011 legislative agenda passed Virginia's General Assembly with strong bipartisan support. Ninety-two percent of his initiatives passed the majority Republican House of Delegates and the majority Democratic State Senate and now await his signature.
The Governor's success in the session was highlighted by legislative approval of his four chief objectives, which he outlined in his January 12th State of the Commonwealth Address. The General Assembly, in bipartisan votes on each measure, passed McDonnell's legislation to:
* Create the framework to put nearly $4 billion into transportation over just the next three years; the largest investment in transportation in Virginia in a generation
* Make higher education more accessible and affordable in the Commonwealth through passage of the Governor's "Preparing for the Top Jobs of the 21st Century: The Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011" -- The legislation is part of the Governor's overall effort to award 100,000 more degrees over the next 15 years, and bring more innovation and accountability, and STEM concentration, to Virginia's colleges and universities
* Institute a series of government reform measures to make Virginia state government smaller, smarter and more efficient
* Establish, through his "Opportunity At Work" initiative, new economic development tools to help new and existing businesses create new jobs in the Commonwealth
This year's agenda builds on Governor McDonnell's successful inaugural General Assembly Session in 2010 in which he reduced state spending to 2006 levels, closed $6 billion in budget shortfalls without raising taxes, and witnessed 80% of his legislative proposals become law. To learn more about the Governor's 2010 legislative agenda, please visit: http://www.governor.virginia.gov/News/viewRelease.cfm?id=74
Speaking about the 2011 General Assembly Session, Governor McDonnell remarked, "In just six productive weeks, the General Assembly has worked diligently to pass, in a strong bipartisan manner, legislation that will greatly improve Virginia's transportation system, increase access to higher education, streamline and reform government, and help grow opportunities in our economy. This is proof Virginia still sets the example for the rest of the nation by demonstrating that we can work together and put aside party politics to provide common-sense solutions to the challenges facing our citizens."
McDonnell continued, "I am pleased that, with overwhelming support from Republicans and Democrats, we passed legislation that will provide the largest commitment to transportation in over a generation. This legislation creates the framework to pump $4 billion into roads, bridges and rail over the next three years in every region of the Commonwealth. Our economy will benefit, new jobs will be created, and Virginians will be able to get to work a little easier in the morning and home to their families a little quicker in the evening. With our top bond rating we will get the best interest rates at low prices, and we will be able to start projects now. And with our multiple audits, and this new legislation, we will improve the performance of VDOT. For too long we have failed to invest properly in transportation. The 2011 session will be remembered for this breakthrough legislation, and I thank the bipartisan leadership of Speaker Bill Howell, Delegate Glen Oder, Chairman Chuck Colgan and Senator William Wampler."
McDonnell added, "We also passed landmark higher education legislation that will create a roadmap for awarding 100,000 new degrees over the next 15 years. The 'Top Jobs' legislation will make college more affordable and accessible for our students, and will ensure more accountability among our institutions. I want to thank the bipartisan leadership of Delegates Kirk Cox and Rosalyn Dance and Senators Edd Houck and Tommy Norment in carrying this legislation."
He further noted, "Through the passage of key government reform proposals we are well on our way to further streamlining state government and making it more accountable to the taxpayers. The proposals were a product of the hard work of the Governor's Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring. They include eliminating boards and commissions, combining and streamlining agencies, ending some unfunded mandates on localities, and establishing an Inspector General to investigate waste and inefficiencies in state government."
Governor McDonnell concluded, "Finally, we continued to implement new economic development and job creation tools through our 'Opportunity at Work' agenda that will attract new businesses to the Commonwealth and help existing businesses grow. Virginia remains the nation's top state in which to do business, and these tools will ensure that we continue that trend, allowing us to compete better against other states and countries."
Lieutenant Governor and Chief Jobs Creations Officer Bill Bolling commented, "During this year's legislative session, we were able to make significant progress advancing our agenda to get Virginia's economy growing again and create jobs for Virginia families. I want to thank the General Assembly for approving many of the major components of our 'Opportunity At Work' agenda which will give us more tools to recruit new businesses to Virginia, help existing businesses expand, and give us more resources to promote Virginia domestically and internationally as a great place to do business. As a result, we can be even more aggressive in advancing our key economic development strategies and competing for new business in important sectors including biotechnology, life sciences, information technology, tourism and small business. We will also be able to enhance our efforts to improve our workforce training programs in Virginia. Our 'Opportunity At Work' agenda will help create more jobs and promote economic growth in the Commonwealth for years to come."
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli added, "I am heartened that the General Assembly passed a critical -- and long time coming -- resolution this session to enshrine private property protections in the Virginia Constitution. It is a critical first step in ensuring that political whims and special interests can no longer chip away at this very fundamental right of the people."
Speaking about the historic transportation legislation that he patroned in the House, Speaker William J. Howell remarked, "The General Assembly's passage of significant, innovative and cost-effective legislation to strengthen Virginia's transportation network is good news for all Virginians. House Bill 2527 / SB 1446 now will provide VDOT additional tools to leverage available private and local government funding to expedite transportation improvements across the Commonwealth. I'm especially delighted that the legislation creates a new Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank, which will be capitalized by at least $282.7 million to provide grants to local governmental entities and loans to private entities that have entered into public-private transportation act agreements. I'm also delighted that the legislation expands the existing VDOT revenue-sharing program by raising the per-project state match from $1 million to $10 million, and an increase in overall funding for the program from a maximum of $50 million per year to $200 million each year. Because these funds will be matched on a dollar-to-dollar basis by local investments in transportation, it doubles the infrastructure projects that can be undertaken. Governor McDonnell's leadership and championing of this common-sense legislation represents the type of bold approach needed to ensure Virginia has a modern transportation system."
Senator Edd Houck (D-Spotsylvania), who co-patroned the "Top Jobs" legislation in the Senate, commented, "Every student in Virginia deserves the access to a top-quality education at an affordable price. As tuitions skyrocket and admissions get harder at our higher education institutions, I am pleased that we have begun to create a roadmap that will increase access and reduce costs. Virginia is home to some of the top universities in the country and we have an excellent higher education system. This legislation will ensure that our universities remain at the top and maintain their excellence, but also opens the door to more opportunities for our students."
Senator Walter Stosch (R-Henrico), who carried a number of government reform bills, noted, "I am proud to work with the Governor on this important reform legislative package. This year we passed legislation that will establish a State Inspector General who will identify and eliminate waste, fraud, abuse and corruption in state government. This is a much needed reform that, along with the elimination of several mandates and 49 boards and commissions, will save taxpayer money and make state government more efficient."
Governor Bob McDonnell's 2011 Legislative Agenda
SB1446 (Wampler)/HB 2527(W.J. Howell) -- Governor's $4 billion Omnibus Transportation Funding Plan
* Creates the framework to put nearly $4 billion over the next three years into road and transit projects across every region of the Commonwealth
* Creates the Virginia Infrastructure Bank to provide grants to localities and loans to private entities that have entered into public-private transportation act agreements
* Expands the existing VDOT local revenue-sharing program by raising the per-project state match from $1 million to $10 million, and increasing the overall funding for the program from a maximum of $50 million per year to $200 million each year
HB1648 (Cosgrove) -- Rail Enhancement Fund; allocation and use of funds
* Enables allocations from the Rail Enhancement Fund to be used as matching funds for federal grants to support rail projects
HB1758 (Wilt) -- Local roads; cities and towns responsible for construction programs
* Provides that those cities and towns that decide to take over responsibility for their construction programs must notify the Commonwealth Transportation Board by December 31, 2011 for implementation the following fiscal year
SB1135 (Wagner)/ HB1957 (Rust) -- Transportation Board; powers and duties
* Clarifies that local roads in counties outside the state secondary highway system are local roads, and not part of the state system
* Increases the limitation on contract values that the Commonwealth Transportation Commissioner and the Director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation may administer
* Eliminates the duty of the Commonwealth Transportation Board to regulate outdoor theaters
SB1109 (Hanger)/ HB2040 (Anderson) -- Inmate labor
* Authorizes the use of inmate labor at rest areas along the interstate highway system
HB2105 (Bulova) -- Electric vehicle charging service
* Excludes any person who is not a public service corporation and who provides electric vehicle charging service at retail from the meaning of the terms "public utility," "public service corporation," or "public service company"
SB1335 (Herring)/ HB2197(Comstock) -- Income tax; telework expenses tax credit
* Provides a tax credit to employers for expenses incurred in allowing employees to telework pursuant to a signed telework agreement
SB1004 (Watkins)/ HB2233(Anderson) -- Transportation agency efficiencies & cost recoveries
* Exempts the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) from paying any fee for remote access to land records
SB1282 (McWaters)/ HB2385(Purkey) -- Income tax, state; barge and rail usage tax credit
* Grants a $50 per container income tax credit for any company shipping cargo containers via barge or rail
SB856 (Wagner) -- Patriots Crossing project
* Requires the Virginia Department of Transportation to accept unsolicited proposals for construction of the Patriots Crossing (Third Crossing) project in Hampton Roads
SB1126 (Stosch) -- Virginia Public Procurement Act; transportation-related construction projects
* Provides for the duration of contract terms for environmental location, design and inspection work to one initial term of two years and clarifies that the sum of all projects in a one-year term may not exceed $5 million
SB1459 (Houck/Norment)/ HB2510 (K. Cox/Dance) -- Preparing for the Top Jobs of the 21st Century: The Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011
* Provides a roadmap for achieving an additional 100,000 undergraduate degrees for Virginians over the next 15 years by increasing enrollment of Virginia students, improving graduation rates and assisting students with some college credit to complete degrees
* Reverses the dramatic funding reduction cycle to higher education through a new comprehensive funding model framework
* Provides for sustained reform-based investment and innovation in delivery of higher education services, as well as extending college degree opportunities to more citizens in creative, cost-effective ways
* Provides enrollment-based funding to increase access for qualified Virginia students at public and private college and universities
SB1270 (Houck)/ HB1792 -- Standards of Quality flexibility
* The legislation increases flexibility by allowing school divisions to use funds for support service positions to provide additional instructional services and flexibility to deploy assistant principles
* It does not change the funding formula for these positions
HB1885 (D. Bell) -- Updating provisions of the Code
* The legislation updates the code to allow certain reports and budgets to be posted online as recommended by the Governor's Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring
* It also repeals outdated programs and funds that are not funded and generally eliminates other provisions that are outdated
HB2077 (Landes) -- Improper Exclusion from Mandatory Testing
* This legislation authorizes the Attorney General, on behalf of the Board of Education, to bring a cause of action against a person who knowingly and willfully improperly excludes a student from mandatory testing
* The bill also promotes a better understanding of what constitutes violations related to mandatory testing
Job Creation and Economic Development: "Opportunity at Work"
SB1136 (Wagner) -- Creates the International Trade Facility Tax Credit
* Provides a $3,000 tax credit for each job created by a company involved in the import and export of goods through the Port of Virginia that increases its cargo moving through the port by at least 10 percent in a given year
SB1447 (Wampler) -- Revenues to the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority
* Directs revenue generated by commercial spaceflight to the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority to develop Wallops Island as an even more attractive spaceport
SB1326 (Herring)/ HB1447 -- Creates the Research and Development Tax Credit
* Creates a Research and Development Tax Credit for start ups and early stage firms in targeted industries, especially those companies accessing research and development services through Virginia colleges and universities to strengthen our business competitiveness
SB1264 (Vogel)/ HB1837 -- Creates the Virginia Winery and Vineyard Development Tax Credit
* Creates the Virginia Winery and Vineyard Development Tax Credit to incentivize vineyard establishment and winery expansion
SB1379 (Stanley)/ HB1982 (Kilgore) -- Adjusts criteria for the Governor's Development Opportunity Fund
* This initiative establishes a state-wide level of 50 new jobs and $5 million in capital investment, and it reduces the level of required new jobs and capital investment for those localities that have a high unemployment rate and/or high poverty
* Since 2006, the jobs and capital investment qualification criteria for awards from the Governor's Development Opportunity Fund (GOF) have been primarily based on the size of the locality where the project may locate, with nine tiers of qualification. Population is not an indicator of fiscal stress or need for employment, so this is not the best criteria to use to ensure this incentive can be deployed where needed most
SB1193 (Norment)/ HB2285 -- Creates the Tourism Development Grant Program
* Creates the Tourism Development Grant Program to allow certain locally endorsed tourism projects to temporarily retain a portion of state and local tax revenue generated from the project combined with a matching contribution from the developer to provide gap financing for the project
SB1360 (Stosch)/ HB2316 -- Creates the Clean Energy Manufacturing Incentive Grant (CEMIG)
* Virginia has a number of by-right incentive programs for certain energy generation businesses, but these programs are costly and have provided a limited return on investment
* To address this issue, these programs will be reformed by rolling them into the new Clean Energy Manufacturing Incentive Grant (CEMIG)
* CEMIG will provide financial incentives to companies that manufacture or assemble equipment, systems, or products used to produce renewable or nuclear energy, or products used for energy conservation, storage, or grid efficiency purposes, in addition to the wind energy supply chain
SB1485 (Newman and Herring)/ HB2324 (Lingamfelter) -- Bolsters the Commonwealth Research and Commercialization Fund to create a comprehensive structure to grow Virginia's innovation economy
* This program will serve as a catalyst for leveraging the entrepreneur, Virginia higher education research assets and private-sector funding to encourage evolving technologies that create the industries, businesses and jobs of the future
SB1481 (Wagner)/ HB2531 -- Creates the Virginia Port Volume Increase Tax Credit
* Provides a tax credit for any company engaged in the manufacturing of goods or the distribution of manufactured goods that increases its cargo moving through the port by five percent in a taxable year
HB1592 (Iaquinto) -- Requires all state agencies and regional bodies to put requests for proposal and invitations to bid on the Virginia Department of General Services' website.
* The bill encourages, but does not require, local public bodies to likewise
HB1842 (Cole) -- Boards, commissions, and councils requiring policy improvement
* Establishes staggered terms for non-legislative citizen members appointed by the Governor
* Clarifies the Governor's authority when provided lists of nominees by nongovernmental entities
* Standardizes the terms of chairmen of entities appointed by the Governor to two years and limiting such appointees to two consecutive terms as chair. The bill contains technical amendments
SB1276 (Ruff) Local disability services boards
* Eliminates the Disability Services Council
* Eliminates the State Rehabilitative Services Incentive Fund
* Eliminates the requirement that localities establish 40 local disability services boards, and
* Eliminates the authority of localities to establish local rehabilitative services incentive funds
HB1951 (Villanueva) -- Minimum contract requirements for bids
* Raises the minimum contract amount required for bid, performance, or payment bonds to $500,000
HB2058 (Poindexter) -- Consolidation of water quality project reports concerning Virginia's impaired waters.
* Consolidates several reports on the progress in cleaning up Virginia's impaired waters into semiannual and annual reports submitted by the Secretary of Natural Resources to the legislative committees of oversight
SB1477 (Stosch)/ HB2076 (Landes, Chief Co-Patron; Brink) -- Establishment of a State Inspector General
* Consolidates disparate positions into one central, independent agency and transform the State's Internal Auditor into an Inspector General with enhanced authority to proactively pursue complaints concerning fraud, waste and abuse in state government
HB2201(Comstock) -- Consolidating Payroll Services
* Provides that the Department of Planning and Budget, in consultation with the Virginia Department of Accounts, shall require all executive branch agencies of the Commonwealth to participate in the Payroll Service Bureau operated by the Virginia Department of Accounts.
HB2277 (Keam) -- Efficiency in Reimbursement Plans
* Provides that citizen members of boards, committees, councils, or other collegial bodies, who are appointed at the state level, who receive three or more travel reimbursements annually shall be required to participate in the Electronic Data Interchange Program administered by the Virginia Department of Accounts as a condition of accepting such appointment.
HB2282 (D. Marshall) -- Energy Efficient Vehicle Planning
* Requires the Director of the Virginia Department of General Services to develop a plan providing for the replacement of vehicles in the centralized fleet that are rotated out of service with vehicles that operate using natural gas, electricity, or other alternative fuels, to the greatest extent practicable.
HB2319 (Byron)/SB 1382 (Stanley) -- Assessment of Efficiency of Mandates
* Provides that the assessment of mandates imposed on local government currently required include a detailed cost-benefit analysis and utilization of performance-based metrics to determine the value of the mandate in relation to the required or intended output or desired result.
HB2337 (Garrett)/ HB2338 (Garrett) -- Notice by Certified Mail
* Provides that whenever a state agency or local government sends any mail or notice by certified mail then any additional mail or notice that is sent by such state agency pertaining to the same subject matter and purpose may be sent by regular mail.
HB2376 (Habeeb) -- Removes Virginia Department of Social Services agency mandates related to office space of local social services.
* Directs the Department of Social Services to eliminate mandates related to office space and facility requirements imposed on local departments of social services.
HB2435 (Habeeb) -- Directs the Virginia Department of Corrections to eliminate mandates related to contract inmate classification reporting requirements imposed on localities.
* This mandate has been recommended for elimination by the Department
SB1471 (Martin)/ HB2520 (Peace) -- Eliminates certain advisory boards and commissions.
* This legislation eliminates nine advisory boards and commissions as recommended by the Governor's Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring.
SB1001 (Watkins) -- Changes the authorities of the Virginia Board of Corrections.
* Repeals the Board's authority to ensure the development of long-range programs and plans for corrections services provided at the state and local level; review and comment on all applications for federal funds and all budget and appropriations requests for the Virginia Department of Corrections prior to submission to the Governor; and monitor the activities of the Department and its effectiveness in implementing standards and goals of the Board.
SB1057 (McDougle) -- Authorizes state executive branch agencies to develop one consolidated report for submission instead of multiple reports.
* Authorizes state entities required to submit a report to multiple legislative branch entities to develop a consolidated report containing all required information that clearly delineates each legislative branch entity for which specific information is provided.
SB1213 (Smith) -- Directs the State Board of Elections to make mail voter registration application forms available where hunting and fishing licenses are sold.
* This bill is identical to HB 1501. This bill incorporates SB 1346
HJ 693 (Joannou) -- Constitutional amendment regarding the taking or damaging of private property for public use
* Revises the prohibition on the enactment by the General Assembly of laws whereby private property may be taken or damaged
* An existing provision authorizing the General Assembly to define what constitutes a public use is removed
SB 0959 (Northam)/HB 1719 (Massie) -- Vital Records for Veterans and Spouses
* Provides to a veteran or his/her spouse, free of charge, one copy of vital record, if that record is to be used in the determination of eligibility for state or federal veterans benefits.
SB892 (Wampler)/HB 1761 (Cox, K.) -- TRICARE Supplemental Health Coverage
* Permits the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management to offer voluntary TRICARE supplement health coverage under the Commonwealth's IRC Section 125 cafeteria plan.
SB1279 (McWaters)/HB 1848 (Stolle) -- In-state Tuition for Spouses of Service Members
* Provides that a Virginia domiciled military spouse does not forfeit domicile status for in-state tuition due to accompanying the active duty service member while stationed outside of Virginia
SB1361 (Stosch)/HB 1862 (Cosgrove) -- Business Licenses for Spouses of Service Members
* Extends the expiration of certain licenses, certifications, registrations or other documents held by the spouse of a service member when stationed overseas
SB824 (Edwards)/HB1861 (Anderson) -- In-state Tuition for Veterans
* Increases educational opportunity for veterans by waiving the one-year residency requirement needed to qualify for in-state tuition rates
SB 1263 (Vogel)/HB1773 (Sherwood) -- Office of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security
* Creates the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security
* The secretary will be responsible to the Governor for the Department of Veterans Services, Secure Commonwealth Panel, Veterans Services Foundation, Virginia Military Advisory Council, and Virginia War Memorial Foundation
SB 986 (Locke)/HB1697 (Athey) -- Veterans Services Facilities Exemption
* Exempts Department of Veterans Services facilities from certificate of public need requirements
SB 958 (Miller, JC)/HB1666 (Cole & Watts) -- Department of Veterans Services Advisory Committee
* Removes the requirement for the Commissioner of the Department of Veterans Services to establish an advisory committee
SB 1296 (Ruff)/HB 2041 (Anderson) --Virginia Commission on Military and National Security Facilities
* Allows any commission created by executive order to study and make recommendations concerning the prevention of closure and realignment of federal security installations in Virginia to withhold from public disclosure certain records relating to the relocation of national security facilities
HB 1976 (Greason) -- Virginia Council on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children
* Adds a citizen member to the Virginia Council on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children
Health and Human Resources Legislation
SB1486 (Northam)/ HB2533 (K. Cox) -- Behavioral Health and Developmental Services Trust Fund
* Requires that the Fund be used for behavioral health and developmental services and to facilitate transition from state training centers to community-based services
* Requires that the Fund be used for the purpose of financing community-based services, including services provided through the Medicaid Intellectual Disability Home and Community Based Waiver program, and for the purpose of transitioning individuals with intellectual disabilities from state training centers to community-based care
* This legislation was an immediate response by the Governor to recent investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice of the Central Virginia Training Center