January 29, 2024 Updates
2024 General Assembly Concludes Week 2
As of today, there have been 2,529 bills and resolutions introduced. Of these, 87 have been passed in the House and 147 have been passed in the Senate. The legislature has chosen not to advance 107 bills, continued 30 bills to the 2025 session, and 2,315 are still pending action. As the session proceeds, we will continue to update our bill tracker with the most up-to-date information. Click below for the latest updates.
Chamber President & CEO Visits The State Capitol
Monday, January 22, 2024
Chamber President and CEO, Bob Sweeney, along with Board Secretary, Ross Snare, spent the day in the General Assembly building in Richmond where they met with a number of members of the Prince William delegation.
There were many insightful discussions with delegation members, covering a range of Chamber priorities. Conversations spanned workforce readiness opportunities, initiatives for affordable housing pilot programs, and deliberations on transportation funding and infrastructure projects.
The meetings were marked by dynamic conversations, reflecting the enthusiasm and progress occurring in Richmond!
We look forward to the Chamber’s upcoming lobby day on February 1, 2024, where members will have the chance to come to Richmond to visit with policymakers and Cabinet members, tour the Capitol, be recognized on the floor of the House and Senate of Virginia and more.
Cocktails To-Go Legislation Advances in Both Bodies
The Prince William Chamber has partnered with the Distilled Spirits Council, the Virginia Restaurant,
Lodging and Travel Association, Virginia Spirits Organization, and the R Street Institute in supporting
legislation that will make cocktails to-go permanent for ABC-licensed restaurants in Virginia.
HB 688 (Leftwich) was passed in the ABC and Gaming Subcommittee and was also reported from the full General Laws Committee by a 20 to 2 vote this past Thursday.
SB 635 (Rouse) was passed by the members of the Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee on Friday morning by a unanimous vote.
HB 1009 (Lovejoy) and HB 1345 (Anthony) both seek to require the Board of Education, in collaboration with Virginia’s Community College System, to develop and maintain a current and comprehensive list of industry-recognized workforce credentials that students may take as a substitute for certain credit hours required for graduation. This legislation also requires that the list would uniformly apply to all school divisions. Both of these pieces of legislation are currently in the Education Committee and will be heard in the coming weeks.
SB 27 (Stanley) seeks to establish the Public School Trades Incentive Program and Fund to provide grants to any school board that seeks to restore high school programs that teach students skilled trades that lead to earning industry-recognized certifications or credentials. The grants could also be used to create or restore middle school programs that encourage and recruit students to participate in high school programs that teach students skilled trades that lead to earning industry-recognized certifications or credentials.
This bill would require each grantee to longitudinally track students who complete any program that the school board received funds for to determine the effectiveness of the programs in recruiting students to participate and matching students with high-paying jobs in the fields in which they are credentialed or certified.
Last week, SB 27 was passed by the members of the Senate the Education and Health Committee unanimously and was re-referred to the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee where it will be considered in the coming weeks.
As this legislation continues to move through the process, further updates will be provided.
Bills Advance To Increase Affordable Housing Options
There have been a number of bills introduced this session to increase affordable housing to help better meet the needs of Virginia’s growing workforce and population.
HB 878 (Bulova) seeks to permit any local government to either purchase development rights or accept the donation of development rights to preserve and provide affordable housing. This bill was heard in the Counties, Cities, and Towns Subcommittee and passed by a unanimous vote on Thursday.
HB 1105 (Carr) seeks to create the Zoning for Housing Production Fund, which would award grants to localities to create and maintain affordable housing in mixed-income communities. This piece of legislation was also reported unanimously Thursday and was referred to the Appropriations Committee.
SB 597 (McPike) seeks to authorize any locality in Virginia to create an affordable housing dwelling unit program by amending the zoning ordinance. In current law, this authorization is limited to counties with an urban county executive or county manager form of government. This bill has not been heard in its respective committee yet.
More updates to come as this legislation moves through the process.
GOVERNOR GLENN YOUNGKIN ANNOUNCES DECEMBER JOBS DATAHIGHLIGHTS IMPORTANCE OF UNLEASHING OPPORTUNITY AGENDA
Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Local Area Unemployment Statistics (“LAUS”, or “the household survey”), the labor force participation rate, which measures the proportion of the civilian population age 16 and older that is employed or actively looking for work, remained unchanged at 66.9 percent in December.
“Coming into office, Virginia was bottom third in the nation in job growth, and for our first 22 months we outpaced national job growth trends, rising to third in the nation in job growth, and it wasn’t by accident,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “I hope that my general assembly colleagues understand the tone that is set and the policies being pursued directly impact job growth and opportunity for Virginians. Therefore, we must continue to advance bold policy measures as I outlined in our Unleashing Opportunity budget to continue moving the Commonwealth forward. Reducing taxes, lowering the cost of living and cost of doing business for Virginians, strengthening our business-friendly environment and improving pathways from the classroom to the workforce must be our focus. To be clear, if we’re not moving forward, we’re falling behind.”
According to BLS LAUS, Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in December increased by 0.1 percentage points to 3.0 percent, which is 0.7 percentage points below the national rate. The labor force decreased by 1,763 to 4,623,066; and the number of employed Virginians decreased by 8,395 to 4,484,295 as the number of unemployed residents increased by 6,632 to 138,771.
“This month’s job numbers call us to double down on policies that have resulted in employing over 222,000 more Virginians since the turn of the Administration,” said Secretary of Labor Bryan Slater. “249,000 job openings remain today in the Commonwealth, and we are committed to empowering Virginians with the tools they need to seek these opportunities with employers.”
“Virginia continues to boast the highest labor force participation rate and unemployment levels well below that across the nation,” said Secretary of Commerce Caren Merrick. “We must continue the progress over the last two years to advance the Governor’s pro-growth, pro-opportunity agenda.”
BLS publishes an additional employment figure from its Current Employment Statistics Survey (“CES” or “establishment survey”). The CES survey uses payroll records of establishment employers and is designed
to provide a count of jobs under which the employer pays unemployment insurance. The LAUS survey is based on household interviews conducted each month for the Bureau of Labor Statistics and provides comprehensive data on the labor force, including those who are employed and unemployed. Establishment survey data reflects changes for updated seasonal adjustment factors, and industry classification conversions (NAICS), as part of the annual benchmarking process.
The household survey only distinguishes between whether a person is employed or unemployed, whereas CES counts each employee that is on an employer’s payroll. CES excludes business owners, self-employed persons, unpaid volunteers and private household workers, and those on unpaid leave or not working because of a labor dispute.
For more details, visit the Virginia Works LMI website at https://virginiaworks.com/.
IMPORTANT DATES AND MILESTONES
Upcoming dates and deadlines are listed below.
•February 13th – Crossover (otherwise known as the half-way point of the session when all bills must be acted on in their body of origin).
•February 18th – “Budget Sunday,” when the House and Senate money committees will recommend their proposed budgets.
•March 9th – Final day of session, otherwise known as Sine Die.
•April 17th – Reconvened/Veto session, where legislature returns to act on Governor’s amendments and vetoes.
•July 1st – Effective date for legislation and budget unless otherwise specified.