A digest of news from the General Assembly of interest to local governments
Jan. 24, 2014
Budget | Education | Environment | Ethics | Finance/Taxes | FOIA | Human Services
| Land Use | Local Authority | Personnel | Public Safety | Retirement/Benefits |
Transportation | Miscellaneous
Environment
House subcommittee approves single stormwater
bill
A House subcommittee has approved a bill that will make it optional for certain local
governments to adopt a state-mandated stormwater program by July 1.
Specifically, the House Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources Chesapeake Subcommittee rolled nine competing bills into one. HB 1173 (Hodges) now
includes the following reforms:
 Provides the option for cities and counties that do not operate under the EPA
mandated Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit to have the
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) run the program. MS4
jurisdictions are typically more urban in nature and meet certain population thresh
holds as prescribed in state law. (VML will post a list of its members next week
that would be granted the option of running a local program if this becomes law.)
 Removes the unnecessarily complicated requirement for applicants to comply
with post construction standards for stormwater runoff through the federal permit.
This is something the EPA does not require, nor has any other state implemented.
 Allows localities to accept a simplified plan for construction of a single home site
“in lieu of” mandating the submission of certified engineered drawings and
calculations to show compliance for new standards for treating stormwater runoff.
 Conforms the process for appealing permit decisions at the local level to the same
as those under the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Law.
The amended bill is not yet available on the legislature’s website, but you can view or
download it as a PDF file on the VML website at http://bit.ly/1dBsNOz. The full
committee could take up the bill on Wednesday.
In the Senate, four bills dealing with the new stormwater program at the local level
are wending their way through the committee process. They could be heard as early as
Thursday in the Senate Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources Committee.
A detailed story on the stormwater issue appeared in the Jan. 10 Legislative Bulletin,
which you can read at: http://bit.ly/1fc43Bb.
Staff contact: Joe Lerch, [email protected]
Finances/Taxes
Substitute BPOL bill in play; VML continues to urge
opposition
Del. Chris Head has put forth a new version of his BPOL bill.
House Finance Subcommittee #2 accepted the substitute for HB 371 on Wednesday,
but took no other action. The substitute now excludes amounts paid by a taxpayer to
another person, who is not an employee of the taxpayer, but is tied to the taxpayer by a
subcontract. For example, a “contractor” receives a grant or contract to provide a service
and engages a “subcontractor” to do a portion of the job. Under the bill’s provisions, the
contractor would deduct from his company’s gross proceeds the dollar amount of the
subcontract.
The Department of Taxation in its fiscal analysis says the “potential local revenue
loss from this bill could be substantial.” VML continues to urge its members to contact
delegates, particularly those on the House Finance Committee, to oppose the measure.
The bill is scheduled to be back before the subcommittee on Wednesday.
Staff contact: Neal Menkes, [email protected]
Other bills ...
Exempting solar equipment from local taxation
SB 418 (Hanger) and SB 512 (Wagner) add solar equipment to the definition of
certified pollution control equipment and facilities that are exempt from state and local
taxation pursuant to Article X, Section 6 of the Virginia Constitution. The bills have
been referred to the Senate Finance Committee. The committee decided to take up the
bills next week.
A similar bill in the House, HB 1239 (Hugo), is before the House Finance
Committee. This bill would exempt from real and personal property tax solar energy
equipment, facilities, or devices that are collecting, generating, transferring, or storing
thermal or electric energy.
Exempting real property owned by religious bodies from
taxation
SB 175 (Black) specifies that the real property tax exemption for churches and
religious bodies includes: 1) property used primarily for outdoor worship activities and 2)
property whose use is reasonably connected to and supportive of the principal religious
worship use. The bill was heard this week in the Senate Finance Committee. The
committee asked VML and VACo to work with the bill’s supporters on possible
amendments. A House companion bill – HB 156 (Minchew) – was reported by a House
Finance Subcommittee, and will be taken up on Monday by the entire committee. That
bill escaped any amendments, although the patron said he was willing to discuss them.
Staff contacts: Joe Lerch, [email protected] and Neal Menkes, [email protected]
Retirement / Benefits
House, Senate poised to take up retirement bills
Following the release of the Virginia Retirement System’s fiscal impact statements,
legislation dealing with retirement issues will be heard, possibly as early as next week.
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Compensation and Retirement will hear
these bills:
 HB 1105 (Ingram) provides a minimum group life insurance death benefit of
$8,000 for all retirees who retire with at least 15 years of creditable service.
Further, the $8,000 minimum benefit would increase each year at the same rate as
general salary increases for state employees. VRS estimates that about 4,400
current retirees would have their group life insurance benefit increased as a result
of this bill. The bill would cost localities $823,000 in FY15 (and a similar
amount in succeeding years.)
 HB 110 (McQuinn) extends the health insurance credit currently afforded teachers
to other employees of school boards (cafeteria workers, bus drivers, etc.) The cost
to localities would be $7.6 million a year.
 HB 182 (Farrell) allows localities to offer a defined contribution retirement plan
in lieu of a defined benefit plan.
 HB 857 (Jones) allows localities to administer their own deferred compensation
plans.
The Senate Finance Committee will hear these bills:
 SB 566 (Colgan), which increases the monthly retirement allowance payable to
any person who retired with at least 15 years of creditable service before January
1, 1990. According to the impact statement, this bill would increase the unfunded
liability of the various state, teacher and local plans by $83 million. Local costs
would increase by $2.1 million in FY15 (and a similar amount in succeeding
years).
 SB 102 (Ruff) is similar to HB 1105, reported above.
 SB 103 (Ruff) increases the monthly health insurance credit for state employees
from $4 per year of creditable service to $5 per year of creditable service. While
the bill applies only to state employees, there would be more pressure to increase
the credit for local employees, which is $1.50 per year of creditable service for
local employees. The bill would cost the state $11 million in FY15 (and a similar
amount in succeeding years).
 SB 109 (Stanley) would increase the health insurance credit for retired local
employees from $1.50 per year of creditable service with a cap of $45, to $4 per
year of creditable service, with no cap. The bill would cost $9.5 million in
increased contributions in FY15 (and a similar amount in succeeding years).
 SB 188 (McDougle) allows the state and localities to offer a Roth IRA.
VRS presented a summary of legislation affecting retirement at the Jan. 23
legislation liaison meeting. The summary is posted on VML’s website at:
http://bit.ly/1hSzKQq.
Staff contact: Mary Jo Fields, [email protected]
Miscellaneous
Reminder: Governor to speak at Local Government
Day Feb. 6
Gov. Terry McAuliffe has agreed to be the featured speaker at Local Government
Day in Richmond on Feb. 6. If you and your colleagues have not signed up to attend this
important annual event sponsored by VML, VACo and the Virginia Association of
Planning District Commissions, please do so now. It promises to provide you with an
assortment of essential information on legislation before the General Assembly this
session that will affect local governments.
In addition to the governor’s remarks, staff will report on the status of legislation of
interest to local governments, then local officials are encouraged to participate in
committee meetings and lobby state legislators at the Capitol. Local officials who want
to meet or have dinner with their legislators while they are in town should make that
request as soon as possible.
The cost is $45, which includes a box lunch. A cash bar reception for local officials
will be held from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Information on registering or reserving a room for the event, which will be held at the
Richmond Marriott located at 500 E. Broad St. in downtown, is available at
http://bit.ly/1la4WKg. Download the form, print it, and return to VML.
For more information, contact Sherall Dementi at 804-523-8533 or
[email protected]
VML legislative staff
Kim Winn (VML Executive Director)
[email protected]
(O) 804-523-8521 (C) 804-205-4671
Janet Areson – Lobbies on issues involving health and human services, and the state
budget.
[email protected]
(O) 804-523-8522 (C) 804-400-0556
Mary Jo Fields – Lobbies on issues involving education policy, education funding and
retirement.
[email protected]
(O) 804-523-8524 (C) 804-400-0555
Mark Flynn – Lobbies on issues involving legal matters, housing, elections,
telecommunications and technology.
[email protected]
(O) 804-523-8525 (C) 804-400-1321
Joe Lerch – Lobbies on issues involving the environment, land use, natural resources
and transportation policy.
[email protected]
(O) 804-523-8530 (C) 804-640-5615
Neal Menkes – Lobbies on issues involving taxation and finance, the state budget,
transportation funding, and community and economic development.
[email protected]
(O) 804-523-8523 (C) 804-400-1191
Kimberly Pollard – Lobbies on issues involving public safety and legislative procedural
matters.
[email protected]
(O) 804-523-8528 (C) 804-400-1987
Robie Ingram (under contract) – Lobbies on issues involving courts, criminal law, civil
law, FOIA, procurement and general laws.
[email protected]
(C) 804-683-3201
Chris LaGow (under contract) – Lobbies on issues involving insurance and workers’
compensation
[email protected]
(O) 804-225-8570 (C) 804-356-0118
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House subcommittee approves single stormwater bill