|| Virginia General Assembly Legislative Update 2-6-2017|
Legislative Update 2-6-2017 ********************************************************** SUPPORT: HB 1566 (supervision of regulatory boards) is scheduled to come to the floor of the House tomorrow, 2/7/17, for its third reading and final passage. Please contact your Delegate TODAY and support this bill.
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********************************************************** I. WE SUPPORT THESE BILLS
Inverse Condemnation SB 1153 Inverse condemnation proceeding; reimbursement of owner’s costs. Directs the court to reimburse a plaintiff for the costs of an inverse condemnation proceeding for "damaging" property if a judgment is entered for the plaintiff. Under current law, the court is directed to award costs only for the "taking" of property. The change made in this bill corresponds with the language of amendments to Article I, Section 11 of the Constitution of Virginia, which became effective on January 1, 2013. SB 1153 conforms the Virginia Code to the 2012 Property Rights Amendment, expanding the point at which reimbursements are awarded to include property damage; thereby eliminating an Equal Protection concern that currently exists. Status: (We support this bill)02/01/17 Senate: Reported from Courts of Justice (15-Y 0-N)
02/03/17 Senate: Constitutional reading dispensed (39-Y 0-N)
SB 1153 is scheduled for its first reading on the Senate Floor’s uncontested calendar. It is expected to pass the Senate on a block vote by Wednesday. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Supervising Regulatory Boards HB 1566 Professions and occupations; active supervision of regulatory boards. Establishes a statewide policy for the regulation of professions and occupations specifying criteria for government regulation with the objective of increasing opportunities, promoting competition, encouraging innovation, protecting consumers, and complying with applicable federal antitrust laws. In addition, the bill establishes a process for the active supervision of state regulatory boards pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission, in which the Court held that a state regulatory board that includes active market participants among its board membership must be actively supervised by the state in order for such board and its members to be entitled to immunity for federal antitrust violations. HB 1566 requires that regulatory commissions which include active market participants, e.g. doctors who are on the board of health, must be actively supervised to ensure that regulations and restrictions are not subject to anti-trust liability. This bill seeks to ensure that regulations such as inspections, professional certifications and registrations, and occupational licensing are not being used to limit competition and hinder free entry into the market. The bill also provides for the immediate review of all new regulations as well as a review of all past occupational regulations to be completed in 5 years. Substitution: The new language has weakened the bill, essentially allowing for certain regulatory boards to continue to limit competition (the Bar Association, for instance); however, it still targets many of the markets which seriously need regulatory reform (specifically regarding occupational licensing).
Status: (We support this bill)01/26/17 House: Subcommittee recommends reporting with substitute (5-Y 0-N)
01/31/17 House: Reported from General Laws with substitute (14-Y 8-N)
02/01/17 House: Assigned App. sub: General Government & Capital Outlay
02/03/17 House: Subcommittee recommends reporting with substitute (6-Y 0-N)
02/03/17 House: Reported from Appropriations with substitute (13-Y 7-N)
02/04/17 House: Read first time
HB 1566 has reported out of House Appropriations and was initially brought to the floor on Saturday, 2/4/17. It is on the regular calendar for its second reading today and will be ready for final passage tomorrow, 2/7/17. Please contact your Delegate TODAY and tell them to support this bill. **********************************************************
II. WE OPPOSE THESE BILLS
Farm Inspections and Penalties SB 1195 Produce safety; farm inspections; Agriculture Civil Penalty Fund; penalties. Prohibits certain farms from violating the federal regulations that set minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables. The bill authorizes the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services to adopt regulations to carry out the purposes of the law and gives the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services free access at all reasonable hours to any farm to inspect the farm and take samples. The Commissioner also is authorized to seize certain produce that he believes to violate the federal regulations or state law. The bill makes the act of obstructing an inspector a Class 2 misdemeanor and of violating any other provision of the law or a Board regulation a Class 1 misdemeanor. In lieu of a criminal penalty, the Board is authorized to levy a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per violation, to be deposited in an Agriculture Civil Penalty Fund that is created by the bill. SB 1195 permits the Commissioner of Agriculture to surprise inspect any small farmer, defined in Federal Code as any farm producing more than $25,000 and less than $500,000 annually. During these inspections, an inspector may confiscate produce without due process and levy a fine of up to $1,000 per violation. Per the substituted language of SB 1195, the proceeds from the civil penalties will be deposited into the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund. Status: (We OPPOSE this bill)01/26/17 Senate: Reported from Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources with substitute (12-Y 1-N 1-A)
02/01/17 Senate: Read third time and passed Senate (25-Y 15-N)
02/03/17 House: Placed on Calendar
02/03/17 House: Read first time
02/03/17 House: Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources
02/06/17 House: Assigned ACNR sub: Agriculture
SB 1195 has crossed over to the House and has been assigned to the House ANCR Sub-Committee on Agriculture. This is where we need to kill this bill. The sub-committee usually meets at 4:30 p.m. on Mondays, but today’s meeting, 2/6/17, has been canceled. We find it unlikely that this committee will wait until next Monday’s scheduled meeting, but we will keep an eye out for an agenda to be posted. If you would like to get a leg up on the sub-committee before next week, their contact information is below: House Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources Sub-Committee: Agriculture Del. Barry D. Knight (R) 804-698-1081 DelBKnight@house.virginia.gov (Chairman) Del. Robert S. Bloxom, Jr. (R) 804-698-1000 DelRBloxom@house.virginia.gov Del. Matthew James (D) 804-698-1080 DelMJames@house.virginia.gov Del. Mark L. Keam (D) 804-698-1035 DelMKeam@house.virginia.gov Del. Robert D. Orrocks, Sr. (R) 804-698-1054 DelBOrrock@house.virginia.gov Del. Charles D. Poindexter (R) 804-698-1009 DelCPoindexter@house.virginia.gov Del. Michael J. Webert (R) 804-698-1018 DelMWebert@house.virginia.gov
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- Local Zoning Ordinances for Utilities HB 1766 Utility Facilities Act; associated facilities of an electrical transmission line. Provides that the issuance by the State Corporation Commission of a certificate of public convenience and necessity for construction of an electrical transmission line of 138 kilovolts and any associated facilities shall be deemed to satisfy local comprehensive plan requirements and all local zoning ordinances with respect to the transmission line and associated facilities. The measure defines "associated facilities" as including any station, substation, transition station, and switchyard facilities to be constructed in association with the 138-kilovolt transmission line. This issue is a tough one, and one we considered very carefully. HB 1766, and its companion SB 1110, essentially remove zoning restrictions for the installation of electrical facilities that Dominion Power wants to put in. We want to be crystal clear: in opposing this bill we are not in support of zoning laws in any shape, form, or by any other name. Zoning laws are, by their very nature, anathema to private property rights. In opposing this bill, we are opposing any further special privilege allotted to Dominion Power (or any other government supported power company) as a supposedly private organization which has often misused the power of eminent domain (a power which it should never have been permitted to use), and has essentially been maintained for years as a government mandated monopoly in the Commonwealth of Virginia. If Dominion Power were being granted this privilege by way of the elimination of local zoning ordinances for all Virginia property owners, then we would stand in passionate support. However, this is not that bill, so we must OPPOSE. Status: (We OPPOSE this bill)01/17/17 House: Reported from Commerce and Labor (18-Y 1-N)01/24/17 House: VOTE: PASSAGE (67-Y 30-N 1-A)
01/25/17 Senate: Constitutional reading dispensed
01/25/17 Senate: Referred to Committee on Commerce and Labor
HB 1766 has been referred to the Committee on Commerce and Labor, but was not on the Friday docket, 2/3/17. The committee usually meets on Mondays, shortly after adjournment, but a docket has not yet been posted for today, 2/6/17. This may be due to its companion bill passing the Senate floor. SB 1110 Utility Facilities Act; associated facilities of an electrical transmission line. Status: (We OPPOSE this bill)01/09/17 Senate: Referred to Committee on Commerce and Labor01/30/17 Senate: Reported from Commerce and Labor (12-Y 2-N 1-A)
02/03/17 Senate: Read third time and passed Senate (30-Y 9-N)
SB 1110 has passed the Senate, 30 YEAs to 9 NAYs. SB 1110 and HB 1766 will likely be combined as their language seems to match exactly.
III. WITHHOLDING JUDGMENT
“Quick Take” Condemnation Proceedings HB 2024 Condemnation powers and proceedings; imminent threat to public health, safety, and welfare. Provides that "quick take" condemnation proceedings are available for use only when a court determines that the use of such procedure is necessary to protect against an imminent threat to public health, safety, and welfare. HB 2024 requires that public entities allowed to exercise eminent domain gain judicial approval before engaging “quick-take” condemnation proceedings. This bill ensures that these types of proceedings will only occur if “such procedure is necessary to protect against an imminent threat to public health, safety, and welfare.” Substitute: It should be noted that the new language of the bill, substituted in sub-committee on Wednesday, 1/25/17, was not published until after the committee vote was taken on Friday, 1/27/17. Delegate Freitas’ assertion that the bill had essentially been gutted, has proven true. All judicial protections were removed and substituted with a 15-day notification requirement before “quick take” proceedings can be enacted. This is a far weaker bill than was initially sponsored by Del. Freitas, so much so that it may no longer warrant support. We reserve judgment until we see if the language will change in the Senate. Status: (We support this bill)01/25/17 House: Subcommittee recommends reporting with substitute (8-Y 0-N)
01/27/17 House: Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (21-Y 0-N)
02/02/17 House: VOTE: BLOCK VOTE PASSAGE (95-Y 0-N)
02/03/17 Senate: Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice HB 2024 has been referred to the Senate Committee for Courts and Justice. We will keep an eye out for any substitutions which may aim to strengthen the bill beyond its current language. **********************************************************
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Caleb TaylorDirector of Policy and Operations
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