eNews Apr 21 2016Thursday, April 21, 2016 - 09:00am
Fines and fees grab taken out of the budget
Party ID veto upheld
It was a good day for local governments yesterday.
Budget language authorizing the state to seize an increasing portion of local fines and forfeitures will finally go away, beginning July 1, 2016. The General Assembly overwhelmingly agreed to a budget amendment submitted by Gov. McAuliffe to strike the language authorizing this taking of local fines that has been in place since 2012. The elimination of this language was a VML legislative priority.
Vetoes of interest to localities upheld
Gov. McAuliffe vetoed other bills of interest to local governments; those were all upheld, including:
- HB 8 (Bell, Richard), which would have created a statewide on-line school under the governance of a new state board.
- HB 264 (Davis and Webert), which would have prohibited localities from requiring contractors to provide wages or benefits beyond the minimum under state and federal law.
- HB 389 (LaRock), which would have created a state voucher program for students with disabilities.
- HB 481 (Marshall, R.G.) and SB 270 (Garrett), which dealt with the release of incarcerated aliens and which would have applied to the director of the Department of Corrections and local sheriff and regional jail administrators.
- HB 516 (Landes), which would require schools to identify materials as “sexually explicit” and notify parents if teachers plan to provide instructional material containing such content.
- HB 518 (LeMunyon), which would have required students in schools identified for comprehensive support and improvement the option of transferring to any other public school in the division.
- HB 587 (Poindexter), which took away the authority of local governments to remove monuments.
- HB 1234 (Lingamfelter), which would have allowed some school security officers to carry firearms in schools.
- HB 1371 (Miller and Morris), which would have prohibited localities from raising the minimum wage.
Legislature acts on Governor’s budget amendments
The legislature took the following actions on these budget amendments of interest to local governments (details of the amendments are covered in the April 13 Enews):
|Amendment 3: JLARC’s evaluation role in economic development (Item 33)||Adopted|
|Amendment 7: Language restricting the use of broadband funding (Item 109)||Rejected|
|Amendment 11: Reversion of Chamberlin Hotel property to the Commonwealth (Item 124)||Accepted|
|Amendment 12: Modify match requirements for grants through the Virginia Brownfields Restoration and Economic Redevelopment Assistance Fund (Item 125)||Rejected|
|Amendment 13: Remove funding for Virginia Virtual School (Item 137)||Accepted|
|Amendment 23: Allow development or preparation of the Clean Power Plan (Item 369)||Rejected|
|Amendment 25: Resolve conflicting Rail and Public Transportation study language (Item 448)||Accepted|
|Amendment 28: Increase maintenance reserve funding for Department of Juvenile Justice (Item C-44)||Rejected|
|Amendment 29: State taking of local fines and forfeitures (Item 3-6.05)||Accepted|
GO Virginia compromise reached
With some parliamentary maneuvering, the General Assembly adopted new versions of the bills establishing the regional economic development initiative known as GO Virginia. The upshot is that the legislature will have to act on the legislation again in the 2017 session before regional incentive grants can be made from the $30 million appropriation included in the biennial budget. Those grants were not scheduled to be made until FY18 anyway. The bills are HB 834/SB 449 and HB 846/SB 459.
VML contact: Neal Menkes (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Legislature rejects ethics amendments
The legislature rejected a series of amendments to the ethics overhaul (HB 1362 and SB 692) adopted in the regular session. The bills will be returned to McAuliffe, who can veto them, sign the version adopted by the legislature into law, or let them become law without his signature. The Governor has 30 days to act.
Under HB 1362 and SB 692,
- Forms that were actually written into the Code were all deleted and the Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council (“the Council”) was instructed to draft relevant forms.
- Forms will be submitted annually rather than semi-annually.
- The new forms will be effective for the January 2017 filing.
- The dollar value of a gift was changed from the current $50 to less that $20. More guidance will be forthcoming from the Council.
- The definition of procurement transaction previously did not have a dollar threshold and now has a dollar threshold of $5 million or more.
- Records relating to formal or informal advisory opinions (notes, correspondence, etc.) are excluded from the mandatory provisions or FOIA. However, formal advisory opinions are public documents upon approval by the Council.
VML contact: Michelle Gowdy (email@example.com)