eNews April 14, 2023Friday, April 14, 2023 - 03:47pm
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In this issue:
- Skills Development Conference for Virginia’s Local Elected Officials – June 13-14
- Comprehensive General Assembly update from VML staff members to be offered virtually April 26 and 27
- New episode of VML Voice podcast now available
- Winners of VML’s 2023 “If I Were Mayor” essay contest announced
- Call for entries: 2023 VML Innovation Awards
- Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) toolkit now available to all Virginia localities
- NLC resources to assist with ARPA reporting requirements
- “Safe Streets and Roads for All” FY23 NOFO open through July 10
- Schar School of Policy and Government: Free webinars and peer-to-peer cohorts available to VML members!
- DCJS offers webinars on school safety
- Draft state aging plan open for review and comment
Skills Development Conference for Virginia’s Local Elected Officials – June 13-14
Join VML staff and experts from a variety of fields to learn about topics important to elected officials and staff from local governments of all sizes in Virginia. This event will be offered both in-person and virtually.
Topics to be covered include:
- Parliamentary Procedure
- Land Use (including housing and zoning)
- Human Resources Issues (including marijuana legalization)
- Planning District Commissions (including grants and partnership opportunities)
- …and more!
Social networking: Tuesday, June 13 (in-person only)*
- Time: Evening
- Location: Capital Ale House (4024 Cox Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060)
Venue website here >
- Details: Food and beverages provided.
*Note: You may attend the Tuesday evening social event in person even if you are registered to attended the Wednesday conference virtually.
Conference: Wednesday, June 14 (in-person and virtual)
- Time: Check-in 8:30 a.m. / Event runs 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
- Location: The Place at Innsbrook (4036-C Cox Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060).
Venue website here >.
- Details: Breakfast and lunch provided for in-person attendees. Virtual registrants will receive the link to join ahead of the event.
- In person: Wednesday, June 7 (end of day)
- Virtual: Monday, June 12 (end of day)
VML Contact: Rob Bullington, firstname.lastname@example.org
Comprehensive General Assembly update from VML staff members to be offered virtually April 26 and 27
What bills of interest to local governments came out of the 2023 session of the General Assembly? If there is a budget, what does it mean? If there isn’t a budget yet…well, what does that mean?
VML policy staff will address these and other issues during a comprehensive wrap-up webinar offered free of charge for staff and officials from VML member localities. Registration is required. Use the links below to register for the session that applies to your locality:
VML Contact: Rob Bullington, email@example.com
New episode of VML Voice podcast now available
Dream Big Bristol – A new council brings fresh perspectives
This episode of the VML Voice came at the suggestion of City of Bristol Manager (and VML Board Member) Randy Eads. Bristol’s city council members are all relatively young and new to local government. But I think you’ll find, as we did, that though they may be young and new they are also enthusiastic and bring a lot of the table.
Featured guests are Mayor Neal Osborne, Vice-Mayor Becky Nave, Councilmember (and former mayor) Anthony Farnum, and Councilmember Jake Holmes.
Enjoy the latest episode of the VML Voice here >.
VML Contact: Rob Bullington, firstname.lastname@example.org
Winners of VML’s 2023 “If I Were Mayor” essay contest announced
On April 10, the Virginia Municipal League (VML) announced the statewide and regional winners of the “If I Were Mayor” Essay Contest. The contest, hosted by VML, drew hundreds of entries from seventh graders throughout the state. The challenge to the students was to identify an issue in their locality, talk to others about possible solutions, and then identify what solution would best address the issue.
The winners are:
- Statewide winner: Jayden McCaw of Fries School in Fries
- Region 1: Billie Hall of Marion Middle School in Marion
- Region 2: William Wall of Martinsville Middle School in Martinsville
- Region 3: Avery Diette of Lylburn Downing Middle School in Lexington
- Region 5: Talia Forster of Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School in Falls Church
- Region 6: Zohair Zaman of Walker Grant Middle School in Fredericksburg
- Region 8: Viktorija Gobush of St. Clare Walker Middle School in Locust Hill (resident of Urbanna)
*Note – VML did not receive any entries from regions 4 or 7 this year.
All the winners identified an issue affecting their community and proposed actionable solutions that demonstrated a grasp of what could be accomplished given available resources and public sentiment. In every case, the essayists came to the problem from the perspective of an individual who genuinely wished to make their locality a better place for all.
Of the statewide winning entry, VML’s Executive Director Michelle Gowdy said: “Mr. McCraw’s essay does a fantastic job making the point that localities – both large and small – are stronger when they consider the needs of everyone in the community. It also serves as a reminder that the rhetoric about school funding at the state level has real world consequences for even Virginia’s smallest towns. Congratulations to Mr. McCraw and all the winners!”
In addition to a certificate, each regional winner will receive a gift card for $150. The statewide winner will receive a plaque and a gift card for $250. All winning essays will be featured in the May issue of VML’s magazine Virginia Town & City and will be posted at www.vml.org/education/essay-contest.
About VML’s “If I Were Mayor” Essay Contest
The annual “If I were Mayor Contest” invites seventh graders from throughout Virginia to submit essays describing what they would do if they were mayor of their hometown. The essay contest is a key component of VML’s civic education programming, which seeks to teach school children and adults how local government works and how they can become involved in making their communities better places to live, work and play.
VML Contact: Rob Bullington, email@example.com
Call for entries: 2023 VML Innovation Awards
The people who make local governments work do so much for their residents with little or no expectation of recognition. That’s why 47 years ago, the Virginia Municipal League launched our “Achievement Awards” to recognize outstanding work being done by local governments across Virginia. The program went on to become Virginia’s highest honor in local government creativity. In 2017 the name was changed to “Innovation Awards”, but the purpose remains the same: To celebrate all that you do to make your city, town, or county a great place to live!
It’s time again for our members to spotlight programs and individuals that have made a big difference to your residents by creating innovative solutions to address emerging needs.
Learn more about the awards and how to submit your entries here >.
The awards will be presented at VML’s Annual Conference in Norfolk in October.
VML Contact: Manuel Timbreza, firstname.lastname@example.org
The reconvened roundup: General Assembly acts on 78 bills during the 2023 Reconvened Session
On Wednesday, April 12, 2023, the General Assembly acted on changes the Governor proposed to 78 separate bills at the 2023 Reconvened Session. The General Assembly approved amendments to 62 bills but rejected 16 amendments. Amendments to one bill, SB 1533 (Deeds), were a mixed bag, resulting in one amendment being approved and another rejected.
VML has produced a chart that includes a link to each bill the Governor proposed to amend including the action taken by the House or the Senate.
View/Download the chart here >.
Procedurally, amendments must be approved by both legislative bodies, beginning with the chamber in which it was introduced. Failure to approve the amendment in either body results in the bill being returned to the Governor in the form it was enacted by the General Assembly during the 2023 Regular Session.
Use the links below to learn more about the legislation most important local governments:
The General Assembly unanimously approved four amendments to the so-called “skinny budget”, HB1400 (Knight), enacted at the conclusion of the 2023 Regular Session. With the approval of these changes, the amended bill will be returned to the Governor for his signature. Thereafter, funds will be released to hold harmless local school divisions, in the current fiscal year, from the basic aid calculation error revealed by the Department of Education in January.
The amended “skinny budget” also makes funding available to local Departments of Social Services who will be working closely with the Department of Medical Assistance Services, as eligibility is redetermined for Medicaid recipients in addition to possible appeals.
The following amendments were approved by the General Assembly at the Reconvened Session.
The first amendment makes technical changes by updating estimated general fund revenue collections by $1.4 billion in FY 2023 and $429 million in FY 2024. The changes are based on the passage of federal conformity legislation and adjustments to the balances sheet including required deposits and planned appropriation of contingent amounts from prior year revenue collections including the Revenue Stabilization Fund Deposit, Virginia Retirement System Deposit, and the 2022 Capital Supplement Pool.
The second amendment appropriates $15.3 million from the general fund for the anticipated cost of providing mandated cash assistance to Unemployed Parents in the TANF UP Program. According to the Department of Social Services (DSS), monthly caseloads have nearly tripled in the program – from 721 in March 2020 to 2,130 in December 2022.
The third amendment provides funding to assist the Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) and Department of Social Services (DSS) with the cost of redetermining eligibility for individuals enrolled in the current Medicaid program. The amendment makes available: a) $28.1 million to DMAS to procure a one-time vendor to assist in the redetermination of Medicaid enrollees following the end of the federal continuous coverage requirement, and b) $10.0 million to DSS for one-time costs to support local departments of social services staff with the redetermination and appeals process.
The final amendment provides authority for the Department of Planning and Budget to approve a short-term, interest-free, treasury loan to Jefferson Lab for the construction of a high-performance data facility contingent upon the Governor certifying that the U.S. Department of Energy has approved the project. Repayment of the treasury loan will be determined by the Governor and General Assembly at a future date.
Next steps on the budget…
With the enactment of these changes, the number of budget amendments adopted by the General Assembly has doubled in size – from four to eight. So, while the “skinny budget” is putting on pounds, there’s a long way to go before high-fives are exchanged around Capitol Square.
Lead negotiators on the budget acknowledge that a final agreement remains months away as more information is collected about the state of our economy, meaning we won’t know how much is available to address the staffing and programmatic needs in our schools, to stabilize community behavioral health services, to expand incentives for economic development, or to provide additional tax relief until the summer solstice approaches. We can only hope that a final budget agreement will be worthy of a memorable July 4th celebration, since the two events may coincide during the summer of 2023!
VML Contact: Joe Flores, email@example.com
The General Assembly accepted Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s proposed amendments to two bills and rejected amendments to another.
The bills with accepted amendments are:
SB956 (Ruff) Local business improvement and recruitment districts. As approved by the General Assembly, provides a tool to localities to create a local business improvement and recruitment district plan in which businesses pay a fee to be used to fund business improvements, promotions, and recruitment.
Youngkin’s amendment clarifies that this bill applies to localities with a Main Street District and defines such as a physical setting that includes a commercial area focusing on economic development through locally owned businesses and structures that would benefit from rehabilitation.
HB1842 (Knight) Virginia Business Ready Sites Acquisition Fund and Program. As passed by the General Assembly creates the Virginia Business Ready Sites Acquisition Program for the purposes of (i) acquiring sites for the purpose of creating and maintaining a portfolio of project-ready sites to promote economic development in the Commonwealth, (ii) developing such sites to increase their marketability for large scale economic development projects or (iii) entering into development agreements with private employers for large-scale economic development projects. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority shall administer the Program, in consultation with the Department of General Services.
Youngkin’s amendment changes the size of an eligible site to 500 acres and allows for the Commonwealth to purchase a site after giving notice to the locality and allowing the locality 14 days to purchase or obtain an option.
The General Assembly, through the Senate, rejected proposed amendments to the following legislation:
SB1308 (Deeds) / HB2332 (Campbell) Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority; eligible site for site development grant. As passed by the General Assembly reduces the acreage from 100 to 50 as the minimum contiguous acreage for a non-brownfield site to satisfy the acreage requirement in a site development grant from Virginia Business Ready Sites Program Fund by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority.
Youngkin’s proposed amendment rejected by the Senate would have restored the 100-acreage requirement and language dealing with criteria for eligible sites.
VML Contact: Michelle Gowdy, firstname.lastname@example.org
The General Assembly accepted Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s amendments to the following education bills:
SB1124 (Stanley) SOQ and school building construction, maintenance, etc., needs. As approved by the General Assembly, requires the Board of Education to make recommendations to the General Assembly regarding possibly amendments of the Standards of Quality (SOQ) to include and establish minimum standards for maintenance, operations, renovations, construction, and modernization in public elementary and secondary schools.
Youngkin’s amendment delays the deadline for the Board’s recommendations to the General Assembly from Dec. 2023, to July 1, 2024.
SB1453 (McPike) Automated external defibrillators. As approved by the General Assembly, requires each local school board to develop a plan for the placement, care, and use of an automated external defibrillator in every public elementary and secondary school and requires training on the use of these devices.
Youngkin’s amendment requires that the Board of Education post on the Department of Education’s website any funding sources, including grants, to pay for defibrillators.
HB2365 (Sewell) Provisional teacher licenses. As approved by the General Assembly, requires the Board of Education to extend for at least one additional year, but for no more than two additional years, the three-year provisional license of a teacher upon receiving from the division superintendent (i) a recommendation for such extension and (ii) satisfactory performance evaluations for such teacher for each year during the original three-year provisional license that such teacher was actually employed.
Youngkin’s amendment adds to the wording of the criteria that a filed performance evaluation received each year be a factor in granting a provisional license extension.
VML Contact: Josette Bulova, email@example.com
Health & Human Services
The General Assembly accepted Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s proposed amendments to the following bills:
HB1900 (Hope) Provider provisional licenses. As approved by the General Assembly, requires the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) to direct any provider who is issued a provisional license to review all pertinent state and federal regulations and other contractual requirements, etc., to determine any possible limitations on them imposed by any state agency, including restrictions on reimbursement imposed by the Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS). Also requires a provider that signs a consent agreement waiving his right to appeal a provisional license issuance decision be given the same direction to review regulations to determine any restrictions on reimbursement and that a copy of the signed consent agreement be provided to DMAS. Finally, requires DBHDS and DMAS to develop a joint agency protocol requiring DMAS to collaborate and consult with DBHDS prior to imposing limitations on a provider that could lead to reimbursement restrictions.
Youngkin’s amendment removes the language requiring DBDHS and DMAS to develop a joint agency protocol requiring DMAS to collaborate and consult with DBDHS prior to imposing limitations on a provider that could lead to restrictions on reimbursement.
HB2185 (Rasoul) / SB1169 (Hanger) CSB performance contracts. These identical bills modify and reorganize provisions related to the requirements of performance contracts entered into by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) with community services boards (CSBs) and behavioral health authorities (BHAs).
Youngkin’s amendments accelerates the effective date of the most critical portion of the legislation from July 1, 2025, to July 1, 2024, even though the Department of Planning and Budget’s impact statement from the 2023 Session stated that a new data platform and reports necessary for the enhanced performance review and reporting would take at last 18 months to be finalized.
VML Contact: Janet Areson, firstname.lastname@example.org
The General Assembly accepted Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s proposed amendments to the following bills:
HB2294 (Kilgore) / SB903 (Hanger) Hemp product definitions, regulatory oversight, and THC limits. As approved by the General Assembly, these bills establish new definitions for what classifies as a “hemp product” as well as a “hemp product intended for smoking;” create new limits on the amount of THC products sold in Virginia can contain; and establish new regulations, licensing, and penalties for the sale of “regulated hemp products” under the purview of the Virginia Commissioner and Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS).
Youngkin’s amendments require every retailer that sells a regulated hemp product to register with VDACS and pay an annual fee of $1,000 and establish standards for the packaging and labeling of registered hemp products for sale which include child-resistant packaging, a list of ingredients, and a certificate of analysis of intoxicating ingredients.
The amendments also prohibit any products sold from being in the shape of a “human, animal, vehicle, or fruit” or in any packaging that is trademarked under federal law or using a likeness to existing trademarked products. Licensed retailers and regulated hemp products sold are also subject to inspection and testing by VDACs during business hours. Violations of these regulations are subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000 per day in which a violation occurs.
Exempted from these regulations and licensing requirements are topical hemp products that are labelled to indicate they are not intended for human consumption, products approved by the Food and Drug Administration, or products sold by a medical marijuana dispensary licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
VML Contact: Mitchell Smiley, email@example.com
The General Assembly accepted Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s proposed amendments to the following bills.
HB2338 (McQuinn) and SB1326 (McClellan) Transit Ridership Improvement Program (TRIP). As approved by the General Assembly, these bills expand the uses of TRIP funds by allowing up to 30 percent to be used by local, regional, or state entities to improve transit accessibility for passenger facilities. The program was established in 2020 to promote improved transit service in jurisdictions with populations greater than 100,000 and to reduce barriers to transit use for low-income riders. Currently these funds can be directed to “routes of regional significance” with 25 percent of TRIP funds directed towards reducing the impact of fares on low-income individuals to include fare reduction or elimination programs and another 25 percent to support regional transit initiatives.
Youngkin’s amendments expand the allowable use of TRIP funding for expenses related to “crime prevention and public safety for transit passengers, operators, and employees.” The amendments also eliminate the use of TRIP program funding for transitioning transit fleets to a zero-emission fleet (Note – these costs were included in the bill that passed the House and Senate).
The General Assembly, through action by the Senate, rejected Gov. Youngkin’s proposed amendments to the following bill.
SB1035 (McPike) Bridges; state of good repair; allocation of funds. As approved by the General Assembly this bill expands the criteria for a bridge to be eligible for state of good repair funds so long as a major component receives a poor general condition rating. This will allow for improvements to bridges to extend their service life. The bill also changes the funding distribution to a needs-based distribution among highway construction districts from the current needs-based distribution with percentage limits for each transportation district.
Youngkin’s unsuccessful amendment sought to restore the minimum funding base to ensure each construction district received no less than 5.5% of funding allocated in a given year. The bill is now before Youngkin to sign into law, veto, or decline to sign and allow the bill to become law after 30 days.
VML Contact: Mitchell Smiley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) toolkit now available to all Virginia localities
The VAEEC is dedicated to helping local governments navigate the available federal funding options. In addition to its members-only federal funding options, the VAEEC now offers an EECBG Toolkit available to all Virginia localities. The toolkit provides a practical program overview to help localities navigate the program options, available resources, and the application process. Additionally, it features a list of successful examples of how EECBG funds were used during the 2009 American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, as well as other funding opportunities that can be leveraged or stacked with EECBG funds to help localities maximize their allocations and further expand clean energy in their communities.
VAEEC Contact: Jessica Greene, email@example.com
NLC resources to assist with ARPA reporting requirements
It is ARPA reporting time again for all municipalities! Approximately 1,100 cities file quarterly and have been through this process a number of times. More than 26,000 NEUs will be filing their second annual Project & Expenditure report. With elections and staff turnover at the end of 2022, filing a Project & Expenditure Report might be a challenge for some municipalities.
To help, the National League of Cities (NLC) is providing state leagues like the Virginia Municipal League with lots of resources to help their members this year.
- For help from the U.S. Treasury regarding ARPA reporting questions, contact the help desk at SLFRF@treasury.gov or call (844) 529-9527.
- Additional self-help resources for completing a report can be found here.
- Finally, a new, simplified video on how to report for smaller communities produced by the U.S. Department of Treasury can be accessed here. This video came from NLC’s urging of Treasury to make the process simpler for the smallest cities with the least capacity.
NLC Resources: An informative blog with a step-by-step walk through in slide format of everything a city needs to know to files as well as a video tour of the portal is available on NLC’s site here >.
NLC Contact: Mike Gleeson, firstname.lastname@example.org
“Safe Streets and Roads for All” FY23 NOFO open through July 10
The fiscal year (FY) 2023 Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for “Safe Streets and Roads for All” grants is live on Grants.gov and open for applications.
The deadline for applications is 5:00 p.m. (EDT) Monday, July 10, 2023. Late applications will not be accepted. For details, more information, and applicant guidance:
- Review the NOFO
- Visit our How to Apply page
- Visit our Resources page
- Review SS4A Frequently Asked Questions
- Attend a grant application webinar
- Learn about what’s new in 2023
Award announcements are expected to be made by late 2023.
Contact: E. Bryan Rush, email@example.com
Schar School of Policy and Government: Free webinars and peer-to-peer cohorts available to VML members!
Since 2018, the Regional Elected Leaders Initiative (RELI) within GMU’s Schar School of Policy and Government has developed programs to support, educate, engage and connect Northern Virginia’s elected leaders on a range of policy and governance topics. RELI programs continue to expand in scope and reach – many now available to local leaders throughout Virginia.
The May webinars will address important and current governance issues being considered by many localities.
To register, click on the webinar hot link below:
- Webinar #1 – Executive Evaluation (Friday, May 5 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.)
- Webinar #2 – Collective Bargaining (Friday, May 19 |12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.)
The June peer-to-peer cohort is a unique opportunity for local elected leaders to talk with your peers about a range of governance and policy issues. The program consists of four virtual facilitated sessions of one hour each. These will be held on June 9, 16, 23, and 30. Participation is limited to 12 local elected officials, and participants must commit to all four sessions.
To express interest in the June peer-to-peer cohort, send an email to: scharRELI@gmu.edu.
RELI provides quality programs and is guided by an Advisory Board of distinguished former elected officials. As a RELI partner organization, VML is co-sponsoring these programs and encourages you to take advantage of them as they will complement VML’s own offerings.
Contact: Jay Fisette, firstname.lastname@example.org
DCJS offers webinars on school safety
Local government officials are invited to participate in two upcoming webinars addressing school safety entitled “Narrowing the Gap: A Conversation to Improve the Response to a Crisis in Our Schools by all Stakeholders” Webinar Series” sponsored by the Virginia Center for School & Campus Safety at the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS).
The webinar series includes four sessions; the first two were focused specifically on school superintendents and staff, first responders, mental health professionals, school health staff, and teachers.
Sessions Three and Four are open to school board members, local governing body members, local attorneys, and state agencies, and federal partners.
- Session Three will be held Wednesday, April 26, from 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
- Session Four will be held Wednesday, May 3, from 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Click here to register for Session Three. Once you register for Session Three you will automatically be registered for Session Four (May 3).
DCJS Contact: Shellie Evers, Shellie.Evers@dcjs.virginia.gov
Draft state aging plan open for review and comment
May 5, 2023, is the deadline to submit public comments on the Draft State Plan for Aging Services, which is posted on the website of the Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) here >.
The adopted plan will cover the period from Oct. 1, 2023, through Sept. 30, 2027.
In accordance with the Older Americans Act of 1965, as amended, and the Code of Virginia § 51.5-136, DARS is Virginia’s designated State Unit on Aging, and is mandated to submit a State Plan for Aging Services to the U.S. Administration on Community Living (ACL), the Governor, and the General Assembly.
Guided by federal requirements and a comprehensive needs assessment process, DARS developed its draft state plan in collaboration with older Virginians and caregivers as well as the state’s aging network, state agencies, Virginia universities, and stakeholder organizations.
Public comments on the draft plan can be submitted the following ways:
- Email: StateAgingPlan@dars.virginia.gov
- Mail: DARS, C/O Charlotte Arbogast, 8004 Franklin Farms Drive, Henrico, VA 23229
- Fax: 804-662-7663
Virtual public hearing happening April 18
A Virtual Public Hearing will be held on the Draft State Plan for Aging Services on Tuesday, April 18, 2023 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Register for the virtual public hearing here >.
Note – DARS is working to arrange ASL interpretation and live captioning for the virtual public hearing.
The final State Plan for Aging Services must be submitted to ACL by July 1, 2023, and to the Governor and General Assembly by October 1, 2023.