Virginia Senate Republican Caucus

Senate Republicans Highlight Successes at Sine Die

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Sat, 2010-03-13 19:00 -- tjcosgrove

Senate Republicans today highlighted their successes as the General Assembly adjourned the 2010 session sine die.  In addition to addressing a budget shortfall in excess of $4 billion, Senate Republicans focused on issues of importance to Virginia’s families and businesses during the 2010 session. 

 “During a 61-day session, Senate Republicans have achieved great successes for the people of Virginia,” noted Senate Republican Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr.  “Although we are a minority caucus, we have been able to achieve bipartisan support for many of our proposals by focusing on issues that people care about and policies that are truly in the best interest of Virginia.

 “The budget dominated this year’s session,” Norment continued.  “In the end, we managed to close the budget shortfall, invest significantly in job creation and economic development, and do so without raising taxes on the people of Virginia.  The final budget was a strong compromise that will position Virginia for a strong recovery from the current economic recession.”

 Legislation advanced by Senate Republicans this session focused on a variety of issues: jobs & economic development, public safety, transportation, military & veterans affairs, ethics reform, government reform & transparency, health care, energy, and education.  Below is a partial list of accomplishments by Republican Senators:

 Jobs & Economic Development

 SB 323 (Sen. Ruff – Mecklenburg) Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N)          Killed in House Committee

Changes the title of the Secretary of Education to the Secretary of Education & Workforce Development to highlight the additional responsibility given to this Secretariat.

 SB 472 (Sen. Watkins – Powhatan) Passed Senate (37-Y 0-N)          Passed House (99-Y 0-N)

Reduces the number of full-time jobs needed to qualify for the Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit from 100 to 50, or from 50 to 25 in enterprise zones.  This bill was included in Governor McDonnell’s legislative package.

 SB 475 (Sen. Watkins – Powhatan) Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N)          Passed House (98-Y 0-N)

Provides that grants and loans from the Governor’s Development Opportunity Fund be awarded based on job creation, private capital investment, and additional tax revenue expected to accrue to the state or localities.  This bill was included in Governor McDonnell’s legislative package.

 SB 623 (Sen. Hanger – Augusta) Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N)          Passed House (96-Y 1-N)

Allows tax credits for the creation of “green” jobs.  This bill was included in Governor McDonnell’s legislative package.

 SB 658 (Sen. Ruff – Mecklenburg) Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N)          Killed in House Subcommittee

Directs the Department of General Services to develop a program that offers state procurement contracts to small businesses located in historically underutilized business zones (HUB Zones).  This bill was included in Governor McDonnell’s legislative package.

SB 733 (Sen. McWaters – Virginia Beach & Sen. Vogel – Fauquier) Passed Senate (38-Y 2-N)     Continued to 2011 in House Committee

Creates a tax credit against state license tax liability on certain insurance companies for investments in Virginia small business investment companies.  This bill was included in Governor McDonnell’s legislative package.

 SB 739 (Sen. Stosch – Henrico) Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N)     Passed House (90-Y 1-N 1-A)

Expands the use of grants from the Governor’s Development Opportunity Fund to allow such grants to be used for the construction or build-out of privately owned buildings to allow Virginia to more aggressively pursue companies looking to construct headquarters and operations centers in Virginia.  This bill was included in Governor McDonnell’s legislative package.

 Public Safety

SB 486 (Sen. Hurt – Pittsylvania) Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N)          Passed House (95-Y 0-N)

Requires the Department of Juvenile Justice to provide information to law-enforcement relating to involvement in or investigations of criminal street gangs.  This bill was included in Governor McDonnell’s legislative package.

SB 495 (Sen. Hurt – Pittsylvania) Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N)          Conference Committee failed to reach agreement

Stipulates that in determining subsequent DUI offenses, convictions under “substantially similar” laws of other states or the federal government should be included in determining the number of prior convictions.

SB 520 (Sen. Norment – James City) Passed Senate (26-Y 14-N)          Passed House (75-Y 18-N)

Adds murder of auxiliary police officers or auxiliary deputy sheriffs to the capital murder statute.  This bill was included in Governor McDonnell’s legislative package.

SB 531 (Sen. McDougle – Hanover) Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N)          Killed in House Subcommittee

Increases fees that an attorney for the Commonwealth may receive for felony or misdemeanor cases upon conviction in circuit court.  This bill was included in Governor McDonnell’s legislative package.

SB 602 (Sen. Newman – Lynchburg & Sen. Hurt – Pittsylvania) Passed Senate (39-Y 0-N)          Passed House (96-Y 0-N)

The fact that an umbilical cord has not been cut or that the placenta remains attached should not be considered when determining if an infant has achieved an independent and separate existence

SB 679 (Sen. Hanger – Augusta) Passed Senate (36-Y 4-N)          Killed in House Subcommittee

Establishes a restorative justice program for offenders and victims.

Transportation

SB 537 (Sen. Newman – Lynchburg) Passed Senate (29-Y 11-N)          Passed House (76-Y 22-N)

Increases the speed limits to 70 mph on highways that currently have 65 mph speed limits.  This bill was included in Governor McDonnell’s legislative package.

Military & Veterans’ Affairs

SB 55 (Sen. Martin – Chesterfield) Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N)        Passed House (97-Y 0-N)

Allows voters entitled to vote absentee due to active duty military service, service in the merchant marines, or temporary residence outside of the United States and the dependents of such voters to use the federal write-in absentee ballot to voce in state and local elections, as well as federal elections.

SB 243 (Sen. Watkins – Powhatan) Passed Senate (39-Y 0-N)          Passed House (99-Y 0-N)

Exempts active duty military personnel who are residents and on leave from having to obtain a basic fishing license.

SB 455 (Sen. Hurt – Pittsylvania) Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N)          Passed House (98-Y 0-N)

Exempts veterans from the handling fee charged by the Department of Business Assistance when establishing a small business through the one-stop small business permitting program.  This bill was included in Governor McDonnell’s legislative package.

SB 613 (Sen. Wampler – Bristol) Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N)          Passed House (99-Y 0-N)

Allows members of the Virginia National Guard called to state active duty by the Governor to continue their health care coverage, at the member’s expense.

SB 696 (Sen. McWaters – Virginia Beach) Passed Senate (38-Y 2-N)          Passed House (96-Y 0-N)

Allows active-duty military personnel in uniform to use HOV lanes in Hampton Roads regardless of the number of passengers.

SJ 13 (Sen. Stuart – Westmoreland & Sen. Puller – Fairfax) Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N)          Passed House (99-Y 0-N)

Constitutional amendment to allow the General Assembly to exempt from property taxes any real property that is the principle residence of a veteran (or their widow or widower) who is determined to have a 100% service-connected, permanent, and total disability.

Ethics Reform

SB 186 (Sen. Norment – James City, Sen. Smith – Botetourt, & Sen. Northam – Norfolk) Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N)          Continued to 2011 in House Committee

Makes changes to adjudication of ethics complaints by establishing the General Assembly Ethics Review Panel and making public any proceedings beyond preliminary hearings.

SB 506 (Sen. Smith – Botetourt) Passed Senate (34-Y 6-N)          Passed House (97-Y 0-N)

Prohibits the Governor, his PAC, or any pertinent Secretaries from knowingly soliciting or accepting contributions, gifts, or other items worth more than $50 from any bidders or offerors, their controlling persons, or persons acting on their behalf, who have submitted bids or proposals for public contracts worth $5 million.

SB 512 (Sen. Norment – James City & Sen. Smith – Botetourt) Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N)          Passed House (96-Y 0-N)

Requires legislators to disclose on their Statement of Economic Interest any salary they or members of their immediate families earn from state or local governments or advisory agencies.

SJ 147 (Sen. Norment – James City) Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N)          Killed in House Subcommittee

Establishes a joint committee of the General Assembly and the Senate and House Ethics Advisory Panels to evaluate the adequacy of the current General Assembly Conflicts of Interests Acts and the method for adjudicating complaints.

Government Reform & Transparency

SB 236 (Sen. Stosch – Henrico, Sen. McDougle – Hanover, & Sen. Howell – Fairfax) Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N)          Passed House (96-Y 0-N)

Restructures the way information technology services are structured and governed in Virginia to streamline services and ensure greater accountability.

SB 515 (Sen. Norment – James City) Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N)          Left in House Appropriations

Requires the Chairs of the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees to issue reports with the budget conference report specifically identifying any non-state appropriation, any item in the conference report not included in the House or Senate budget, and any item that represents a piece of legislation that failed during session.

Health Care

SB 283 (Sen. Quayle – Suffolk) Passed Senate (23-Y 17-N)          Passed House (67-Y 29-N)

SB 311 (Sen. Martin – Chesterfield) Passed Senate (23-Y 17-N)          Passed House (67-Y 28-N)

SB 417 (Sen. Vogel – Fauquier) Passed Senate (23-Y 17-N)          Passed House (66-Y 29-N)

Provides that no resident of the Commonwealth shall be required to maintain an insurance policy.

SB 622 (Sen. Wampler – Bristol) Passed Senate (39-Y 1-N)          Passed House (92-Y 4-N)

Prohibits dental insurance plans from establishing a rate that a dentist or oral surgeon is required to accept for services unless the services are covered under the dental plan.

Energy

SB 394 (Sen. Wagner – Virginia Beach) Passed Senate (39-Y 1-N)          Passed House (68-Y 28-N)

Sets the Commonwealth’s policy to support exploration, development, and production of oil and natural gas resources 50 miles or more off Virginia’s coast.

Education

SB736 (Sen. Newman – Lynchburg) Passed Senate (25-Y 15-N)          Passed House (73-Y 22-N)

Allows for the establishment of college partnership laboratory schools by any public college that operates a teacher education program.  Schools will be public schools established by contract between college board and the Board of Education.  Teachers shall be employees of the college and licensed by the Board of Education.  This bill was included in Governor McDonnell’s legislative package.

SB737 (Sen. Newman – Lynchburg) Passed Senate (27-Y 12-N 1-A)          Passed House (62-Y 34-N)

Requires charter school applicant to submit charter application to state Board of Education for review based on Board’s criteria before being submitted to local school board.  If application is denied, the applicant may seek technical assistance from the Superintendent of Public Instruction and petition for reconsideration of the decision.  This bill was included in Governor McDonnell’s legislative package.

SB 738 (Sen. Newman – Lynchburg) Passed Senate (35-Y 5-N)          Passed House (78-Y 18-N)

Requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop and the Board of Education to approve criteria for approving multi-division providers of online courses and virtual school programs.  Allows local school boards to enter into contracts with approved private or non-profit organizations to provide such courses and programs.  This bill was included in Governor McDonnell’s legislative package.

 

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