Virginia General Assembly Update – Week One

Today, we are wrapping up the first of six weeks that make up the 2017 Virginia General Assembly session. Each January, our elected legislators convene in the Capitol to introduce, debate, and vote on potential policy change. To keep Network Partners and conservation supporters informed how these debates may influence our air, water, landscapes, and wildlife here in Virginia, Virginia Conservation Network will publish a weekly blog post throughout session highlighting the most notable bills and the status of those the conservation community has take positions on. Each week, we will also include upcoming events to add to your calendar, as well as noteworthy articles covering the Virginia General Assembly.

Bill tracker

The positions listed below have been taken by Virginia Conservation Network (VCN)’s Legislative Committee and Board of Directors and are supported by Virginia’s conservation community. To access talking points for these bills, simply click on the bill number.

Issue AreaBill NumberPatronDescriptionPosition
Budget91GN/AFunds to the Virginia Farmland Preservation Fund are proposed to be cut from $1,000,000 to $250,000 in the second year.OPPOSE
Budget365D.1N/AFunds to the Virginia Land Conservation Fund are proposed to be cut from $8,000,000 to $4,500,000 in the second year. OPPOSE
Budget367HN/AFunds to the Virginia Battlefield Preservation Fund are proposed to be cut from $1,000,000 to $676,528 in the second year.OPPOSE
WaterHB1678RobinsonVirginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA); trade secrets submitted to the Department of Mines.OPPOSE
WaterHB1679RobinsonWell permit applications; disclosure of trade secrets.OPPOSE
WaterHB1573HelselMarine Resources Commission; licenses; revocation.OPPOSE
WaterHB1575HelselMarine Resources Commission; oyster dredge; sanctuary area.OPPOSE
WaterHB1619BulovaWatershed discharge permits; review of allocations.SUPPORT
Land Use & TransportationHB1635SullivanHistoric rehabilitation tax credit.OPPOSE
Land Use & TransportationSB1034HowellHistoric rehabilitation tax credit.OPPOSE
EnergyHB1636SullivanEnergy efficiency programs; total resource cost test.SUPPORT
EnergyHB1703SullivanElectric and natural gas utilities; energy efficiency goals.SUPPORT
Land Use & TransportationHB1766HabeebUtility Facilities Act; associated facilities of an electrical transmission line. OPPOSE
Land Use & TransportationSB1110StanleyUtility Facilities Act; associated facilities of an electrical transmission line. OPPOSE
Land Use & TransportationSB887ChafinPrioritization of statewide transportation projects; exceptions.OPPOSE
WaterHB2008HodgesStormwater; erosion and sediment control, 10,000 square foot minimum disturbance.OPPOSE
WaterHB2089KorySchool boards, local; lead testing of potable water in schools.SUPPORT
WaterSB1359McPikeSchool boards, local; lead testing of potable water in schools.SUPPORT
Land Use & TransportationHB2136LeMunyonWashington Metrorail Safety Commission Interstate Compact.SUPPORT
Land Use & TransportationHB2136LeMunyonWashington Metrorail Safety Commission Interestate CompactSUPPORT
EnergyHB2198KilgoreCoal tax; limits aggregate amount of credits that may be allocated or claimed for employment, etcOPPOSE
Land Use & TransportationHB2244JonesPublic-Private Transportation Act of 1995; changes name of Advisory Committee.SUPPORT
Land Use & TransportationSB1322CarricoPublic-Private Transportation Act of 1995; changes name of Advisory Committee.SUPPORT
EnergySB1471LockeVirginia Alternative Energy and Coastal Protection Act; established, report.SUPPORT
WaterHJ572KnightStudy; regulation of menhaden fishing; report.SUPPORT
Land Use & TransportationSB806StanleyInterstate 73 Corridor Development Fund and Program.OPPOSE
WaterSB898StuartDEQ; combined sewer overflow (CSO) outfalls; Potomac River Watershed.SUPPORT
WaterSB910StuartVirginia Oil and Gas Act; sampling and replacing contaminated wells.SUPPORT
WaterSB911StuartOrphaned Well Fund; surcharge.SUPPORT
EnergyHB2112KeamElectric utilities; community renewable projects.SUPPORT
EnergySB1208WextonElectric utilities; community renewable projects.SUPPORT
WaterHB1423AlboPotomac River Watershed; DEQ to identify owner of any combined sewer overflow outfall, etc.SUPPORT
WaterHB1454AustinJames River; designation as component of Virginia Scenic Rivers System.SUPPORT
AntiRegHB1566WebertProfessions and occupations; active supervision of regulatory boards.OPPOSE
AntiRegHB1654LoupassiExamining and approving a statement in lieu of the settlement of accounts; fee for commissioner.OPPOSE
WaterHB1870LopezDeleterious substances; discharge into state waters.SUPPORT
EnergyHB1974O'QuinnClean Power Plan; state implementation plan; General Assembly approval.OPPOSE
EnergyHB2018VillanuevaVirginia Alternative Energy and Coastal Protection Act, established, report.SUPPORT
Land Use & TransportationHB2023VillanuevaHighway maintenance payments; bicycle lanes.SUPPORT
OtherHB2182SicklesVoter registration at the Department of Motor Vehicles; opt-out voter registration.SUPPORT
AntiRegHJ545HeadConstitutional amendment; powers of General Assembly, etc.OPPOSE
OtherHJ704BulovaStudy; Secretary of Natural Resources and Secretary of Education; environmental education; report.SUPPORT
OtherHJ763LandesConstitutional amendment (first resolution); apportionment; political considerations prohibited.SUPPORT
OtherSB1051EbbinAutomatic Voter RegSUPPORT
Land Use & TransportationSB1251BarkerWashington Metrorail Safety Commission Interstate Compact; Virginia authorized to become signatory.SUPPORT
WaterSB1383SurovellCoal ash; treatment by utilities; recycling.SUPPORT
WaterSB1398SurovellCoal combustion residuals unit; closure permit; assessments required.SUPPORT
WaterSB1399SurovellCoal combustion by-product impoundments; closure requirements.SUPPORT
EnergySB1496LewisVirginia Alternative Energy and Coastal Protection Act; established, reportSUPPORT
OtherSJ290HowellConstitutional amendment; criteria for electoral districts (first reference).SUPPORT
AntiRegSJ295VogelConstitutional amendment (first resolution); legislative review of administrative rules.OPPOSE
AntiRegSJ311CarricoConstitutional amendment; legislative review of administrative rules (first reference)OPPOSE
Budget448#1hLeMunyonWMATA Compact Revisions Required OPPOSE
Budget4-5.03#3hLaRockNo DRPT Funding Unless Conditions Related to WMATA Enacted OPPOSE
BudgetC-48.10#1sHangerStormwater Local Assistance FundSUPPORT
Budget370#1hLandesStormwater Local Assistance FundSUPPORT
Budget370#2hLingamfelterStormwater Local Assistance FundSUPPORT
BudgetC-48.10#6hYanceyStormwater Local Assistance FundSUPPORT
Budget364#2sHangerWater Quality Improvement FundSUPPORT
Budget364#6hLandesWater Quality Improvement FundSUPPORT
Budget364#5hO'BannonWater Quality Improvement FundSUPPORT
Budget364#6sRuffDept of Conservation RecreationSUPPORT
Budget3-6.01#1sRuffRecordation Tax FeeSUPPORT
Budget364#4hRuffRecordation Tax FeeSUPPORT
Budget364#10hLingamfelterReflect Increased Dedication of Recordation Fee to NRCFSUPPORT
Budget3-6.01#1hLingamfelterDirect Recordation Filing Fee to NRCFSUPPORT
Budget364#1sLewisWater Quality Improvement FundSUPPORT
Budget364#3hWebertFully Fund Ag BMP RequirementsSUPPORT
EnergyHB2390KilgoreRenewable energy power purchase agreements; expands pilot program.OPPOSE
EnergySB1393WagnerElectric utilities; community solar pilot programs.SUPPORT
EnergySB918EdwardsRenewable energy; third-party power purchase agreements.SUPPORT
Land Use & TransportationSB1423WagnerElectric utilities; viewshed mitigation payments.OPPOSE
Land Use & TransportationSB1282McDougleWireless communications infrastructure; procedure for approved by localities.OPPOSE
Land Use & TransportationHB2196KilgoreWireless communications infrastructure; procedure for approved by localities.OPPOSE
WaterHB2383LingamfelterCombined sewer overflow outfalls; DEQ to identify owner that discharges into Chesapeake Bay.SUPPORT

Mark your calendars!

Conservation Lobby Day | January 23 | Richmond, VA

Bills move fast in the Virginia General Assembly! Virginia Conservation (VCN) organizes Conservation Lobby Day to ensure a strong conservation voice is heard early in the legislative session. Volunteer advocates are invited to join professional staff of VCN Partners as we meet with state legislators and encourage them to support environmental policy advancements.

Featured Speakers
Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam
Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter

Conservation Lobby Day Information
Monday, January 23, 2017
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church | Richmond, VA
Tickets $25 (student discounts available) | Register today!
Please note: Registration closes Friday, January 20, 2017.

Public Health Festival
The Virginia League of Conservation Voters will be hosting a public health festival at the Unitarian Church in Norfolk on Saturday, January 28 from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

The Hampton Roads region is seeing the impacts of climate change on public health matters like air and water quality at an expedient rate, so this event will serve as a resource with local community partners who can offer solutions to help protect families from the dangers of changing climates. Healthcare professionals will be on site to help answer questions and provide resources for community members. We will also be joined by local elected officials who can speak to the solutions most helpful in responding to threats to clean air and water in Hampton Roads.

Questions? Please contact Jennessa Agnew at

New to the General Assembly process? Here is the quick summary on what you need to know.

The Virginia General Assembly—the oldest lawmaking body in the United States—is composed of two chambers: the State Senate and House of Delegates. Forty senators serve four-year terms, while one hundred delegates are re-elected every two years. Each chamber uses committees to review the many bills presented each year. Energy bills are typically presented before the Commerce and Labor Committees. Bills on rail, roads, and similar issues go before the Transportation Committees. Most other conservation issues stand before the Agriculture and Natural Resource Committees.

A bill must pass through a committee before being considered by the full chamber in a floor vote. It then crosses over into the other chamber to go through the same process. Once passed by both chambers, the bill goes to the Governor for signing. The Governor can amend or veto legislation. The Virginia General Assembly reconvenes each April for a veto session to accept or override the Governor’s actions.

Virginia has one of the shortest General Assembly sessions in the country. Forty-five days in short-sessions and sixty days in long-session. 2017 is a short session.

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