General Laws and Technology Committee

General Laws and Technology Committee

Summary

Meets on: Wednesday at 30 minutes after adjournment in Senate Room 3, The Capitol

Members:  George Barker (Chair)  –  John Bell –  Jennifer Boysko  – Siobhan Dunnavant  – Adam Ebbin – Ghazala Hashmi  – Jen Kiggans  – Mamie Locke  – Monty Mason  –  Jeremy McPike  –  Todd Pillion  –  Bryce Reeves  – Frank Ruff  – Richard Stuart  –  Jill Vogel

(8 Democrats and 7 Republicans)

Subcommittees: None

 

News

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Note: Details on bills passed below are in the Heading “Bills passed”

  • SB1110–  Property; duties of real estate settlement agents.
  • SB 1127 Charitable gaming; conduct of instant bingo, network bingo, pull tabs, and seal cards.
  • SB1150– Department of Veterans Services; Military Spouse Liaison; position created. 
  • SB 1183Property Owners’ Association Act/Condominium Act; use of electronic means for meetings and voting. 
  • SB 1215Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act; tenant remedies for exclusion from dwelling unit, interruption of services, or actions taken to make premises unsafe.
  • SB 1271Virginia Freedom of Information Act; meetings held through electronic communication means during a state of emergency.
  • SB 1279- Department of Veterans Services; initiatives to reduce unemployment among veterans; comprehensive transition program. 
  • SB 1287Charitable Gaming Board; regulations; electronic pull tabs.
  • SB 1296State Coordinator of Emergency Management; establishment of Emergency Management Equity Working Group. 
  • SB 1314Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority; Office of Education and Labor Market Alignment established; workforce and higher education alignment.
  • SB 1327Housing Bill of Rights; housing protections; foreclosures; manufactured housing. 
  • SB 1343Virginia Freedom of Information Act; proprietary records and trade secrets; carbon sequestration agreements.
  • SB 1365- Data governance; Office of Data Governance and Analytics; Chief Data Officer; Virginia Data Commission; report.
  • SB 1389Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act; required disclosures; repetitive risk loss structure; flood risk information form.
  • SB1392Consumer Data Protection Act.
  • SB1206Marijuana; legalization; retail sales; penalties.
  • SB1410Active military or a military spouse; prohibits discrimination in public accommodations, etc.
  • SB1418Grants from the Commonwealth’s Development Opportunity Fund; waiver or reduction of capital investment and local match requirement.
  • SB1429Disposition of property previously used by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services as the Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute.
  • SB1458Secretary of Commerce and Trade; Identity Management Standards Advisory Council.
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General Laws and Technology Committee 2021 hearings
Virginia Senate Live Session Video Stream

Standing Committee: 1/13   1/20  1/27  2/2  2/10  2/17   2/24

When Virginia’s General Assembly first took up legislation billed as a major step toward giving regular people more control over their data in an increasingly online world, some of the first testimony lawmakers heard came from tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon.

Both companies said they were in full support of Virginia’s effort to become just the second state in America to pass its own data privacy bill, an early marker in a debate still unfolding in other states and at the national level.

Supporters of Virginia’s Consumer Data Protection Act, approved by the General Assembly this year and already signed by Gov. Ralph Northam, say the fact that Virginia was able to pass such significant legislation without a major fight is a testament to the quality of the bill, which lays out new consumer protections while largely shielding companies from a flood of data-related lawsuits.

Noting that an estimated 70 percent of internet traffic flows through servers in Virginia, Sen. Dave Marsden, D-Fairfax, said Virginia’s legislation could be “a good starting place for a national privacy bill.”

Virginia lawmakers ban police use of facial recognition
AP, Denise LavoieMarch 29, 2021 (Short)

Last month, Virginia lawmakers quietly passed one of the most restrictive bans in the country on the use of facial recognition technology.

The legislation, which won unusually broad bipartisan support, prohibits all local law enforcement agencies and campus police departments from purchasing or using facial recognition technology unless it is expressly authorized by the state legislature.

But now, some law enforcement officials are asking Gov. Ralph Northam to put the brakes on the legislation, arguing that it is overly broad and hasn’t been thoroughly vetted.

Virginia Senate bill demands Metro change station
Washington PostFebruary 23, 2021 (Short)

State Legislatures across the U.S. are making privacy a priority out of the gate in 2021. The number of states with proposed privacy legislation up for consideration continues to grow, including bills in Washington and Virginia that are already seeing movement.

While the track of the Washington Privacy Act has accrued quite the following, Senate Bill 1392 for Virginia’s Consumer Data Protection Act has begun gaining traction. On Jan. 27, 2021, the Virginia Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology voted 13–0 with one abstention in favor of moving the bill forward to the Senate Finance Committee for further consideration and debate.

“Mr. Chairman, it is time,” State Sen. David Marsden, D-Va., during the meeting. Marsden introduced the bill to the Senate Jan. 13. “It is time that we find a meaningful way of protecting the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s data. … Virginia is in a unique position to be a leader on this issue. There’s a huge amount of the data on the internet that flows through the commonwealth. Privacy is not a new issue.”

About

From Senate Rules: “A Committee on General Laws and Technology, 15 Senators, to consider matters concerning affirmation and bonds; the boundaries, jurisdiction and emblems of the Commonwealth; cemeteries; condominiums; consumer affairs; fire protection; gaming and wagering; housing; inter – or intra-government information technology applications and uses other than those proposed or used to support the operations of the General Assembly or the Senate; land offices; landlord and tenant; libraries; military and war emergency; nuisances; oaths; professions and occupations (except the health and legal professions); religious and charitable matters; state governmental reorganization; veterans’ affairs; warehouses; and matters not specifically referable to other Committees, including, but not limited to, matters relating to technology, engineering, or electronic research, development, policy, standards, measurements, or definitions, or the scientific, technical, or technological requirements thereof, except for those affecting the operations of the General Assembly or the Senate.”.

Web

VA Legislative Information Systems (LIS)

Bills

Bills passed

  • 1110–  Property; duties of real estate settlement agents. Provides that the State Corporation Commission may share information collected from a settlement agent or agency regarding any errors and omissions or malpractice insurance policy or surety bond with any party to the real estate transaction in connection with the actions of such agent or agency arising out of a settlement.
  • SB 1127 Charitable gaming; conduct of instant bingo, network bingo, pull tabs, and seal cards.
  • SB1150– Department of Veterans Services; Military Spouse Liaison; position created. Establishes the position of Military Spouse Liaison (the Liaison) in the Department of Veterans Services to conduct outreach and advocate on behalf of military spouses in the Commonwealth. The bill directs the Liaison to report by December 1 of each year through the Commissioner of the Department of Veterans Services to the Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs, the Governor, and the General Assembly on the work of the Liaison and any legislative recommendations. The provisions of the bill are contingent on funding in a general appropriation act.
  • SB 1183Property Owners’ Association Act/Condominium Act; use of electronic means for meetings and voting. Allows meetings of property owners’ associations, boards of directors, unit owners’ associations, executive boards, and committees to be held entirely or partially by electronic means, provided that the board of directors, unit owners’ association, or executive board, as applicable, has adopted guidelines for the use of electronic means for such meetings. The bill requires that such guidelines ensure that persons accessing such meetings are authorized to do so and that persons entitled to participate in such meetings have an opportunity to do so. The bill grants authority for determining whether any such meeting may be held entirely or partially by electronic means with the board of directors or executive board, as applicable. Under current law, if a meeting of a board of directors or executive board is conducted by telephone conference or video conference, at least two members of the board of directors or executive board, as applicable, are required to be physically present at the meeting place included in the meeting notice. The bill amends the definition of “electronic means” to provide that a meeting conducted by electronic means includes a meeting conducted via teleconference, videoconference, Internet exchange, or other electronic methods. The bill allows members of property owners’ associations or unit owners’ associations to vote at meetings of such associations by absentee ballot, and allows such members to vote in person, by proxy, or by absentee ballot by electronic means, provided that the board of directors or executive board, as applicable, has adopted guidelines for such voting. Finally, the bill provides that if a vote, consent, or approval required to be obtained by secret ballot is accomplished through electronic means, the electronic means shall protect the identity of the voter, and provides that if the electronic means cannot protect the identity of the voter, another means of voting shall be used. This bill is identical to HB 1816.
  • SB 1215Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act; tenant remedies for exclusion from dwelling unit, interruption of services, or actions taken to make premises unsafe. Provides that a general district court shall enter an order upon petition by a tenant that his landlord has (i) removed or excluded the tenant from the dwelling unit unlawfully, (ii) interrupted or caused the interruption of an essential service to the tenant, or (iii) taken action to make the premises unsafe for habitation. The bill allows entry of a preliminary order ex parte to require the landlord to allow the tenant to recover possession of the dwelling unit, resume any such interrupted essential service, or fix any willful actions taken by the landlord or his agent to make the premises unsafe for habitation if there is good cause to do so and the tenant made reasonable efforts to notify the landlord of the hearing. The bill requires that any ex parte order entered shall further indicate a date for a full hearing on the petition that is no later than 10 days from the initial hearing date. Finally, the bill provides that, at a full hearing on such petition and upon proper evidence presented, the tenant shall recover actual damages, the greater of $5,000 or four months’ rent, and reasonable attorney fees. This bill is identical to HB 1900.
  • SB 1271Virginia Freedom of Information Act; meetings held through electronic communication means during a state of emergency. Allows a public body, or a joint meeting thereof, to meet by electronic communication means without a quorum of the public body physically assembled at one location when a locality in which the public body is located has declared a local state of emergency, provided that (i) the catastrophic nature of the declared emergency makes it impracticable or unsafe to assemble a quorum in a single location and (ii) the purpose of the meeting is to provide for the continuity of operations of the public body or the discharge of its lawful purposes, duties, and responsibilities. Under current law, public bodies may only meet in such manner when the Governor has declared a state of emergency, and only for the purpose of addressing the emergency. Finally, the bill requires public bodies meeting through electronic communication means during a local or state declaration of a state of emergency to (a) make arrangements for public access to such meeting through electronic communication means, including videoconferencing if already used by the public body, and (b) provide the public with the opportunity to comment at such meetings when public comment is customarily received.
  • SB 1279- Department of Veterans Services; initiatives to reduce unemployment among veterans; comprehensive transition program. Requires the Department of Veterans Services to develop a comprehensive program to assist military service members, veterans, and their spouses in making a successful transition from military to civilian life in Virginia. The program promotes strategies and services for connecting transitioning service members, veterans, and spouses to local, regional, state, and federal employment resources in Virginia, including (i) skills and workforce assessments and (ii) internship and apprenticeship programs. The bill also requires that the program prioritize assistance to military service members, veterans, and their spouses who have not sought services from or do not qualify for services under certain federal programs administered by the Commonwealth.
  • SB 1287Charitable Gaming Board; regulations; electronic pull tabs. Prohibits the Charitable Gaming Board from promulgating regulations that prohibit the use of multiple video monitors or touchscreens on an electronic pull tab device and provides that the use of electronic pull tab devices utilizing multiple video monitors or touchscreens shall be limited to one player at a time. This bill is identical to HB 1943.
  • SB 1296State Coordinator of Emergency Management; establishment of Emergency Management Equity Working Group. Provides for the State Coordinator of Emergency Management to establish an Emergency Management Equity Working Group to ensure that emergency management programs and plans provide support to at-risk individuals and populations disproportionately impacted by disasters.
  • SB 1314Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority; Office of Education and Labor Market Alignment established; workforce and higher education alignment. Directs the Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority to establish an Office of Education and Labor Market Alignment (the Office) to coordinate data analysis on workforce and higher education alignment and translate data to partners. The Office shall provide a unified, consistent source of information or analysis for policy development and implementation related to talent development and shall partner with the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, institutions of higher education, the Virginia Department of Education, the Virginia Employment Commission, GO Virginia, and other relevant entities to offer resources and expertise related to education and labor market alignment.
  • SB 1327Housing Bill of Rights; housing protections; foreclosures; manufactured housing. Provides for various protections for homeowners and tenants of manufactured home parks, including (i) restricting the circumstances under which a court may order a person’s primary residence to be sold to enforce a judgment lien; (ii) requiring localities to incorporate into their comprehensive plans strategies to promote manufactured housing as a source of affordable housing; (iii) requiring the Director of Housing and Community Development to develop a statement of tenant rights and responsibilities explaining in plain language the rights and responsibilities of tenants under the Virginia Manufactured Home Lot Rental Act; (iv) in the case of a deed of trust conveying owner-occupied residential real estate, prohibiting a trustee of such deed of trust from selling such property in a foreclosure sale without receiving an affidavit signed by the party that provided notice of the sale to the owner confirming that such notice was sent to the owner, with a copy of such notice attached to the affidavit; (v) in the case of a deed of trust conveying owner-occupied residential real estate, increasing the notice period for a foreclosure sale from 14 to 60 days and requiring such notice to provide the grantor with information regarding housing counseling; and (vi) requiring the landlord of a manufactured home park to provide tenants who own their manufactured home information about housing assistance and legal aid organizations. The bill also requires the Department of Housing and Community Development to convene a stakeholder group to assist in the development of the statement of tenant rights and responsibilities. The provisions of the bill related to the specifics of the notice that is required before a trustee can sell a property in a foreclosure sale have a delayed effective date of October 1, 2021. This bill is identical to HB 2175.
  • SB 1343Virginia Freedom of Information Act; proprietary records and trade secrets; carbon sequestration agreements. Excludes from the mandatory disclosure provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act proprietary information, voluntarily provided by a private business under a promise of confidentiality from a public body, used by the public body for a carbon sequestration agreement. The bill requires the private business to specify the records for which protection is sought before submitting them to the public body and to state the reasons why protection is necessary.
  • SB 1365- Data governance; Office of Data Governance and Analytics; Chief Data Officer; Virginia Data Commission; report. Creates the Office of Data Governance (the Office) in the Office of the Secretary of Administration, to be directed by the existing Chief Data Officer of the Commonwealth. The Office is charged with overseeing general data governance in the Commonwealth, as well as developing and managing the Commonwealth Data Trust, a multi-stakeholder data exchange and analytics platform. A multi-level governance structure is established to govern the Trust. The bill also establishes the advisory Virginia Data Commission to advise the Office on issues relating to data sharing.
  • SB 1389Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act; required disclosures; repetitive risk loss structure; flood risk information form. Requires the Real Estate Board to make available on its website a flood risk information form, the details of which are outlined in the bill. The bill also provides that an owner of residential real property located in the Commonwealth who has actual knowledge that the dwelling unit is a repetitive risk loss structure, as defined in the bill, shall disclose such fact to the purchaser on a form provided by the Real Estate Board on its website. The bill has a delayed effective date of January 1, 2022. This bill is identical to HB 2320.
  • SB1392Consumer Data Protection Act. Establishes a framework for controlling and processing personal data in the Commonwealth. The bill applies to all persons that conduct business in the Commonwealth and either (i) control or process personal data of at least 100,000 consumers or (ii) derive over 50 percent of gross revenue from the sale of personal data and control or process personal data of at least 25,000 consumers. The bill outlines responsibilities and privacy protection standards for data controllers and processors. The bill does not apply to state or local governmental entities and contains exceptions for certain types of data and information governed by federal law. The bill grants consumer rights to access, correct, delete, obtain a copy of personal data, and to opt out of the processing of personal data for the purposes of targeted advertising. The bill provides that the Attorney General has exclusive authority to enforce violations of the law, and the Consumer Privacy Fund is created to support this effort. The bill directs the Joint Commission on Technology and Science to establish a work group to review the provisions of this act and issues related to its implementation, and to report on its findings by November 1, 2021. The bill has a delayed effective date of January 1, 2023. This bill is identical to HB 2307.
  • SB1206Marijuana; legalization; retail sales; penalties. Eliminates criminal penalties for simple possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by persons 21 years of age or older, modifies several other criminal penalties related to marijuana, and imposes limits on dissemination of criminal history record information related to certain marijuana offenses. The bill creates the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority (the Authority) and establishes a regulatory and licensing structure for the cultivation, manufacture, wholesale, and retail sale of retail marijuana and retail marijuana products, to be administered by the Authority. The bill contains social equity provisions that, among other things, provide support and resources to persons and communities that have been historically and disproportionately affected by drug enforcement. The bill has staggered effective dates and numerous provisions of the bill are subject to reenactment by the 2022 Session of the General Assembly. This bill incorporates SB 1243 and is identical to HB 2312.
  • SB1410Active military or a military spouse; prohibits discrimination in public accommodations, etc. Prohibits discrimination in public accommodations, employment, and housing on the basis of a person’s military status, defined as a member of the uniformed services of the United States or a reserve component thereof or a spouse or other dependent of the same. The bill also prohibits terms in a rental agreement in which the tenant agrees to waive remedies or rights under the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act prior to the occurrence of a dispute between the landlord and the tenant. This bill is identical to HB2161.
  • SB1418Grants from the Commonwealth’s Development Opportunity Fund; waiver or reduction of capital investment and local match requirement. Provides that, for grants from the Commonwealth’s Development Opportunity Fund, capital investment and local match requirements may be reduced or waived based on the creation of telework jobs that pay an average wage of at least 1.2 times the Virginia minimum wage.
  • SB1429Disposition of property previously used by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services as the Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute. Authorizes the Governor to lease a portion of property previously used by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services as the Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute to Smyth County in as-is condition for a term of three years upon such terms and conditions as may be agreed by the parties, including, without limitation, Smyth County’s responsibility for building or infrastructure refurbishments and operational expenses. The bill also corrects tax map references from a 2019 conveyance of property in Smyth County. This bill is identical to HB 2098.
  • SB1458Secretary of Commerce and Trade; Identity Management Standards Advisory Council. Transfers the management of the Identity Management Standards Advisory Council from the Secretary of Administration to the Secretary of Commerce and Trade. The bill also adds to the membership of the Advisory Council a representative from the Commonwealth of Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority and a representative of Virginia consumers. The bill also allows the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles to serve ex officio with voting privileges.

Commissions & Boards

Commission on Civic Education

Source: Webpage

The purposes of the Commission are to (i) educate students on the importance of citizen involvement in a representative democracy, (ii) promote the study of state and local government among the Commonwealth’s citizenry, and (iii) enhance communication and collaboration among organizations in the Commonwealth that conduct civics education.

Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council

Source: Website

The Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council, a state agency, is an office with the expertise to help resolve disputes over Freedom of Information issues. The FOIA Council answers questions from private citizens, state and local public officials, and the media about access to public records and meetings. Under Virginia law, the presumption is that all documents in the possession of public officials and all meetings of state and local public bodies are open to citizens of the Commonwealth. Of course, there are exceptions and these exceptions can lead to good faith disagreements between citizens or media and public officials.

Joint Reapportionment Committee

Supervise activities required for the tabulation of population for the census and the timely reception of precinct population data for reapportionment.

Joint Commission on Technology and Science

Source: Webpage

The Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS), a permanent legislative agency established in 1997, studies all aspects of technology and science, and strives to encourage, promote, and assist in the development of sound technology and science policy in the Commonwealth.

Aerospace Advisory Council

Source: Webpage

To advise the Governor, the Joint Commission on Technology and Science, and the Secretaries of Commerce and Trade, Technology, and Education on policy and funding priorities with respect to aerospace economic development, workforce training, educational programs, and educational curriculum, and to promote the aerospace and space exploration industry in the Commonwealth.

Broadband Advisory Council

Source: Webpage

The purpose of the Council shall be to advise the Governor on policy and funding priorities to expedite deployment and reduce the cost of broadband access in the Commonwealth

Clean Energy Advisory Board

Source: Website

The Clean Energy Advisory Board (the Board) is established as an advisory board in the executive branch of state government. The purpose of the Board is to establish a pilot program for disbursing loans or rebates for the installation of solar energy infrastructure in low-income and moderate-income households through the “Low-to-Moderate Income Solar Loan and Rebate Fund” (the Fund).

Modeling and Simulation Advisory Council

Source: Webpage

To advise the Governor on policy and funding priorities to promote the modeling and simulation industry in the Commonwealth

Online Virginia Network Authority

Source: Webpage

The Online Virginia Network Authority (the Authority) is established as a political subdivision of the Commonwealth for the purpose of providing a means for individuals to earn degrees and postsecondary education credentials by improving the quality of and expanding access to online degree and credential programs that are beneficial to citizens, public institutions of higher education, and employers in the Commonwealth.

Research & Technology Investment Advisory Committee

Source: Webpage

The Advisory Committee shall be administered by and advise the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Investment Authority.

Qualifications: Ten (10) members as follows: the four vice-provosts of research at major state institutions of higher education from the state institutions of higher education not represented on the Authority, the president and chief executive officer of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, and five citizens members appointed by the Governor (1), Speaker of the House (2), and the Senate Committee on Rules (2).

Solar Energy Development and Energy Storage Authority

Source: Webpage

Virginia Solar Energy Development and Energy Development Authority is created as a body corporate and a political subdivision of the Commonwealth and as such shall have, and is vested with, all of the politic and corporate powers as are set forth in this chapter. The Authority is established for the purposes of facilitating, coordinating, and supporting the development, either by the Authority or by other qualified entities, of the solar energy industry and solar energy projects by developing programs that increase the availability of financing for solar energy projects, facilitate the increase of solar energy generation systems on public and private sector facilities in the Commonwealth, promote the growth of the Virginia solar industry, and provide a hub for collaboration between entities, both public and private, to partner on solar energy projects. The Authority may also consult with research institutions, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and stakeholders as the Authority deems appropriate.

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