Local Government Committee

Local Government Committee 1

Summary

Meets on: Monday at 9:00 a.m. in Senate Room 3, Capitol

Members: Lewis, Lynwood (Chair) –  John Bell – Amanda Chase  – Bill DeSteph –Siobhan Dunnavant – Barbara Favola – Emmett Hanger  – Ghazala Hashmi  – Janet Howell – Jen Kiggans  –  Jeremy McPike –  Joe Morrissey  – Todd Pillion –Lionell Spruill  – Bill Stanley

(8 Democrats and 7 Republicans)

Subcommittees:

  • Charters

News

i
Local Government bills passed by General Assembly
Virginia Legislative Information System

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

  • SB 1120: County executive form of government; local budgets
  • SB 1128: Norfolk, City of; amending charter, general updates
  • SB 1136: License plates, special; repeals issuance of certain plates
  • SB 1216: Crewe, Town of; amending charter, changes to charter including town council, elections and powers
  • SB 1152: Appomattox, Town of; amending charter, shifts local elections from May to November, etc
  • SB 1157: Municipal elections; shifting elections to November
  • SB 1207: Solar and energy storage projects; siting agreements throughout the Commonwealth
  • SB 1208: Continuity of government; extends period of time that locality may provide after disaster, etc
  • SB 1267: Covington, City of; amending charter, consolidated school division, salaries
  • SB 1270: Eminent domain; notice of intent to file certificate
  • SB 1298: Tourism improvement districts; authorizes any locality to create
  • SB 1309: Local stormwater assistance; flood mitigation and protection
  • SB 1385: Underground utility facilities; Fairfax County
  • SB 1393: Trees; replacement and conservation during development, effective date
  • SB 1399: Tourism Development Authority; name change
  • SB 1447: Buckingham County; fees for disposal of solid waste
  • SB 1457: Historic sites; urban county executive form of gov’t. (Fairfax County), provisions in its ordinance
i
Local Government 2021 Hearings
Virginia Senate Live Session Video Stream

Standing Committee: 1/18  1/25  2/1  2/15  2/22

Subcommittees:
Charters: 2/15

RSA bill fails in committee
Daily Progess, Gracie Hart BrooksFebruary 9, 2021 (Medium)

A three-county marriage is in the midst of a divorce, senators said Monday.
Members of the Senate Committee on Local Government discussed Senate Bill 1355 during a Monday morning session. The bill would allow any member locality of the Rapidan Service Authority (RSA) to withdraw from the authority regardless of any outstanding bonds. The locality would need to meet certain requirements in order to do so including obtaining the unanimous consent of all holders of any outstanding bonds unless all such bonds have been paid or cashed or United States government obligations have been deposited for payment. Any written obligation to RSA incurred by the locality while a member of the authority would remain and the withdrawing locality would assume ownership and management of any RSA asset located within its limits and assume any debt related to said asset.

The bill was introduced by Senator Emmett Hanger, Jr. who represents the 24th District of which both RSA members Madison and Greene counties belong. Third RSA member Orange County is represented by Senator Bryce Reeves in the 17th District. The introduction of the bill came months after Greene County Supervisors passed a resolution asking to withdraw from the authority. Orange and Madison counties declined. In September, Greene County Supervisors filed two lawsuits against RSA.

November elections are more convenient and less confusing for voters, have massively higher voter turnout, and save taxpayers money compared to standalone May local elections. SB 1157, sponsored by Sen. Lionell Spruill (D-Chesapeake), would consolidate all Virginia local elections to November. It was successfully reported out of the Senate’s Local Government committee on Monday morning, January 18. Del. Cliff Hayes, Del. Kelly Convirs- Fowler, and Del. Nancy Guy are co-sponsoring the bill in the House of Delegates. In the last two days, Del. Shelly Simonds and Del. Clint Jenkins have also agreed to complete co-sponsor paperwork for the bill as well.

Despite separate May local elections costing Virginia taxpayers more, 115 Virginia localities – representing hundreds of thousands of Virginians – hold local elections in May, when voter turnout is abysmally low compared to November elections. Four of the Virginia localities that hold these anti-democratic, low-turnout May elections each have more than 89,000 registered voters: Chesapeake, Norfolk, Newport News, and Hampton.

Standalone municipal elections developed as efforts to decrease immigrant and minority voting. Historically and today, voters in low-turnout May elections tend to be whiter, wealthier, and older than November voters.

The Senate version of Jones’ bill, sponsored by Saslaw, initially contained a clause making it retroactive to March 1, 2020. But Senate committees ultimately stripped retroactivity from all three measures after the state’s Department of Planning and Budget warned the fiscal impact was “indeterminate.”

Localities, especially, have long argued that dating the bill back to March could lead to hundreds of additional COVID-19 claims from their employees, who would now be presumed to have contracted the virus on the job. That’s a financial burden that they — and their insurers — aren’t prepared to shoulder, representatives from cities and counties argued.

“Local governments and risk insurance providers haven’t budgeted for an expansion of the liability to cover additional presumptions related to COVID-19,” Jeremy Bennett, the director of intergovernmental affairs for the Virginia Association of Counties, said during a committee hearing last month, adding that it could have a “multi-million dollar impact.”

Senate lawmakers strip Chase of her last committee assignment
12onYourSide, Ned Oliver and Graham MoomawJanuary 19, 2021 (Short)

Lawmakers in the Virginia Senate stripped Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield, of her last committee assignment Tuesday.

The post — a seat on the chamber’s typically sleepy panel on local government — is hardly sought after. But the decision, pushed by Democrats seeking to punish Chase for her support of the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol, prompted a half hour of debate as some in the GOP worried about the precedent the decision might set.

“A concern that I have is, I am not certain where the boundaries will be drawn in the future,” said Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment, R-James City. He had prefaced his comments by observing that he would not “be defending some of the controversial behavior of the senator from Chesterfield.

About

From Senate Rules: “A Committee on Local Government, 15 Senators, to consider matters of local government in the counties, cities, towns, regions or districts, planning boards and commissions and authorities, except matters relating to the compensation of elected officeholders, where funds of the Commonwealth are involved”.

Web

VA Legislative Information Systems (LIS)

Bills

Bills reported out 

SB 1120: Provides that a county that has adopted the county executive form of government (Albemarle and Prince William Counties) may carry over unspent funds from year to year for multiyear capital projects and outstanding grants without having to reappropriate the funds.

SB 1128: Changes from a judge or justice of the peace to the city clerk the person to whom newly elected or appointed officials, other than members of the city council, take their oaths of office. Signed by Senate President (02/22/21)

SB 1141: Changes various requirements of the Southeastern Public Service Authority (the Authority) when budgeting or incurring debt, including (i) changing the required five-year overall strategic plan to a financial plan, (ii) specifying that detailed financial plans be made only when incurring long-term debt or issuing new debt, (iii) authorizing other qualified financial consultants instead of a certified public accountant to assist in the creation of the detailed financial plan, (iv) changing from the Authority’s Board of Directors to the Authority the body that performs a due diligence investigation of the appropriateness of issuing new debt, and (v) and raising the permissible threshold for the executive director of the authority to execute or commit the authority to a contract, memorandum of agreement, or memorandum of understanding without acquiring Board approval.

SB 1152: Shifts local elections for the Town of Appomattox from May to November and staggers the election of members of the town council. The bill makes organizational changes to provisions related to the election and appointment of town officers. This bill is identical to HB 1858. Signed by Senate President (02/22/21)

SB 1157: Shifts all municipal elections for city and town council and school board from May to November, beginning with elections held after January 1, 2022. Awaiting Governor Action

SB 1207: Expands existing provisions related to siting agreements and zoning special exceptions for solar projects located in an opportunity zone to include energy storage projects and makes the provisions statewide.

SB 1208: Extends from six to 12 months the period of time after an enemy attack or other disaster that a locality may, by ordinance, provide for a method to assure continuity in its government and requires the ordinance to provide a method for the locality to resume normal governmental authority by the end of that 12-month period.

SB 1216: Makes various changes to the charter for the Town of Crewe in Nottoway County, including (i) staggering town council elections; (ii) changing from three to two the number of town council members required to call a special meeting; and (iii) transferring from the town council to the town manager the authority to appoint, suspend, or terminate the chief of police with majority approval by the town council. The bill also repeals provisions related to the establishment of a municipal court. This bill is identical to HB 1764. Signed by Senate President (02/22/21)

SB 1226: Provides that the Compensation Board shall consider workload totals comprehensively, including the use of diversion programs and specialty dockets, when determining staffing and funding levels for an attorney for the Commonwealth and the office. 

SB 1267:  Amends the charter for the City of Covington to help facilitate the consolidation of the school divisions of the City of Covington and Alleghany County. Signed by Senate President (02/22/21)

SB 1285: Removes the requirement that a building meet the definition of “derelict building,” and instead requires that such building potentially endanger the public health, safety, or welfare in order for the Town of Clifton Forge, the Town of Pulaski, in a conservation and rehabilitation district of the town, the Town of Timberville, and any city to require, by ordinance, the owner or owners of buildings that have been vacant for a continuous period of 12 months or more to register such buildings on an annual basis and pay an annual registration fee not to exceed $100 to defray the cost of processing such registration.

SB 1298: Authorizes any locality to create a local tourism improvement district plan, consisting of fees charged to businesses and used to fund tourism promotion activities and capital improvements. Signed by Senate President (02/22/21)

SB 1309: Authorizes grants from a local Stormwater Management Fund to be used for flood mitigation and protection measures that are part of a comprehensive flood mitigation and protection plan adopted by the locality, and requires such grants, where practicable, to prioritize projects that include nature-based practices. Signed by Senate President (02/22/21)

SB 1385: Removes the sunset on a pilot program allowing a locality that has adopted the urban county executive form of government (Fairfax County) to request an electric utility to place underground electric distribution lines as part of a transportation infrastructure improvement project and changes a number of provisions in the program including (i) expanding the scope to include electric cooperatives, telecommunications providers, cable providers, and other utilities; (ii) expanding the scope to include all underground facilities; (iii) making negotiable in the agreement the costs of relocating the facilities; (iv) placing additional limits on the levy to fund the project and the types of projects for which it may be imposed; and (v) authorizing the locality to secure necessary permits on behalf of the utility or provider.

SB 1393: Gives a locality the ability to exceed general requirements in its tree replacement and conservation ordinances in specific circumstances, including development that impacts stormwater permit requirements, recurrent flooding, formerly redlined areas, and comprehensive plan compliance. Signed by Senate President (02/22/21)

SB 1399: Renames the Tourism Development Authority, also known as the Virginia Coalfield Regional Tourism Development Authority, as the Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority. House amendments agreed to by Senate (38 Yes to 0 No)

SB 1447: Adds Buckingham County to the list of counties authorized, by ordinance, and after a public hearing, to levy a fee for the management of solid waste not to exceed the actual cost incurred by the county in removing and disposing of solid waste, and the list of counties authorized by ordinance, and after a public hearing, to levy a fee for the disposal of solid waste not to exceed the actual cost incurred by the county in procuring, developing, maintaining, and improving the landfill and for such reserves as may be necessary for capping and closing such landfill in the future.

SB 1457: Provides that any locality utilizing the urban county executive form of government (Fairfax County) may include a provision in its historic preservation ordinance that would allow public access to an historic area, landmark, building, or structure, or land pertaining thereto, or providing that no subdivision shall occur within any historic district unless approved by the review board or, on appeal, by the governing body of the locality as being compatible with the historic nature of such area, landmarks, buildings, or structures therein with regard to any parcel or parcels that collectively are (i) adjacent to a navigable river and a national park and (ii) in part or as a whole subject to an easement granted to the National Park Service or Virginia Outdoors Foundation granted on or after January 1, 1973. Signed by Senate President (02/22/21)

Bills Passed

  • SB 1120: County executive form of government; local budgets
    Provides that a county that has adopted the county executive form of government (Albemarle and Prince William Counties) may carry over unspent funds from year to year for multiyear capital projects and outstanding grants without having to reappropriate the funds. This bill is identical to HB 1949 (2021 Regular Session).
  • SB 1128: Norfolk, City of; amending charter, general updates
    Changes from a judge or justice of the peace to the city clerk the person to whom newly elected or appointed officials, other than members of the city council, take their oaths of office. The bill also repeals a section related to the establishment of a home guard militia in times of war or insurrection, and it removes references to payment of poll taxes in relation to whether a signature is valid on a petition for the nomination of councilmen or in connection with an initiative, referendum, or recall.
  • SB 1136: License plates, special; repeals issuance of certain plates
    Repeals the authorizations for issuance of special license plates no longer issued due to low plate sales, expired authorizations, or inability to issue. In addition, the bill directs the revenue shared for previous issuances and renewals and future renewals of Kids Eat Free special license plates to the Division of Community Nutrition at the Virginia Department of Health.
  • SB 1216: Crewe, Town of; amending charter, changes to charter including town council, elections and powers
    Makes various changes to the charter for the Town of Crewe in Nottoway County, including (i) staggering town council elections; (ii) changing from three to two the number of town council members required to call a special meeting; and (iii) transferring from the town council to the town manager the authority to appoint, suspend, or terminate the chief of police with majority approval by the town council. The bill also repeals provisions related to the establishment of a municipal court. This bill is identical to HB 1764.
  • SB 1152: Appomattox, Town of; amending charter, shifts local elections from May to November, etc
    Shifts local elections for the Town of Appomattox from May to November and staggers the election of members of the town council. The bill makes organizational changes to provisions related to the election and appointment of town officers. This bill is identical to HB 1858.
  • SB 1157: Municipal elections; shifting elections to November
    Shifts all municipal elections for city and town council and school board from May to November, beginning with elections held after January 1, 2022.
  • SB 1207: Solar and energy storage projects; siting agreements throughout the Commonwealth
    Expands existing provisions related to siting agreements and zoning special exceptions for solar projects located in an opportunity zone to include energy storage projects and makes the provisions statewide. The bill provides that its provisions shall not apply to any energy storage project that has received zoning and site plan approval, preliminary or otherwise, from the host locality before January 1, 2021. The bill also provides that its provisions shall not become effective with respect to energy storage projects unless the General Assembly approves legislation that authorizes localities to adopt an ordinance for taxation of energy storage projects such as solar projects with a local option for machinery and tools tax or solar revenue share. This bill is identical to HB 2201.
  • SB 1208: Continuity of government; extends period of time that locality may provide after disaster, etc
    Extends from six to 12 months the period of time after an enemy attack or other disaster that a locality may, by ordinance, provide for a method to assure continuity in its government and requires the ordinance to provide a method for the locality to resume normal governmental authority by the end of that 12-month period.
  • SB 1267: Covington, City of; amending charter, consolidated school division, salaries
    Amends the charter for the City of Covington to help facilitate the consolidation of the school divisions of the City of Covington and Alleghany County. The bill sets out the salary of a school board member of such consolidated school district and shall become effective on July 1, 2022, provided that the consolidation of the City of Covington and Alleghany County school divisions is approved by the Board of Education prior to that date. This bill is identical to HB 2091.
  • SB 1270: Eminent domain; notice of intent to file certificate
    Provides that the notice required to be sent to a landowner prior to an authorized condemnor recording a certificate of take or certificate of deposit shall state that (i) the certificate of take or certificate of deposit will be recorded between 30 and 45 days from the date of the notice and (ii) the property will transfer to the condemnor upon recordation and that the owner has the right to petition the court for distribution of the funds represented in the certificate.
  • SB 1298: Tourism improvement districts; authorizes any locality to create
    Authorizes any locality to create a local tourism improvement district plan, consisting of fees charged to businesses and used to fund tourism promotion activities and capital improvements. Under the bill, the locality is authorized to contract with a nonprofit entity to administer the activities and improvements.
  • SB 1309: Local stormwater assistance; flood mitigation and protection
    Authorizes grants from a local Stormwater Management Fund to be used for flood mitigation and protection measures that are part of a comprehensive flood mitigation and protection plan adopted by the locality, and requires such grants, where practicable, to prioritize projects that include nature-based practices. Current law allows such funds to be used only for the construction, improvement, or repair of a stormwater management facility or for erosion and sediment control.
  • SB 1385: Underground utility facilities; Fairfax County
    Removes the sunset on a pilot program allowing a locality that has adopted the urban county executive form of government (Fairfax County) to request an electric utility to place underground electric distribution lines as part of a transportation infrastructure improvement project and changes a number of provisions in the program including (i) expanding the scope to include electric cooperatives, telecommunications providers, cable providers, and other utilities; (ii) expanding the scope to include all underground facilities; (iii) making negotiable in the agreement the costs of relocating the facilities; (iv) placing additional limits on the levy to fund the project and the types of projects for which it may be imposed; and (v) authorizing the locality to secure necessary permits on behalf of the utility or provider.
  • SB 1393Trees; replacement and conservation during development, effective date
    Gives a locality the ability to exceed general requirements in its tree replacement and conservation ordinances in specific circumstances, including development that impacts stormwater permit requirements, recurrent flooding, formerly redlined areas, and comprehensive plan compliance. The bill also directs the Secretary of Natural Resources and Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry to convene a stakeholder work group for the purpose of developing and providing recommendations to state and local governments related to policies that encourage the conservation of mature trees and tree cover on sites being developed, increase tree canopy cover in communities, and encourage the planting of trees. The bill will not become effective unless reenacted by the 2022 Session of the General Assembly, but the stakeholder work group is effective in due course. This bill is identical to HB 2042.
  • SB 1399: Tourism Development Authority; name change
    Renames the Tourism Development Authority, also known as the Virginia Coalfield Regional Tourism Development Authority, as the Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority. The bill contains technical amendments.
  • SB 1447: Buckingham County; fees for disposal of solid waste
    Adds Buckingham County to the list of counties authorized, by ordinance and after a public hearing, to levy a fee for the management of solid waste not to exceed the actual cost incurred by the county in removing and disposing of solid waste and to the list of counties authorized, by ordinance and after a public hearing, to levy a fee for the disposal of solid waste not to exceed the actual cost incurred by the county in procuring, developing, maintaining, and improving the landfill and for such reserves as may be necessary for capping and closing such landfill in the future.
  • SB 1457: Historic sites; urban county executive form of gov’t. (Fairfax County), provisions in its ordinance
    Provides that any locality utilizing the urban county executive form of government (Fairfax County) may include a provision in its historic preservation ordinance that would allow public access to an historic area, landmark, building, or structure, or land pertaining thereto, or providing that no subdivision shall occur within any historic district unless approved by the review board or, on appeal, by the governing body of the locality as being compatible with the historic nature of such area, landmarks, buildings, or structures therein with regard to any parcel or parcels that collectively are (i) adjacent to a navigable river and a national park and (ii) in part or as a whole subject to an easement granted to the National Park Service or Virginia Outdoors Foundation granted on or after January 1, 1973.

Commissions & Boards

Virginia Housing Commission

The Virginia Housing Commission exists to study and provide recommendations to ensure and foster the availability of safe, sound and affordable housing for every Virginian.

The Commission may also study and make recommendations relating to such other housing, real property, and community development issues as it may be called upon to consider or as may be desirable.

Capitol Square Preservation Council

Source: Website

Created by the General Assembly in 1999, the Capitol Square Preservation Council consists of thirteen individuals with expertise in art, architecture, landscape architecture, history, preservation, and administration. The Secretary of Administration, Clerk of the House of Delegates, and Clerk of the Senate serve as ex-officio members. This group is charged with planning and review of projects that affect the State Capitol, its historic artifacts, other historic buildings on or adjacent to Capitol Square, and the landscape and archaeological features of Capitol Square.

Bristol Virginia Utilities Authority Board of Directors

Source: Webpage

BVU Authority; Board powers, officers; broadband; FOIA. Reduces from nine to seven the number of directors on the Board of Directors (the Board) of the BVU Authority (the Authority) and alters the methods of their appointment and their powers and duties. The bill  institutes in their place a board of seven directors, comprising (i) one citizen of each of the following localities with its appointing authority: the City of Bristol, appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates; the City of Bristol, appointed by the Board; Scott County, appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates; and Washington County, appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules, and (ii) one member of the governing body of each of the localities of the City of Bristol, the Town of Abingdon, and Washington County, appointed by their respective governing bodies. The citizen of the City of Bristol who is appointed by the Board is required to be engaged in business and may be appointed initially by the Bristol City Council.

Fort Monroe Authority Board of Trustees

Source: Webpage

To govern the Fort Monroe Authority

Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Board of Trustees

Source: Webpage

Do all things necessary and proper to further an appreciation of the contributions of the first permanent English-speaking settlers and their American Indian neighbors of Virginia and the United States to the building of our Commonwealth and nation, to commemorate the winning of American independence on the battlefield at Yorktown, and to enhance our understanding of the making of the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights, including Virginia’s role in shaping the fundamental principles of the American constitutional system.

Virginia Recreational Facilities Authority

Source: Webpage

To (i) provide a high quality recreational attraction in the western part of the Commonwealth; (ii) expand the historical knowledge of adults and children; (iii) promote tourism and economic development in the Commonwealth; (iv) set aside and conserve scenic and natural areas along the Roanoke River and preserve open-space lands; and (v) enhance and expand research and educational programs

Discuss

OnAir membership is required.  The lead Moderator for the discussions is Nanayaa Obeng.
We encourage civil, honest, and safe discourse.  See Terms of Service for curation guidelines.

Home Forums Bills Passed

Viewing 1 reply thread
  • Author
    Posts
    • #25259
      Scott Joy
      Keymaster
    • #26879
      Nanayaa Obeng
      Participant

      Senate Bill 1457 is a great bill as it strives to preserve historic sites which are important in Fairfax County. It will enable the public to have more access to landmarks and buildings that are of great historical value.

Viewing 1 reply thread
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Skip to toolbar