Below please find the VUHCC legislative report for the week ending 1/20/12. VUHCC scored a major victory, as noted in Myles' report, when the patron of HB 317, a mechanic's lien bill we were strongly opposed to, decided that based on the opposition he would withdraw his bill, effectively killing it for the session. We were less successful in killing HB 72 which we opposed but was voted out of subcommittee and will be considered by the full House Transportation Committee next week. At this stage the language in the bill suggests that flashing lights at highway construction sites can be used, but are not required. We are also closely monitoring HB 928 which is a bill introduced at the request of an attorney that performs a substantial amount of lien work on behalf of VUHCC members. We support this legislation which has not yet been considered by any committee. I invite you to click on the attached matrix for further details about all legislation being tracked by the VUHCC.

 

Mark Singer
Executive Director 
Virginia Utility & Heavy Contractors Council
1108 E. Main St., Suite 1200
Richmond, VA  23219
ph- 804.346.1020
fx - 804.346.8287
www.vuhcc.org
mark.singer@vuhcc.org

 


 

 

 

A Potential Battle Looming;

Speculation continues regarding how Senate Democrats, who have complained that despite the chamber being split 20-20 with Republicans, find themselves with only 30% to 40% of the seats on most of the chamberŐs standing committees (in the case of the Rules Committee, that number is even lower).  Senate Democrats strongly suggest that the Caucus is prepared to make a stand on arguably the most important bill the General Assembly considers: the state's two-year budget bill.

There is agreement among Senate Republicans and Democrats that Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling can not break a 20-20 tie related to the budget.  Consequently, if the Democratic Caucus holds together, they can block any and all budget related legislation in the Senate.  This complicates discussions about how and at what level core services will be funded, from education and mental health to public safety, and of course transportation.

The GovernorŐs proposal to increase the portion of the state sales tax that goes to transportation from the current 0.5% rate to 0.75% over the next eight years will be one of the more high-profile sticking points in the negotiations between Senate Republicans and Democrats.  Increasing the use of general fund dollars for transportation has garnered very little (if any) support among Democrats, who view such an approach as an attack on public education, health and human resources, and other related services.  A number of Democrats have said publically and privately that no member of their caucus would accept diverting a larger share of the sales tax to transportation.

 This apparent line in the sand puts the very core of the GovernorŐs transportation funding package in serious jeopardy, but this is just one of many areas in the budget that could be the subject of partisan disagreement which could result in a budget stalemate in the Senate.  For their part, Senate Republicans have expressed confidence that there will be enough in the budget (or enough that could satisfy the budget priorities of specific members) to persuade one or more members of the Democratic Caucus to support the Senate budget.  The politics and posturing around the Senate budget will be one of the most closely watched stories of the 2012 Session.     

Additional Pieces of the GovernorŐs Transportation Package:

In addition to increasing the share of the sales tax for transportation, Governor McDonnell unveiled the rest of his transportation package late last week.  The GovernorŐs proposals include allowing the Commonwealth to sell the naming rights to the stateŐs roads, bridges, and other infrastructure assets for a yet to be determined annual fee (the proceeds would go to the Highway Maintenance and Operating Fund).  In addition, the Governor is offering legislation that would create the Virginia Toll Road Authority, which would maintain and operate toll facilities around the Commonwealth (current toll facilities could be transferred to the Authority).  What was perhaps more significant than the modest proposals that were announced, was the proposal that was considered and was not offered.  The Governor declined to include a gas tax indexing bill in his package.  The lack of public support from Governor McDonnell may be an admission that there is simply not enough support among Republican members of the General Assembly (particularly in the House) to secure passage of such a proposal.

 Legislation of Interest:

Transportation Funding: 
Several more transportation funding bills have been offered prior to last FridayŐs bill filing deadline.  Some of the more interesting funding related bills include:

HB 1239, sponsored by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Lacey Putney (I-Bedford) would increase the sales tax by 1% subject to a statewide referendum.  The bill would generate approximately $900 million annually.  Half of the revenues generated would be deposited into a new fund called the ŇSupplemental Highway Construction and Maintenance FundÓ (the fund would utilize $200 million each fiscal year for the construction of secondary system roads, with the remainder going to the Highway Maintenance and Operating Fund to be used to repair bridges that are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete).  The other half of the sales tax increase would be used for education and mental health services.  Despite the fact that the bill is patroned by the HouseŐs most senior (and certainly one of the most respected) members, it is unlikely that the measure will be enthusiastically embraced by either the House Republican majority or by Governor McDonnell (the GovernorŐs spokesman reiterated the GovernorŐs strong opposition to any tax increases).

HB 1241, sponsored by House Finance Committee Chairman Bob Purkey (R-Virginia Beach) is an indexing bill which requires that the gas tax rate be indexed on January 1, 2014, and each year thereafter, to the average percentage change in the U.S. Department of Transportation's Transportation Services Index.  This bill will go to Delegate PurkeyŐs Committee, which should give him a measure of control over the proposal.  However, just because the bill is patroned by the Committee chairman does not mean that the proposal will end up on the floor of the House.  If the House Republican leadership wishes to hold the bill in Committee, then the bill will not make it out, no matter who the patron happens to be.

HB 1248 and its Senate companion, SB 639 are Governor McDonnellŐs transportation package.  The bills are sponsored by Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William County) and Senator Frank Wagner (R-Virginia Beach) respectively.  The bills create the ŇTransportation Improvement District FundÓ to identify, construct, and fund certain transportation projects.  The bill also creates the Virginia Toll Road Authority to fund transportation projects through tolls and other charges, and perhaps most importantly, both bills increase the portion of the sales tax dedicated to transportation from 0.5% to 0.75% over an eight year period.   The bills also include provisions that increase transportation's share of any year-end surpluses, dedicates a portion of revenue growth each year to transportation, authorizes the CTB to sell naming rights to the Commonwealths transportation assets, and requires localities to create transportation plans as part of their comprehensive planning.

SB 631 sponsored by Senate Commerce and Labor Chairman John Watkins (R-Powhatan County), is another gas tax indexing bill (this one would index the gas tax each year to the percentage change in the U.S. Department of LaborŐs Producer Price Index, which is a different indexing method found in Delegate PurkeyŐs HB 1241).  It will be interesting to watch how the Republican Caucus chooses to handle Senator WatkinsŐ bill.  There has been no indication at least as of yet that the Senate Republican leadership opposes or for that matter, endorses indexing.

Project Labor Agreements (PLAs): 
The VUHCC testified on behalf of HB 33, sponsored by Delegate Barbara Comstock, which would prohibit state agencies and recipients of state funding from requiring or prohibiting contractors to enter into project labor agreements as a condition of winning state funded contracts.  The bill would make it difficult for a state agency to provide funding to any entity requiring a project labor agreement.  The bill passed out of a House General Laws Subcommittee on a 5-2 vote (two Democrats voted against the measure).  The bill will be in front of the full General Laws Committee this week.

Mechanics Lien: 
After several discussions with VUHCC representatives outlining their strong opposition to HB 317, Riley Ingram (R-Hopewell), who introduced this measure that would have expanded the application of the Mechanics Lien Agent (MLA) Statute to commercial real estate with a value of $5 million, decided to withdraw his bill from further consideration by the House Courts of Justice Committee.  The bill is now effectively dead for the session.

Myles Louria 
Director of Government Affairs 
Hunton & Williams LLP 
Riverfront Plaza 
East Tower 
951 East Byrd Street 
Richmond, Virginia 23219 
804-788-7362 (w) 
804-937-6601 (c)

 

 

Bills

Committee

Last action

Date

HB 11 - Cole - Transportation; bonds for specific project on northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 95.

(H) Committee on Appropriations

(H) Assigned App. sub: Transportation

01/16/12

HB 23 - Cole - Transportation Trust Fund; increases amount of sales and use tax revenue dedicated to Fund.

(H) Committee on Finance

(H) Assigned Finance sub: Subcommittee #1

01/12/12

HB 33 - Comstock - Public procurement; state agency agreements with labor organizations.

(H) Committee on General Laws

(H) Subcommittee recommends reporting with amendment(s) (5-Y 2-N)

01/19/12

HB 72 - Bell, Richard P. - Highway work zones; required to be clearly marked with warning signs and flashing lights.

(H) Committee on Transportation

(H) Subcommittee recommends reporting with amendment(s) (7-Y 0-N)

01/18/12

HB 148 - Ransone - Unemployment benefits; each applicant, for eligibility, to provide VEC results of a drug test.

(H) Committee on Commerce and Labor

(H) Assigned C & L sub: #1

01/17/12

HB 317 - Ingram - Mechanics' lien agent; building permit.

(H) Committee for Courts of Justice

(H) Subcommittee recommends striking from docket

01/16/12

HB 334 - Villanueva - Public Procurement Act; bid match preference for State businesses.

(H) Committee on General Laws

(H) Assigned GL sub: #2 FOIA/Procurement

01/13/12

HB 393 - Howell, A.T. - Motor fuels tax; dedicates additional revenue to operation, etc., of transportation system.

(H) Committee on Finance

(H) Assigned Finance sub: #2

01/20/12

HB 394 - Howell, A.T. - Handheld personal communications devices; prohibits use while operating motor vehicle, etc.

(H) Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety

(H) Referred to Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety

01/10/12

HB 404 - Torian - Handheld personal communication devices; prohibits use while driving.

(H) Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety

(H) Referred to Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety

01/10/12

HB 422 - Watts - Transportation; additional funding by imposing and increasing certain taxes.

(H) Committee on Finance

(H) Assigned Finance sub: #2

01/20/12

HB 449 - Toscano - Virginia Public Procurement Act; preferences by localities, etc.

(H) Committee on General Laws

(H) Assigned GL sub: #2 FOIA/Procurement

01/13/12

HB 477 - Albo - Interstate Highway System; allocation of funds for maintenance.

(H) Committee on Appropriations

(H) Assigned App. sub: Transportation

01/16/12

HB 497 - Dance - Handheld personal communications devices; prohibits use thereof while operating motor vehicle, etc.

(H) Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety

(H) Referred to Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety

01/10/12

HB 529 - McQuinn - Virginia Public Procurement Act; preference for local products and firms.

(H) Committee on General Laws

(H) Referred to Committee on General Laws

01/10/12

HB 530 - McQuinn - Virginia Public Procurement Act; permissive contract provisions for localities.

(H) Committee on General Laws

(H) Referred to Committee on General Laws

01/10/12

HB 540 - Poindexter - Construction projects; prohibits use of state or local funds if subject to project labor agreement.

(H) Committee on General Laws

(H) Subcommittee recommends incorporating (HB33-Comstock) (7-Y 0-N)

01/19/12

HB 542 - Poindexter - Highway maintenance projects; allows localities to use revenue-sharing funds.

(H) Committee on Transportation

(H) Assigned Transportation sub: #3

01/13/12

HB 597 - Crockett-Stark - Eminent domain; definitions of lost profits and access.

(H) Committee for Courts of Justice

(H) Assigned Courts sub: Civil

01/13/12

HB 731 - Dudenhefer - Performance guarantees; street construction.

(H) Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns

(H) Assigned CC & T sub: #2

01/17/12

HB 802 - May - Virginia Pump Toll; established.

(H) Committee on Finance

(H) Assigned Finance sub: #2

01/20/12

HB 806 - May - Overweight and oversize vehicle permits and fees; provides a method of assigning cost-based fees.

(H) Committee on Transportation

(H) Assigned Transportation sub: #4

01/20/12

HB 867 - Rust - Certificates of insurance; no person shall issue those with false or misleading information.

(H) Committee on Commerce and Labor

(H) Referred to Committee on Commerce and Labor

01/11/12

HB 892 - Alexander - Highway Construction Projects Trust Fund; established.

(H) Committee on Finance

(H) Assigned Finance sub: #1

01/20/12

HB 898 - Albo - Highway Maintenance and Operating Fund; for transportation funding.

(H) Committee on Finance

(H) Assigned Finance sub: #1

01/20/12

HB 899 - Albo - Retail Sales and Use Tax and motor fuels tax; funds for transportation.

(H) Committee on Finance

(H) Assigned Finance sub: #1

01/20/12

HB 909 - Minchew - Highway maintenance and construction; allocation of funds.

(H) Committee on Transportation

(H) Assigned Transportation sub: #4

01/20/12

HB 928 - Lingamfelter - Mechanics' liens; site development improvements.

(H) Committee for Courts of Justice

(H) Assigned Courts sub: #2 Civil

01/17/12

HB 945 - Villanueva - Virginia Public Procurement Act; performance and payment bonds on transportation-related projects.

(H) Committee on General Laws

(H) Referred to Committee on General Laws

01/11/12

HB 960 - Bell, Robert B. - Certificates of insurance; no person shall issue those with false or misleading information.

(H) Committee on Commerce and Labor

(H) Referred to Committee on Commerce and Labor

01/11/12

HB 983 - Scott, J.M. - Motor fuels tax rate; converts rate from cents per gallon to a percentage rate.

(H) Committee on Finance

(H) Assigned Finance sub: #2

01/20/12

HB 1015 - Comstock - Public Procurement Act; bid match preference for State businesses.

(H) Committee on General Laws

(H) Referred to Committee on General Laws

01/11/12

HB 1035 - Joannou - Eminent domain; lost profits and access.

(H) Committee for Courts of Justice

(H) Assigned Courts sub: #2 Civil

01/17/12

HB 1038 - Keam - Overweight and oversize vehicle permits and fees; provides a method of assigning cost-based fees.

(H) Committee on Transportation

(H) Assigned Transportation sub: #4

01/20/12

HB 1076 - Hugo - Special use permit; land filling activities.

(H) Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns

(H) Assigned CC & T sub: #2

01/20/12

HB 1145 - Sherwood - Virginia Public Procurement Act; preference for local businesses.

(H) Committee on General Laws

(H) Referred to Committee on General Laws

01/16/12

HB 1195 - Lewis - Vehicle weight limits; increases tandem axle weight limit.

(H) Committee on Transportation

(H) Referred to Committee on Transportation

01/18/12

HB 1232 - Morrissey - Virginia Public Procurement Act; resident employment and apprenticeship participation; required.

(H)  Referral Pending

(H) Committee Referral Pending

01/20/12

HB 1241 - Purkey - Motor fuels tax; indexed.

(H)  Referral Pending

(H) Committee Referral Pending

01/20/12

HB 1248 - Lingamfelter - Transportation construction, operation and maintenance, and funding.

(H) Committee on Appropriations

(H) Referred to Committee on Appropriations

01/20/12

HJ 137 - Poindexter - Land-disturbing activities; Secretary of Natural Resources to study modification of requirements.

(H) Committee on Rules

(H) Assigned Rules sub: Studies

01/20/12

SB 79 - Watkins - Public Procurement Act; bid match preference for State businesses.

(S) Committee on General Laws and Technology

(S) Referred to Committee on General Laws and Technology

01/05/12

SB 177 - Stuart - Performance guarantees; localities to retain until streets in new development are accepted by State.

(S) Committee on Local Government

(S) Referred to Committee on Local Government

01/10/12

SB 220 - Black - General fund; assignment of year-end surplus.

(S) Committee on Finance

(S) Referred to Committee on Finance

01/10/12

SB 242 - Obenshain - Public procurement; state agency agreements with labor organizations.

(S) Committee on General Laws and Technology

(S) Referred to Committee on General Laws and Technology

01/10/12

SB 250 - Obenshain - Small, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses; enhancement or remedial measures.

(S) Committee on General Laws and Technology

(S) Referred to Committee on General Laws and Technology

01/10/12

SB 437 - Obenshain - Eminent domain; definitions of lost profits and access.

(S) Committee for Courts of Justice

(S) Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice

01/11/12

SB 525 - Marsh - Virginia Public Procurement Act; preference for local products and firms.

(S) Committee on General Laws and Technology

(S) Referred to Committee on General Laws and Technology

01/11/12

SB 526 - Marsh - Virginia Public Procurement Act;

(S) Committee on General Laws and Technology

(S) Referred to Committee on General Laws and Technology

01/11/12

SB 572 - Vogel - Virginia Public Procurement Act; preference for local businesses.

(S) Committee on General Laws and Technology

(S) Referred to Committee on General Laws and Technology

01/18/12

SB 589 - Deeds - Virginia Public Procurement Act; resident employment and apprenticeship participation.

(S) Committee on General Laws and Technology

(S) Referred to Committee on General Laws and Technology

01/19/12

SB 631 - Watkins - Motor fuels tax; indexed.

(S) Committee on Finance

(S) Referred to Committee on Finance

01/20/12

SB 639 - Wagner - Transportation construction, operation and maintenance, and funding.

(S) Committee on Transportation

(S) Referred to Committee on Transportation

01/20/12

SJ 2 - Obenshain - Constitutional amendment; Transportation Funds (first reference).

(S) Committee on Privileges and Elections

(S) Continued to 2013 in Privileges and Elections (15-Y 0-N)

01/17/12

SJ 117 - Deeds - Constitutional amendment; taking or damaging of private property for public use (second reference).

(S) Committee on Privileges and Elections

(S) Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections

01/19/12