2021 General Assembly Update: Crossover
Legislative Session in Richmond Reaches Halfway Mark

Friday, February 5th marked crossover at the Virginia General Assembly, the deadline for each chamber to act on its own bills during the 2021 General Assembly Session. Going forward, the House of Delegates can only review and act on Senate bills and the Senate can only review and act on House bills. Crossover provides a clear look at legislation that was approved by at least one chamber as well as legislation that will not move forward this session. In total, 1,549 bills and resolutions were introduced this year. This is a substantial decrease from the normal bill total due to bill limits placed on legislators due to the virtual nature of this legislative session.

This year’s session was scheduled with a limit of 30 days and the General Assembly did not reach an agreement to extend the session to the customary 46 days. Due to this, Governor Northam called for the General Assembly to reconvene for a special session starting on Wednesday, Feb. 10 to complete their work for the 2021 legislative session. The Governor’s proclamation indicated that this is to align the legislative calendar with the customary 46-day session, however, the Governor did not indicate a specified session end date in his proclamation.

Below you will find updates to select legislation of interest to Northern Virginia's technology community and the legislation’s status at crossover. NVTC has also compiled an expansive bill tracking index for select bills of interest to NVTC members.

Specific legislation of interest to Northern Virginia's technology community that is currently moving forward:

Consumer Data Protection Act

SB 1392 (Sen. Marsden)

HB 2307 (Del. Hayes)

During the 2020 regular session of the General Assembly, the House of Delegates referred several bills dealing with privacy issues to the Virginia Joint Commission on Science and Technology (JCOTS) for study. Following that effort, Senator Dave Marsden and Delegate Cliff Hayes introduced SB 1392 and HB 2307 respectively which seeks to create the “Consumer Data Protection Act.”

The proposed legislation is based on a version of the Washington Privacy Act that was previously proposed in the Washington State Senate and would establish a framework for controlling and processing personal data in Virginia. The legislation would apply to entities controlling or processing personal data on at least 100,000 consumers, or entities deriving more than 50% of gross revenue from the sale of personal data and controlling or processing data on more than 25,000 consumers. If approved, the bill provides that the Attorney General would have exclusive authority to enforce violations of the act and the act would become effective January 1, 2023.

SB 1392 Passed the Senate with a vote of 36-0-1 and now moves to the House of Delegates for consideration. HB 2307 passed the House of Delegates 89-9 and now moves to the Senate for consideration.

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G3: ‘Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back’

SB 1405 (Sen. Saslaw)

HB 2204 (Speaker Filler-Corn)

The G3 program seeks to make tuition-free community college available to low- and middle-income students who pursue jobs in high-demand fields such as information technology. It will provide financial support to cover tuition, fees, and books for eligible students at the Commonwealth’s two-year public institutions, as well as wraparound assistance for students at the lowest income levels.

SB 1405 sponsored by Senator Saslaw and HB 2204 sponsored by Speaker Filler-Corn is legislation that would implement the G3 program. Both bills were approved by their respective chambers prior to the cross-over deadline and continue to move through the legislative process.

Funding for G3 is a key priority for NVTC and the Northern Virginia Back to Work Leadership Task Force. NVTC is urging the General Assembly to approve $34.5 million allocated to the G3 program in the Governor’s introduced budget (Item 221).

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Technology Development Grant Fund

SB 1156 (Sen. Howell)

SB 1156 would create the Technology Development Grant Fund to make grant payments to a qualified technology company that makes a capital investment of at least $64 million at a facility in Fairfax County and creates at least 1,500 new full-time jobs at the facility. A qualified technology company would be eligible for an aggregate of $22.5 million in grants paid over four years if it meets performance parameters and complies with the terms of a memorandum of understanding agreed upon by the company, the Commonwealth, and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority.

The legislation was approved unanimously in the Senate and is currently awaiting action in the House of Delegates.

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Workforce Development Data Sharing

HB 1876 (Del. Subramanyam)

NVTC supports HB 1876 which seeks to expand the type of workforce development data that state agencies may share with the Virginia Workforce System to support workforce program evaluation and policy analysis.

HB 1876 passed the House of Delegates unanimously and is awaiting action in the Senate.

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Review of Computer Science Standards

HB 1885 (Del. Simonds)

NVTC supports HB 1885 sponsored by Delegate Simonds which would require the Department of Education to perform a comprehensive review of the ongoing implementation of mandatory computer science standards in elementary schools and middle schools and the alignment of middle school and high school computer science courses and course pathways.

The legislation passed the House of Delegates unanimously and is awaiting action in the Senate.

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Virginia Digital Equity Pilot Program

SB 1462 (Sen. Mason)

SB 1462 seeks to establish a pilot program to provide a fixed reimbursement for the costs of broadband services to households currently participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The legislation was approved unanimously in the Senate and is currently awaiting action in the House of Delegates

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Office of Data Governance and Analytics

SB 1365 (Sen. Barker)

NVTC supports SB 1365 which would create the Office of Data Governance to be directed by the Chief Data Officer of the Commonwealth. The office would be 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. The bill would also establish the advisory Virginia Data Commission to advise the Office on issues relating to data sharing.

The legislation was unanimously approved in the Senate and is awaiting action in the House of Delegates.

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Data Center Sales and Use Tax Exemption

SB 1423 (Sen. McPike)

HB 2273 (Del. Morefield)

SB 1423 and HB 2273 seek to reduce the job creation requirement to qualify for the sales and use tax exemption for data centers in a distressed locality from 25 to 15 jobs. The bill also redefines what criteria are used to identify a distressed locality. Under the bill, a locality qualifies as distressed if it has an unemployment rate that is greater than the statewide unemployment rate and a poverty rate that exceeds the statewide poverty rate. The bill requires all data centers claiming the exemption to report certain information to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority (VEDP).

SB 1423 passed the Senate 39-0 and is awaiting action in the House of Delegates. HB 2273 passed the House of Delegates 91-9 and is awaiting action in the Senate.

SB 1425 (Sen. Ruff)

SB 1425 would allow a data center operator who qualifies for the sales and use tax exemption in one locality and seeks to qualify in another, to meet a reduced job creation requirement of 25 jobs for purposes of qualifying in the other locality. Under current law, the reduced threshold only applies to data center operators seeking to qualify in a distressed locality.

The legislation was approved in the Senate 28-10 and is awaiting action in the House of Delegates.

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Remote Work

SB 1418 (Sen. McPike)

Senator McPike’s SB 1418 seeks to reduce the requirements needed for grants from the Commonwealth's Development Opportunity Fund and allows for capital investment and local match requirements to 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.

The legislation passed the Senate unanimously and is awaiting action in the House of Delegates.

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Unmanned Aerial Systems

HB 1851 (Del. Delaney)

SB 1098 (Sen. Favola)

SB 1098 and HB 1851 is legislation that seeks to exempt an owner of an unmanned aircraft from the requirement to register if the aircraft is brought into the Commonwealth solely for the purpose of major maintenance or major repair.

SB 1098 passed the Senate unanimously and is awaiting action in the House. HB 1851 passed the House 84-15 and is awaiting action in the Senate.

 

Specific legislation of interest to Northern Virginia's technology community that is no longer moving forward includes:

Right to Work

HB 1755 (Del. Carter)

Delegate Carter’s HB 1755 sought to repeal Virginia’s Right to Work statute.

NVTC opposed this legislation and advocates for policies that ensure Virginia maintains its status as a strong state for business by minimizing taxes and regulation, preserving our right to work status, and avoiding negative signals that drive private enterprise away from the Commonwealth.

The legislation was left in the House Labor and Commerce Committee following the cross-over deadline and will not move forward this year.

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Mandatory Time Tracking Software in State IT Contracts

HB 2246 (Del. LaRock)

NVTC opposed legislation which would have required state agencies contracting for professional and IT project services to include provisions in their contracts that would require contractors to install software to allow for the verification of the number of hours worked on a project using a computer.

NVTC believes that if enacted, this legislation would be overly onerous and expensive to IT service providers and also would increase the costs of services to the Commonwealth.

The legislation was not heard in the House General Laws Committee prior to the cross-over deadline and failed to move forward this session.

Green New Deal Act

HB 1937 (Del. Rasoul)

Del. Rasoul introduced HB 1937 which seeks to accelerate the initiative to make Virginia’s electric utilities carbon free. The bill would have required the commonwealth’s electric utilities to produce 80% of its energy from renewable sources by 2028. By 2036, 100% of the energy would have to come from renewable sources. Legislation signed by Governor Northam last year requires these utilities to reach 100% renewable energy by 2045 for Dominion Energy and 2050 for Appalachian Power.

The legislation did not receive a hearing in the House Labor and Commerce Committee prior to the cross-over deadline and will not move forward this year.


Stay Connected with NVTC's Public Policy Team

NVTC maintains a full-time advocacy presence during the General Assembly session. If there is anything we can do to help you this session or any feedback we can provide, please feel free to contact NVTC Director of Policy Troy Murphy, or Myles Louria of Hunton Andrews Kurth.

Troy Murphy
Director of Policy
NVTC
tmurphy@nvtc.org
703-946-3757

Myles Louria
Senior Director of Government Affairs
Hunton Andrews Kurth
mlouria@HuntonAK.com
804-788-7362