On Saturday, February 25th the 2017 Virginia General Assembly session came to a close. More than 2,000 pieces of legislation were introduced, although the major focus of the session was the budget. VTCA was actively engaged in the legislative process on behalf of its members. We identified more than 90 pieces of legislation that could have an impact on our member’s business interests. 34 of those bills, and 11 budget amendments were identified as “high priority” and we actively engaged in working to pass, defeat or amend those.
Here is a brief update on high priority legislation:
Prevailing Wage Rates: Legislation to prohibit local governments from imposing prevailing wage and benefits on public works contracts passed the House and Senate. We will have to wait and see if the Governor will sign the legislation.
Work Zone Safety: A bill to limit the use of cell phones by drivers in work zones passed the House and the Senate Transportation Committee. It failed in the Senate when the Republican caucus held to a “caucus vote” to defeat the legislation.
Practical Design Requirement for VDOT Projects: Defeated in the House. VTCA opposed this legislation.
Best Value Procurement: Legislation that would have allowed the use of “best value” criteria for the award of professional engineering services AND design-bid-build highway projects was defeated. VTCA opposed the legislation.
Cooperative Procurement: Bills that would have allowed local governments to use each other’s procurement for construction materials and services was defeated. VTCA opposed the legislation.
Fuel Tax Floors: Legislation that would establish fuel tax floors in NOVA and Hampton Roads passed the Senate, but failed by a voice vote in the House Appropriations Committee.
Project Labor Agreements: Budget amendments proposed by VTCA that would prohibit government from mandating PLAs in P3 projects were accepted by the House and Senate in the final budget.
P3 Reform: A bill to make minor reforms to the P3 laws passed.
Smart Scale (Project Prioritization): A bill to provide reforms to the programing, and Smart Scale process passed with amendments suggested by VTCA.
Transportation Funding Lock Box: A Joint Resolution that would provide for a constitutional amendment to provide a “lock box” for transportation funds (transportation funds could only be used for other purposes with a 2/3 vote of both houses) passed the House and Senate. Because this is a proposed constitutional amendment, it must pass the General Assembly again before it would be placed on the ballot for voters. VTCA supported this resolution.
Mineral Mining Reclamation Bonding: VTCA worked with DMME to introduce legislation that increases the reclamation bond for new mineral mining facilities that have no operating history in Virginia. The bill passed the House and Senate.
Design-Build: VTCA worked to amend the new DB-CM at Risk legislation so that it would not adversely impact VDOT’s current DB program authority. The amendments were accepted by the House and Senate.
Project Funding: Several budget amendments attempted to redirect VDOT funding to other initiatives or direct funding to circumvent the Smart Scale process. VTCA opposed those efforts and those amendments failed.
All legislation must go to the Governor (NOTE: the constitutional amendment on transportation funding lockbox does not go to the Governor) for his signature, amendment, or veto. The General Assembly will reconvene on April 5th to consider any bills amended or vetoed.
Here is the tracking sheet for the high priority bills. You can read the bills by clicking on the bill (link).