Public Comments for 02/01/2023 Appropriations - Commerce, Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee
HB1660 - Dairy Producer Margin Coverage Premium Assistance Program Fund; created, extends sunset provision.
The Virginia Cattlemens Association supports HB 1660 and HB 1848. There 25,000 cattle producers across the Commonwealth and along with dairy contribute almost 700 million dollars a year to the economy. Both HB 1660 and HB 1848 are focused on efficient agricultural producers and provide support and help to keep family farms viable and sustainable.
It's our responsibility to protect the ones that have no voice
HB1949 - Oyster-planting grounds; fees.
I demanding that you protect our water stop the mountain valley pipeline from being drilled it will endanger people living there I am begging to protect our waters and lands as so important for endangered species and people. Concerned Citizen Ji Montgomery
I support HB1949. We need more oysters to filter water and improve its quality to support all the other sea life.
It's our responsibility to protect the ones that have no voice
HB2099 - Livable home; increases allowable tax credit.
NVAN Testimony in Support of HB 2099 January 23, 2023 Good morning – my name is Bob Eiffert and I am testifying on behalf of the Northern Virginia Aging Network (NVAN) in support of Del. Bulova’s HB 2099 to increase the funding for the Livable Homes Tax Credit from $1 million per year to $2 million per year. According to the U.S. Census, more than 950,000 Virginians currently have one or more disabilities. Additionally, more than 25 percent of Virginians will be over the age of 60 by the year 2025. For these individuals, accessible and integrated housing will continue to be one of their highest needs. The Livable Homes Tax Credit is a worthwhile tax incentive for accessible home modifications that keep older adults and people with disabilities in their own homes, making the Commonwealth a more inclusive community for people of all ages and abilities and enabling them to thrive. The Livable Homes Tax Credit program has been a major success since its inception. Applications for tax credits have far exceeded the $1 million allocated for the program since 2012, demonstrating a pattern of demand for increased funding. NVAN urges the General Assembly to double the funds for the program to encourage more accessibility in private homes. NVAN is comprised of the Commissions on Aging, area agencies on aging, service providers and advocacy organizations for older adults from Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William. Thank you for your consideration.
HB2195 - Workforce development; consolidation of policies and programs, etc.
The Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance supports HB 2195, Workforce Development Consolidation. For as long as anyone can remember, we have struggled to effectively and adequately address challenges in workforce development. We are now in the tightest labor market in recent memory. Employers across the Lynchburg region continue to express the challenges they are facing in hiring skilled labor, or finding jobseekers that are interested in careers that require skilled labor. While this might seem reactionary to some, these issues have existed for may years. It is long overdue and now is the time to make these changes in how we effectively meet the challenges the Commonwealth faces in developing our workforce. We ask that this committee support these efforts by voting in favor of this legislation. Thank you to the committee for its consideration.
The Roanoke Regional Chamber supports efforts to consolidate workforce development programs so that they are easier to track and more responsive to the growing needs of the business community.
For many of my 24 years in our manufacturing business, I've used some of the state services for job training grants, retraining, apprenticeships and any other programs that applied to capital projects that we have had. Over those years I dealt with a variety of contacts, a variety of acronyms and honestly I never had any idea who to call for which program. Even though some of the grants were useful, it was never easy and the confusion about what program applied to what project isn't something a layperson can figure out. Each department likely has their own budget and works hard to make sure workforce is something they talk about, but none of them can be experts or maximally effective like this. Ask anyone trying to hire in the past 5-7 years and they'll tell you it isn't working. We're not producing the needed workforce at any level. Whatever dollars we are spending are at best helping us break even. A consolidated focus with a dedicated team that does nothing but workforce work is the right way forward. I understand each department wants to contribute but the outcome for the businesses, future employees and the commonwealth are what matters. HB2195 heads in the right direction and I fully support this legislation.
Ashland, Virginia January 25, 2023 To: Energy and Commerce Committee Members Topic: HB 2195 Members of the Commerce and Energy Committee: Greetings and Happy Lunar New Year 2023. Thank you for your leadership and service in helping to bring solutions to so many in our communities. Workforce Development (WD) issues remain one of the toughest challenges for most U.S states, not just for our Commonwealth. Yet is the one of the core systems to help a locality, region, state, or nation to stay competitive as the economy relies on it. Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce (VACC- Created in 2004), has a core statewide business membership which is made up mostly by micro businesses from the Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) communities . Our members provide critical services to all of us in more than 60 industry sectors. VACC represents more than Virginia-based 1,500 businesses and employees, we fully support HB 2195 legislation. When a state has a poorly run WD system, job seekers and career explorers, employers, and those seeking workforce solutions must navigate a mane of dozens of agencies to find one solution to their hiring and training needs, they lose valuable productivity times. Employers end up finding workers through the private sector, and job seekers look elsewhere for WD solutions instead of relying on their government system. Let alone how a poor system generates high UI claim backlogs , other waste issues, and customers complaints. Meanwhile, Virginia does not have enough skilled workers to help industry solve increasing modern business issues due to rapid technological changes. The state loses valuable federal training dollars if we do not meet set federal goals. Talented workforce ends up moving away to other states. Virginia deserves a world-class workforce development (WD) system. It is time for the Commonwealth to have an effective workforce development reform that will help us to stay competitive with our next-door neighbors, and the world. It is time for the Commonwealth to be bold and introduce organization to our WD system. This takes bold leadership, system knowledge, a willingness and the courage to make difficult changes, and the ability to lead a diverse network of service providers and inspiring them to collaborate to find a common solution to benefit all workers and employers across many localities. Yes, workforce development design and delivery can be (and is) a challenge for system designers, but HB 2195/SB1470 is a critical great beginning step in the right direction as it would increase our workforce participation, enhance individual customer service outcomes through needed streamlining and oversight, using end-user perspectives and evaluation to shape outcomes, and incorporating scientific data analysis to its proposed WD reform, as a first step. I ask you to please vote for HB 2195! Respectfully, My L. Tran Ms. My Lan Tran, CED, CIT, CVET Executive Director, Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce Administrator, Virginia Asian Foundation E: firstname.lastname@example.org * T: 804 502 8081 * Visit our new website: www.aabac.org
HB2258 - Alcoholic beverage control; beer distribution.
As a very small farm brewery we fully support this bill. Our small scale does not make large distribution companies feasible financially or logistically. However we would greatly appreciate the opportunity to provide our products to other small businesses such as local bottle shops and restaurants as another way to reach customers. A vote for this bill supports getting more Virginia made products to market and allows product offerings beyond the large players in the beer industry. This bill encourages small business and provides a state tax generating platform to do so. As a farm winery as well, it only seems right to afford a similar wholesale privilege to both agricultural based alcoholic beverge types. Thank you for your consideration and please vote yes for HB 2258! Cheers!
To the honorable house committee, Thank you for your work on HB 2258. Stable Craft Brewing is one of many examples in our Commonwealth that have been held back from creating more jobs, adding more to our local economy and having a fair path forward to reach our potential as a craft beverage producer. We also have a spouse that is indeed our distributor, I can attest that distribution is very difficult and believe there is a need for distributors, but we need a fair opportunity over the model that exists now allowing a Virginia product to be held back by the current laws that Travis Hill noted by allowing wine to be distributed with VDACS and not beer. A competitive wholesale distributor doesn't need the hammering effect of the current laws. While I'm pleased these steps are being taken I remain concerned that the wholesalers association can bargain our liberties by stating a spouse can no longer be a distributor. I am aware and grateful for the grandfather clause on this matter in lieu of my concerns. Virginia will see a new dawn, a boom in Virginia born products finally reaching Virginia customers should this bill become law. It will also settle many frustrations of wholesale distributors once more breweries experience what it is really like to compete for sales at the retail level, an awakening if you will to the tribulations of logistic management. But let's be real, wholesalers sell products for the highest bidder with incentives from national and international brands to ensure they reach Virginia customers. It's been my experience that my brand was collected into a portfolio of beers with a major distributor only to control those incentives from other brands by selling our brands after certain goals were accumulated. It's hard to grow when the Beer Franchise Act no longer serves all Virginians. The Beer wholesale association is well funded and it's easy to understand how voting is swayed when time is taken to review VPAP.org. In closing, thank you for supporting Virginia Craft Breweries and allowing all Virginians to have an equal chance for success. Sincerely, Craig Nargi
Thank you for the opportunity to speak to HB 2258-Robinson today. I am David St Clair, owner of Swover Creek Farms Brewery in Shenandoah County. I was the first brewery in operation in Shenandoah County and one of the very early Farm Breweries (Limited Brewery) in the state nine years ago. My wife and I run a family farm operation which includes homemade, farm sourced food and beer products. This is a Virginia Century Farm. We offer both wholesome food and beer but also a pleasant area for our tourist and local resident friends to enjoy country life. I presently have to sell all my beer out of my establishment due to my inability to distribute to retail customers. I worked with our Guild last year to help develop a model emulating the successful Virginia Wine Distribution Company, VWDC, that would allow breweries to add an additional retail avenue. A couple quick points about this opportunity. For me, it would mean I can now participate in local events such as the county fair, travel association events, chamber of commerce events. I presently have had to decline requests to represent the our local community because I do not have an agreement with a beer wholesaler. Understand, it makes little sense for a wholesaler to come out to my facility, pick up a keg and deliver it to a one time event. Just to have to go back and retrieve it again. Obviously, the costs associated with this activity would make my product very price uncompetitive. By utilizing a mechanism similar to the VWDC model, I will be able to sell and deliver my one keg to these opportunities as well as get my name and product in places like Bryce Resort and neighboring retailers so travelers and tourists can experience my product or take a memento home with them to remember their experience in the Shenandoah Valley. Additionally, for the mid-sized breweries this bill will allow them to test market their products, while limiting overall start up costs and if deemed successful, will spring them into expansion and subsequent arrangements with conventional distribution. I ask that you approve this bill and pass it along. The benefits of this bill will allow further growth of our farming enterprises and craft brewing industries. Thank you.
To the Honorable Members of this committee, Thank you for your work on HB 2258. Stable Craft Brewing is one of many examples in our Commonwealth that have been held back from creating more jobs, adding more to our local economy and having a fair path forward to reach our potential as a craft beverage producer. We also have a spouse that is indeed our distributor, I can attest that distribution is very difficult and believe there is a need for distributors, but we need a fair opportunity over the model that exists now allowing a Virginia product to be held back by the current laws that Travis Hill noted by allowing wine to be distributed with VDACS and not beer. A competitive wholesale distributor doesn't need the hammering effect of the current laws. While I'm pleased these steps are being taken I remain concerned that the wholesalers association can bargain our liberties by stating a spouse can no longer be a distributor. I am aware and grateful for the grandfather clause on this matter in lieu of my concerns as my spouse owns AgriBev distribution. Virginia will see a new dawn, a boom in Virginia born products finally reaching Virginia customers should this bill become law. It will also settle many frustrations of wholesale distributors once more breweries experience what it is really like to compete for sales at the retail level, an awakening if you will to the tribulations of logistic management. But let's be real, wholesalers sell products for the highest bidder with incentives from national and international brands to ensure they reach Virginia customers. It's been my experience that my brand was collected into a portfolio of beers with a major distributor only to control those incentives from other brands by selling our brands after certain goals were accumulated. It's hard to grow when the Beer Franchise Act no longer serves all Virginians. The Beer wholesale association is well funded and it's easy to understand how voting is swayed when time is taken to review VPAP.org. In closing, thank you for supporting Virginia Craft Breweries and allowing all Virginians to have an equal chance for success. Sincerely, Craig Nargi -- CRAIG NARGI | Founder 2022 International Brewski Competition Best Beer, Best Cider,Platinum,Gold, Silver awards 2022 Virginia Craft Brewers award multiple silver medals 2021 Brewery of the Year Virginia Restaurant Travel Lodging Association 2022 Green Brewery of the Year Virginia Tourism Corporation Member of Virginia Free INDEPENDENT SUSTAINABLY CRAFTED BEER | CIDER | SODA | CULINARY | EVENTS | SUITES Stable Craft Brewing at Hermitage Hill Farm & Stables
HB2258-Robinson Good afternoon, I am the owner and brewer of Chubby Squirrel Brewing Company, a neighborhood brewpub that offers a place of community with neighbors and friends, education to local patrons, and fellowship. We have worked hard to hone our craft in making premium malt beverages, but because we are a small business and do not produce thousands of barrels of beer annually, we are effectively shut out of the marketplace as we are deemed too small by most distributors to work with and have an effective relationship with. Moreover, especially in these difficult times, every penny counts for a small business, and in the current system, it is very unprofitable for a small business to sell their beer through conventional distribution. As many states have adopted similar laws in recent years - or are working towards them - I strongly urge for the passage of HR2258 to allow small businesses to compete in the market place and remove a barrier to entry. This will allow for small breweries to hire more staff, use more quality Virginia malts and grains, provide restaurants with high quality Virginia-made products and overall promote economic growth in the Commonwealth. Moreover, removing barriers to entry is known to grow diversity in industries, which is a known concern by the Brewers Association of America. Allowing breweries to operate on an even footing as other beverages made in the state is good business for existing proprietors, under-represented communities, Virginia farmers, consumers, workers, and the general Virginia economy. Thank you.
HB2275 - Energy planning & electric utility oversight; membership for Com. on Electricity Utility Regulation.
I will be available to answer questions on HB2275
HB2386 - Virginia Power Innovation Fund and Program; created.
My name is April Wade, and I am the executive director of the Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium. The fund supports the establishment of the -Virginia innovative nuclear hub, which will be a pathway to promote innovation and collaboration for workforce development and research. Virginia is a leader in the nuclear industry. This fund continues that tradition and will allow the Commonwealth to remain at the forefront of nuclear innovation.
The Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance supports HB 2386 at its intent to further research and development of innovative energy technologies. The Lynchburg region is home to Framatome and BWXT, global leaders in nuclear energy industry who are on the cutting edge of advanced nuclear energy technology. In a world that is challenged to meet the growing energy demands of modern society, the importance to fund research that leads to innovative and low-cost ways of delivering energy to billions of people cannot be understated. We ask that this committee support these efforts by voting in favor of this legislation. Thank you to the committee for its consideration.
The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) is the national trade association representing the nuclear energy industry. Our members include the owners and operators of the U.S. nuclear fleet, a global supply chain, academic institutions training the nuclear workforce, national labs researching nuclear technology and others. Several of our members have businesses in Virginia. NEI is excited for policies enabling Virginia to continue to explore advanced nuclear technology. NEI urges you to support HB 2386 and make Virginia a national leader in nuclear energy.
Good afternoon and thank you for allowing me to speak in support for House Bill 2386. My name is Braden Croy and I serve as program director at the Dominion Energy Innovation Center, a non-profit public private partnership founded in 2009 by the Virginia Bio-tech Research Park Authority, Dominion Energy, Hanover County, and the Town of Ashland to support the hich-tech entrepreneurs and small business owners driving the innovations needed to achieve a net-zero carbon economy. Virginia continues to be a leader in the energy sector and the advancement of HB 2386 will once again prove why an all-of-the-above approach to our energy mix is critically important to providing clean, reliable, and always on energy. For over a decade, the DEIC has been working with entrepreneurs at all stages of the startup journey to help them ideate and launch their innovative technology solutions. We've supported Virginia entrepreneurs with startup workshops, industry conferences, non-dilutive grants, and expert mentorship. With a recent grant from the US Department of Energy we are designing entirely new programming focused specifically on supporting Virginia's advanced energy entrepreneurs with a series of Statewide innovation challenges seeking to identify, fund, and ultimately commercialize cutting edge nuclear and hydrogen Intellectual Property. Energy projects are hard, and particularly expensive because the margin for error is so small, we want our operating room lights on and factories to run when we flip the switch, which is why public investment is vital. The DEIC fully supports the establishment of the Virginia Power Innovation Fund and Program because it builds a critical pathway for energy entrepreneurs to de-risk early technology development and pursue pilot projects that are able to take advantage of the many federal incentives contained in the Inflation Reduction Act, thus amplifying the State's investment many times over. As the energy transition marches forward, Virginia has an opportunity to lead the Mid-Atlantic, and ultimately the world, by resourcing the Governor's visionary plan to expand our nuclear fleet, advance hydrogen as a clean fuel, and prioritize the reliability of our grid. The growth of Virginia's advanced energy sector will touch every corner of the state and fully showcase the entrepreneurial spirit that makes Virginia a top place for business. The DEIC is ready to serve as a community partner on both the Virginia Innovative Nuclear Hub and Virginia Power Innovation Fund; providing space, coaching, and funding to our future energy leaders.
HB1388 - Virginia National Guard Passport; established, free entry and parking for state parks.
We must protect Virginia waters and protect the community from harm we are danger
On behalf of the nearly 10,000 Soldiers and Airmen of the Virginia National Guard, I ask that you support of this bill. This year we are celebrating the one of the busiest years in recent memory. Over two thousand seven hundred Soldiers and Airmen deployed this past year. A total troop count surpassing the height of the Surge in Afghanistan in 2009. Your National Guard was deployed in the Balkans, the Horn of Africa, and throughout the Middle East. Our brave warriors don’t just represent a pair of “Boots on the Ground,” their absence from their families, their careers, and communities are felt by all Virginians. These are not just Soldiers and Airmen. They are our schoolteachers, lawyers, mechanics, truck drivers, police officers, civil servants, and students. They represent the very best of Virginia and have boldly answered our Nation’s call. Without the support of our General Assembly and public servants in the administration, and without the benefits richly deserved and generously afforded to them, we couldn’t do the things this world has demanded of them.
Please I strongly suggest we pass these bills for the betterment of the state and the environment and all community members.
Pls stop all animal experiments and cruelty. Someone has to speak and step up for those who cannot. Pls stop all cruelty Thanks
On behalf of the 10,000 Soldiers, Airmen, and Families of the Virginia National Guard, I ask that you support this bill and report out of committee. Thank you!
GOOD Morning, Chair R. Lee Ware & members of the Committee: By way of introduction, I am Jay L. Marts, 28yr veteran of the VaARNG & US Army, retired Colonel, and honored to speak to this committee today on behalf my brothers & sisters in arms on HB1388. I had the pleasure of visiting the GA last week for several days as a member of the VDVS-JLC and visited Del. Ware’s office to highlight & support several Veterans legislative initiatives. I wanted to tell you that AA Marty Moore & Counsel David Bovenizer were quite courteous and attentive during my visit. I also want to thank my local legislator, Del. Bill Wiley, one of the many Patrons of this, for assisting to move this important initiative thru the GA. Our current members of the National Guard, those local Citizen-Soldiers, serve the Commonwealth and local communities without hesitation when called upon. It is time we provide them additional benefits to show our appreciation. This will help us retain current members and help to recruit new members of the Virginia National Guard. I ask you to move HB1388 out of this committee, thru the floor & ultimately place it on the Governor’s desk for signature. Thank You again for the opportunity to address this committee. Jay L. Marts VDVS-JLC (Alt) AMVETS, Dept. of Virginia (540) 550-3339 MartsJL@GMail.com
It's our responsibility to protect the ones that have no voice
Declawing can be so painful for cats, and it should be illegal. Cats can see and make sense of the world with their claws. Their claws also help them to defend themselves.
Please support House Bill No. 1388! This bill establishes a Virginia National Guard Passport which removes entrance and parking fees to Virginia's State Parks for actively serving members of the Virginia Army and Air National Guard. The National Guard is unique in the it is the only United States military entity with a dual mission and can serve in state or federal status. National Guard servicemembers currently fulfil operational responsibilities as the primary combat reserve of the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force. However, because the National Guard is inherently a part-time force, policies should be enacted to ensure robust physical and mental readiness of National Guard Soldiers and Airmen. Servicemembers are required to maintain physical readiness requirements outside of the normal scope of their civilian employment. Many of which require access to venues that allow for varied physical training and exercise. Servicemembers typically only spend time with their units during monthly or annual training events and are geographically dispersed throughout Virginia which limit their access to government furnished equipment and exercise venues. These conditions create a significant gap in the effectiveness of many individual physical training and resiliency programs. Additionally, research has shown that having access to parks, trails and natural areas reduce stress, anxiety and social isolation which tend to be unavoidable in military service. Overall, physical fitness and resiliency continues to be incredibly important across the military and providing access to state parks directly supports the Virginia National Guard’s readiness and deployability. Again, please support House Bill No. 1388.
I am writing in support of HB1388. I would also propose that this bill's language be clarified to cover members of the Virginia Defense Force (VDF) in addition to the Virginia National Guard. The VDF is one of Virginia's military components under the Dept. of Military Affairs. VDF members perform military duties and must maintain height / weight standards. Additionally, a large proportion of VDF members are former US military. Thus, VDF members would benefit both physically and mentally from the health benefits provided by free access to Virginia state parks. Finally, unlike the Virginia National Guard, the VDF is an all-volunteer organization and members are not normally given paid compensation, access to physical training facilities, or health insurance benefits. Free access to state parks would provide a valuable resource for VDF members to improve their physical and mental health. These comments are my views as a private citizen and not in any way on behalf of the VDF or in any official capacity. Thank you.