Public Comments for 01/28/2021 General Laws
HB1843 - Charitable gaming; increase in certain maximum allowable prize amounts.
Last Name: Crozier Organization: Community Coalitions of Virginia Locality: Va Beach

I understand you will be reviewing HB 2312 today, although I don't see it listed above? I oppose HB2312 for a number of legitimate, research-based reasons. First and foremost, now is not the time to legalize marijuana due to the pandemic, recession, and rise in other drug abuse/deaths! To legalize a schedule 1, addictive drug sends the wrong message to youth and the entire community. The message it sends is that marijuana is safe, low risk, condoned, and normalized. However, the opposite is true; marijuana use exacerbates the effects of Covid 19. The income from taxes is grossly underestimated, as per states that have legalized marijuana. Legalizing marijuana does not adequately address racial injustices and economic disparities. The start year of 2023 is unrealistic in terms of the need to build an infrastructure that will mitigate risk and respond to marijuana use/abuse issues. Once Virginia is ready to legalize marijuana, the three work groups should be clustered as follows: health and safety, K-16, and adult (since older adults are the fastest growing user group of marijuana nationally). I can provide references and more information if requested. Thank you. Dr. Mary Crozier mkcrozier@gmail.com

HB1849 - Apprenticeship training programs; DOLI, DGS, et al., shall review availability of programs.
Last Name: Julia Hammond Organization: Associated Builders and Contractors - Virginia Chapter Locality: Chesterfield

This bill is premature as the DOLI will be directed, by letter from the Speaker, to study this issue and report recommendations to the GA for consideration. Those recommendations may result in the need for future legislation. The letter to DOLI is in response to an apprenticeship study resolution patroned by Del. Simmonds and heard by House Rules.

Last Name: Allwine Organization: Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce Locality: Fredericksburg

The Fredericksburg Regional Chamber supports apprenticeship programs and the valuable skills/pathway to a career they provide, however, this legislation would preclude many currently qualified contractors from public construction contracts. Many contractors may not have an apprenticeship program for every trade practiced within the company. This bill would force those who do not have the program to make costly changes to their company in order to compete. For these reasons, we regretfully oppose the bill.

Last Name: Snare Organization: Prince William Chamber of Commerce Locality: Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park

My name is Ross Snare and I represent the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and its 1200+ Members, while we strongly support apprenticeship programs and see them as an valuable asset that will improve the economic standing of the Commonwealth, we have concerns on the impact that this bill will have fiscally on contractors and therefore, cannot support the bill.

Last Name: Reynolds Organization: Hampton Roads Chamber Locality: Norfolk

My name is Emily Reynolds and I am the Executive Director of Government Affairs for the Hampton Roads Chamber. We are a pro-business organization serving over 1,200 members. On behalf of our members and the feedback we have received regarding this bill, we have concerns. While the Chamber supports apprenticeship programs and the valuable skills/pathway to a career they provide, this legislation would preclude many currently qualified contractors from public construction contracts. Many contractors may not have an apprenticeship program for every trade practiced within the company. This bill would force those who do not have the program to make costly changes to their company in order to compete. For these reasons, we regretfully oppose the bill.

Last Name: Durkin Organization: Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce Locality: Roanoke

The Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce opposes this bill. While we support apprenticeship programs and the valuable skills/pathway to a career they provide, this legislation would preclude many currently qualified contractors from public construction contracts. Many contractors may not have an apprenticeship program for every trade practiced within the company, and this would bill would force those who do not to make costly changes to their company in order to compete.

Last Name: Ascher Organization: Mid-Atlantic Pipe Trade Association/United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters Locality: Baltimore, MD

On behalf of the over 8600 United Association members and families across Virginia, I ask you to support HB 1849. Participants in a registered apprenticeship program receive the best available education in their craft, from safety standards to construction codes to the daily on-the-job training apprentices get while being supervised by licensed journeyman workers. Using workers trained in these self-funded programs provides untold value to Virginia and all its public bodies when they need to complete a construction project. We must ensure that the contractors hired to perform work on taxpayer-funded construction projects use workers who have completed this caliber of training. These programs must have a proven track record of consistently graduating students from apprentice to journeyman to add to this value. HB 1849 will guarantee these high-quality apprenticeship programs, and the contractors who use them are the ones providing the workers for public construction projects. For all these reasons, I ask you to support this legislation.

Last Name: Floyd Organization: Local 80, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Locality: Chesapeake

Apprenticeships provide the training for future tradesmen, both by in classroom education and on the job training. Virginia needs to ensure that any contractor performing work in the commonwealth is participating in a registered apprenticeship. This provides not just the labor for the project today, but the training for the future jouneyperson. Additionally, this bill will prevent the exploitation of workers by contractors due to worker misclassification. This bill provides an avenue to ensure that new workers are given a hand up nw, rather than looking for a hand out later.

Last Name: James Spencer Organization: UA Local 5 Plumbers and Gasfitters Locality: Essex County Virginia

HB 1849 Virginia Public Procurement Act; participation in apprenticeship training programs, etc. I support HB 1849 Virginia Public Procurement Act, Introduced by: Shelly A. Simonds I support the expansion of self-funded apprenticeship training programs; Virginia should require its public bodies to include in every contract for construction over $250,000 provisions requiring the contractor, during the performance of the contract, to participate in a self-funded apprenticeship training program for each separate trade or classification program in which it employs construction employees. In addition, as the Act proposes, Virginia should ensure General Contractors, Prime Contractors and Construction Managers write subcontracts with flow down provisions in all subcontracts over $50,000 so that such self-funded apprenticeship provisions will be binding upon each subcontractor. Lou Spencer Caret, Virginia

Last Name: Ayres Organization: Concerned citizen Locality: King George

To whom it may concern, I have been involved in both residential and commercial construction for over 30 years in Virginia. First as an untrained worker when I started and then as an apprentice where I learned the proper, safe and most efficient way to perform my job to finally becoming a journey person to have the knowledge and wisdom to perform my work safely and properly. I feel it is critical and should be necessary for trades workers to be properly trained through properly accredited Apprenticeship programs to have the skills needed to construct, service and maintain all residential, commercial and infrastructure safely to protect the public and all that use or reside in it especially everything with government funding in it at the minimum. The tax payers deserve the best possible built government funded projects as possible since it will be their taxes paying for them and the public citizens will be accessing and using these projects. In conclusion once again for every ones safety please have the commonsense to require proper training through apprenticeship and proper classification so the correctly trained people are doing the work that they are correctly trained to do. Please look to the Commissioner of Labor's Office for further facts backing my concerns with injuries and deaths contributed to unskilled and misclassified workers performing the wrong jobs. Concerned Citizen,

HB1879 - Alcoholic beverage control; sale and delivery of mixed beverages and pre-mixed wine.
Last Name: Crozier Organization: Community Coalitions of Virginia Locality: Va Beach

I understand you will be reviewing HB 2312 today, although I don't see it listed above? I oppose HB2312 for a number of legitimate, research-based reasons. First and foremost, now is not the time to legalize marijuana due to the pandemic, recession, and rise in other drug abuse/deaths! To legalize a schedule 1, addictive drug sends the wrong message to youth and the entire community. The message it sends is that marijuana is safe, low risk, condoned, and normalized. However, the opposite is true; marijuana use exacerbates the effects of Covid 19. The income from taxes is grossly underestimated, as per states that have legalized marijuana. Legalizing marijuana does not adequately address racial injustices and economic disparities. The start year of 2023 is unrealistic in terms of the need to build an infrastructure that will mitigate risk and respond to marijuana use/abuse issues. Once Virginia is ready to legalize marijuana, the three work groups should be clustered as follows: health and safety, K-16, and adult (since older adults are the fastest growing user group of marijuana nationally). I can provide references and more information if requested. Thank you. Dr. Mary Crozier mkcrozier@gmail.com

Last Name: DiFranco Organization: Principle Advantage Government Relations Group Locality: Norfolk

On behalf of the Virginia Sprits Association (VSA), we join VRLTA in asking you to support HB1879, and continue allowing mixed beverages to-go. We thank Delegate Bulova for sponsoring HB1879 making Virginia the 13th state to introduce legislation to extend cocktails-to-go or to make the service permanent. With an estimated 372,000 restaurant and bar jobs lost in month alone, it is no surprise that states such as Delaware, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Texas are all seeking to take action to continue to support the hard-hit restaurant industry. Iowa , Ohio, Oklahoma, and the District of Columbia have made cocktails-to-go permanent recognizing that consumer dining and mobility patterns are changing with many increasingly choosing to have meals delivered to their homes. VSA also commends the Virginia ABC for their work on this issue which has proven to be a lifeline for small Virginia restaurant owners – many of which are family-owned businesses . This service has also leveled the playing field for all types of alcohol sold through restaurant dining off-premises orders. Virginia’s ABC has joined other states by putting strict guidelines in place to ensure the safety of our citizens. Drinks are required to be transported in containers with a tamper-proof seal,. Sets limits on the numbers of drinks allowed to be ordered “to-go”, and requires meals to be purchased with drinks from restaurants – further increasing a revenue stream for our small businesses. Again, we thank Delegate Bulova for offering HB1879 and we ask the members of the committee to support this important bill to help support Virginia businesses during this cold season where outdoor dining revenue is a reliable source of business.

Last Name: Pedowitz Organization: Arlington Chamber of Commerce Locality: Arlington

The Arlington Chamber of Commerce urges your support for HB 1879, continuing for another year the sale of mixed beverages for takeaway service. Restaurants are now approaching a year of severely limited, if any, in-person service on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. Takeaway beverage service has cut into some of the losses sustained during this time. Continuing this service for another year will support restaurants as they work to return to full service. Moreover, customers have come to enjoy takeaway beverage service safely and our neighbors in the District of Columbia have made it permanent. As such, we believe that continuing this service will serve Virginia restaurants and patrons well and encourage the committee to report this bill.

Last Name: Lisk Organization: Cozen O'Connor Locality: Richmond

VRLTA asks you to support House Bill No.s 1738 (Wampler), 2051 (Bourne) & 2266 (Ayala) creating Outdoor Refreshment Areas (“ORAs”): Restaurants, hotels, and other small businesses in the hospitality industry have had to rethink new ways to offer their services, balancing state restrictions with public health concerns. But even with these changes, restaurant operators in Virginia have reported steep declines in revenue during the last year. Many consumers who have previously chosen to stay home to minimize their exposure to COVID-19 would partake in outdoor dining options cognizant of social distancing measures. One smart solution that legislators are considering would allow localities to define and permit “Outdoor Refreshment Areas,” also referred to as ORAs. These designated spaces, designed and sanctioned by localities voluntarily, allow drinking-aged individuals to gather outside safely to enjoy food and adult beverages. If passed, HB1738, HB2051, and HB2266 would permit any ABC restaurant licensee, brewery, distillery, or winery within an Outdoor Refreshment Area to allow their patrons to legally leave their establishment with alcohol and enjoy refreshments in the open air. ORA legislation would provide an optional revitalization tool for Virginia localities who choose to use them and an instant shot in the arm for businesses located within the designated Outdoor Refreshment Areas. VRLTA also asks you to support House Bill 1879 (Bulova) continuing the sale of mixed beverages to-go for one additional year. The restaurant industry has been hit hard during the pandemic. Like many other states, Virginia halted indoor dining in the early months. And even after the Governor approved limited indoor dining, patrons often have been reluctant to come inside. As of early December, 17% of restaurants nationally—110,000—have closed either permanently or for the long term. Currently, more than 30 states plus the District of Columbia are allowing the sale of cocktails to-go and Iowa, Ohio, Oklahoma and D.C. have made cocktails to-go permanent. Off-premise alcohol sales in conjunction with the sale of food have been a much-needed revenue stream for struggling restaurants and bars over the past year. The added revenue represents an average of 10% of restaurants off-premise sales. That has enabled some restaurant owners to bring back one or two laid-off staffers. And the change has become quite popular with consumers. Continuation of innovative measures like cocktails to-go won’t fully solve the hospitality industry’s economic woes, but it will help these businesses hang on during this COVID-19 emergency. VRLTA asks you to oppose House Bill 2136 (Batten) which creates a new “Mobile Retailer” license for the sale of wine and beer. VRLTA has concerns about the lack of provisions to allow for adequate oversight by Virginia ABC over the sale of alcoholic beverages by these mobile vendors concerning where and when alcohol may be sold. VRLTA is further concerned that the bill would allow mobile vendors to unfairly compete with restaurants that have more stringent requirements imposed regarding the sale of alcoholic beverages, including minimum food sale requirements.

Last Name: Anderson Locality: Alexandria City

Very supportive of this bill. We own and operate six restaurants in the City of Alexandria and have found that our customers are very appreciative of this option. Frankly it has even provided an edge for our Mexican restaurant (Tequila & Taco) so that it has actually shown a 5% increase in sales over last year. An incredible achievement during the pandemic. For the benefit of our customers and sustainability of our staffs please make this bill happen. Mike Anderson

HB1973 - Alcoholic beverage control; privileges of banquet licensees.
Last Name: Crozier Organization: Community Coalitions of Virginia Locality: Va Beach

I understand you will be reviewing HB 2312 today, although I don't see it listed above? I oppose HB2312 for a number of legitimate, research-based reasons. First and foremost, now is not the time to legalize marijuana due to the pandemic, recession, and rise in other drug abuse/deaths! To legalize a schedule 1, addictive drug sends the wrong message to youth and the entire community. The message it sends is that marijuana is safe, low risk, condoned, and normalized. However, the opposite is true; marijuana use exacerbates the effects of Covid 19. The income from taxes is grossly underestimated, as per states that have legalized marijuana. Legalizing marijuana does not adequately address racial injustices and economic disparities. The start year of 2023 is unrealistic in terms of the need to build an infrastructure that will mitigate risk and respond to marijuana use/abuse issues. Once Virginia is ready to legalize marijuana, the three work groups should be clustered as follows: health and safety, K-16, and adult (since older adults are the fastest growing user group of marijuana nationally). I can provide references and more information if requested. Thank you. Dr. Mary Crozier mkcrozier@gmail.com

HB2131 - Alcoholic beverage control; license application, locality input.
Last Name: Ibinson Locality: Arlington

My name is Julie Ibinson. Our family of four lives on 9th St S in Arlington behind the 3200 block of Columbia Pike and in close proximity to the former Purple Lounge. In the time span of less than a year, there were three shootings related to this establishment. There have also been other related early morning criminal activities such as the robbery of a tow truck driver at gunpoint, assault, drug use, and stolen cars. These are the things we are aware of. Our family has been woken up at 4am on countless nights from loud music, as well as from the parties that spill out to the alley and street afterward. The night of the last shooting was particularly rowdy. The next morning, the situation hit even more close to home when Arlington County police officers went house-to-house on the south side of 9th St S to search our backyards—where our children play—for a possible discarded weapon. We were astonished that the Purple Lounge was able to reopen soon after as if nothing had happened. The most frustrating thing regarding these incidents is that it seemed impossible to truly hold this establishment accountable. Yes, they had their liquor license suspended for a few days (in other words, a slap on the wrist), but then they were back at it. By the third shooting, they finally had a list of conditions to keep their license, but violated it right off the bat and were back to business as usual in less than two weeks. Our neighborhood association, which deemed this establishment a public nuisance, had multiple meetings with County Board members regarding this public safety issue, and while they were doing what they could to help, it seemed that where real action was concerned their hands were tied. That's why we support this bill that gives localities a chance to provide input into matters that directly affect them, and thank Delegate Lopez for working tirelessly to protect the citizens. To be perfectly honest, while we're relieved that the Purple Lounge is no longer operating at this location, we're afraid of what will come next based on this location's history. Thank you for your time.

Last Name: Vassey Organization: Virginia Craft Brewers Guild Locality: Richmond

The VCBG opposes HB2131 - it will unrealistically extend the compliance authority to local government and increase costs and uncertainty for licensed independent craft breweries. The organization respectfully requests the following amendments: 1. On lines 55 and 128: maintain the addition of the words “or administrative” after “law-enforcement”; 2. On lines 56 and 129: delete the words “or conditional recommendations”; 3. On lines 57 and 129-130: delete the words “or 45 days if the locality has requested an extension”; 4. On lines 57-59 and 130-131 delete the words: “The Board shall give reasonable consideration to any objection or recommendation submitted by the locality pursuant to this paragraph.”

Last Name: Crozier Organization: Community Coalitions of Virginia Locality: Va Beach

I understand you will be reviewing HB 2312 today, although I don't see it listed above? I oppose HB2312 for a number of legitimate, research-based reasons. First and foremost, now is not the time to legalize marijuana due to the pandemic, recession, and rise in other drug abuse/deaths! To legalize a schedule 1, addictive drug sends the wrong message to youth and the entire community. The message it sends is that marijuana is safe, low risk, condoned, and normalized. However, the opposite is true; marijuana use exacerbates the effects of Covid 19. The income from taxes is grossly underestimated, as per states that have legalized marijuana. Legalizing marijuana does not adequately address racial injustices and economic disparities. The start year of 2023 is unrealistic in terms of the need to build an infrastructure that will mitigate risk and respond to marijuana use/abuse issues. Once Virginia is ready to legalize marijuana, the three work groups should be clustered as follows: health and safety, K-16, and adult (since older adults are the fastest growing user group of marijuana nationally). I can provide references and more information if requested. Thank you. Dr. Mary Crozier mkcrozier@gmail.com

HB2155 - Virginia Human Rights Act; nondiscrimination in employment, sexual and workplace harassment.
Last Name: Snell-Cook Locality: Virginia Beach

Without a safety net or optimism about their chances of finding another job, workers are more desperate to keep a paycheck at any cost and less willing to report workplace abuses, increasing their vulnerability to harassment, discrimination, exploitation, abuse, and retaliation at work. Confronting harassment requires addressing the underlying conditions that drive abuse—particularly a lack of access to basic labor rights, job security and protection from retaliation. Changing the workplace harassment laws would ensure that Virginia’s working people have equality, equity, and justice within the workplace so that harassment can no longer be used as a tool to preserve the unequal position of women and other marginalized groups within the workplace and society. This is about building a better, more safe Virginia for all. HB 2155 provides a clear definition of harassment that reflects the realities of workplace harassment and provides clarity to procedural elements of the Virginia Human Rights Act. • Provides for a consistent “5 or more employees” employer-size threshold across all HRA discrimination claims. • Clarifies awards of “attorney fees and costs” include reasonable litigation expenses. • Proves beneficial for businesses by providing clarity about what constitutes unlawful harassment, which will help employers prevent and stop harassment. • This bill also helps employers avoid liability and the lasting human impacts of harassment that translate into business costs, such as decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and diminished recruitment and retention. Thank you for your support of this important legislation.

HB2161 - Active military or a military spouse; prohibits discrimination in public accommodations, etc.
Last Name: Akin Organization: Blue Star Families Locality: Fort Bragg, NC

My name is Jennifer Akin and I am the Co-Director of Applied Research at Blue Star Families. I am an active-duty Army spouse, and although I have had a stable career compared to many military spouses, it has not come without challenges. I never envisioned myself entering military family research or advocacy, but one incident of blatant employment discrimination when I was a young military spouse changed the course of my trajectory.  For six years I had commuted from Fort Bragg, NC to the Raleigh-Durham area for work. When my son was born, that was no longer tenable and I began to explore options closer to home. I quickly received an interview for a position and proceeded through the multi-step interview process. At every stage of the interview process, I was asked what 'brought me to the area,' and 'how long have you lived here?' questions I now know are veiled attempts to discern whether an applicant is a military spouse. I answered them honestly. Despite being told following my final interview that I was the most highly-qualified applicant and to expect an offer letter soon, weeks went by and I heard nothing. When I reached out to check back in, I was told that 'leadership was looking for an applicant with more potential longevity and that although my credentials were impeccable, they did not want to go through the hiring process again the following year if our family received military orders.' I was devastated. Never before had my husband's chosen career in any way harmed mine. This experience led me to where I am today and provided me the opportunity to begin collecting the data necessary to demonstrate that I was not alone.  Employment discrimination against military spouses is real and widespread. In our 2019 Military Family Lifestyle Survey, 40% of military spouse respondents felt that employers in their local area were not eager to hire military-affiliated individuals, and 35% believed that employers in the local community would not accommodate the needs of military-affiliated employees.  Over half of active-duty spouse respondents thought that their military affiliation prevented them from receiving a promotion.  According to the DoD, military spouse unemployment has not significantly decreased since 2012 (it was around 22% in 2019).  77% of military spouses respondents in our own research are underemployed. It is reasonable to assume that employment discrimination is at least partially responsible for these outcomes.  I am proud to represent Blue Star Families and support H.B. 2161, but more importantly, as a military spouse I am grateful for your leadership on this issue. Thank you.

Last Name: Marra Organization: Virginia Poverty Law Center Locality: City of Richmond

One way in which HB2161 protects servicemembers and their dependents from rental housing discrimination is by making it unlawful for a housing provider to condition a servicemember's rental of a house or apartment on that servicemember's waiver of his or her rights under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The SCRA provides any servicemember who is sued for eviction the right to a 90-day stay of the eviction case. This stay is essential to the servicemember's ability to mount a defense in a manner that does not interfere with his or her military duties. Often, this 90-day stay provides the time needed to contact a servicemember who is on active duty so he or she can ensure their rent is up to date and that a proper defense can be raised in court. Similarly, the SCRA prohibits landlords seeking early lease termination fees from servicemembers who have to terminate their leases early because of a change in their station or duties. It has become common practice for residential landlords to include clauses in leases through which servicemembers waive all or some of their rights under the SCRA. Servicemembers find that the more desirable housing comes with leases that require them to waive these important federal rights. If they don't want to sign away these rights, they are often left with no choice but to rent less suitable housing in less desirable areas. The Virginia Poverty Law Center believes that the men and women who protect our country should never be asked to give up their federal rights just to secure the housing of their choice. And this waiver of rights has very real and severe consequences. Servicemembers who have waived their rights under the SCRA are more likely to have eviction judgments entered in their absence (default judgments) , placing their families at risk of homelessness and the servicemembers likely to return from protecting our country to find they have nowhere to live. By expressly prohibiting residential leases from containing waivers of rights under the SCRA, HB2161 will put a stop to the practice of forcing servicemembers to choose between maintaining their federal rights and having decent and desirable housing for themselves and their families.

Last Name: Akin Organization: Blue Star Families Locality: Arlington

Will be sent to Delegate Tran's office directly.

HB2164 - Tobacco; prohibits person from selling product at retail without license from ABC Authority.
Last Name: Quinby Organization: Tobacco Free Alliance of VA Locality: Fairfax County

Statement of the Tobacco Free Alliance of Virginia Before the Transportation and Safety Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee Virginia House of Delegates February 1, 2021 Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee: Tobacco retail licensing (“TRL”) is an essential part of enforcing tobacco laws at retail. H.B. 2164 will establish a framework for enforcement the Commonwealth now lacks, so it can begin actively enforcing the state and federal Tobacco 21 laws. The Facts • Virginia passed a “Tobacco 21” law two years ago to address the skyrocketing rates of youth e-cigarette use. A year later, Congress passed Tobacco 21 and made it the Law of the Land. Per FDA guidance, all states are now required to enforce Tobacco 21. • Virginia is not enforcing Tobacco 21 and is putting kids’ lives and state-received SAMHSA block grant dollars at risk each year it waits to enact an enforcement program. • Enforcement of tobacco retail laws is most effective through a TRL. Virginia doesn’t even have a current or complete list of who’s selling tobacco or nicotine products at retail. • H. 2164 would create a retailer database and framework for effective enforcement, including penalties and license suspension for retailers who sell unlawfully. • TRL laws level the playing field for retailers who obey the law by penalizing those who don’t. • Virginia is one of only NINE states that does not require tobacco retailers to obtain a license. • Current retailer violation rates have climbed. For the last full year data was available (2018), Virginia’s retailer violation rate (RVR) was close to 17%. Since enforcement efforts have been suspended (both due to COVID-19 restrictions and the absence of a statewide enforcement program), the violation rate is likely much higher now. • If Virginia fails to demonstrate an annual tobacco retailer violation rate of under 20%, the Commonwealth eventually risks losing more than $4M in federal substance abuse block grants from SAMHSA ($4 M is 10% of its annual SABG). The General Assembly is painstakingly considering how the legalized cannabis laws will work in Virginia, and these new laws will include significant retailer licensing fees and fines. Tobacco use causes more harm than marijuana ever has and costs Virginia in thousands of lives lost and billions of dollars spent each year. In the original bill last year, the fiscal note likely would have been close to zero as an annual license fee paid by retailers would fund and sustain the program. We took that fee out of the bill this year due to concerns for small businesses. However, a license fee appears necessary if we are to pass meaningful legislation that achieves its goal of cost neutrality and enforcing Tobacco 21, which the state is required to enforce. We must continue the conversation about strong enforcement of Virginia’s tobacco sales laws and license all tobacco and nicotine retailers the way our neighbors do in Maryland and D.C.—and the way 40 other states do, as well. We cannot afford to continue kicking the can down the road. Thank you for your attention to this important issue for all Virginians.

Last Name: Jennifer Faison Organization: Virginia Association of Community Services Boards Locality: Richmond

The VACSB strongly supports HB2164. Virginia receives federal block grant funds for tobacco prevention efforts. Over the years, the use of those funds has been expanded to include vaping and other nicotine delivery vehicles. In order to maintain the funding, CSB prevention programs have to identify each tobacco vendor and vape shop in Virginia so that they can engage in prevention activities with them. This identification effort is arduous. HB2164 would allow the CSBs to access an accurate list of vendors as opposed to having to identify them by driving around looking for them. The time saved on identification efforts can be spent on the engagement efforts that are needed to keep the block grant funds in place in Virginia as well as use them more efficiently.

Last Name: Crozier Organization: Community Coalitions of Virginia Locality: Va Beach

I understand you will be reviewing HB 2312 today, although I don't see it listed above? I oppose HB2312 for a number of legitimate, research-based reasons. First and foremost, now is not the time to legalize marijuana due to the pandemic, recession, and rise in other drug abuse/deaths! To legalize a schedule 1, addictive drug sends the wrong message to youth and the entire community. The message it sends is that marijuana is safe, low risk, condoned, and normalized. However, the opposite is true; marijuana use exacerbates the effects of Covid 19. The income from taxes is grossly underestimated, as per states that have legalized marijuana. Legalizing marijuana does not adequately address racial injustices and economic disparities. The start year of 2023 is unrealistic in terms of the need to build an infrastructure that will mitigate risk and respond to marijuana use/abuse issues. Once Virginia is ready to legalize marijuana, the three work groups should be clustered as follows: health and safety, K-16, and adult (since older adults are the fastest growing user group of marijuana nationally). I can provide references and more information if requested. Thank you. Dr. Mary Crozier mkcrozier@gmail.com

Last Name: Casper Organization: American Lung Association Locality: Newark

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments on behalf of the American Lung Association in Virginia in regards to HB 2164 by Delegate Hope. The American Lung Association strongly supports HB 2164, which would create a licensing program for tobacco retailers in Virginia. We are asking that you vote yes, at the upcoming ABC/Gaming Subcommittee meeting. Currently, Virginia does not require tobacco and e-cigarette retailers to obtain a tobacco retail license. Virginia is one of 9 states that do not have a Tobacco Retail License. Without a comprehensive tobacco retail license program, Virginia cannot effectively enforce, educate, monitor, or penalize illegal sales of tobacco products. According to data strong retail licensing requirements have been found to reduce youth e-cigarette and tobacco use. HB 2164 would be a good step in implementing a tobacco retail license infrastructure in Virginia. HB 2164 would: • Require all retailers of tobacco and nicotine products to obtain a Tobacco Retail License through Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Authority (ABC) and renew it annually • Establish a comprehensive list of all tobacco and nicotine retailers within the Commonwealth which we currently do not have. • Establish enhanced civil monetary penalties and outline license suspension and revocation provisions • Aligns definitions of tobacco products and electronic smoking devices in state code with federal definitions • Prohibits sales of tobacco and nicotine products from vending machines • Removes youth purchase, use and possession penalties, which target kids and have not been shown effective in reducing youth use of tobacco. The American Lung Association thanks you for the opportunity to share our comments on this proposed piece of legislation and encourages you to support a strong Tobacco Retail License in Virginia, by voting yes on HB 2164. If we can answer any additional questions or provide more information please feel free to contact me.

Last Name: Quinby Organization: Tobacco-Free Alliance of Virginia and Tobacco 21.org Locality: Fairfax County, Virginia

House 2164 is about two things: One, establishing a tobacco retail licensing requirement for every seller of tobacco and nicotine products in the Commonwealth, and two, establishing a penalty structure for those who break the law. No doubt you’ve heard this statistic: 95% of all smokers start before they’re 21. Most start much younger than that. Tobacco 21 laws are designed to reduce youth use and addiction by delaying the age of initiation. Tobacco retail licensing supports the enforcement of Tobacco 21 laws so they work to reduce youth initiation and use. In Virginia, not only are we not enforcing Tobacco 21, we don’t even have a complete list of who’s selling these products over the counter. H. 2164 will change that. The bill reflects many months of work and discussion between Delegate Hope, Public Health and the Tobacco Industry. All sides compromised and all stakeholders’ interests are reflected in the bill. Two years ago, the General Assembly passed a Tobacco 21 law to address the youth e-cigarette epidemic. The problem was we weren’t ready for a Tobacco 21 law because we had no infrastructure in place to enforce it. The result is our Tobacco 21 law is not being enforced, and retailer violation rates have climbed. For the last year data was available, which was 2018, our Violation Rate was close to 17%. Because of the absence of a comprehensive enforcement program in Virginia, the Violation Rate is likely higher now. This matters for two reasons: First and most important: our kids. Virginia youth continue to have easy access to tobacco and vaping products at retail. More kids addicted to tobacco and nicotine will mean more adult tobacco users and will continue to cost the Commonwealth in lives lost and billions spent in health care each year. The second reason is that one year ago Congress ALSO passed a Tobacco 21 law, keeping in it something called the "Synar Amendment," which requires states to demonstrate a retailer violation rate of NO MORE THAN 20% as a condition of receiving programmatic federal block grants. Virginia currently receives about $40M annually from SAMHSA in these block grants. If we don’t start enforcing Tobacco 21, we stand to lose more than $4M each year until we bring down our violation rates. Age of sale laws are most effectively enforced through a Tobacco Retail Licensing program. Most states understand this, but Virginia is one of only NINE STATES IN THE COUNTRY that does not require tobacco retailers to obtain a privilege license. Enforcing Tobacco 21 without licensing is next to impossible. H. 2164 will establish a framework for enforcement, after which the ABC can begin active enforcement. Identifying and penalizing those selling without a license or selling underage will level the playing field for all retailers by eliminating the unfair advantage rogue retailers now have over law-abiding retailers. Support for this bill is strong: 80 percent of Virginia adults surveyed believe all retailers should be licensed to sell tobacco and nicotine. Organizations who support H. 2164 include: The Tobacco-Free Alliance of Virginia, the Medical Society of Virginia, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Lung Association, the Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation and Tobacco 21.org.

HB2202 - Elevator mechanic or accessibility mechanic, certain; exemption from certification.
Last Name: Spencer Organization: VA BCTC Locality: Essex

In Support of HB 2202 Elevator mechanic or accessibility mechanic, certain; exemption from certification. I support HB 2202 Elevator mechanic or accessibility mechanic asking the Board for Contractors to provide an exemption from certification as an elevator mechanic or accessibility mechanic. Provides that an individual is not required to be certified as an elevator mechanic or accessibility mechanic when working under the direct and immediate supervision of an elevator mechanic or certified accessibility mechanic who is certified in the specialty for which work is being performed. Lou Spencer Caret, Virginia

Last Name: Avery Organization: VA State Building and Trades Council Locality: Hampton

I am Jim Avery. retired electrician with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. I support this bill, which is a clarification for the trade of elevator constructors to conform their worker classifications to accommodate their training program. It allows a trainee to gain field experience under the same restrictions that apply to other construction trade apprenticeships.

Last Name: Ayres Organization: International Union of Elevator Constructors Locality: King George

To whom it may concern, I am writing in support of HB 2202 concerning 54.1-1141 of the Code of Virginia relating to professions and occupations: Board for Contractors; exemption from licensure as an elevator mechanic or accessibility mechanic to amend and reenact as the law as written to clarify that helpers and apprentices are allowed to legally work on a job under the direct supervision of a licensed elevator mechanic or a licensed accessibility mechanic. There is a misunderstanding in the law and a need for clarification as it is currently not clear that helpers and apprentices can legally work on the job at all like all the other licensed trades are clear about allowing helpers and apprentices to work on the job with licensed mechanics/journey persons. To become a licensed elevator mechanic or a licensed accessibility mechanic it requires both classroom and on the job training so therefore you have to have helpers and apprentices to be able to work on the jobs with their mechanics. So, this needs to be cleared up to continue to have elevator mechanics and accessibility mechanics in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Thanks for continuing to protect the conveyance riders both public and private in our Commonwealth. Concerned Citizen, Vance Ayres

HB2266 - Alcoholic beverage control; outdoor refreshment area license.
Last Name: Yu-Shan, Fausto Organization: Wyeast Laboratories, Inc. Locality: Lexington, Virginia

Please vote Yes, we support the breweries and believe the bills will benefit their businesses, as well, the local communities. Thank you.

Last Name: sipp Organization: Stone Brewing Locality: Richmond

We strongly support this legislature. HB2266 thank You!

Last Name: St Clair Organization: Swover Creek Farms Farm Brewery Locality: EDINBURG

I ask that the House vote YES to this bill with it's substitutions because localities will benefit greatly by encouraging people to visit their commerce areas and increasing tax revenue. It will also benefit local businesses including Virginia Craft Brewing. The amendments are a very workable accommodation which will allow localities to not limit commerce zones and make sure they can include all neighborhoods in the economic benefits.

Last Name: Anderson-Leichty Organization: Virginia Craft Brewers Guild Locality: Heathsville, Virginia

Please provide special consideration. The economy has placed an undue hardship for breweries and we could use some support to encourage patronage. This can have a direct impact on our survival. Please vote yes.

Last Name: Vassey Organization: Virginia Craft Brewers Guild Locality: Richmond

The Virginia Craft Brewers Guild supports the creation of Outdoor Refreshment Areas. The VCBG also recommends the following amendments: 1. 3 areas may be too limiting for larger jurisdictions with multiple business centers. Would you consider 5? 2. The definition of container and size should be changed to “any ABC approved commercial packaging up to 32 ounces.” Most breweries don’t can their beer, but most have a “crowler” machine that cans 32 ounces. The ABC changed their regulations that allow for crowler consumption on-premise about 18 months ago. These changes will conform to existing ABC packaging regulations. 3. ½ square mile may be too small. Some regions in Virginia that are craft beer centric are Scott’s Addition – Richmond, Old Town – Alexandria, Old Town – Fredericksburg, Downtown – Leesburg, Ghent – Norfolk, Atlantic Blvd Area – Virginia Beach, Downtown Mall – Charlottesville, Downtown – Danville, Downtown – Lynchburg, Main St – Bristol, Farmer’s Market Area – Roanoke, Downtown – Bedford. We have not had the opportunity to measure distances between our breweries that are in some of these business centers to ensure that no one is left out. 4. Perhaps consider an enactment clause to have ABC convene a working group to develop standardized signage and demarcation regulations for the geographic areas to ensure that localities uniformly apply the law for the benefit of consumers, retailers and brewers. 5. Perhaps consider a requirement that participating localities provide additional solid waste and recycling infrastructure to avoid litter?

Last Name: Vassey Organization: Virginia Craft Brewers Guild Locality: Richmond

The Virginia Craft Brewers Guild supports the creation of Outdoor Refreshment Areas. The VCBG also recommends the following amendments: 1. 3 areas may be too limiting for larger jurisdictions with multiple business centers. Would you consider 5? 2. The definition of container and size should be changed to “any ABC approved commercial packaging up to 32 ounces.” Most breweries don’t can their beer, but most have a “crowler” machine that cans 32 ounces. The ABC changed their regulations that allow for crowler consumption on-premise about 18 months ago. These changes will conform to existing ABC packaging regulations. 3. ½ square mile may be too small. Some regions in Virginia that are craft beer centric are Scott’s Addition – Richmond, Old Town – Alexandria, Old Town – Fredericksburg, Downtown – Leesburg, Ghent – Norfolk, Atlantic Blvd Area – Virginia Beach, Downtown Mall – Charlottesville, Downtown – Danville, Downtown – Lynchburg, Main St – Bristol, Farmer’s Market Area – Roanoke, Downtown – Bedford. We have not had the opportunity to measure distances between our breweries that are in some of these business centers to ensure that no one is left out. 4. Perhaps consider an enactment clause to have ABC convene a working group to develop standardized signage and demarcation regulations for the geographic areas to ensure that localities uniformly apply the law for the benefit of consumers, retailers and brewers. 5. Perhaps consider a requirement that participating localities provide additional solid waste and recycling infrastructure to avoid litter?

Last Name: Crozier Organization: Community Coalitions of Virginia Locality: Va Beach

I understand you will be reviewing HB 2312 today, although I don't see it listed above? I oppose HB2312 for a number of legitimate, research-based reasons. First and foremost, now is not the time to legalize marijuana due to the pandemic, recession, and rise in other drug abuse/deaths! To legalize a schedule 1, addictive drug sends the wrong message to youth and the entire community. The message it sends is that marijuana is safe, low risk, condoned, and normalized. However, the opposite is true; marijuana use exacerbates the effects of Covid 19. The income from taxes is grossly underestimated, as per states that have legalized marijuana. Legalizing marijuana does not adequately address racial injustices and economic disparities. The start year of 2023 is unrealistic in terms of the need to build an infrastructure that will mitigate risk and respond to marijuana use/abuse issues. Once Virginia is ready to legalize marijuana, the three work groups should be clustered as follows: health and safety, K-16, and adult (since older adults are the fastest growing user group of marijuana nationally). I can provide references and more information if requested. Thank you. Dr. Mary Crozier mkcrozier@gmail.com

Last Name: Snare Organization: Prince William Chamber of Commerce Locality: Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park

My name is Ross Snare and I represent the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and its 1200+ Members. On behalf of our membership, we strongly urge you to support HB1738, HB2051, and HB2266. These three pieces of legislation will allow localities to define and permit “Outdoor Refreshment Areas” (ORAs). In one of our localities, the City of Manassas, we have successfully run such a program and it has been a boon for not only our hospitality industry members, but for all businesses. These pieces of legislation (HB1738, HB2051, and HB2266) would permit any ABC restaurant licensee, brewery, distillery, or winery within an Outdoor Refreshment Area to allow their patrons to legally leave their establishment with alcohol and enjoy refreshments in the open air. Again, we have seen the amazing success that this program has had on our community prior to COVID, and during these trying times, our small businesses, especially those in the hospitality industry, need everything they can to survive. We strongly urge you to support these pieces of legislation.

Last Name: Hall Organization: Old Town Business Association Locality: Alexandria

We are writing to support these bills which would endorse and allow local outdoor refreshment areas. The time has come for us to create a new way of expanding our ABC licensed restaurants into a collaborative experience of an outdoor refreshment area. Last year, due to the arrival of COVID, the 100 block of King Street was transformed into a pedestrian walkway with outdoor dining on the sidewalks and in the former parking spaces. This 3 month trial was so successful, it is on it's way to become a permanent fixture. We would welcome the opportunity to expand into a "refreshment area", complete with support from the local ABC personnel and an endorsement from the Alexandria City Council. The local outdoor refreshment area would be a great boost for the small business community in other areas of Old Town, Del Ray, and Carlyle. Both the retail and the restaurant community would benefit from the outdoor refreshment area. The refreshment area concept encourages a festive and welcoming atmosphere, which can be planned and implemented in a timely manner with collaborative partners of Va ABC, City of Alexandria, and the local small business associations. COVID encouraged us to collaborate more, and we did, and we survived to thrive.

Last Name: Reynolds Organization: Hampton Roads Chamber Locality: Chesapeake

My name is Emily Reynolds and I am the Executive Director of Governmental Affairs for the Hampton Roads Chamber. We are a pro-business organization serving over 1,200 members. On behalf of our members, we ask that you support HB1738, HB2051, and HB2266. These three bills would allow localities to define and permit “Outdoor Refreshment Areas” (ORAs). Restaurants, hotels, and other small businesses in the hospitality industry have had to rethink new ways to offer their services. Even with these changes, restaurant operators in Virginia have reported steep declines in revenue during the last year. Many consumers who have previously chosen to stay home to minimize their exposure to COVID-19 would partake in outdoor dining options cognizant of social distancing measures. These designated spaces, designed and sanctioned by localities voluntarily, allow drinking-aged individuals to gather outside safely to enjoy food and adult beverages. If passed, HB1738, HB2051, and HB2266 would permit any ABC restaurant licensee, brewery, distillery, or winery within an Outdoor Refreshment Area to allow their patrons to legally leave their establishment with alcohol and enjoy refreshments in the open air. ORA legislation would provide an optional revitalization tool for Virginia localities who choose to use them and an instant shot in the arm for businesses located within the designated Outdoor Refreshment Areas. The Hampton Roads Chamber supports this legislation. We respectfully ask that you support HB1738, HB2051, and HB2266.

Last Name: Taylor Organization: City of Alexandria Locality: Alexandria

The City of Alexandria supports legislation to modernize Virginia’s alcoholic beverage laws in order to ensure our small, local businesses can be competitive in the region. In addition, the City supports these bills which will provide localities with flexibility and authority to implement creative ways to support our local restaurants and businesses. These bills would allow localities like Alexandria to practically and safely expand the footprint of many of our struggling restaurants when indoor dining space is limited during the current public health emergency. Beyond the challenges of COVID-19, these bills will give localities across Virginia another "tool in our toolbox" as we think creatively about placemaking in our communities and about the planning, design and management of our public spaces. The authority afforded in these bills can play a vital role in future development efforts in our community as we work to capitalize on Alexandria’s unique assets, support and cultivate our local restaurants and small businesses, and reimagine and reinvent public spaces across our community. Sarah Taylor, Legislative Director City of Alexandria

Last Name: Pedowitz Organization: Arlington Chamber of Commerce Locality: Arlington

The Arlington Chamber of Commerce supports HB 1738, HB 2051, and HB 2266, allowing the creation of local outdoor refreshment areas. The Arlington Chamber supports simplifying the multitude of ABC laws for the benefit of the community. The past year has forced a rethinking of how we apply our outdoor space, including for restaurant service. The outdoor refreshment areas proposed by these bills will allow localities to support our restaurants in competing for business and serving their customers. Especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its devastating impact on restaurants, allowing outdoor refreshment service will provide an important boost for this vital industry. We encourage the committee to report these three bills.

Last Name: Haggerty Organization: Alexandria Chamber of Commerce Locality: Alexandria

Comments from the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce on Alcoholic beverage control; Local Outdoor Refreshment Areas The Alexandria Chamber of Commerce supports HB2266 -- Alcoholic beverage control, local outdoor refreshment areas. The Chamber has long championed measures to modernize Virginia’s alcoholic beverage laws to ensure that the Commonwealth can compete with neighboring jurisdictions and this bill is key in making the Commonwealth more competitive. Allowing localities the option to create outdoor refreshment areas is a needed tool for our restaurants, who have born a disproportionate impact from COVID-19, to activate innovative consumer directed services that will drive customers to their establishments and neighboring businesses.

Last Name: Lisk Organization: Cozen O'Connor Locality: Richmond

VRLTA asks you to support House Bill No.s 1738 (Wampler), 2051 (Bourne) & 2266 (Ayala) creating Outdoor Refreshment Areas (“ORAs”): Restaurants, hotels, and other small businesses in the hospitality industry have had to rethink new ways to offer their services, balancing state restrictions with public health concerns. But even with these changes, restaurant operators in Virginia have reported steep declines in revenue during the last year. Many consumers who have previously chosen to stay home to minimize their exposure to COVID-19 would partake in outdoor dining options cognizant of social distancing measures. One smart solution that legislators are considering would allow localities to define and permit “Outdoor Refreshment Areas,” also referred to as ORAs. These designated spaces, designed and sanctioned by localities voluntarily, allow drinking-aged individuals to gather outside safely to enjoy food and adult beverages. If passed, HB1738, HB2051, and HB2266 would permit any ABC restaurant licensee, brewery, distillery, or winery within an Outdoor Refreshment Area to allow their patrons to legally leave their establishment with alcohol and enjoy refreshments in the open air. ORA legislation would provide an optional revitalization tool for Virginia localities who choose to use them and an instant shot in the arm for businesses located within the designated Outdoor Refreshment Areas. VRLTA also asks you to support House Bill 1879 (Bulova) continuing the sale of mixed beverages to-go for one additional year. The restaurant industry has been hit hard during the pandemic. Like many other states, Virginia halted indoor dining in the early months. And even after the Governor approved limited indoor dining, patrons often have been reluctant to come inside. As of early December, 17% of restaurants nationally—110,000—have closed either permanently or for the long term. Currently, more than 30 states plus the District of Columbia are allowing the sale of cocktails to-go and Iowa, Ohio, Oklahoma and D.C. have made cocktails to-go permanent. Off-premise alcohol sales in conjunction with the sale of food have been a much-needed revenue stream for struggling restaurants and bars over the past year. The added revenue represents an average of 10% of restaurants off-premise sales. That has enabled some restaurant owners to bring back one or two laid-off staffers. And the change has become quite popular with consumers. Continuation of innovative measures like cocktails to-go won’t fully solve the hospitality industry’s economic woes, but it will help these businesses hang on during this COVID-19 emergency. VRLTA asks you to oppose House Bill 2136 (Batten) which creates a new “Mobile Retailer” license for the sale of wine and beer. VRLTA has concerns about the lack of provisions to allow for adequate oversight by Virginia ABC over the sale of alcoholic beverages by these mobile vendors concerning where and when alcohol may be sold. VRLTA is further concerned that the bill would allow mobile vendors to unfairly compete with restaurants that have more stringent requirements imposed regarding the sale of alcoholic beverages, including minimum food sale requirements.

Last Name: Harveycutter Locality: Salem

I am very much in favor of these bills to allow "outdoor refreshment areas" in our communities. Localities are not required to offer these areas but may if they so desire. I fully believe there is sufficient policing included in the bill that these areas could operate safely throughout the participating cities, counties and towns. Thank you for your consideration

Last Name: Laura Bateman Organization: CITY OF ROANOKE Locality: City of Richmond

The City of Roanoke is very supportive of these bills because they will help Roanoke restaurants recover when restrictions on capacity are lifted post-pandemic and people still feel more safe remaining outdoors. It also would overcome a huge obstacle to the renovation and repurposing of the historic Fire Station No. 1 at the Roanoke Farmers Market.

HB2288 - Va. Public Procurement Act; construction contracts, requirement to submit list of subcontractors.
Last Name: Hammond Organization: Associated Builders and Contractors - Virginia Chapter Locality: Chesterfield

ABC-VA opposes this bill.

Last Name: Bruce Burton Organization: The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and Virginia AFL-CIO Locality: Alexandria area of Fairfax County

I write in support of HB 2288 (VA. Public Procurement Act; construction contracts, requirement to submit list of subcontractors), legislation designed to limit the irresponsible practice of "bid shopping" on public construction in Virginia. Bid shopping or bid pedaling occurs when a general contractor or project manager discloses the bid price from one subcontractor to another after bids have been submitted in an attempt to obtain a lower unreasonable price. This practice is highly unethical and leads to shoddy work and unsafe construction by incentivizing dangerous corner-cutting. Moreover, it defeats the purpose of the competitive bidding system. It is time to limit, if not end, the practice of bidshopping on public construction in Virginia. I respectfully request the Committee Members to support HB 2288 when it is brought-up for consideration.

Last Name: Ross Organization: CWA VA State Council Locality: Richmond

We support this bill

Last Name: Ross Organization: Central Virginia Labor Federation Locality: Richmond

We support this bill

Last Name: Ayres Organization: International Union of Elevator Constructors Locality: King George

Dear Chairman and Committee members, I am in support of HB 2288 as there is a large and long history of Contractors and sub-contractors that have been and are still being hired to do both public and private work that are not qualified and can not perform the work properly required in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We need to have a process that reviews the history and qualifications of contractors being hired in Virginia to protect the residents and the tax revenue being used. There should be no issues with this for contractors and sub-contractors that are being used for especially public work as we all should understand that there are more requirements to perform government work to protect the public citizens in all matters.

Last Name: Spencer Organization: UA Local 5 Plumbers and Gasfitters Locality: Essex

I support HB 2288. HB 2288 requires bidders or offerors on contracts for construction of $250,000 or more to submit along with their bid or proposal a list of all subcontractors, regardless of tier, that the bidder or offeror will use on the contract to perform work valued at $50,000 or more. HB 2288 requires such list to include certain information about each contractor. HB 2288 allows the public body to disqualify listed subcontractors. The practice of bid shopping is repugnant, and it must be stopped. Construction professionals are decisively opposed to bid shopping. Bid shopping and bid peddling are unethical and exploitative. This legislation increases transparency in the bidding process substantially; it will encourage and increase the number of responsive and responsible bidders and this will reduce cost associated with shoddy work and schedule delays. It is time for all professional contractors and construction trade associations and the Virginia General Assembly to come together in strident opposition to bid shopping stopping the practice altogether in Virginia, please vote favorably for HB 2288. Lou Spencer Caret, Virginia

Last Name: Solis Organization: Plumbers and Gasfitters Local No. 5 Locality: Loudoun

I support HB 2288 which revises the Virginia Public Procurement Act pertaining to construction contracts, requiring general contractors to submit a list of subcontractors. HB 2288 requires bidders or offerors on contracts for construction of $250,000 or more to submit along with their bid or proposal a list of all subcontractors, regardless of tier, that the bidder or offeror will use on the contract to perform work valued at $50,000 or more, including labor and materials. HB 2288 requires such list to include certain information about each contractor. HB 2288 allows the public body to disqualify listed subcontractors but requires the public body to notify the bidder or offeror of such disqualification and allow the bidder or offeror reasonable time to find a qualified replacement. HB 2288 provides that any bidder or offeror that does not submit the required list and statements will have its bid or proposal disqualified, and any bidder or offeror that is found to have knowingly provided false information pursuant to this section shall be debarred from contracting with any public body for a period of up to one year. The practice of bid shopping is repugnant, and it must be stopped. Construction professionals are decisively opposed to it bid shopping. Bid shopping and bid peddling are unethical and exploitative. It is time all professional contractor and construction trade associations and the Virginia General Assembly to come together in vociferous opposition to stop bid shopping in Virginia vote favorably for HB 2288. Respectfully Submitted, Tony Solis Leesburg, Virginia

Last Name: Spencer Organization: UA Local 5 Plumbers and Gasfitters Locality: Essex

I support HB 2288 which revises the Virginia Public Procurement Act pertaining to construction contracts, requiring general contractors to submit a list of subcontractors. HB 2288 requires bidders or offerors on contracts for construction of $250,000 or more to submit along with their bid or proposal a list of all subcontractors, regardless of tier, that the bidder or offeror will use on the contract to perform work valued at $50,000 or more, including labor and materials. HB 2288 requires such list to include certain information about each contractor. The bill also requires the bidder or offer to submit 1) a statement declaring that the bidder or offeror has reviewed the qualifications and performance history of each subcontractor and found such qualifications and performance history to be sufficient to qualify the subcontractor to perform the subcontract work and 2) a statement indicating that the bidder or offeror has received a written statement from each subcontractor verifying that such subcontractor (a) has not defaulted on any projects within the last three years, (b) has not been suspended or disbarred by any public body within the last three years, and (c) is not currently in bankruptcy. HB 2288 allows the public body to disqualify listed subcontractors but requires the public body to notify the bidder or offeror of such disqualification and allow the bidder or offeror reasonable time to find a qualified replacement. HB 2288 provides that any bidder or offeror that does not submit the required list and statements will have its bid or proposal disqualified, and any bidder or offeror that is found to have knowingly provided false information pursuant to this section shall be debarred from contracting with any public body for a period of up to one year. The practice of bid shopping is repugnant, and it must be stopped. Construction professionals are decisively opposed to it bid shopping. Bid shopping and bid peddling are unethical and exploitative. It is time all professional contractor and construction trade associations and the Virginia General Assembly to come together in vociferous opposition to stop bid shopping in Virginia vote favorably for HB 2288. Lou Spencer Caret, Virginia

HB2306 - Va. Public Procurement Act; contract clause requiring subcontractor reporting of certain payments.
Last Name: Hammond Organization: Associated Builders and Contractors - Virginia Chapter Locality: Chesterfield

ABC-VA opposes this bill. Changes to the VPPA should be studied and vetted by impacted agencies, procurement professionals, and stakeholders before brought to the GA.

Last Name: Williams Organization: Virginia Ready Mixed Concrete Association Locality: Henrico

The Virginia Ready Mixed Concrete Association opposes HB 2306 as an unnecessary and excessive burden on contractors. Subcontractors will be required to determine and report individual employee wages for every worker on a project site. This is separate from the current reporting of wage information that is already required by VDOT. The General Assembly implemented additional requirements last session to address wage theft. Since then, no significant issues have been identified on transportation construction projects. We fear that this bill will stifle participation and raise the cost of public projects. Finally, we have concerns with the opportunity for public feedback on this bill. We ask you to oppose HB 2306.

Last Name: Dixon Organization: VA Transportation Construction Alliance Locality: Chesterfield

As a Virginia trade association of 300 firms, we are deeply disappointed we were not provided the opportunity to express our opinion during previous legislative testimony due to being locked out of the sign-up system. Here again, we are locked out of today’s opportunity to speak before the elected officials who will make the decision. Our only recourse is to send this electronic writing – I do hope all legislators are readying these comments. This major policy decision should be looked at in further detail. VTCA represents the contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and service firms who build, maintain and repair state roads. The Virginia firms who employ Virginia citizens on transportation projects manage projects to ensure good use of taxpayer dollars. As clients of the State and often Federal dollars, we are already subject to audits and certified payrolls and if violations occur, the government agencies have the authority to address issues and even suspend or debar bad actors. This bill is an excessive bureaucratic paper chase effort where no agency has the current resources to seriously look at the data until a complaint is filed. With the excessive detailed information requested, competitors will scan the FOIA data and get sensitive wage information. Subcontractors will need to pull individual employee and report monthly payrolls for all workers on the site. This is separate from the current reporting of wage information to VDOT. These excessive requirements will significantly impact SWaM contractors harder than the large firms and will discourage participation in the states SWaM goals as well as reduce overall competition. The Legislature set up additional compliance vetting last year to address the alleged "wage violations" during the 2020 Session, yet you have not identified significant issues on transportation construction projects and this bill will only raise the cost of taxpayer dollars on all public projects. We ask you to oppose HB 2306 and allow last year's legislation to address this concern. Gordon Dixon

Last Name: Robinson Organization: Associated General Contractors of Virginia (AGCVA) Locality: Glen Allen

As we have been unable to speak against this bill in General Laws and now in this subcommittee, on behalf of the over 500 businesses in commercial construction in Virginia, we write to express our opposition to this legislation. This bill creates an onerous reporting requirement on contractor businesses. The bill requires monthly reporting on a wide variety of payment and salary information. Much of this information is already required in the prevailing wage statute, though HB 2306 goes beyond what is currently required. It does not have a threshold limit, meaning it applies to small projects as well. It is open to FOIA requests, meaning competitors could gain access to proprietary pricing information, which harms the free market and the ability of contractors to appropriately price bids. AGCVA commends the Delegate for his goal of eliminating wage theft in public procurement. However, onerous industry wide reporting requirements will do harm to good businesses while not appropriately targeting bad actors.

Last Name: David Bailey Organization: Alliance fo Construction Excellence (ACE) Locality: HENRICO

The Alliance for Construction Excellence (ACE) fully supports HB2306 and encourages you to report it. This is another effort to combat wage theft and worker misclassification. Passage of the bill will help those businesses that are operating legally and are that are now unfortunately competing with some businesses that are skirting the law. David Bailey for ACE

Last Name: Abraham Organization: Old Dominion Highway Contractors Association Locality: Henrico

This bill puts a major burden on state contractors by requiring them to report monthly the payrolls for all workers on site. There is no indication DOLI has the systems in place to handle this mountain of data they will now be receiving and what they will do with it. If they suspect a wage theft violation they have the power to request this information but why put the burden on general contractors to report a select portion of their payrolls monthly to DOLI? Subcontractors will need to parse out their employees on site from their payrolls and then combine that information to provide to their general contractor. There a no FOIA protections in this bill so competitors will be able to get wage information on the companies they compete with. Highway contractors already have to report wage information to VDOT and this will require a different separate monthly report be provided to a different state agency. Why make general contractors get this information, compile it and then report it to DOLI? The burdens this bill impose will hit small businesses and SWAM contractors particularly hard and will discourage participation in state contracting opportunities. This bill was filed on the lat day for bill introduction, was heard in House General Laws without going to Subcommittee and, because it was added late to the full committee docket, nobody in the construction industry was able to speak against it. When I found out this bill would be heard on a different day than normal for this Subcommittee, I was unable to sign up to speak against it. This major change in state policy deserves much more thorough consideration and work and I respectfully request it not be approved. Thank you, Phil Abraham.

Last Name: Spencer Organization: UA Local 5 Plumbers and Gasfitters Locality: Essex

I support HB 2306; updating the Virginia Public Procurement Act, by requiring subcontractor reporting of payments to employees and independent contractors. This bill requires any contract awarded by a state agency or an agency of local government to require the contractor to include in each of its subcontracts a provision requiring the subcontractor to report to the contractor on a monthly basis 1) payroll records for all of the subcontractor's employees; 2) records of all payments made by the subcontractor to individuals classified as independent contractors; and 3) the total number of individuals on the jobsite, including the number classified as employees and the number classified as independent contractors. The bill requires the contractor to compile such information and submit it in a monthly report to the Department of Labor and Industry. HB 2306 is good for legitimate Virginia Business and Contracting. Worker misclassification is often the result of illegitimate labor brokers who supply undocumented workers (who are subject to wage theft oppression) to illegitimate businesses for the purpose of evading payroll taxes and worker compensation, this undermines legitimate Virginia business, under cuts qualified Virginia residents from employment, and it undermines state and local treasuries hurting all Virginia communities. It is time to enact HB 2306 for legitimate Virginia subcontractors AND stop worker misclassification (and wage theft) in Virginia. Lou Spencer Caret, Virginia

HB2321 - Labor, Secretary of; position created in Governor's Cabinet.
Last Name: Ascher Organization: Mid-Atlantic Pipe Trades Association/United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters Locality: Baltimore

On behalf of the Mid-Atlantic Pipe Trades and our members across Virginia, I ask you to support this HB 2321. Over the last year and a half, Virginia has started to move in the right direction to protect workers. This legislation would officially create a state Secretary of Labor moving all workforce development, worker compensation, and occupational licensing under this new Secretary. This cabinet secretary's creation shows that the state is finally taking a real interest in workers' plight across the state by putting someone in the governor's cabinet whose sole job is developing the workforce to move Virginia forward.

Last Name: Avery Organization: VA Building and Construction Trades Council Locality: Hampton

I am Jim Avery, retired electrician and former business manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1340. I support this bill because the duties of training, licensing, and inspection of the workforce of Virginia are of utmost importance to ensure we are prepared for all challenges facing the growth and success of business in our Commonwealth.

Last Name: Magruder Organization: United Steelworkers Local 8888 Locality: Newport News

The United Steelworkers Local 8888 express our support for creating a Secretary of Labor. We feel like it would help in paying more attention to the needs of our workforce and the employees around the state.

Last Name: Spencer Organization: UA Local 5 Plumbers and Gasfitters Locality: Essex

IN SUPPORT -- HB 2321 Labor, Secretary of; position created in Governor's Cabinet. I support HB 2321 as this bill transfers from the Secretary of Commerce and Trade to the Secretary of Labor responsibility for the Department of Labor and Industry, the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, and the Virginia Employment Commission. The bill also removes the position of Chief Workforce Development Advisor and reassigns that position's responsibilities to the Secretary of Labor. I support this bill. I support creating in the Governor's Cabinet the position of Secretary of Labor. This will serve all Virginians; it is good for business and labor; it will enhance Virginia commerce and industry ; it will improve worker safety and make Virginia more competitive in a global economy. Respectfully Submitted, Lou Spencer Caret, Virginia

Last Name: Solis Organization: Plumbers and Gasfitters Local No. 5moves Locality: Loudoun

IN SUPPORT -- HB 2321 I support HB 2321 as this bill moves from the Secretary of Commerce and Trade to the Secretary of Labor responsibility for the Department of Labor and Industry, the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, and the Virginia Employment Commission. The bill also moves the position of Chief Workforce Development Advisor and assigns that position's responsibilities to the Secretary of Labor. I support this bill. I support making in the Governor's Cabinet the position of Secretary of Labor. This will serve all Virginians; it is good for labor and business. It will enhance Virginia commerce and it will improve worker safety and make Virginia more competitive. Respectfully Submitted, Tony Solis Leesburg, Virginia

Last Name: Spencer Organization: UA Local 5 Plumbers and Gasfitters Locality: Essex

IN SUPPORT -- HB 2321 Labor, Secretary of; position created in Governor's Cabinet. I support HB 2321 as this bill transfers from the Secretary of Commerce and Trade to the Secretary of Labor responsibility for the Department of Labor and Industry, the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, and the Virginia Employment Commission. The bill also removes the position of Chief Workforce Development Advisor and reassigns that position's responsibilities to the Secretary of Labor. I support this bill. I support creating in the Governor's Cabinet the position of Secretary of Labor. This will serve all Virginians; it is good for business and labor; in will enhance Virginia commerce and industry It will improve worker safety and make Virginia more competitive in a global economy. Respectfully Submitted, Lou Spencer Caret, Virginia

HB2322 - Opioid Abatement Authority; established, report.
Last Name: Jennifer Faison Organization: Virginia Association of Community Services Boards Locality: Richmond

The Virginia Association of Community Services Boards (VACSB) strongly supports HB2322 because it recognizes the devastating impact the opioid epidemic has had on Virginia. While the human toll can never be undone, the bill seeks to rectify some of the monetary impact the epidemic has had on localities as well as to put appropriate prevention measures in place and support services going forward for those who have succumbed to the disease of addiction. We believe that the governance structure as proposed in the bill strikes a delicate balance of all of the involved parties and appreciate the work of the Attorney General's Office, which was heavily involved in the drafting of the bill.

Last Name: Jordan Organization: City of Roanoke Locality: Richmond

Support

Last Name: Mitchell Organization: The McShin Foundation & The Virginia Recovery Advocacy Project Locality: RIchmond

The Virginia Recovery Advocacy Project - representing recovery organizations and thousands of individuals throughout the Commonwealth - and The McShin Recovery Resource Foundation - Virginia’s leading accredited, community-based, non-governmental organization (NGO) providing same-day, evidence-based, authentic peer-driven recovery support services - applauds this preemptive effort to ensure funds from current and potential opioid settlements reach the individuals and communities most devastated by the continuing opioid crisis. We write to share our concerns and offer the following improvements: First, the composition of the Board of Directors should reflect the community it serves. We suggest increasing the number of board members from 11 to 15, where five individuals represent the addiction and recovery community, of which at least three shall represent NGOs providing same-day, evidence-based, authentic peer-driven recovery support services. This change recognizes the importance of peer-to-peer recovery in combating the opioid crisis, and gives voice to the individuals directly served. Second, 35% of the Fund must be allocated to established, accredited, NGOs providing same-day, evidence-based, authentic peer-driven recovery support services. While Community Services Boards provide vital access to resources, same-day, NGO service providers, like The McShin Foundation, are fundamental for developing long-term connections to the authentic recovery community. The Virginia Association of Recovery Residences (VARR) and the Council on Accreditation of Peer Recovery Support Services (CAPRSS) are two established accreditations in Virginia with rigorous, evidence-based, national standards of excellence. We applaud you and members of the General Assembly for working to ensure equitable access to recovery from opioid use disorder. We must give voice to the community that the Opioid Abatement Authority will serve, and we must support community-based NGOs providing same-day, evidence-based, authentic peer-driven recovery support services. When we invest in authentic peer recovery, we build strong families, create safer communities, and produce healthier citizens.

Last Name: McDermott Organization: Faces and Voice of Recovery (FAVOR) of Virginia | www.favorva.org Locality: Maidens

I call your attention to the above referenced proposed legislation HB2322 (Establishing an Opioid Abatement Authority} before you in the House General Laws Committee this evening, upon which I commented before the Professions/Occupations and Administrative Process Sub-Committee this morning. From the perspective of an individual with more than 29 years of sustained continuous recovery from Substance Use Disorder (SUD), I support you referring this much needed legislation to the House Appropriations Committee with some additional input. As I stated before the Sub-Committee, this legislation is heartily welcomed; however I would amicably argue that “one representative of the addiction and recovery community” is not enough. Furthermore, I encourage you to look at what Delaware has done with their already enacted legislation along these lines to apportion a sizeable percentage of these anticipated settlement funds to non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) providing lived experience evidence based SUD recovery services – Opioid Impact Fund: See how Delaware will spend Big Pharma payout (delawareonline.com)

Last Name: Williams Organization: Decriminalize Virginia Locality: HAMPTON

I strongly support the legalization of cannabis. Although I would like a separate agency to be set up as a regulatory authority, I ok with the ABC /cannabis serving as a regulator, I do want to stop the process of legalization. Legalization and social equity is important. . Opt in and Opt out is important. We need to incorporate the Cannabis Control Advisory board this is important.

Last Name: McDermott Organization: Faces and Voice of Recovery (FAVOR) of Virginia | www.favorva.org Locality: Maidens

From the perspective of an individual with more than 29 years of sustained continuous recovery from Substance Use Disorder (SUD), this legislation is heartily welcomed, however I would amicably argue that “one representative of the addiction and recovery community” is not enough. Furthermore, I encourage you to look at what Delaware has done with their already enacted legislation along these lines to apportion a sizeable percentage of these anticipated settlement funds to non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) providing lived experience evidence based SUD recovery services – Opioid Impact Fund: See how Delaware will spend Big Pharma payout (delawareonline.com) Thank You!

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