The General Assembly completed its work over the weekend and officially adjourned Sine Die on Monday, March 1.  This marks the end of a virtual legislative session that began January 13th.  The House conducted business remotely using Zoom for all committee meetings and floor sessions, while the Senate took public testimony via Zoom but met in person, appropriately distanced at the Science Museum of Virginia.  Technology allowed the members to do their work safely and efficiently as they worked through more than 1200 pieces of legislation.


The rvatech/ legislative agenda was well received at the state capitol this year.  Numerous priorities were successful in the categories of education and workforce development, innovation and economic development, IT procurement, and broadband access.  The following review includes a brief look at our initiatives from this session along with a full list of the legislation we tracked throughout the process.


Education & Workforce Development -


The ‘Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back” initiative passed the General Assembly and was funded in the final budget.  This program will provide tuition-free community college available to low- and middle-income students who pursue jobs in high-demand fields such as information technology.  

  • Computer Science Education Implementation 

HB1885 was approved to have the Department of Education do a review of how computer science education is being implemented around the state so that all localities can be brought up to speed and students can receive equity in CS education.

  • Virginia Workforce Development Programs at VEDP

Additional funding was requested and provided to support the Talent Accelerator and Program and Jobs Investment Program at the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. These programs help train workers for new jobs, often including IT.

  • In addition to what was included in our agenda, rvatech/ also supported legislation which will now establish the Virginia STEM Education Advisory Board as outlined in HB2058.


Innovation and Economic Development -


  • SB1418 was approved to allow a waiver or reduction of the capital investment required to qualify for certain economic development grants given the evolving remote work model. This will help Virginia remain competitive for economic development and simultaneously allow jobs to be located throughout the Commonwealth where high speed internet is available.  

  • To continue to strengthen Virginia’s position as a data center leader, the legislature approved HB2273 and SB1423 to lower the jobs and capital requirements in the sales and use tax exemption for data centers located in an economically distressed locality. This will help more localities in all regions of the state recruit data centers to their area.

  • The General Assembly continued funding important initiatives at the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority including $6.2 million for the Growth Accelerator Program, $5 million for the Commonwealth Commercialization Fund, and $2 million for the Virginia Center for Unmanned Systems.

  • The budget provides Virginia Commonwealth University $6,880,000 the first year from bond proceeds to provide funds for the support acquisition and installation of High-Performance Computing tools for the development of the Commonwealth Center for Cloud Computing (C4). The Times-Dispatch wrote about this initiative here.


Broadband Access -


  • The General Assembly continued a record investment in the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative of $100 million over two years to support deployment of broadband services into unserved areas of the commonwealth.

  • The Department of Housing and Community Development, which oversees the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative, was provided nearly $500,000 to develop a broadband map of Virginia.


Information Technology Procurement -


  • HB2246 was defeated for the third year in a row which would have required all state agencies with more than 20 full-time teleworking employees to use automatic workforce management verification software to verify the hours employees worked while teleworking by counting and reporting to the agency all keystroke, mouse event, and screenshot data. This mandate would be potentially expensive, burdensome, and unnecessary and rvatech/ has led efforts to defeat it in recent years, working with VITA.

  • Significant funding was provided in the final budget to upgrade information technology systems in several different areas of government.