While it seems like the legislative session just started, we are now less than two weeks away from the midway point referred to as “crossover.” The deadline for each chamber to act on its own legislation is February 15, and after that point, the House may only consider Senate bills and the Senate may only consider House bills if they were approved in the original chamber. So far, 263 bills have passed one chamber of the roughly 2,100 that were introduced. Legislative committees have a great deal of work to do in the remaining time before crossover.
The House Appropriations and Senate Finance & Appropriations committees will also continue to ramp up their work to craft a revised budget proposal in the next few weeks. The committees are expected to announce their revisions to the introduced budget on Sunday afternoon, February 20th, and each chamber will adopt its version of the budget on Thursday, February 24th. As a reminder, you can click here to view the key budget items from both the introduced budget and member requested budget amendments.
So far, several key legislative issues moved through committees:
HB791 from Delegate Joe McNamara and SB513 from Senator McPike would ensure uniformity in how data centers are taxed at the local level. A broad coalition, including rvatech, is supporting this legislation to maintain Virginia’s status as a global leader and attractive state for locating data centers. The House bill passed the full House of Delegates 99-0 on February 1st and the Senate version will be considered in the Senate committee this afternoon.
HB1290 from Delegate Cliff Hayes and SB764 from Senator Barker would require every public body to report to the Chief Information Officer (CIO) all known incidents that threaten the security of the Commonwealth's data or communications or result in the exposure of data protected by federal or state laws and all other incidents compromising the security of the public body's information technology systems with the potential to cause major disruption to normal activities of the public body or other public bodies. The bill requires such reports to be made to the CIO within 24 hours from when the incident was discovered. The bill also requires the state CIO to convene a workgroup of relevant stakeholders to review and make recommendations on cybersecurity reporting and best practices and report findings to the General Assembly in November of this year. These bills received overwhelming support in committee and are likely to pass the full chambers by next week.
HB1304 from Delegate Glenn Davis and SB703 from Senator Boysko would reinvigorate the Information Technology Advisory Council to advise VITA and the Commonwealth on various IT-related issues. The bill increases the membership from 16-19 members and will provide an opportunity for rvatech members to have a formal role in advising the state on important issues. The bills passed committee unanimously.
HB964 from Delegate Subramanyam requires all state public bodies accepting bids or proposals for contracts pursuant to the Virginia Public Procurement Act to provide an option to submit bids or proposals through the Commonwealth's electronic procurement system, known as eVA. That bill was unanimously adopted this week in the subcommittee.
HB221 from Delegate Davis and SB239 from Senator Hashmi add science, technology, engineering, mathematics and computing (STEM+C), which includes real-world, interdisciplinary, and computational instruction and preparation of students in STEM+C, to the list of topics that shall be included in the Standards of Learning for the Commonwealth, and directs the STEM education advisory Board to make recommendations to the Board of Education for implementation. The bills were approved in committee and referred to the appropriations committees.
We will continue to follow the General Assembly in the coming weeks and advocate for measures in line with the 2022 Policy Agenda. To review the full list of bills we are tracking click here. Please let us know if you have any questions or comments.