Today marked the end of the fourth week of the 2020 Virginia General Assembly session. We are just 7 business days from crossover and 37 days from adjournment. There is still a significant number of bills left to be heard. As of today, 182 bills have passed the House, 229 have passed the Senate, and 298 have failed or either continued to the next session, and we started with roughly 3000 bills.

This week, the Senate & House both advanced legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The Senate proposed raising the minimum wage to $9.75 per hour come Jan. 1, 2021, then $10.75 next year and $11.75 a year later. At that point, employers would be able to count health insurance benefits toward what they are paying employees. The amended bill also tasks lawmakers with reviewing what a different minimum wage for different regions of the state could look like.

RVATech’s top priority legislation had its first hearing this week in a House sub-committee. HB1017 will create the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority as outlined in our policy agenda. The committee advanced the proposal unanimously and the Senate committee is expected to take up the proposal this week. The only discussion around possible changes to the bill are related to the makeup of the board.

Delegate Dave LaRock sponsored two bills that require vendors to require state agencies contracting for information technology projects to include provisions in the contracts that require contractors to install software that allows for verification of the number of hours worked on a project using a computer. RVATech opposed these bills along with other stakeholders and both pieces of legislation (HB 680 and HB 685) died in the General Law’s procurement subcommittee this week.

The Communications, Innovation and Technology Committee passed legislation to create a register of cybersecurity and information technology professionals interested in volunteering to assist localities and school divisions, in collaborating on workforce development, and in providing mentorship opportunities. This legislation will be heard in Appropriations next week.

Delegate Betsy Carr’s legislation to require the Department of General Services (DGS) to post on its central electronic procurement system executed contracts and any modifications to such contracts. The bill also requires agencies that use the Department's central procurement website to post the same information passed the full House of Delegates unanimously this week. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.