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Legislative Update: Week 5

Dear Friend,

This week at the General Assembly, the Senate worked many hours in committee and in session to consider bills in preparation for the crossover deadline next week, when bills must have passed one body or are considered dead for the year.
I testified on one of my bills in the Senate Finance Committee this week. The bill, SB677, provides localities the flexibility to decide if they will charge a processing fee when they issue concealed handgun permits. I am pleased to report that the bill was favorably reported out of committee and will head to the Senate floor next week. I have posted a video of the committee’s consideration of my bill on my Facebook page.
I enjoyed speaking to a couple groups of students this week, including students from our Governor’s Schools, a Government class from Manchester High School, and students participating in the TeenPact program.
This week, the Senate also passed SB 549, a bill to reform proffers. The proffer system was developed by localities as a way of paying for the impacts and new services necessary when a new development adds people to a community. This is a complicated issue because home builders are job creators who contribute to the county’s economic development and we don’t want them unnecessarily taxed; however, their developments cause impacts to community roads and services. Removing this source of revenue for the county would likely adversely affect property tax rates for county residents.
When this bill was considered by the Local Government Committee, on which I serve, I specifically asked how this legislation would affect local taxpayers; in other words, would it cause property tax rates to increase to make up for the loss in revenue? Unfortunately, no one could answer my question. Ultimately, I voted against the bill in committee because I believed it was on a fast track to passage as it enjoyed bipartisan support from senior leaders in both parties. I wanted to slow down this process because I thought it warranted more discussion and believed that we needed to ensure that all of the players were at the table to participate in the conversation.
Between committee passage and the Senate floor, the two sides met and found several areas of agreement. The language prohibiting the county from negotiating with developers on architectural aspects of a development was removed from the bill. The language stating that an impact must be “uniquely” attributable to development was also removed from the bill. Finally, the language encouraging developers to seek compensatory damages against the county was changed. When I heard that both sides had accepted these changes, I voted in favor of the bill when it came to the floor. I am hopeful that counties will continue to meet with local developers to address the impacts of growth effectively.
I truly appreciate your phone calls, emails and letters letting me know your thoughts about legislation. Please continue to contact my office as we enter the second half of the legislative session at 698-7511 or email me at district11@senate.virginia.gov.
Best regards,
Senator Amanda Chase

State Senator
11th District of Virginia


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