Special Session of GA Underway; Remembering Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King
April 4, 2022
April 4, 2022
Not much happened on the first day of the Special General Assembly Session. Lawmakers left many bills and the state budget in limbo following the adjournment of the regular session on March 12, 2022. The primary purpose of the special session will be to reach a compromise on the FY23 and 24 budgets and finalize negotiations on other bills left in conference committees. Both the House and Senate did pass resolution HR6001, today, to limit the filing of bills. HR6001 specifies that during the 2022 Special Session of the General Assembly, no bill, joint resolution, or resolution shall be offered or considered in either house during the Special Session other than those relating to
(i) conference reports continued from the 2022 Regular Session, including H.B.29 and H.B.30;
(ii) any such legislation as may be communicated from the Governor;
(iii) single-house commending and memorial resolutions;
(iv) the rules of procedure or schedule of business of the General Assembly or any of its committees;
(v) the election of judges and other officials subject to the election of the General Assembly; or
(vi) appointments subject to the confirmation of the General Assembly.
The Governor did file a bill today to suspend the gas tax. More on this proposal later.
Here is an interesting fact: The estimated cost of the GA reconvening today to effectively do nothing was $46,000. Not far off from the prevailing salary cost of an elementary school teacher in Virginia.
Delegate Candi Mundon-King remembers Reverend Martin Luther King on the anniversary of his death. Watch her speech HERE.
At the end of the 2022 session, there were 45 bills left in conference committees that could still be considered in the special session starting today. The following bills are currently in a conference committee and of interest to VEA:
COLLEGE LABORATORY BILLS
Chief patrons: Pillion/Davis. The Senate Health and Education voted to conform Delegate Davis’ Lab Schools Bill, HB346, to Senate Bill 598, sponsored by Sen. Todd Pillion. SB598/HB346, in its current posture,
The VEA moved to a support position on SB598 after major changes were made to the bill that improve existing law around the establishment of college laboratory schools. The bill in its current posture will provide students in the Commonwealth with more innovative career pathways and learning opportunities, while giving preference to underserved communities, retaining the ADM to local school divisions, and expanding collaboration between local school divisions and colleges and universities of higher education. SB598 received overwhelming support in the Senate and is now scheduled for a hearing in the House Education Committee on Monday of next week. The provisions of the bill are contingent on funding in a general appropriation act.
03/12/22 Senate: Second conferees appointed by Senate
HB 90 Sales tax; exemption for food purchased for human consumption & essential personal hygiene products.
Chief patron: McNamara. HB90 exempts food purchased for human consumption and essential personal hygiene products (the grocery tax) from all state, regional, and local sales taxes. The bill dedicates an amount equal to a 0.182 percent sales and use tax to cities and counties as a supplemental school payment. Such payment shall, from July 1, 2022 until July 1, 2024, be distributed based on each city and county’s estimated average share of monthly distributions attributable to the tax on such food and hygiene products between February 2020 and December 2021. Beginning July 1, 2024, such payment shall be based upon each city and county’s pro rate share of total local sales and use taxes.
03/02/22 House: Delegates: McNamara, Durant, Keam
HB 103 Income tax, state; deduction for eligible educator qualifying expenses.
Chief patron: Greenhalgh. Provides for taxable years 2022 and thereafter an income tax deduction of the lesser of $500 or the actual amount paid or incurred by an eligible educator, defined in the bill as an individual who for at least 900 hours during the taxable year served as a Virginia licensed teacher, instructor, student counselor, special needs personnel, principal, or student aide for public or private primary and secondary school students in Virginia for qualifying expenses. This bill would have an unknown negative General Fund revenue impact beginning in Fiscal Year 2022. It is uncertain to what extent eligible educators would claim this deduction. The amount of eligible expenses actually paid or incurred by such educators is unknown. In addition, it is uncertain to what extent educators would be ineligible by virtue of having relevant expenses reimbursed or claiming such expenses as a federal income tax deduction. According to data from the Virginia Department of Education, there were 133,660 principals, assistant principals, teachers, teacher aides, and instructors in Virginia as of Fiscal Year 2020. If each of these educators is eligible for the deduction that this bill would provide and claims the maximum of $500, the negative revenue impact of this portion of this bill would be approximately $3.5 million.
03/02/22 House: Conferees appointed by House
HB 935 Income tax, state; refunds for individuals or married persons filing a joint return.
Chief patron: Robinson. Provides an income tax refund of up to $300 for individuals and up to $600 for married persons filing a joint return for taxable year 2021 on or before November 1, 2022. The bill provides that the refund shall not exceed the taxpayer’s tax liability.
03/09/22 House: Conferees appointed by House
SB 579 Income tax, state; refunds for individuals or married persons filing a joint return.
Chief patron: Hanger. SB579 is similar to HB935. This bill would provide a tax refund to taxpayers in an amount equal to that which is specifically set forth in the Appropriation Act. The refund would only be issued to the extent provided for in the Appropriation Act. The introduced budget would provide a refund in an amount equal to $250 for individuals and $500 for married persons filing jointly. A taxpayer would be required to file a final individual income tax return on or before November 1, 2022 to qualify for the refund that this bill would provide. A refund would only be allowed up to the amount of such individual’s or married person’s tax liability after the application of any deductions, subtractions, or credits to which the individual or married persons are otherwise entitled. This bill would be effective for taxable years beginning on and after January 1, 2021, but before January 1, 2022.
03/07/22 Senate: Conferees appointed by Senate
SB 451 Retail Sales and Use tax; exemption for essential personal hygiene products.
Chief patron: Boysko. SB 451 provides a state sales and use tax exemption for food purchased for human consumption and essential personal hygiene products. The bill would also provide, beginning February 1, 2023, an allocation of state revenues to fund the distribution to localities for educational funding that would have been distributed to them absent the exemption created by the bill. Under current law, such products are taxed at a reduced state sales and use tax rate of 1.5 percent and the standard local rate of one percent. The bill has a delayed effective date of January 1, 2023.
03/02/22 Senate: Senators: Boysko, Barker, Norment
STANDARDS OF QUALITY
SB 490 Standards of Quality; specialized student support.
Chief patron: McClellan. SB490 will require one full-time principal in each elementary school, middle school, and high school. Also requires one full-time assistant principal per 500 elementary school, middle school, and high school students. The Department of Education (DOE) estimates that the additional state cost to employ one full-time principal in each elementary school would be $10.0 million in fiscal year 2023 and $10.2 million in fiscal year 2024. DOE estimates the additional state cost to employ one full-time assistant principal per 500 students would be $40.9 million in fiscal year 2023 and $42.5 million in fiscal year 2024. Any additional state cost in outgoing years is indeterminate at this time and would be based on the Direct Aid to Public Education budget as rebenchmarked for future biennia. Local school divisions would have to provide the local share required to match any additional state funds based on each division’s local composite index. The actual fiscal impact to local school divisions is indeterminate at this time.
03/10/22 Senate: Conferees appointed by Senate
SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION AND MODERNIZATION
HB 563 School Construction Fund and Program; created and established.
Chief patron: O’Quinn. HB563 requires the Department of Education, in consultation with the Department of General Services, to develop or adopt and maintain a data collection tool to assist each school board to determine the relative age of each public school building in the local school division and the amount of maintenance reserve funds that are necessary to restore each such building. The bill requires each school board to provide to the Department of Education in a timely fashion the local data that is necessary to ensure that such tool remains relevant and useful for the determination of maintenance reserve needs. The bill requires the Department of Education to consider converting or using as a template the Department of General Services’ Real Estate and Assets Management system for tracking buildings and infrastructure maintenance status to meet the above requirement to maintain such a tool. The bill also establishes the School Construction Fund and Program for the purpose of awarding grants to local school boards to fund the construction of new public school buildings or the renovation or expansion of existing public school buildings in the local school division.
03/10/22 House: Conferees appointed by House
SB 471 Literary Fund; open application process for loans, maximum loan amounts, etc.
Chief patron: McClellan. SB471 requires the Board of Education (the Board) to establish an annual open application process for Literary Fund loans to finance the construction and renovation of public elementary and secondary school buildings in the Commonwealth to occur during the period that the Board deems most suitable and requires the Board to prioritize applications on the basis of the composite index of local ability-to-pay. The bill increases from $7.5 million to $25 million the maximum Literary Fund loan amount and requires the Board to offer a loan add-on not to exceed $5 million per loan for projects that result in school consolidation and the net reduction of at least one existing school. As introduced, this bill is a recommendation of the Commission on School Construction and Modernization.
03/12/22 Conference: Amended by conference committee
SB 473 School Construction Fund and Program; created and established.
Chief patron: McClellan. SB473 establishes the School Construction Fund as a special nonreverting fund in the state treasury and requires the Department of Education to establish the School Construction Program for the purpose of providing grants from the Fund, subject to certain conditions, to school boards that leverage federal, state, and local programs and resources to finance the design and construction of new school buildings and facilities or the modernization and maintenance of existing school buildings and facilities. The bill provides that three percent of any fiscal year’s budget surplus shall be appropriated to the School Construction Fund and Program.
03/07/22 Senate: Conferees appointed by Senate
By JAHD KHALIL, WVTF-FM
Governor Glenn Youngkin’s administration is creating a new office within the Department of Education to provide parents with guidance on how to interact with teachers, he said Friday. Youngkin was speaking at a forum of Latino business leaders. While speaking mostly about efforts to grow small business and his budget priorities, he told the audience about the new office. “We’re launching, as part of the Department of Education, basically a parents matter office,” he said.