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Feb Vote scheduled Wednesday on million

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Feb Vote scheduled Wednesday on million Powered By Docstoc
					                                     Feb. 7, 2012



  Budget | Education | Eminent Domain | Environment | Finance/Taxes | FOIA |
    Human Services | Land Use | Local Authority | Personnel | Public Safety |
              Retirement/Benefits | Transportation | Miscellaneous


Environment
Vote scheduled Wednesday on $300 million for
sewage treatment plant upgrades
        A House subcommittee is scheduled to vote Wednesday afternoon on whether the
state should sell $300 million in bonds to finance wastewater treatment plant upgrades.
        Under HB 1180 (Ingram, Dance), the $300 million would be used to replenish the
Water Quality Improvement Fund (WQIF), which supplies the state’s share of money for
upgrading the processes used to treat wastewater. The House Appropriations Capital
Outlay Subcommittee is scheduled to take up the bill at 2:30 p.m.
        VML supports adequate, dedicated state appropriations to the WQIF so that full
and timely payments can be made to local governments under point source upgrade
contracts. The unfunded commitment that the state made to reimburse local governments
for required sewage treatment plant upgrades stands at $100 million. It will continue to
grow as local governments install additional pollutant removal technologies to comply
with the EPA-mandated Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan.
        Please contact these subcommittee members in support of the bill: Del. L. Scott
Lingamfelter, Del. Beverly J. Sherwood, Del. S. Chris Jones, Del. John M. O'Bannon III,
Del. James P. Massie III, Del. Johnny S. Joannou, Del. Robert H. Brink and Del. Algie T.
Howell Jr.
         Staff contact: Joe Lerch, jlerch@vml.org

FOIA
Other bills …
Personal information in correspondence exemption
       Summary: HB 141 (Cole) provides an exemption from mandatory disclosure
under the Freedom of Information Act for certain personal information contained in
correspondence from a citizen to a member of the local governing body.
       Action: The bill was reported by the House General Laws Committee. Please
contact members of the House to voice your support.
       Staff contact: Randy Cook, wrcook@mmecpc.com
Human Services
TANF drug testing bill carried over
        A controversial House bill that would require some welfare applicants and
recipients to be screened for illegal drug use was carried over to the 2013 session.
        The House Appropriations Health and Human Resources Subcommittee voted
Monday to recommend that HB 73 (Bell, Richard) be carried over. It would require
screening of all applicants and participants in the Temporary Assistance for Needy
Families (TANF) program.
        The bill was reported Jan. 24 by the House Health, Welfare and Institutions
Committee and then re-referred to the House Appropriations Committee because of its
potential fiscal impact, primarily on the state. It would also affect local social services
departments that would be responsible for administering and monitoring the proposed
program. When the fiscal impact statement was disputed by the bill’s proponents, the
subcommittee decided more time was needed to sort out the numbers.
        A similar measure in the Senate, SB 6 (Martin), was referred to Senate Finance
Health and Human Resources Subcommittee with a similar fiscal impact attached to it.
That bill will be before the full committee on Thursday (Feb. 9).
        Staff contact: Janet Areson, jareson@vml.org

Bill aiding local fraud efforts needs support
        HB 147 (Toscano) would provide that all overpayments collected or recovered
from recipients of medical assistance by local departments of social services would be
paid into the Fraud Recovery Special Fund and made available to local departments for
fraud control activities.
        Currently, only overpayments collected or recovered from recipients of food
stamp, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and other federal programs
administered by the Department of Social Services must be paid into the Fraud Recovery
Special Fund. Any overpayment funds collected or recovered are put into the state
general fund where they can be used as part of the state’s Medicaid match.
        While this bill would create a fiscal impact on the state, it would also help local
departments, which determine eligibility for Medicaid. Local departments struggle with
a sorely out-of-date state computer system for a highly complex eligibility process. It is
so bad that workers must perform calculations with hand-held calculators. While there
are efforts at the state level to automate the system, it has been pointed out by the
legislature’s oversight staff that the enrollment process will still rely heavily on people.
        The bill was discussed by the House Appropriations Health and Human
Resources Subcommittee on Monday and then tabled. It could be reconsidered if the
subcommittee meets again on Wednesday. Please contact members of the subcommittee
to express support for this bill.
        Staff contact: Janet Areson, jareson@vml.org

Local Authority
Mandate reduction bill moves forward
     The Senate General Laws and Technology Committee reported legislation on
Monday to reduce or eliminate 13 mandates on local governments.
        The substitute for SB 679 (Newman) on Monday did not endorse elimination of
mandates regarding state inspection of erosion and sediment under certain circumstances,
elimination of restrictions on the use of cooperative procurement for construction
contracts, or elimination of the requirements regarding publication of requests for
proposals in newspapers of general circulation.
        The substitute bill endorses elimination of mandates that require:
     Surplus property must first be offered for sale to other local governments and
        volunteer fire departments.
     The Department of Aviation must approve airport property leases.
     Libraries have to send internet use policies to the Librarian of Virginia.
     VDOT has to approve the location of new red light cameras.
     Localities build new or replacement court facilities.
        VML staff testified in support of the legislation and applauded the initiative of the
governor, Sen. Steve Newman and the task force in addressing a longstanding legislative
priority of local governments.
        Companion legislation, HB 1295 (Byron), is in a subcommittee of the House
General Laws Committee. The subcommittee will hear the bill Thursday afternoon.
        Staff contact: Randy Cook, wrcook@mmecpc.com

Other bills …
Mandatory green building construction, renovation
       Summary: HB 788 (Lopez) would require that certain new and renovated public
buildings be constructed to LEED Silver or Green Globes two globes standards.
       Action: The House General Laws Committee struck the bill today.
       Staff contact: Randy Cook, wrcook@mmecpc.com.

Transportation
Urban jurisdictions spared loss of road
maintenance money
        A harmful provision was removed from legislation that could have reduced the
amount of state money that most urban local governments receive for road and street
maintenance.
        At the request of the bill’s patron, language was removed from HB 477 (Albo)
that directed the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) to replace the formula used
to determine street maintenance payments to the 83 urban jurisdictions that own and
maintain their own roads. As introduced, the bill would have replaced the urban street
maintenance formula with the same methodology that the Virginia Department of
Transportation uses to allocate road maintenance funds for state-maintained roads.
        In asking that his bill be amended, Del. David Albo of Fairfax County
acknowledged that the information necessary to do a “side by side” comparison of the
urban and VDOT systems does not currently exist.
        The amended bill directs the CTB to consider achieving a minimal level of
disparity among VDOT-maintained roads only. Legislation identical to the amended bill
passed the House in 2011 only to fail in a Senate committee. The amended HB 477
passed the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation on Monday 6-1.
       Staff contact: Joe Lerch, jlerch@vml.org.

Miscellaneous
Other bills …
Definition of ‘personal interest’ under the Conflict of
Interests Act
        Summary: HB 658 (Toscano) clarifies that there is no personal interest when a
local employee is appointed by the local governing body to serve on another
governmental agency, and the only cause possible cause of any interest is the salary paid
to the employee by the local government.
        Action: The bill was reported by the House General Laws Committee. Please
contact members of the House to voice your support.
        Staff contact: Randy Cook, wrcook@mmecpc.com

Prohibitions during procurement process
        Summary: HB 667 (Surovell) imposes civil penalties on local government
officials who, during a procurement bidding period, accept a contribution or gift in
excess of $50 from an individual who has submitted a bid.
        Action: The bill was passed by indefinitely in the House Committee on General
Laws. VML staff opposed the bill and provided testimony to the Committee that in most
cases local government officials are not aware of ongoing procurements and could
unknowingly accept a prohibited contribution or gift.
        Staff contact: Randy Cook, wrcook@mmecpc.com

VML Legislative Staff

R. Michael Amyx
Executive Director
mamyx@vml.org,
387-9692 (c), 523-8521 (o)
Overall direction

Mary Jo Fields
Director of Research
mfields@vml.org
400-0555 (c); 523-8524 (o)
Education, elections, retirement and rules.

Janet Areson
Director of Policy
jareson@vml.org
400-0556 (c); 523-8522 (o)
Health and human services, state budget.

Mark Flynn
Director of Legal Services
mflynn@vml.org
400-1321 (c); 523-8525 (o)
Legal, housing, blight, land use, zoning, telecommunications and
technology and eminent domain.

Neal Menkes
Director of Fiscal Policy
nmenkes@vml.org
400-1191 (c); 523-8523 (o)
Taxation and finance, state budget, transportation funding,
community and economic development.

Kimberly Pollard
Legislative Associate
kpollard@vml.org
400-1987 (c); 523-8528 (o)
House Militia & Police / Public Safety

Joe Lerch
Director of Environmental Policy
jlerch@vml.org
640-5615 (c); 523-8530 (o)
Environment, natural resources and transportation.

Randy Cook
Consultant (McCaul, Martin, Evans & Cook)
wrcook@mmecpc.com
746-3773 (o)
Courts, criminal law, civil law, FOIA,
procurement, general laws.

				
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