2021 Legislative Priorities
1. Responsible Contractor Policies
Last year the General Assembly authorized localities to adopt responsible contractor policies that emphasize apprentice training, worksite safety, and compliance with federal, state, and local employment laws. We would like the state also to include responsible contractor language in all of its procurement process.
A) Apprenticeship graduation rates (Simonds – HB 1849) – General Laws Committee – Tabled to next session
Moves a section of last year's Responsible Bidder legislation from Localities to All Public Bodies. It requires that as part of every construction contract requires that contractors work with registered apprenticeship programs that have graduated at least one student in three out of the last five years.
- Was turned into a study to be performed by Virginia Workforce Development Board, DOLI, and DGS.
B) No independent contractors (McPike – SB 1305) – General Laws Committee
Requires that all contractors on public works projected over $250,000 agree in writing to use no more than 10% independent contractors for the contract unless given a special exemption by the public body.
- Left in House Appropriations after crossover
C) Removal of Exemption to New Procurement Laws for Higher Education (Krizek – HB 2327)
Will remove the exemption for Higher Ed regarding procurement changes made during the 2020 session. This bill will require them to use Prevailing Wage and Responsible Bidder language added to the code.
- Governor Signed into Law with an updated definition for State Agencies that included Institutions of Higher Education.
2. Study on Licensing Enforcement in Construction Trades (Guzman HJ – 561) – Rules
Licensing of electrical, sprinkler, plumbing, and other trades is a critical component of construction safety. This study would examine how licensing requirements are monitored and enforced to determine if additional oversight is needed.
- Left in Rules Committee with request for Speak to ask DOLI and DIPOR to do a study.
3. Pre Listing (Graves – HB 2288) – General Laws
Require General Contractors to announce their subcontractors before construction begins.
- Passed House and Senate differently. Sent to Conference Committee and no agreement could be reached. Failed to Pass.
4. Subcontractor Transparency (Van Valkenburg – HB 2306)
Requires subcontractors to submit certified payrolls.
- Left in House Appropriations
5. Include Overtime Provision in Wage Law (Mullin – HB 2063) – Labor and Commerce (Subcommittee 1)
Virginia currently does not require overtime premiums to be paid when employees work more than forty hours per week. This overtime law should be a component of state law, as it has been in federal law since the 1930s.
- Passed both House and Senate. Waiting for Governor Signature.
6. Repeal Right to Work (Carter – HB 1755)
The so-called "right to work" law is an anti-worker, anti-union law that has as its sole purpose weakening unions. The General Assembly must take on this regressive law and establish once that Virginia is not anti-union.
- Left in Labor and Commerce
7. Creation of Secretary of Labor (Simonds -HB 2321)
Would create a new cabinet secretary, Secretary of Labor, as the state's Chief Workforce Development office. It would move the Department of Labor and Industry, the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, and the Virginia Employment Commission under the new Secretary.
- Passed House and Senate differently
- Name of position was issue.
- Reached Agreement in Conference Committee, sent to Governors Desk.
- Agreed to Secretary of Labor.
- Governor Signed into Law.
1. Additional Requirement to PLA's (McQuinn/Marsden – HB 2237/SB1419) – General Laws/Commerce and Labor.
Would add a requirement that before a Public Body initiates a Project Labor Agreement, they shall state in writing why they are doing so and why it is in the public interest.
- HB 2237 was left in House General Laws
- SB1419 was left in Senate Commerce and Labor
2. Moratorium on Fossil Fuel Projects (Cole – HB 2292)
Would put a moratorium on all fossil fuel projects starting January 2022. This legislation does include a transition for the worker, but it is not enough.
- Left in House Labor and Commerce
3. Virginia Green New Deal (Rasoul – HB 1937)
Bill would eliminate the use of fossil fuels for energy production by 2036, with a moratorium on new infrastructure by 2022. It does include some language to help the workers, including funding for wages and pensions, but it will not be enough. Does not have Nuclear energy in its renewables.
- Left in House Labor and Commerce
4. Liability of GC for Subcontractors (Petersen – SB 1209) – Judiciary
Would change the General Contractor Liability law created as part of our Private Right of Action bill in the 2020 session. It will exempt General Contractor from liability if the subcontractor gives them written certification that they have paid all wages owed to workers for the period and that every sub-subcontractor has done the same.
- Was defeated on 3rd read, then reconsidered and approved. Sent to Governors Desk.
5. Misclassification of Workers (Dunnavant – SB 1323) – Commerce and Labor
Would change the standard for what an independent contractor is and allow more workers to be considered an independent contractor.
- Passed by Indefinitely in Senate Judiciary.