Tuesday, Jul 14, 2015

2015 Virginia General Assembly Legislative Summary

Source: By Anderskev
Source: By Anderskev

With lots of lawmaking, and little drama, the legislature concluded its 46-day session one day early for the first time in 15 years. Even more surprising, the budget was balanced and adopted on time, and was signed without further amendments or vetoes, for the first time since 1998. Everyone labeled the session a success — even Governor Terry McAuliffe, who saw some of his key legislative efforts rejected.

On land use, the legislature passed bills related to affordable housing, Boards of Zoning Appeals, asbestos and new home inspections, and more. The General Assembly also permanently extended the prohibition on localities accepting cash proffers until occupancy permit, and passed legislation allowing the creation of farm distilleries. The legislature also addressed claims of lost profits in condemnation cases and mandated that Planning Commissions pass commercial subdivisions and site plans within 60 days.

On transportation, the General Assembly passed bills prioritizing congestion relief as the primary consideration in Northern Virginia road projects, rewrote funding formulas, de-politicized the Commonwealth Transportation Board, and ensured a sustainable funding source for transit.

There was no single high-profile social issue that dominated lawmakers’ debates this year; because this is an election year for all members of the General Assembly, Republicans wanted to show voters they could govern both houses of the legislature since taking over the Senate last summer. Accordingly, the majority caucuses in both houses tried to focus on “kitchen table” issues and refused to hold hearings on many of the most controversial bills (even though many were introduced). Click here to download a PDF of the Summary.