Capitol Briefs

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A new, historic year for the General Assembly — and an important one for VADA.

Session 2020, Issue 1
January 12, 2020

Last Wednesday, January 8, the Virginia General Assembly began its 2020 Regular Session. For 60 days, a new slate of legislators—with Democratic majorities in the House, Senate, and Governor’s office for the first time since 1993—will consider thousands of bills important to Virginians statewide.

Significantly, 2020 marks the first time in Virginia’s more than 400-year history that a woman will serve as Speaker of the House of Delegates. Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, a Democrat from Fairfax, is also the first Jewish Speaker ever in Virginia.

Fellow House Democrat Charniele Herring, who represents parts of Alexandria and Fairfax County, embodies another significant first for the Commonwealth—she is the first female and first African American ever to serve as House Majority Leader.

We are incredibly excited to work with Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate, the latter now led by Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, who represents the City of Falls Church and parts of both Fairfax County and Alexandria.  In the Senate, we also congratulate Senator Louise Lucas, who represents much of Southside and Hampton Roads in the 18th Senate District.  She is the first African American President Pro Tempore in the Senate.

We are also eager to continue relationships with Republicans in both chambers.  As you know, our issues are bipartisan, and we have strong supporters on both sides of the political aisle.

Headliner issues for the General Assembly will be the Equal Rights Amendment, gun ownership, improvements to infrastructure, criminal justice reform, an increase in the minimum wage, and more.
  • Of course, there are numerous measures being considered that affect our industry. Perhaps most notable is the Governor’s proposal to eliminate Virginia’s annual safety inspection requirement. Click here for a link to the flyer we will distribute to legislators beginning this week, which highlights the consumer safety elements to the inspection program and otherwise discourages its repeal. We have worked and will continue to work with numerous other organizations, who are like-minded on this issue.
  • The legislature will also consider peer-to-peer vehicle sharing, electric vehicle rebates and carbon emissions, and a variety business-centric measures that could impact your businesses. We are heavily involved in both the House and Senate Transportation Committees and any legislation that might impact the car business.
  • You are also big employers in Virginia and we work to protect you from onerous requirements on your businesses generally. With a vibrant insurance and benefits group and a sizable workers’ compensation agency, VADA is also keenly aware of legislation on those issues that, while dealing less with cars and trucks, are very important to your operations.
In terms of VADA-backed legislation, we are working with DMV to allow dealers to order specialty plates for dealer tags.  We anticipate general support of a measure to allow dealers to celebrate their chosen school, charitable organization, military service branch, or the like by way of a specialty license plate.

For the next several weeks, we will provide you all with updates of what is happening at the General Assembly. Next week’s edition of Capitol Briefs will release after the deadline for the introduction of bills, and we will provide VADA members with a complete list of those most pertinent to your stores.

This is a busy time for us — but one we enjoy, as we have the opportunity to fight for and protect laws that benefit Virginia’s franchised dealer community and against those that would negatively impact your businesses and the Commonwealth.  As is the case every year, we will work around the clock to best represent your interests.

Finally, we encourage everyone to attend Dealer Day at the Capitol, on Wednesday, January 22 at 11 AM.  We will begin with a lunch and briefing at the Omni Richmond Hotel before making a trip to the General Assembly Building and Capitol to meet with legislators.  Please attend—it is critical in a year with so many new legislators and bills on the table that could significantly impact you.  If you cannot, please send a senior manager from your organization on your behalf.

As always, it is a pleasure to serve the new car and truck dealers of Virginia.

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