Capitol Briefs 2021 | Issue 7

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As General Assembly special session draws to a close, measures promoting EVs head to governor's desk

State budget does not include funding for EV rebate program

Session 2021, Issue 7
March 1, 2021

The General Assembly completed its work for the 2021 session in the last hours of Saturday, Feb. 27, though the session officially ends today. The governor now has a chance to act on the bills passed by the General Assembly by signing, amending, or vetoing measures. Lawmakers meet in April to consider any bills the governor amends or vetoes.

We have updated the results of the bills we have been following. You can see the information listed below.

As you are aware, we supported a sweeping legislative EV package passed by the House of Delegates and Senate of Virginia.  These four bills head to the Governor and open a pathway to greater demand and adoption of electric vehicles. There is still much work to be done, but this is a positive start. However, the budget did not provide any money for a critical rebate program to reduce the cost of EVs (more below), nor any of the other mandates.

"You have to put your money where the mandate is," says VADA President & CEO Don Hall. "We are greatly frustrated that the very body that voted to support House Bill 1965, which is a mandate and represents a sea change for Virginia, has now said they are not interested in funding it or any of the related legislation. This isn't just about selling electric cars; it is about the positive impact on the environment and people’s health many years down the road. Innovation and investment will create an environment where an electric vehicle is affordable to all people, but we have to fund these measures to reach our goals."

"If Virginia isn't interested in making a real commitment to electric vehicles and a cleaner future, then it has a responsibility to pull out of the California Air Resources Board standards committed to in HB1965. That would be a shame to the detriment of the citizens across the Commonwealth. We remain committed to being engaged and working with Virginia’s leadership to get this done," Hall says.

We will also be recording a podcast later this week to give you a rundown on this session. VADA's Hall and chief in-house counsel Anne Gambardella will offer their insights and comments about legislation that will impact dealers as well as the big issues passed this year that will impact Virginians generally.

Look for our end-of-session podcast this week.

ICYMI: News organizations are covering our support for measures boosting EV adoption in Virginia. The Richmond Times-Dispatch looks at the issue in this article. The Virginia Mercury chronicles how the General Assembly approved the electric vehicle rebate program without including money in the state budget to pay for it.

More on the EV Legislation Package is below. Last week's issue, Capitol Briefs 6, also includes summaries of other general business bills that we have monitored or been involved in.

Here’s a summary of the four bills in the EV package we supported that passed the General Assembly and are on their way to the Governor’s desk for signing:

ZEV Mandates – HB 1965 – Bagby

Requires adoption of California Air Resources Board (CARB) LEV and ZEV mandates.

Adoption of California Air Resources Board (CARB) ZEV mandates is but a small step that requires significant investments by both the public and private sectors. Because ZEV mandates have the potential to affect dealers most significantly, we must ensure legislators understand the potential adverse impacts.

Status: Passed House and Senate

Electric Vehicle Rebate Program – HB 1979 (Reid)

Establishes a point-of-sale rebate program for EVs.

This bill provides rebates to reduce the cost of EVs. Currently the bill calls for a $2,500 rebate for the purchase of a new or used EV, along with an additional $2,000 for lower income purchasers. This is a critical part of efforts to spur the adoption of EVs. However, sufficient funding for this program would run into the tens of millions of dollars, and the state budget did not provide any money for the rebates.

Status:  Passed House and Senate

EV Infrastructure and Incentives Study – HB 2282 (Sullivan)

Requires the SCC, in cooperation with the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and the Department of Environmental Quality, to recommend policy proposals to advance transportation electrification in consultation with a wide list of interested parties, including dealers. 

Status: Passed House and Senate

Inclusion of Transportation Electrification in VA Energy Plan – SB 1223 (Boyko)

Amends the VA Energy Plan to ensure that the promotion of transportation electrification is considered as a critical component of the plan.

Status: Passed the House and Senate

As always, it is our pleasure to work for the interests of Virginia dealers at the General Assembly.

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