Capitol Briefs 2023 | Issue 5

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A slower week as franchise legislation heads to Governor

2023 Session, Issue 5
February 13, 2023

Last week was General Assembly’s “crossover” period when the bills from the House move to the Senate to be discussed and voted on, and vice versa.

The week consisted of numerous and lengthy floor sessions, mostly revolving around the Governor’s proposed budget. On Thursday, the House of Delegates and Senate each approved their own versions of the Commonwealth’s amended biennial operating budget (the Governor presents a proposed budget to lawmakers at the beginning of the year for review, amendments, and approval during session).

This coming week, each chamber will review the others’ budget, approve or reject certain items, and then the plans will move into conference. This procedure, which takes place in respective budget and appropriations committees, irons out any differences in the versions before the budget heads back to the Governor.

Franchise bill the first to clear both chambers

The House version of VADA’s franchise bill, HB1469, was the first bill of the session — out of hundreds of pieces of legislation — to cross the finish line after receiving unanimous support from both the House and Senate. (The Senate version, SB871, passed the House Transportation Committee last week 22-0 and now moves to the House floor).

The completed House bill is headed to the Governor Glenn Youngkin’s desk for signing.

Bill to remove tax on diagnostic work raises questions

Delegate Kim Taylor (R-Petersburg) has a bill to clarify that diagnostic work for automotive repair should be characterized as labor, and therefore untaxed. Dealers agree. There is minimal fiscal impact on the state budget, but House Bill 1677 was heard in the Senate Finance Committee and passed by for the week. There are some clarifying questions for the Virginia Department of Taxation and Senate finance staff as to whether other industries could attempt to modify their own labor standards for diagnostic services, and potential revenue impacts of such decisions.

Here's the latest on additional bills, though if you read last week’s Capitol Briefs, there are no new updates on:

Clarifying “Home solicitation”

House Bill 2422 and Senate Bill 1509 clarify the definition of a “home solicitation sale” and amend the Virginia Home Solicitation Sales Act, which provides consumer protections from sellers that solicit sales at the door or over the phone. A key provision of the law provides buyers the right to cancel a home solicitation sale until midnight of the third business day after the day when the agreement or offer is signed, often referred to as the “cooling off period”. The bills are backed by an insurance company looking to exclude insurance agents from the act.

Given that dealers sometimes do test drives or conduct business at a person’s home, VADA attorneys wanted to ensure the new definition would not lump dealers into “solicitors.” VADA asked for and received a carveout in the bill to ensure licensed motor vehicle dealers who may, from time to time, deliver a vehicle or sign paperwork at customer’s home do not come under the act.

The House bill is sponsored by Amanda Batten (R-James City), with the Senate version by Monty Mason (D-Williamsburg).

Loud exhausts heading toward workgroup study

Senator Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) has a bill to limit the decibel level to 85 (50 feet away) from a vehicle’s exhaust system. Northern Virginia, in particular, has had a rash of complaints from citizens about loud exhaust (due mostly to highway racing). There are a dozen or so automobiles sold by dealers with systems over 85 decibels, so while we hear the pain, we also don’t want dealers harmed by Senate Bill 1085.

The bill has been amended to a study to address this issue, which VADA supports. House Transportation committee Chairman Terry Austin (R-Buchanan) would also like a study at how exhaust systems affect noise ordinances, law enforcement, and prosecution.

Clean Cars repeal likely headed nowhere

There have been a number of bills in the House and Senate to repeal the 2021 law to adopt California Air Resource Board standards and CARB’s zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) requirements in Virginia. HB1378 passed out of the House on partisan lines and will head to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources. The bill is likely to be defeated this year by the Democrat-controlled Senate, meaning the regulations, while unfunded, will stay in place in the Commonwealth.

Your VADA Legislative Team:

Don Hall
President & CEO
Anne Gambardella, Esq.
General Counsel & EVP

Ralston King
VP, Legislative Affairs

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