From the Desk of Don Gehring Date: January 30, 2009
On Thursday, January 29, the VCU Student Government Association hosted “VCU Day on the Hill.” Roughly 30 students participated and saw more than 40 legislators. In addition, on Thursday, volunteers from Massey Cancer Center also visited with legislators to thank them for their ongoing support of cancer research.
On Wednesday, VCU employees and students participated in legislative events for Pharmacy Day as well as for the American Nephrology Nurses Association (ANNA).
The House and Senate will release their recommendations to the Governor’s introduced budget next Sunday, February 7. Delegates Putney, Hamilton, Cox, Sherwood, Hogan, and Joannou have been named House budget conferees. The Senate will name their conferees on or before February 18th.
Currently 1840 bills and 365 resolutions have been introduced. This is nearly 1,000 bills less than previous years. The reduction is due, in large part, to the new cap (maximum of 15 bills per member) instituted by the House. We are tracking 142 higher education and administration bills and 215 health related bills, totaling 357 bills.
February 10th is the last day to take action on bills in the House of origin.
Medical Malpractice Liability (SB 843, SB 1389) We understand that Senator Marsh may not press forward with SB 843, which increases the malpractice cap to $2.75 million on July 1, 2009. VHHA, MSV and the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association have agreed to meet over the upcoming year and hope to present a bill next year which all stakeholders can support.
Management of Investment Funds (HB 1725, SB 1395) As reported last week, Delegate Rust and Senator Norment are patroning bills that authorize the boards of visitors of the College of William and Mary, Virginia Tech and now VCU to invest and manage endowment funds, endowment income, gifts, and all other nongeneral fund reserves. HB 1725 passed the House unanimously on Thursday and SB 1395 was reported out of subcommittee and will be probably be heard on Thursday, February 5th.
Health Insurance Related Legislation (SB 920, HB 2024, HB 2209) As the numbers of the uninsured have grown over the past year, legislators feel as though the cost of health insurance is cost prohibitive to small employers. Senator Roscoe Reynolds and Delegates Danny Marshall and Jeff Frederick have introduced bills for small employers offering a plan without insurance mandates. SB 920 was reported from the Senate Committee of Commerce and Labor on Monday and HB 2024 was recommended by a subcommittee of House Commerce and Labor with several amendments HB 2209 was incorporated into HB 2024.
Admissions of In-state Students (HB 2475, HB 2324, HB 2325) These bills require Board of Visitors to establish rules and regulations requiring that at least 75 percent of students admitted and enrolled at the institution be Virginia residents. HB 2324 and HB 2325 have been rolled into HB 2475. Due to the high fiscal impact of this bill, it was referred to the House Appropriations Committee.
Anti-Smoking Legislation (SB 870, SB 1002, SB 1057, SB 1105, SB 1106, SB 1382) A subcommittee of Senate Education and Health heard numerous bills limiting smoking in public facilities, especially restaurants. All of the bills listed above are still alive, and some have made it to the Senate floor. The House versions, many of which are identical, have yet to be heard. Two bills increasing the tobacco tax (HB 2379, HB 2389) were defeated in House Finance.
If you have questions, contact Don Gehring (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mark Smith (email@example.com). Our office phone number is: 804-828-1235.