Danny's Desk: News from the Virginia General Assembly
Feb 02, 2016

Reciprocity, 1-2-7 Workforce Report, and Standing against Federal Overreach--

In last week’s newsletter, one of my topics was reciprocity for concealed carry permits. They are agreements with 25 other states that were being cancelled by the Virginia Attorney General. The effective date was to be February 1st. It is now March 1st.

I want to give you an update to let you know that the enactment date has been postponed, while a completely new agreement between the General Assembly and the Governor, to restore and expand reciprocity, is ironed out.

The agreement grants universal reciprocity (all 50 states, where applicable) in return for 1.prohibiting individuals under permanent protective orders from possessing a firearm and 2.allowing voluntary background checks for transfers of firearms between individuals at gun shows. The bills carrying these agreements will come to the House floor in a few days. We will monitor them to see that they meet the terms of the compromise agreement.  

1:2:7

Always of greatest importance to our region are jobs, companies bringing jobs, and workers to fill the jobs.  This year there are more than10 workforce development bills in the House and Senate.

To bring private sector jobs, there are several major pieces to the economic development puzzle: graded sites, permits, water, sewer, Internet connectivity and the list goes on. But the biggest piece of that puzzle is having the trained, skilled, motivated, work-ready population that can put us in competition with other areas!

In the 2014-2016 Amended Budget, the Community College Chancellor was challenged by the General Assembly to “develop a specific plan to expand the number of workforce training credentials and certifications to a level needed to meet the demands of Virginia’s workforce.”

The Chancellor and staff held 22 town hall meetings across Virginia with more than 1,500 business leaders. There were dozens of meetings with other state leaders and agencies and business organizations. His report, Workforce Credentials: A Pathway to Virginia’s Middle Class was presented in September of 2015. It is known by many as the 1-2-7 Report.

It highlights the 1:2:7 Balance of the 21st Century workplace. For every 1 job that requires an advanced degree, there are 2 jobs that require a bachelors, and 7 jobs that require post-secondary (after high school) training. The analysis shows that there is a shortage of the “7” category of trained workers, so an effort is underway to increase training at that level. The report also emphasizes the four gaps in workforce credentials: the skills gap, the interest gap, the affordability gap and the competitiveness gap.

In response, the General Assembly and Governor have proposed an innovative performance-based approach to the problem through the Virginia Community College system. The suggested solutions are:

  1. To build and implement an outcomes-based funding model to address the skills gap
  2. To expand access to need-based financial aid for in/high –demand credential jobs
  3. To create incentives for completion of credentials leading to in/high demand jobs
  4. To create a fund that only utilizes public money when matched by private investments and results in new jobs.

The Secretary of Commerce asked me to carry one of the Workforce bills, which is HB805. The General Assembly will review all the workforce bills and come up with one or two to go forward.

And on the topic of workers, I thought you would find it interesting that, again this year, we had a delegate from Northern Virginia put in a bill that would put strong restrictions on young people under the age of 18 (with a few exceptions) working in tobacco. He admitted he had never seen a tobacco field. I moved to table the bill and it will not go forward.

Preventing Federal Overreach

Another concern that I hear almost daily from constituents is great frustration over federal government overreach. We have two bills to fight federal regulations.

HB2 requires that any state plan to meet the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CCP), before being submitted to the EPA, must be first approved by those who represent the people at the state level- the General Assembly. The Virginia non-partisan State Corporation Commission (SCC) has stated that our electricity rates will go up by 40%. We need to have input in the plans. This hurts citizens and businesses, families and jobs.

HB18 is related to another federal overreach. The U.S. National Labor Board is ruling that a franchisee and his or her employers are not locally employed, but that they are employees of the parent company. You see numerous franchise companies located on our streets, like McDonalds, who employ local workers.

This action is a big push to unionized millions of workers across the United States. The regulation was approved by 2 of 3 members of the National Labor Board who are past union officials. Governors and Presidents have appointment power that can be quite far-reaching. Voters need to think about that when selecting those in top positions, both at the state and federal levels. This federal ruling goes against the laws of Virginia, where we are recognized as a “right to work” state.

And finally, we passed HB259 which would prevent Virginia from signing onto the federal Common Core Education Standards. Common Core has been problematic for the educational system from its inception.

As bills progress through the Legislature, you are able to find information about them and track them by going to the Virginia General Assembly Website. You can even request alerts. Access:  virginiageneralassembly.gov

We are currently in our offices in Richmond. You can contact us by sending an e-mail to DelDMarshall@house.virginia.gov or by sending a letter to me at PO Box 406, Richmond, VA 23218-0406, or by calling 804-698-1014. And, visit www.dannymarshall.com to complete our 2016 Survey (on lower right Homepage).