Things are moving along quickly during this short session of the General Assembly. Yesterday was the deadline for bills to be referred to the House Appropriations Committee. Looking ahead, the House of Delegates aims to complete all work – not including the amended biennial budget – by next Friday, February 5th. Remember that you can track all legislation, stream all meetings, and submit testimony or sign up to speak before a committee online. Please continue to contact my office at info@delegatetorian.com or 703-785-2224 to share feedback on any proposed legislation or budget items.

Legislative Progress

House Bill 2174 passed the full House of Delegates by a vote of 56-44 on Tuesday. HB2174 would establish VirginiaSaves, an optional, portable, state-facilitated auto-IRA housed in Virginia529 to promote retirement savings for Virginia workers whose employers do not already offer qualified retirement plans. This is an opportunity for all Virginians to build long-term savings not tethered to a single employer.

See more coverage of the bill on ABC 8 and from the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries.

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House Bill 2175 was reported out of the General Laws subcommittee on Housing and Consumer Protection on Thursday by a vote of 7-1. HB2175, the Preserving the American Dream Act, lays the groundwork for a housing bill of rights in Virginia. The bill makes modest changes to Virginia’s foreclosure law to help some homeowners facing foreclosure get the support they need to bring their mortgages current and protect their homes. It requires a mortgage company to give a 60-day notice period to a homeowner of a pending foreclosure auction sale; Current law only requires a 14-day notice period. It also requires notice to include information for the homeowner on potential legal assistance and makes it less likely that a vindictive creditor will force the sale of a lower-income person’s home to satisfy other debt.

HB2175 also builds on my Manufactured Home Lot Rental Act, passed last year, to maintain existing manufactured home communities and preserve this least-cost entry into homeownership in Virginia.

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Homeownership is central to building and maintaining wealth. Yet barriers to homeownership access and retention are the bedrock of the racial wealth gap in Virginia; Only 48% of African American households in Virginia own their home compared with 73% of non-Hispanic white households. Too many are currently at risk of losing the home they already own. Virginia needs a housing bill of rights so that every Virginian has the opportunity to achieve financial security and build wealth.

House Bill 2176 was reported out of the Education Committee by a 13-9 vote on Wednesday. HB2176 would help to promote a healthy work environment for our teachers and all school board employees by defining the terms: “abusive conduct,” “abusive work environment,” “physical harm,” and “psychological harm.”

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HB2178 and HB2179, my bond bills for our institutions of higher education, both passed the House of Delegates uncontested on Monday. HB2177, my bill to update Virginia’s six-year capital outlay plan, was reported out of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Capital Outlay and the full Appropriations Committee on Monday and passed the House of Delegates uncontested on Thursday.