Senator Dick Black (R-Loudoun) and Senator Barbara Favola (D-Arlington) have both filed legislation to raises the minimum project cost requiring the use of value engineering from $5 million to $15 million. The bill exempts projects that are de-signed utilizing (i) a design-build contract or (ii) the Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995 from the value engineering requirements. RAMCA supports these bills as raising the threshold ensures that value engineering is used in projects where it is most appropriate. The bills were combined in the Senate Transportation Committee, and after passing the Sen-ate with an amendment that made it apply to projects with an estimated cost of more than $10 million, it was amended again in the House General Laws Committee to move that figure back up to $15 million with VUHCC’s support. SB 125 passed the House of Delegates 100-0, and the amended bill was agreed to by the Senate 40-0. Governor Northam signed the bill into law on March 9th.
Senator Jeremy McPike (D-Prince William) has filed Senate Bill 651, which expands the requirement under the Virginia Public Procurement Act that any state agency's goals for participation by small businesses include a minimum of three percent participation by service disabled veteran businesses from when such agencies are contracting only for information technology goods and services to when such agencies are contracting for any goods and services. RAMCA opposes this bill. This bill passed the Senate 38-0, but failed to report in the House General Laws Committee Subcommittee #4 on a 3-3 vote. The sponsor was able to have the bill reassigned to House General Laws Subcommittee #1 where it passed unani-mously and then passed the full House General Laws Committee 22-0. The bill has been amended to apply to executive branch agencies, instead of state agencies, as originally drafted. The amended bill has passed both the House and Senate unanimously.
Beneﬁts and Wages
After initially failing to report in the House General Laws Committee, House Bill 375 by Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach) was brought back up for consideration. This bill prohibits local governing bodies from establishing provisions relat-ed to procurement of goods, professional services, or construction that would require a wage floor or any other employee benefit or compensation above what is otherwise required by state or federal law to be provided by a contractor to one or more of the contractor's employees as part of a contract with the locality. RAMCA supports this legislation, and spoke in support of the bill in the House General Laws Committee Subcommittee #4. It passed the House of Delegates on a 51-48 party line vote, passed the Senate General Laws Committee 8-7, and then passed the Senate 21-19. It is expected that Governor Northam will veto the bill, as Governor McAuliffe did in 2017.
Delegate Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach) sponsored House Bill 823, which provides that a general contractor may not waive or diminish his lien rights in a contract in advance of furnishing any labor, services, or materials. RAMCA supports the bill. It passed the House of Delegates 98-0, and passed the Senate 38-0. The Senate companion, Senate Bill 319 by Senator Frank Ruff (R-Mecklenburg), passed the Senate 39-0, and recently passed the House Courts of Justice Committee 17-0, and then passed the House of Delegates 100-0. Senate Bill 319 has been signed into law by Governor Northam.
General Business Issues
Senator Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania) filed Senate Bill 478 which provides that a contract entered into by a person under-taking work without a valid Virginia contractor's license is unenforceable by such person. However, the bill also prohibits assertion of lack of licensure or certification as a defense to any action or suit if the unlicensed contractor gives substantial performance within the terms of the contract in good faith and without actual knowledge that a license or certificate was required. RAMCA supports this legislation. A substitute bill was offered that states a construction contract entered into by a person undertaking work without a valid Virginia contractor's license shall not be enforceable by the unlicensed contrac-tor undertaking the work unless the unlicensed contractor (i) gives substantial performance within the terms of the con-tract in good faith and (ii) did not have actual knowledge that a license or certificate was required by this chapter to per-form the work for which he seeks to recover payment. After passing the Senate General Laws Committee and full Senate unanimously, it passed the House General Laws Subcommittee #2 and full House General Laws Committee unanimously. The amended bill has passed both the House and Senate unanimously.