The 2020 Session wrapped up on Sunday, March 8th with the General Assembly adopting the budget on Thursday, March 12th. This Session was difficult for the Retail Industry with an exorbitant amount of bills that negatively impact business. Below you will find a list of issues that will go into law July 1, 2020 with the exception of the minimum wage increase that has been postponed.

Minimum Wage (due to Covid 19 will now go into effect May 1, 2021)

Minimum Wage was one of our major issues for the 2020 Session. VRF worked hard to make sure that the retail voice was heard throughout the process. Both the House and Senate each had a version of this legislation. The Senate’s version included several amendments that attempted to mitigate the impact on business, while the House version was going to have an even bigger negative impact on businesses because those amendments were not included in their version. Both bills ended up in Conference at the end of Session in order to come up with a compromise between the two chambers.

House Bill 395 and Senate Bill 7 will increase to $9.50 as of May 1, 2021; to $11 as of January 1, 2022; and $12 as of January 1, 2023. It will then freeze at $12 for two years (January 1, 2023 – January 1, 2025).

In order for the increase to continue after 2025, the General Assembly must re-enact this legislation prior to July 1, 2024. This means that they must vote on the legislation again, and it must pass both bodies and be signed by the Governor. If this occurs, the increase will continue and, effective January 1, 2025, the minimum wage will be $13.50, and then January 1, 2026 it will increase to $15. Each year thereafter it will increase based on the CPI-U.

Another aspect of this legislation is that a study on the impact of a regional minimum wage is included as well. Beginning January 1, 2022, the Virginia Department of House and Community Development, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority, and the Virginia Employment Commission will conduct a study on the feasibility and potential impact of instituting a regional minimum wage.

Felony Threshold for Larceny

There were several bills introduced this Session to raise the felony larceny threshold in Virginia. If you remember, the threshold was just raised two years ago from $200 to $500 with the understanding that it would not be raised again for some time. However, this year there is legislation to raise it to $1,000, $1,500, and $2,000. The Governor’s Criminal Reform package included an initiative raising it to $1,000 as seen in House Bill 995 and Senate Bill 788 which passed and will become law.

Shopping Carts

Senate Bill 631: This legislation holds the retailer responsible for someone stealing their shopping carts off of the retailer’s property and dumping them elsewhere. This means that the victim of a crime has to pay a fee because someone stole their property, if the victim (the retailer) does not pick the shopping cart up within 15 days notice. If notified by the locality, the retailer must go pick up the stolen shopping cart, wherever it may be, otherwise the retailer will be charged a $300 fee per shopping cart. This is only applicable in two localities, Arlington and Fairfax, for now.

Plastic Bag Tax

Senate Bill 11 and House Bill 534: These Bills implement a local option $0.05 tax on plastic bags from grocery stores, convenience stores, or drug stores with a delayed enactment of January 1, 2021. Retailers will receive $0.02 back for two years, and then $0.01 back thereafter. This “retailer discount” shall be accounted for in the form of a deduction when submitting the tax return and paying the amount due in a timely manner.

This tax will be administered, collected, and enforced by the Tax Commissioner in the same manner that retail sales and use tax is done.

HB 534 Disposable plastic bag; local tax – applies to plastic bags only and is statewide

SB 11 Disposable paper and plastic bags; local taxation per bag when provided to consumers – applies to plastic bags only and applies to planning district 8 (NOVA) with the option for other localities to opt in.

Worker’s Compensation

HB 46 Workers’ compensation; employer to notify employee of intent

HB 55 Worker cooperatives; established as a category of cooperative associations

HB 617 Workers’ compensation; repetitive motion injuries

Employer Mandates/Private Cause of Action

HB 108 Legal holidays; Election Day

HB 330 Employment; covenants not to compete, low-wage employees, civil penalty

HB 622 Limiting employees’ sharing of wage information; prohibited, civil penalty

HB 624 Human Rights, Division of; requirements for equal pay irrespective of sex

HB 689 Wage payment statements; statement of earnings

HB 798 Employment; prohibited retaliatory action

HB 827 Virginia Human Rights Act; discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth

HB 1049 Prohibited discrimination; sexual orientation and gender identity

HB 1147 Epinephrine required in certain public places

SB 530 Possession and administration of epinephrine; restaurant employee

SB 548 Unemployment compensation

SB 601 Legal holidays; Election Day

SB 712 Virginia Human Rights Act; discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth

SB 868 Discrimination; prohibited in public accommodations, etc., causes of action

Environmental Issues

HB 533 Expanded polystyrene food service containers; prohibition on dispensing, civil penalty  (now included re-enactment clause, which means they will have to pass this again next Session for the Ban to go into effect)

HB 1154 Litter taxes; increases annual amount of tax

HB 1354 Plastic Pollution Prevention Advisory Council; established

SB 590 Advanced recycling; incentives in income tax, sales tax, and machinery and tools tax

Tax Issues

HB 486 Henry and Pittsylvania Counties and City of Danville; additional sales and use tax

HB 785 Local taxing authority

HB 888 Sales tax exemption; gun safes

HB 1262 Transient occupancy tax; certain counties

SB 107 Transient occupancy tax; removes July 1, 2021, sunset date from Arlington County, etc.

SB 224 Gloucester County; additional sales and use tax, appropriations to incorporated towns

SB 268 Retail Sales and Use Tax; exemption for certain gun safes

SB 588 Tax authority of localities; parity between cities and counties

SB 943 Mecklenburg County; additional sales and use tax, appropriations to incorporated towns

Nonpayment of Wages/Worker Misclassification

HB 123 Nonpayment of wage; private action, liability for payment of wages due under construction contracts

HB 336 Nonpayment of wages; investigations

HB 337 Nonpayment of wages; discriminatory actions prohibited

HB 984 Misclassification of workers; cause of action

HB 1199 Employee misclassification; retaliatory actions prohibited, civil penalty

HB 1407 Misclassification of employees as independent contractors; Department of Taxation to investigate

SB 48 Nonpayment of wages; discriminatory actions prohibited

SB 49 Nonpayment of wages; investigations

SB 429 Child support; withholding from income of an independent contractor

SB 662 Employee misclassification; retaliatory actions prohibited, civil penalty

SB 744 Misclassification of employees as independent contractors; Department of Taxation to investigate

SB 838 Nonpayment of wages; private action; liability for payment of wages due

SB 894 Misclassification of workers; cause of action

Energy

• HB 868 Electric utilities; right to shop

• HB 889 Electric utilities; retail competition

• HB 1526 Virginia Clean Economy Act

• HB 1664 Electric utilities; offshore wind development, facilities located in federal waters

• SB 94 Virginia Energy Plan; relating to the Commonwealth Energy Policy

• SB 851 Electric utility regulation; environmental goals

• SB 860 Electric utilities; offshore wind development

• SB 998 Offshore wind generation facilities; development of facilities

ABC

HB 390 Alcoholic beverage control; license and fee reform

HB 923 Alcoholic beverage control; possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages by interdicted persons

HB 1088 Alcoholic beverage control; walking tour permit

SB 181 Alcoholic beverage control; commercial lifestyle center

SB 389 Alcoholic beverage control; license and fee reform

SB 395 Alcoholic beverage control; residency requirement for licensure

SB 497 Alcoholic beverage control; mixed beverage restaurant license; mini bottles

SB 833 Alcoholic beverage control; cocktail supply shop license.

For advocacy-related questions, please contact:

Kate Baker kbaker@virginiaretailfederation.com (919) 215-6273

Jodi Roth jroth@virginiaretailfederation.com (804) 690-4940