VIRGINIA’S General Assembly session begins on Wednesday. The staff at the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber has reviewed all of the nearly 500 bills that have been introduced for the roughly two-month session.

Transportation remains our top issue, and we work throughout the year to keep our region’s transportation priorities on the forefront of all policy discussions.

We also keep steady watch and, when appropriate, weigh in on matters involving broadband, education, regulatory reforms, energy, and economic development. Beyond those broad topics, we are specifically watching several bills, including House Bill 1851. Introduced by Delegate Christopher Peace of Mechanicsville, the bill proposes a path to conform the Virginia tax code with the federal government as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by Congress last year.



The chamber supports efforts between the Department of Taxation, the legislature and the business community to implement a system of conforming the Virginia income tax with the Internal Revenue Code (with exceptions as appropriate) in advance of any tax year in order to permit businesses the opportunity to consider, budget, and otherwise prepare for compliance with the tax laws of the commonwealth.

Virginia’s citizens and its businesses deserve a quick resolution to conformity as tax season has already begun.

Another bill that we are watching intently is House Bill 1680, which has been introduced by Del. Bobby Orrock of Caroline County. Virginia’s Certificate of Public Need Program (COPN) was created in 1973 and has seen very few changes in 45 years—despite a vastly different healthcare climate in today’s society.

The current program lacks the flexibility to accommodate the changing needs of the health care community. COPN can serve as a useful tool in improving patient access and delivery with significant reform.

The chamber supports the preservation of COPN, but with significant reforms to streamline and update the current statute to reflect the modern health care environment. We will earnestly watch this bill to determine its full impact on our local health care businesses.

For the next two months, the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber will continue to advocate, assuring that the Fredericksburg Region is a major economic center in the commonwealth of Virginia. We work for our members, and we mean business.

Susan Spears is president and chief executive officer of the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce.

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