THE LEGISLATIVE LINE / The Legislative Update from VPAR / 2016 ADJOURNMENT SINE DIE EDITION March 13, 2016

The Legislative Update from VPAR

March 13, 2016

Beloved. Beds. (And breakfast….) Justices. Execution.
The beginning of a novel full of intrigue? Maybe a good mystery? Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, II?

Oh, no. Not at all. Those topics defined the 60-day 2016 Virginia General Assembly Session that adjourned Sine Die – Latin for “without another day” – on Friday, March 12th, one day ahead of schedule.


From what became known as “Air B’n B,” the residential lodging legislation that was the sleeper issue of the Session (no pun intended) to the regulation of sexually explicit literature in Virginia’s public schools, with author Toni Morrison’s Beloved being the most notorious example, this Session saw nearly 3,300 pieces of legislation introduced. To date, 1,803 passed; 1,241 failed to pass; 242 have been carried over; and the Governor has signed 366.


And in the middle of it all, a new, two-year budget was approved.
In addition, the 2016 legislature was identified from the beginning as divisive and highly partisan, largely due to the appointment surrounding a justice to the Supreme Court of Virginia to fill a vacancy. That issue created an undercurrent of partisan tension that was not resolved until just a few days ago, when Judge Stephen McCullough was elected to the Court by the General Assembly. Not to say that the partisan bickering is over; just that it is over on the floors of either chamber. For now.


Finally, among many controversial issues was that regarding executions in the Commonwealth and the means by which the death penalty in Virginia is administered when lethal drugs now used for that purpose are unavailable.


Beloved. Beds. Justices. Execution.


Throw in casino gambling, lights on motorcycles, fantasy football and gun control, J.C. Penny and Frank Beamer, add a blizzard and a tornado, and this one will go down as one of the most interesting legislative sessions in recent years.
By comparison, the VAR legislative agenda was far less heady, although it did attract its fair share of attention, and on some days, considerable confusion and controversy.

Most of our five bills sailed through the House and Senate without attention. However, the home inspector bill introduced in the House by REALTOR® and Delegate Jackson Miller, HB 741 did find its way to the House Appropriations Committee, given its minimal fiscal impact to the state budget. After hard work by your lobbying team, that bill reported unanimously out of the House Appropriations Committee, passed the House and met a very favorable read in the Senate where it also passed. What is noteworthy here is that the Senate companion to this bill, SB 453, introduced by Sen. Bill Stanley, a real estate attorney and the son of a former REALTOR®, has been signed by the Governor. In other words, this bill will become law on July 1, 2017. Good work, team!


The remaining three bills regarding Property and Condominium Owners’ Associations, HB 684, carried by Delegate Chris Peace; agency legislation, HB 567,, introduced by Delegate Jackson Miller; and HB 577 from Delegate Roxann Robinson all PASSED THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE. In fact, the Governor already has signed the agency legislation! See the chart below for a snapshot of the latest action.
HB 567 – AgencyLicensing Law Revisions
Agency / Licensing Law Revisions

Support HB 567- 03/04/16 Governor: Governor’s Action Deadline Midnight, March 11, 2016
HB 577 – Housing Trust Fund – Earnest Money Deposits / Escrow Funds
Housing Trust Fund – Earnest Money Deposits / Escrow Funds


Support HB 577- 03/03/16 Passed House and Senate; Waiting for Governor’s Signature

HB 684 – POA/COA Amendments
POA/COA Amendments

Support HB 684 – 03/03/16 Passed House and Senate; Waiting for Governor’s Signature
HB 741/SB 453 – Home Inspector Licensing
Home Inspector Licensing

Support HB 741 – 03/03/16 Senate: Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N) ;SB 453 – 03/01/16 Governor: Approved by Governor-Chapter 161

What does this mean? This means that the Association of REALTORS® once again had a 100% success rate during this Session! It wasn’t easy (although we hope we made it look that way), and there were twists and turns, and we even dealt with some drama along the way, but your agenda met with widespread success at the end of the day.

We could not have done this without your responses to Calls to Action, your visits to Richmond and your ongoing support. THANK YOU!

DONE! Sine Die!

Now, onto 2017……yes, already, we are taking your ideas and suggestions for legislation that we need to consider during the next Session. Send your thoughts to Susan Gaston at no later than May 15, 2016!

For additional information or other details, please contact Susan Gaston, VPAR’s Legislative Consultant, at 757-871-1445, or by e-mail at