RICHMOND, VA – Members of the Business Development Caucus in the Virginia House of Delegates unveiled their legislative agenda on Monday aimed at easing regulations on businesses and promoting home-based entrepreneurship. The group of legislators is highlighting 12 bills this session dealing with a range of issues from paperwork reduction to tort reform. The four founding members of the caucus were joined by Delegate Tim Hugo, Chairman of the House Republican Caucus at a press conference where they unveiled a website to highlight their initiative and seek input from job creators across Virginia.
“When we started this group, our goal was to reach out to members of the business community and hear their concerns,” said Delegate Chris Head, Chairman of the BDC. “We have held meetings all across the state and asked job creators if they had a magic wand, what state law or regulation would they change, remove or add, and how would that help their business? From these meetings, we have crafted 12 bills that will make our state a better place to do business.”
The Business Development Caucus is a group of legislators who are or have been business owners and entrepreneurs. There are 25 members of the Caucus, including two Democrats, led by the four founding members: Delegate Chris Head, Delegate Mike Watson, Delegate David Ramadan and Delegate Michael Webert.
“This group of business-oriented legislators has really done something incredible over the last year,” said House Republican Caucus Chairman Tim Hugo. “They have traveled the state, seeking the input of other business owners and entrepreneurs and developed a really strong package of pro-jobs legislation. We are proud of the agenda they have laid out here today, and I look forward to working with them to move the ball forward on this package.”
Delegate Watson, Co-Chairman of the Caucus, said the website unveiled today would be a useful tool to track jobs and economic development legislation before the General Assembly this year.
“BDCVa.org will be a great tool for citizens who want to track jobs and economic development legislation pending before the General Assembly this year,” said Watson. “We have crafted a strong package of legislation that will have meaningful impact on individual businesses and those that run them.”
The group is promoting “High School to Work Partnerships” and increased awareness for vocational and skilled labor careers, citing statistics that show an increasing need for more skilled workers in the United States.
“The need for skilled workers in the United States is expected to grow rapidly over the next several years,” said Watson. “For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says by 2020 the job market for plumbers and pipefitters is expected to grow by 26 percent. The job market for electricians is expected to grow by 23 percent. We need to keep our young people apprised of all career opportunities available to them. All high school students should be career or college ready when they graduate.”
Delegate David Ramadan, also a Co-Chairman of the BDC, has introduced legislation to require the State Corporation Commission to create an online process for filing business startup paperwork.
“We feel it is time to integrate the SCC into Virginia’s Business One Stop, thus making it easier to do business in Virginia,” said Delegate Ramadan. “Business One Stop already quickly connects businesses to resources needed for federal and state registration. The one major agency missing from the site is the SCC, as it is not currently integrated. House Bill 1760 will at last consolidate the various resources and forms needed to start a business into one location. This is just a common-sense measure. I look forward to working with the General Assembly and Governor Bob McDonnell to pass this legislation.”
Delegate Michael Webert has filed HB 2200 to protect home-based businesses located in a neighborhood with a homeowners association.
“This bill would ensure that home based businesses are allowed to operate on their lot within a homeowners association unless the association has duly adopted a regulation to the contrary,” said Webert. “This bill would also require the homeowners association to disclose such a rule in the homeowners association packet. Apple and Ford are just two examples of great American companies that were started as home-based businesses. We want to do everything we can to promote the American entrepreneurial spirit in Virginia garages, kitchens and living rooms.”
The Business Development Caucus has worked closely with Governor Bob McDonnell on a number of these proposals, and thanked the Governor for his commitment to jobs and the economy.
“Our focus is on jobs,” said Head. “Governor McDonnell has spent his entire time in office leading the way on jobs and economic development. We want to thank his team for working with us on several of these proposals and we want to thank the Governor specifically for his leadership on jobs. We look forward to working with him to continue to improve Virginia’s business climate.”
The Business Development Caucus meets every Wednesday morning during session to discuss legislation.