Virginia Chamber Weekly COVID-19 Update
August 21st, 2020
      Barry DuVal

On Wednesday, the Virginia Chamber Foundation, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, and the Virginia Veterans Services Foundation hosted the 2020 Virginia Veterans and Military Affairs Conference and Virginia Values Veterans Awards Program. As a virtual program, this conference and award ceremony serves to foster meaningful discussions focused on Virginia’s support for our military members, veteran community, and their families.

With 30 military installations and one of the largest veteran populations in the country, Virginia remains deeply committed to empowering the men and woman who answer the call to serve and protect our nation by providing a high quality of life not only while they serve, but also as they transition to civilian life. I would like to thank our partners, featured speakers, recognized sponsors, and the 600 attendees who helped to make this virtual conference a success. More information on the Virginia Chamber’s other upcoming signature events can be found below.

The Virginia General Assembly convened a special session of the legislature starting on August 18th to address changes in the state budget, COVID-19 relief and recovery, and criminal justice and police reforms.

Senate committees have already begun reviewing legislation of consequence to the business community. One such bill, SB 5076, would have mandated businesses to provide paid sick leave during public health emergencies. The Virginia Chamber opposed this legislation because it would have limited the flexibility for businesses to provide other types of leave to address this concern. We would like to thank the members of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee for rejecting the legislation and working with us to understand the concerns of the business community.

The House is meeting this Sunday with the intent to meet the rest of the special session virtually. They have yet to begin reviewing bills in most committees, although the House and Senate budget committees have started their collective work to address updates to the budget.

The House and Senate have yet to agree on a procedural resolution that would dictate how the two chambers interact during the special session. To this point, a deadline for filing bills and a crossover date – when the other body acts on bills that have passed the other– has yet to be set.

For more information on the Virginia Chamber’s legislative priorities for the special session, please see our Blueprint for Getting Virginians Back to Work recommendations and our Equality of Opportunity agenda.

During its 2020 Legislative Session, the Virginia General Assembly passed Senate Joint Resolution 47, which requests the Judicial Council of Virginia to study the jurisdiction and organization of the Court of Appeals of Virginia.

Virginia is the only state in the nation without a guaranteed right of appeal in civil or criminal cases. Multimillion-dollar judgments in property, tort, and breach-of-contract disputes are currently reviewable only by a discretionary petition for appeal to the Supreme Court of Virginia. On average, only 15–20% of petitions for appeal are accepted in civil cases. The Virginia Chamber of Commerce submitted a letter in support of the creation of an appeal of right in civil cases. You can find a copy of the letter here.

This week, the Virginia Chamber is pleased to recognize Novo Nordisk for its significant efforts to support citizens and communities around the Commonwealth and nation during the ongoing global pandemic. In an unprecedented time as we all navigate the COVID-19 crisis, Novo Nordisk is focusing on three key priorities: ensuring patients continue to get the medicines they need, keeping their employees safe, and supporting the public health agenda. More information on this week’s “member spotlight” can be found below.