NVTC Technology Executives Visit Policymakers in Richmond

As the 2014 General Assembly session neared its halfway point, members of the NVTC Board of Directors and NVTC Board member companies spent February 4th in Richmond discussing NVTC priorities with policymakers.

The NVTC delegation spent the day meeting with legislators and McAuliffe administration officials to discuss the NVTC Veterans Employment Initiative and several NVTC legislative priorities, including legislation to strengthen Virginia's R&D tax credit, legislation to protect Virginia businesses from patent trolls acting in bad faith, legislation to promote the hiring of veterans and current members of the Virginia national guard, as well as budget initiatives to increase funding for Virginia's CIT gap funds to support high growth technology startups across the commonwealth.

Group shot in Richmond.
From left: John Mendonca, Matt Calkins of Appian, Rob Quartel of NTELX, NVTC Chair Sudhakar Kesavan of ICF International, NVTC President and CEO Bobbie Kilberg, Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, NVTC Public Policy Manager Troy Murphy, NVTC Vice President of Policy Josh Levi, Doug Beck of ICF International, and NVTC Manager of Strategic Initiatives Rick Ferry.

NVTC participants included NVTC President and CEO Bobbie Kilberg, NVTC Chair Sudhakar Kesavan, NVTC Vice Chair Todd Stottlemyer, Doug Beck of ICF International, Matt Calkins of Appian, John Mendonca, Rob Quartel of NTELX, Dendy Young of McLean Capital, LLC, Kathryn Falk of Cox Communications; and Todd House of Micron Technology.

The group met with members of the McAuliffe administration including Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson, Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs John Newby, Deputy Chief of Staff Suzette Denslow, and Special Assistant to the Governor for Policy Zaki Barzinji.

The group also met with members of the General Assembly including Speaker Bill Howell (Stafford), Senate Finance Committee Co-Chair Walter Stosch (Hanover), Senate Minority Caucus Chair Ryan McDougle (Mechanicsville), Senate Privileges and Elections Chair Janet Howell (Fairfax), Senator Jennifer Wexton (Sterling), House Majority Leader Kirk Cox (Colonial Heights), House Science and Technology Committee Chair Barbara Comstock (McLean), Delegate Jim LeMunyon (Oak Hill), and Delegate Tag Greason (Ashburn).

In addition, a number of legislators stopped by to welcome the NVTC delegation to Richmond including Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (Springfield), House Minority Caucus Chair Mark Sickles (Alexandria), Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn (Fairfax Station), and Delegate Mark Keam (Fairfax County).

NVTC 2014 Legislative Priorities Update

On Tuesday, February 11 at midnight, the General Assembly will reach "crossover," the point at which the House must have completed work on all House bills and the Senate must have completed work on all Senate bills. The House will spend the duration of the legislative session acting on bills that have passed the Senate while the Senate will be acting on bills that passed the House. While NVTC has compiled an expansive bill tracking index for bills of interest to NVTC members, the outline below provides updates on several highlighted NVTC priorities.

  • Research & Development Tax Credit
    • HB 1220, Delegate Comstock (McLean)
    • SB 623, Senator McDougle (Mechanicsville)

    This legislation would increase the statutory cap for Virginia's R&D Tax credit from $5 million to $6 million, increase the per-company cap from $25k-$35k for industry research and from 35k-45k for businesses sponsoring research in conjunction with Virginia research universities, provide legislators with additional information about how the credit is used to better evaluate and determine the efficacy of the credit, and extend the sunset date to 2019.

    NVTC supports this legislation. HB1220 passed the House. SB623 was reported from the Senate Finance Committee and is pending before the full Senate.

  • Patent Troll Legislation
    • HB 375, Delegate O'Quinn (Bristol)
    • SB 150, Senator Stuart (Montross)

    This legislation would empower the Attorney General and Commonwealth's Attorneys to take action against patent trolls who target Virginia businesses with bad faith assertions of patent infringement.

    NVTC supports this legislation. HB375 passed the House and SB 150 passed the Senate.

  • Veterans Employment Initiative
    • HB 971, Delegate Anderson (Woodbridge)
    • SB 399, Senator Reeves (Fredericksburg)

    This legislation is intended to assist members of the National Guard who have lost their full-time jobs or who are otherwise seeking full-time employment in Virginia. It provides them, at their option, with an easy way to facilitate the sharing of their qualifications and contact information with the Virginia Employment Commission and employers across Virginia.

    NVTC supports this legislation. HB971 passed the House and SB399 passed the Senate.

  • Sexual Orientation Discrimination
    • SB 248, Senator McEachin (Richmond)
    • HB 417, Delegate Simon (Falls Church)
    • HB 562, Delegate Villanueva (Virginia Beach)

    The legislation would prohibit discrimination in state employment based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a special disabled veteran or other veteran covered by the Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended. The bill also defines "sexual orientation" and "gender identity."

    NVTC supports this legislation. The Senate legislation failed to report out of the Senate General Laws and Technology Committee. The House legislation failed to report out of the House General Laws Committee.

  • Entrepreneur-in-Residence
    • HB 321, Delegate Landes (Augusta)
    • SB 362, Senator Saslaw (Springfield)

    This legislation would establish a pilot program administered by the Secretary of Commerce and Trade to improve outreach by state government to the private sector. The objectives of the program are to (i) strengthen coordination and interaction between state government and the private sector on issues relevant to entrepreneurs and small business concerns and (ii) make state government programs and operations simpler, easier to access, more efficient, and more responsive to the needs of small business concerns and entrepreneurs.

    NVTC supports this legislation. HB321 passed the House. Senate passage of SB362 is pending.

  • Computer Science as Science or Math
    • HB 1054, Delegate Loupassi (Richmond)

    The legislation would allow the Board of Education to consider all computer science course credits earned by students to be science course credits, mathematics course credits, or career and technical education credits in establishing course and credit requirements for a high school diploma rather than just math course credits.

    NVTC supports this legislation. The legislation passed the House.

  • Electronic Privacy
    • HB 13, Delegate Marshall (Manassas)
    • HB 325, Delegate Marshall (Manassas)

    HB 13 would require any provider of telephone service, commercial mobile radio service, and Voice-over-Internet protocol service to disclose whether the provider is being, or has been, directed to provide call detail records or metadata for its customers to the National Security Agency or other agency of the federal government.

    NVTC opposed this legislation. The legislation failed to report out of the House Committee on Commerce and Labor.

    HB 325 would provide that a person has a right to privacy in the content and metadata of the person's electronic communications, including emails, text messages, telephone calls, location data, mobile or cellular phone signals, or other forms of electronic communications.

    NVTC opposed this legislation. The legislation failed to report out of the House Courts of Justice Committee.

To track individual bills or issues throughout the legislative session visit the General Assembly's Legislative Information System or reference NVTC's 2014 Bill Tracking Index.

Stay Connected with NVTC's Advocacy Team in Richmond

NVTC's public policy team is in Richmond for the duration of the session advocating for the needs of the Northern Virginia technology community and we welcome your feedback. Feel free to contact us at any time with questions, ideas or suggestions:

NVTC Vice President of Policy Josh Levi (jlevi@nvtc.org 703-904-7878 x214)

NVTC Public Policy Manager Troy Murphy (tmurphy@nvtc.org 703-904-7878 x 218)

Weekly legislative conference calls with the NVTC advocacy team will continue for the remainder of the session through March 7th. Please send an email to Troy Murphy (tmurphy@nvtc.org) if you would like to receive notice and call-in information for NVTC's weekly conference calls.

For more information about NVTC's advocacy efforts, please visit us online at http://www.nvtc.org/advocacy and follow us on Twitter @NVTCTechPolitic.