BALLSTON-VIRGINIA SQUARE

Civic Association Newsletter

March/April 1997 - Volume 20, No. 5



1997 GENERAL ASSEMBLY HIGHLIGHTS, AS OF MARCH 3, 1997

The 1997 General Assembly adjourned on Saturday, February 22, 1997, and although this legislative session was a short session, only 45 days, the Virginia 100 delegates and 40 senators introduced 2,582 bills and resolutions.

In the prior issue of the Newsletter, January/February 1997, the Association reported the 1997 General Assembly Highlights, as of January 19, 1997. Of the 2,582 bills and resolutions introduced in the 1997 General Assembly, 526 were continued to the 1998 General Assembly, 1,478 were passed, and 1,630 failed. Governor George Allen has approved 22 and vetoed no bills, as of March 3, 1997 at 5:36 p.m.

The Virginia Constitution provides the Governor with three options: sign, veto, or offer amendments. The Governor may also veto one or more items in an appropriation bill. If the Governor does not act on any passed bill, it becomes law without his signature. During a regular or special session, the Governor has seven days in which to act on legislation presented to him. If there are fewer than seven days remaining or if the General Assembly has adjourned "sine die," the Governor has 30 days after adjournment to act on bills.

In addition, the Governor has 30 days to act upon legislation returned to him from a reconvened session. Bills passed at a regular session, or during the reconvened session, are effective the first day of July following adjournment of the regular session, unless another date is specified in the measure.

Interested members of the bills considered in the 1997 General Assembly, or a prior session, should visit the General Assembly Bill Tracking search engine at http://leg1.state.va.us . One can review all the bills patroned by each of the Arlington County Delegation, or other members of the Virginia General Assembly.

In our prior Newsletter, the Association discussed our members concern about possible local income tax bills being approved in the 1997 General Assembly. We briefly discussed House Bill (HB) 1410 from the 1996 General Assembly on Local Income Tax and another Local Income Tax bill, House Bill (HB) 1651, Local income taxes, 1997 General Assembly, patroned by Delegate Mitchell Van Yahre (D), House District 57, Charlottesville, Virginia.

Comparable to HB 1410, 1996 General Assembly, HB 1651, 1997 General Assembly, proposed to eliminate the five-year expiration of authority to levy the tax. Also, under HB 1651, any county or city is hereby authorized to levy a local income tax at the rate of one percent in addition to the applicable state income tax rate for an individual, for a fiduciary of an estate or trust, or for a corporation, for each taable year of every resident of such county or city or corporation having income from sources within such county or city. The same rate shall apply to individuals, fiduciaries and corporations.

Further, in the first full fiscal year in which the tax is levied, this bill requires the governing body of each county or city in which such tax is levied to reduce the rate of its real estate tax or tangible personal property tax in an amount that will reduce real estate tax revenues or the tangible personal property tax revenues in the following year by an amount equal to the amount of local income tax revenues collected. In each future fiscal year following a reduction in the real estate tax or the tangible personal property tax, the revenues from such real estate tax or tangible personal property tax shall not increase by more than the sum of the city's or county's estimated percentage population change plus the rate of inflation in Virginia as measured by the CPI-U published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as determined by the State Tax Commissioner for the latest twelve-month period.

Similar to HB 1410, 1996 General Assembly, HB 1651, 1997 General Assembly, shows that all reference to the referendum and voter approval requirement has been crossed out, and the limiting language that the income tax be used for transportation purposes also has been crossed out. The bill states that the tax may be imposed by the adoption of an ordinance by the governing body of the county or city.... This bill and other significant bills from the 1997 General Assembly that affect our community are provided for our members consideration. These include: 1) HB 1651 Local income taxes; 2) SB 770 Salaries of board members in Arlington County; 3) SB 954 Industrial development authorities; 4) HB 2180 Industrial development authorities; 5) SB 1012 Filing information with commissioners of revenue; 6) SB 884 Same sex marriages; and 7) SB 956 Court opinions, Internet access.

1) HOUSE BILL NO. 1651 Local income taxes; increased.

Offered January 8, 1997

Prefiled January 2, 1997

A BILL to amend and reenact 58.1-540 and 58.1-548 of the Code of Virginia and to repeal 58.1-549 of the Code of Virginia, relating to local income taxes.

Chief Patron-- Delegate Mitchell Van Yahres (D)-House District 57, Charlottesville, Virginia; General Assembly (804) 786-7292;

Patron--Delegate John J. Davies III (D)-House District 30, Culpeper, Virginia; General Assembly (804) 786-7102

Referred to Committee on Finance

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That 58.1-540 and 58.1-548 of the Code of Virginia are amended and reenacted as follows:

58.1-540. Levy of the tax.

A. Any county or city is hereby authorized to levy a local income tax at the rate of one percent in addition to the applicable state income tax rate upon the Virginia taxable income as determined in 58.1-322 for an individual, 58.1-361 for a fiduciary of an estate or trust, or 58.1-402 for a corporation, for each taxable year of every resident of such county or city or corporation having income from sources within such county or city. The same rate shall apply to individuals, fiduciaries and corporations.

B. The tax may be imposed by the adoption of an ordinance by the governing body of the county or city in accordance with general or special law, and the tax may be thereafter enacted, modified or repealed as any other tax the governing body is empowered to levy subject only to the limitations herein. No ordinance levying a local income tax shall be repealed unless and until all debts or other obligations of the county or city to which such revenues are pledged or otherwise committed have been paid or provision made for payment.

C. In the first full fiscal year in which the tax is levied, the governing body of each county or city in which such tax is levied shall reduce the rate of its real estate tax or tangible personal property tax in an amount that will reduce real estate tax revenues or the tangible personal property tax revenues in the following year by an amount equal to the amount of local income tax revenues collected. In each future fiscal year following a reduction in the real estate tax or the tangible personal property tax, the revenues from such real estate tax or tangible personal property tax shall not increase by more than the sum of the city's or county's estimated percentage population change plus the rate of inflation in Virginia as measured by the CPI-U published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as determined by the State Tax Commissioner for the latest twelve-month period.

58.1-548. Disposition of revenues; costs of administration.

A. All local income tax revenues collected by the Tax Commissioner pursuant to this article shall be paid into the General Fund of the state treasury.

B. Such revenues shall be transferred monthly by the Comptroller to a special fund entitled "Collections of Local Income Taxes," upon certification of such amounts by the Tax Commissioner.

C. As soon as practicable after the last day of each calendar quarter, the Comptroller shall pay over and distribute to each county and city the local income tax revenues to be estimated by the Tax Commissioner. The Tax Commissioner shall reconcile such estimates during the month following the close of the fiscal year for those returns on file for the preceding taxable year.

D. The direct costs of state administration of the local income tax as certified to the Comptroller by the Department of Taxation shall be deducted on a prorated basis from the distributions to each county and city under subsection C of this section. In determining each county's or city's prorated share of administrative costs, the Comptroller shall apportion the total administrative costs in the ratio which the revenues of each county or city bear to the total local income tax revenues distributed. The direct costs for local administration of the local income tax shall be paid entirely from the local revenues of the county or city.

2. That 58.1-549 of the Code of Virginia is repealed.

Bill Tracking - 1997 session

HB 1651 Local income taxes; increased.

Chief Patron-Mitchell Van Yahres

Status:

01/10/97 House: Assigned to Finance sub-committee: 2

02/01/97 House: Passed by indefinitely in Finance (21-Y, 1-N)

This bill was carried over to the 1998 General Assembly. Perhaps, the General Assembly will reconsider this bill after the November 1997 House elections. Look for this bill to receive increased consideration by the Virginia General Assembly next year.

2) SENATE BILL NO. 770 Salaries of board members in Arlington Co.

Offered January 8, 1997

A BILL to amend the Code of Virginia by adding a section numbered 15.1-687.25, relating to the County manager plan; board salaries.

SB 770 Salaries of board members in Arlington Co.

Patron-Mary Margaret Whipple

Summary:

County manager plan; board salaries. Allows any county which has adopted the county manager plan (Arlington County), after a public hearing, to set the maximum allowable salary of board members at $25,000, except (i) the annual salary of the chairman, vice-chairman, or both, may exceed the maximum amount and (ii) the maximum salary may be adjusted by the application of a recognized measure of inflation, as provided by an agency of the federal government. In addition, the county board, after a public hearing, may grant its members such fringe benefits, expenses, and reimbursements as it deems appropriate.

Full text:

01/08/97 Senate: Presented & ordered printed 977327758

02/24/97 Senate: Enrolled bill text (SB770ER)

Status:

01/08/97 Senate: Referred to Committee on Local Government

01/14/97 Senate: Reported from Local Government (15-Y 0-N)

01/15/97 Senate: Constitutional reading dispensed (38-Y 0-N)

01/15/97 Senate: VOTE: CONST. READING DISPENSED (38-Y 0-N)

01/16/97 Senate: Read second time and engrossed

01/17/97 Senate: Read third time and passed Senate (39-Y 0-N)

01/17/97 Senate: VOTE: PASSAGE (39-Y 0-N)

01/17/97 Senate: Rec. of passage agreed to by Senate (40-Y 0-N)

01/17/97 Senate: VOTE: RECONSIDER (40-Y 0-N)

01/17/97 Senate: Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N)

01/17/97 Senate: VOTE: PASSAGE (40-Y 0-N)

01/17/97 Senate: Communicated to House

01/20/97 House: Placed on Calendar

01/21/97 House: Read first time

01/21/97 House: Referred to Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns

02/07/97 House: Assigned to C. C. T. sub-committee: 3

02/14/97 House: Reported from Count., Cities and Towns (21-Y 1-N)

02/17/97 House: Read second time

02/18/97 House: Read third time

02/18/97 House: Passed House (71-Y 28-N)

02/18/97 House: VOTE: PASSAGE (71-Y 28-N)

VIRGINIA ACTS OF ASSEMBLY -- CHAPTER

An Act to amend the Code of Virginia by adding a section numbered 15.1-687.25, relating to the County manager plan; board salaries.

[S 770]

Approved

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That the Code of Virginia is amended by adding a section numbered 15.1-687.25 as follows:

15.1-687.25. Salaries and expenses of board members. Notwithstanding any other provisions of law to the contrary, the governing body of any county which has adopted the county manager plan provided for in this chapter, may, after a public hearing pursuant to notice in the manner provided in 15.1-504, set the annual salary of its members.

The maximum allowable salary is $25,000, except:

  1. The annual salary of the chairman, vice-chairman, or both, may exceed the maximum allowable salary prescribed above; and
  2. The maximum allowable salary prescribed above may be adjusted by the application of a recognized measure of inflation, as provided by an agency of the federal government.

In addition to the maximum allowable salary described above, the county board may also grant its members such fringe benefits, expenses, and reimbursements as it deems appropriate, after the notice of a public hearing described above.

3) SB 954 Industrial development authorities.

4) HB 2180 Industrial development authorities.

Patron-Mary Margaret Whipple

SB 954 Industrial development authorities.

Summary:

Industrial development authorities. Allows industrial development authorities created by localities without housing authorities to issue tax-exempt bonds to finance housing projects owned and operated by for-profit enterprises. Currently, only taxable bonds may be issued to finance single or multi-family residences operated by commercial enterprises.

Full text:

01/16/97 Senate: Presented & ordered printed 970367758

Amendments: Conference Amendments

Status:

01/16/97 Senate: Referred to Committee on Local Government

01/21/97 Senate: Reported from Local Government (15-Y 0-N)

01/22/97 Senate: Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N)

01/22/97 Senate: VOTE: CONST. READING DISPENSED (40-Y 0-N)

01/23/97 Senate: Read second time and engrossed

01/24/97 Senate: Read third time and passed Senate (38-Y 0-N)

01/24/97 Senate: VOTE: PASSAGE (38-Y 0-N)

01/24/97 Senate: Communicated to House

01/27/97 House: Placed on Calendar

01/28/97 House: Read first time

01/28/97 House: Referred to Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns

02/07/97 House: Assigned to C. C. T. sub-committee: 2

02/14/97 House: Reported from Count., Cities and Towns (22-Y 0-N)

02/17/97 House: Read second time

02/18/97 House: Read third time

02/18/97 House: Amendment by Mr. Rust agreed to

02/18/97 House: Engrossed by House as amended

02/18/97 House: Passed House with amendment (100-Y 0-N)

02/18/97 House: VOTE: PASSAGE (100-Y 0-N)

02/20/97 Senate: Reading of amendment waived

02/20/97 Senate: House amendment rejected by Senate (2-Y 38-N)

02/20/97 Senate: VOTE: CONCUR HOUSE AMENDMENT (2-Y 38-N)

02/20/97 House: House insisted on amendment

02/20/97 House: House requested conference committee

02/20/97 Senate: Senate acceded to request (40-Y 0-N)

02/20/97 Senate: VOTE: ACCEDE CONFERENCE COMM. (40-Y 0-N)

02/20/97 Senate: Conferees appointed by Senate

02/20/97 Senate: Senators: Whipple, Ticer, Newman

02/20/97 House: Conferees appointed by House

02/20/97 House: Delegates: Darner, Connally, Rust

02/21/97 House: Conference report agreed to by House (99-Y 0-N)

02/21/97 House: VOTE: ADOPTION (99-Y 0-N)

02/22/97 Conference: House amendment rejected by conf. comm.

02/22/97 Conference: Amended by conference committee

02/22/97 Senate: Reading of conference report waived

02/22/97 Senate: Conference report agreed to by Senate (40-Y 0-N)

02/22/97 Senate: VOTE: CONFERENCE COMMITTEE RPT (40-Y 0-N)

HB 2180 Industrial development authorities.

Patron-L. Karen Darner

Summary:

Industrial development authorities. Allows industrial development authorities created by localities without housing authorities to issue tax-exempt bonds to finance housing projects owned and operated by for-profit enterprises. Currently, only taxable bonds may be issued to finance single or multi-family residences operated by commercial enterprises.

Full text:

01/16/97 House: Presented & ordered printed 970368196

01/29/97 House: Printed as engrossed 970368196-E

Amendments: House Amendments

Status:

01/16/97 House: Referred to Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns

01/24/97 House: Reported from Count., Cities and Towns (21-Y 0-N)

01/27/97 House: Read first time

01/28/97 House: Read second time

01/28/97 House: Passed by for the day

01/29/97 House: Read second time

01/29/97 House: Amendments by Ms. Darner agreed to

01/29/97 House: Engrossed by House as amended

01/30/97 House: Read third time and passed House (Block Vote) (100-Y 0-N)

01/30/97 House: VOTE: BLOCK VOTE PASSAGE (100-Y 0-N)

01/30/97 House: Communicated to Senate

01/31/97 Senate: Constitutional reading dispensed (36-Y 4-N)

02/02/97 Senate: Referred to Committee on Local Government

02/11/97 Senate: Reported from Local Government (13-Y 2-N)

02/12/97 Senate: Constitutional reading dispensed (37-Y 0-N)

02/12/97 Senate: VOTE: CONST. READING DISPENSED (37-Y 0-N)

02/13/97 Senate: Read third time

02/13/97 Senate: Passed Senate (39-Y 0-N)

02/13/97 Senate: VOTE: PASSAGE (39-Y 0-N)

5) SB 1012 Filing information with commissioners of revenue.

Offered January 17, 1997

A BILL to amend and reenact 58.1-3901 of the Code of Virginia, relating to filing information with commissioners of the revenue; penalty.

Chief Patron -- Senator Richard J. Holland (D), Senate District 15, Windsor, Virginia; General Assembly (804) 786- 7392

Referred to the Committee on Finance

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That 58.1-3901 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

58.1-3901.

Owners, operators, managers of certain facilities to file information with the commissioner annually.

Every person owning, managing, or operating any apartment house, condominium, cooperative-housing facility, office building, shopping center, trailer camp or trailer court, self-storage facility, marina, or privately owned or operated airport in the Commonwealth shall, on or before February 1 of each year, upon request of the commissioner of the revenue of the county or city in which any such facility is located, file with such commissioner of the revenue a list giving the name and address of every tenant, lessee, owner, or other person permitted to occupy or use space at such facility, the state and registration number of any watercraft or aircraft at the facility, and the year, make, model, state and license plate number of any motor vehicle garaged, housed, or parked on the premises as of January 1 preceding. The owner, manager, or operator of such facility may require, as a condition to leasing, selling, licensing, or otherwise granting any rights or interest in space at such facility, that any tenant, renter, or such other person provide the owner, manager, or operator of such facility with the information required to be provided pursuant to this section. The governing body of any county adjoining a county having a population of more than 1,000 per square mile may require like information from any such person leasing houses for rent, and violation of any such ordinance requiring the same may be punished as hereinafter provided. Any person failing to comply with this section shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

Status:

01/17/97 Senate: Referred to Committee on Finance

01/22/97 Senate: Reported from Finance (16-Y 1-N)

01/23/97 Senate: Constitutional reading dispensed (39-Y 0-N)

01/23/97 Senate: VOTE: CONST. READING DISPENSED (39-Y 0-N)

01/24/97 Senate: Read second time and engrossed

01/27/97 Senate: Read third time and passed Senate (37-Y 2-N)

01/27/97 Senate: VOTE: PASSAGE (37-Y 2-N)

01/27/97 Senate: Communicated to House

01/28/97 House: Placed on Calendar

01/29/97 House: Read first time

01/29/97 House: Referred to Committee on Finance

02/05/97 House: Assigned to Finance sub-committee: 2

02/18/97 House: Reported from Finance with sub. (14-Y 8-N)

02/18/97 House: Read second time

02/19/97 House: Passed by for the day

02/20/97 House: Read third time

02/20/97 House: Committee substitute agreed to 976228681-H1

02/20/97 House: Engrossed by House - com. sub.976228681-H1

02/20/97 House: Defeated by House (7-Y 86-N)

02/20/97 House: VOTE: PASSAGE (7-Y 86-N)

[See the Arlington Journal February 19, 1997, editorial titled Agents of the state . This bill was defeated in the 1997 General Assembly thanks to members of the BVSCA contacting their local delegates and other concerned parties.]

6) SB 884 Same sex marriages.

Patron-Stephen D. Newman

Summary:

Same sex marriages. Declares that Virginia (which already prohibits same sex marriages) also does not recognize same sex marriages entered into in other states or jurisdictions.

Full text:

01/15/97 Senate: Presented & ordered printed 973040719

02/26/97 Senate: Enrolled bill text (SB884ER)

Status:

01/15/97 Senate: Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice

02/03/97 Senate: Reported from Courts of Justice (14-Y 0-N 1-A)

02/03/97 Senate: Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N)

02/03/97 Senate: VOTE: CONST. READING DISPENSED (40-Y 0-N)

02/04/97 Senate: Read second time and engrossed

02/04/97 Senate: Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N)

02/04/97 Senate: VOTE: CONST. READING DISPENSED (40-Y 0-N)

02/04/97 Senate: Passed Senate (37-Y 3-N)

02/04/97 Senate: VOTE: PASSAGE (37-Y 3-N)

02/04/97 Senate: Communicated to House

02/05/97 House: Placed on Calendar

02/06/97 House: Read first time

02/06/97 House: Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice

02/10/97 House: Assigned to C. J. sub-committee: 3

02/17/97 House: Reported from Courts of Justice (19-Y 3-N)

02/18/97 House: Read second time

02/19/97 House: Read third time

02/19/97 House: Passed House (81-Y 8-N)

02/19/97 House: VOTE: PASSAGE (81-Y 8-N)

YEAS--Abbitt, Albo, Armstrong, Baker, Barlow, Behm, Bennett, Bloxom, Brickley, Bryant, Cantor, Christian, Clement, Cooper, Councill, Cox, Cranwell, Crittenden, Croshaw, Crouch, Davies, Day, Deeds, DeBoer, Dillard, Drake, Dudley, Forbes, Grayson, Griffith, Guest, Hamilton, Hargrove, Heilig, Howell, Ingram, Jackson, Johnson, Jones, D.C., Katzen, Keating, Kilgore, Landes, Lovelace, Marshall, May, McClure, McDonnell, McEachin, Melvin, Mims, Moore, Morgan, Murphy, Nelms, Nixon, O'Brien, Orrock, Parrish, Phillips, Purkey, Putney, Reid, Rhodes, Robinson, Rollison, Ruff, Rust, Sherwood, Stump, Tata, Tate, Thomas, Van Yahres, Wagner, Wardrup, Watkins, Watts, Way, Weatherholtz, Wilkins--81.

NAYS--Almand, Connally, Cunningham, Darner, Hull, Jones, J.C., Moran, Plum--8.

ABSTENTIONS--0.

NOT VOTING--Callahan, Diamonstein, Dickinson, Hall, Puller, Scott, Shuler, Spruill, Van Landingham, Woodrum, Mr. Speaker--11.

02/04/97 Senate: VOTE: PASSAGE (37-Y 3-N)

YEAS--Barry, Benedetti, Bolling, Chichester, Colgan, Couric, Earley, Edwards, Gartlan, Hanger, Hawkins, Holland, Houck, Howell, Lambert, Lucas, Marsh, Martin, Marye, Maxwell, Miller, K.G., Newman, Norment, Potts, Quayle, Reasor, Reynolds, Saslaw, Schrock, Stolle, Stosch, Trumbo, Waddell, Walker, Wampler, Williams, Woods--37.

NAYS--Miller, Y.B., Ticer, Whipple--3.

RULE 36--0.

NOT VOTING--0.

Internet Access to the Opinions of the Virginia Supreme Court and Appeals Court

In our prior Newsletter, the Association reported in an article titled "Judicial Nomination Reform Recommendation by the VIA Coalition," that the Volunteers for an Independent Arlington (VIA) Coalition presented their 1997 Legislative Package to the Northern Virginia Delegates and State Senators on January 4, 1997, at the Government Center in Fairfax County, Virginia, and to the Arlington Delegation on January 6, 1997, at the Arlington Central Library. As part of their legislative package, the VIA Coalition recommended that the 1997 General Assembly patron a bill requiring the full text of "slip opinions" of the Virginia Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, be made available to the public in electronic form on the Internet.

Although none of the members of the Arlington Delegation patroned or co-sponsored this VIA Coalition recommendation, Senator Stephen D. Newman (R) of Lynchburg, VA, patroned SB 956 Court opinions; Internet access, and Senators Barry, Benedetti, Bolling, Earley, Hanger, Martin, Potts, Quayle, Stolle, Stosch, Trumbo, and Woods co-sponsored the bill. It should be noted that this bill was supported by all 100 members of the House and the 40 members of the Senate, including the Arlington Delegation.

The VIA Coalition's 1997 legislative initiative on Internet Access to the Virginia Supreme Court and Appeals Court is as follows:

The Volunteers for an Independent Arlington (VIA) Coalition was established in January 1993 by Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and concerned citizens, to support public integrity, accountability, and fiscal responsibility in government. Since that time, the VIA Coalition has strongly supported the use of the Internet to strengthen public access to government and the legislative proceedings of the Virginia General Assembly. Briefly, the VIA Coalition participated in public hearings with elected representatives and recommended to the 1994 General Assembly and the 1995 General Assembly that Virginia's legislative proceedings be made available to the public at no cost via the Internet. Also, the VIA Coalition recommended to the Virginia General Assembly of 1994, 1995, and 1996, that the Code of Virginia and the Constitution of Virginia be made available to the public at no cost via the Internet.

The VIA Coalition thanks the 1995 and 1996 General Assembly and Governor Allen for their bipartisan support of House Joint Resolution 482 (1995), patroned by former delegate and current State Senator, Stephen D. Newman (R), Lynchburg, Virginia. Also, the VIA Coalition thanks Arlington County Delegate Karen Darner, a Democrat, and former State Senator Robert Calhoun, a Republican, for their bipartisan support of a study that was approved in the Virginia 1994 General Assembly to consider increased public access to Virginia's legislative proceedings and other public records using the information highway.

The VIA Coalition encourages citizens today to visit the Virginia General Assembly home page on the Internet's World-Wide-Web. One will find a wide array of legislative information in the General Assembly home pages, including general information about the legislative progress and its participants, as well as the full text summaries, status history of bills and resolutions, and the delegates' bills as chief patron. The voters can now monitor the Assembly and track bills in which they have an interest. For your information, all of the bills introduced by the Arlington County delegates may also be accessed by way of the VIA Coalition's Internet home page, which is linked to the General Assembly.

The VIA Coalition proposed last year that the Northern Virginia Delegation patron or coauthor a bill to provide access to the Code of Virginia on the Internet. This effort to broaden and streamline public access to the Code of Virginia was implemented this past year on the General Assembly home page, under the status of bills. One can now readily research the Code of Virginia using a key word index and the General Assembly search engine.

To continue the General Assembly's progress and support of openness in government, the VIA Coalition recommends that the 1997 General Assembly patron a bill requiring: (1) a description of the Virginia Court System, and (2) the full text of "slip opinions" of the Virginia Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, be made available to the public in electronic form on the Internet. This information is needed on the Internet to keep the public informed and up-to-date on the Commonwealth of Virginia's judicial process.

(The VIA Coalition's 1997 Legislative Package is located on the Internet WEB at http://www2.dgsys.com/~via/97leg.html which addresses the following initiatives: 1) Internet Access to the Opinions of the Virginia Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, 2) Repealing Virginia Jurisdictions' Authority to Impose a Local Income Tax, 3) Proposed Bill on Initiative and Referendum, 4) Proposed Bill on Contract Rent Study, 5) Proposed Bill on Ethics Commission Recommendation, 6) Proposed Bill to Strengthen Virginia's Conflict-of-Interest Law, 7) Proposed Amendment to the Virginia Limited Partnership Act, 8) Proposed Bill on Auditor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, 9) Reform of Virginia's Judicial Nomination Process, and 10) Audio Tape Recording of Trial Proceedings and Incidents of Trial.)

(The following 1997 General Assembly information on Senate Bill 956 was obtained via the Internet at http://leg1.state.va.us .

SB 956 Court opinions; Internet access.

Patron-Stephen D. Newman

Summary:

Court opinions; Internet access. Requires the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court to provide for the electronic publication on the Internet of Supreme Court and Court of Appeals opinions, subject to conditions and restrictions established by each respective court.

Full text:

01/17/97 Senate: Presented & ordered printed 971827719

02/25/97 Senate: Enrolled bill text (SB956ER)

Status:

01/17/97 Senate: Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice

02/03/97 Senate: Reported from Courts of Justice (15-Y 0-N)

02/03/97 Senate: Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N)

02/03/97 Senate: VOTE: CONST. READING DISPENSED (40-Y 0-N)

02/04/97 Senate: Read second time and engrossed

02/04/97 Senate: Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N)

02/04/97 Senate: VOTE: CONST. READING DISPENSED (40-Y 0-N)

02/04/97 Senate: Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N)

02/04/97 Senate: VOTE: PASSAGE (40-Y 0-N)

02/04/97 Senate: Communicated to House

02/05/97 House: Placed on Calendar

02/06/97 House: Read first time

02/06/97 House: Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice

02/10/97 House: Assigned to C. J. sub-committee: 2

02/14/97 House: Reported from Courts of Justice (22-Y 0-N)

02/17/97 House: Read second time

02/18/97 House: Read third time

02/18/97 House: Passed House (Block Vote) (100-Y 0-N)

02/18/97 House: VOTE: BLOCK VOTE PASSAGE (100-Y 0-N)

VIRGINIA ACTS OF ASSEMBLY -- CHAPTER

An Act to amend and reenact 17-116.010 of the Code of Virginia, relating to opinions of the Virginia Supreme Court and the Virginia Court of Appeals.[S 956]

Approved
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That 17-116.010 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

17-116.010. Opinions; reporting, printing and electronic publication.

A. The Court of Appeals shall state in writing the reasons for its decision (i) rejecting a petition for appeal or (ii) deciding a case after hearing. Subject to rules promulgated under 17-116.03 the Court in its discretion may render its decision by order or memorandum opinion. All orders and opinions of the Court of Appeals shall be preserved with the record of the case. Opinions designated by the Court of Appeals as having precedential value or as otherwise having significance for the law or legal system shall be expeditiously reported in separate Court of Appeals Reports in the same manner as the decisions and opinions of the Supreme Court. The clerk of the Court of Appeals shall retain in the clerk's office a list and brief summary of the case for all unpublished decisions and opinions of the Court of Appeals. The list of cases and summary shall be made available to any person upon request.

B. The Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court shall contract for the printing of the reports of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals and for the advance sheets of each court. He shall select a printer for the reports and prescribe such contract terms as will ensure issuance of the reports as soon as practicable after a sufficient number of opinions are filed. He shall make such contracts after consultation with the Department of General Services and shall distribute these reports in accordance with the applicable provisions of law. He shall also provide for the electronic publication on the Internet of the opinions of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals subject to conditions and restrictions established by each court regarding the electronic publication of its opinions.



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