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Virginia General Assembly Opens Session Today: Construction Bills To Watch

The 2019 Virginia General Assembly Session starts today, January 9, 2019. Because 2019 is an odd-numbered year, the Virginia General Assembly will hold a short session, lasting just 46 days and adjourning on February 23, 2019. For the 2019 session, Republicans have a very narrow majority in each chamber: the House consists of 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats; the Senate consists of 21 Republicans and 19 Democrats (with the Democratic Lieutenant Governor as a tie breaker).

As always, there will be a handful of bills that could greatly affect the construction industry. Among the bills we recommend construction industry participants watch closely this session:

HB1667: This bill, sponsored by Delegate Terry Kilgore, would create a five-year statute of limitations for actions brought by a public body on construction contracts. Currently, there is no statute of limitations for public bodies on construction contracts. This bill would greatly affect those that work with public entities, but will almost certainly face strong opposition from government entities that have benefited from the existing law.

SB1028:  SB1028 would amend the Virginia Public Procurement Act. Filed by Senator David Marsden, this bill would require public bodies, when procuring construction contracts over $500,000, to include a requirement that all contractors and subcontractors employ at least 60 percent “local labor.” The bill defines local labor as someone that lives in Virginia or within 75 miles of the Virginia border.

SB272:  The General Assembly will again consider Sen. Chap Peterson’s SB272, the Construction Trust Act, a bill that was filed in 2018 but passed over until this session. This bill would impose personal liability, including attorneys’ fees, upon any contractor who does not hold funds in trust for the subcontractors performing work or furnishing materials and who knowingly uses that money for any purpose other than paying subcontractors. This bill would expand the potential liability for contractors holding funds under Virginia’s current statute, which currently imposes criminal liability, but not personal civil liability, for misuse of funds.

The Hirschler construction team is monitoring these legislative developments closely and will provide regular updates throughout the session. If you have specific question regarding any of these bills or how the legislation may impact your construction business, don’t hesitate to contact us.

               

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