Yes, Virginia, Size Does Matter

Today was a really good day for our legislative staff.

We got two major pieces of legislation through the demanding Senate Courts committee:  SB 891 (strengthening the rights of subcontractors to collect through mechanic’s liens) and SB 892 (ensuring that “Good Samaritans” who report overdose situations will not be prosecuted for misdemeanors).

Later in the afternoon, in Senate General Laws, we got a significant piece of legislation passed unanimously, SB 1008, or “the Homeowner Bill of Rights” which codifies a number of important rights for HOA and condo members.  If it actually passes the full Assembly, it will be one of the first pro-consumer measures to be added to the State Code since I joined in 2001.

For my last trick — at the witching hour of 5:00 p.m — I presented SB 885, which redefines “small business” in Virginia so that it actually reflects small businesses.

What do I mean?

The current law in Virginia defines small business as one with under 25o employees or $10 million in revenue.  That pretty much counts everyone.  The Secretary of Commerce estimated that over 90% of Virginia employees work for such a business.

Because the state law is so over-inclusive, the “small business” set asides in our state programs are taken up by companies which are not small businesses — some have $30 million in annual revenue.  (Remember that being under either threshold qualifies you).  That effectively cuts out the smaller-cap companies.

As one witness stated:  Yes, Virginia, size does matter.

My bill, SB 885, simply sought to change the “or” in the law to “and,” therefore halving the number of eligible businesses.  A number of groups, including the administration, spoke for the proposal.  The business lobby pushed back, and so the bill was eventually deferred by General Laws to next week to find a potential common ground.

Regardless, it was a very good day.  I’m headed to the AFL-CIO reception at the Marriott in a few minutes, then a late night work-out at the YMCA.  Size does matter.

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