Why Does the City Have a Legislative Package?
The Commonwealth of Virginia is a Dillon Rule state which limits the governing authority localities have to what is expressly granted to them by the legislature, by state statute, or written in their municipal charter. Localities in Virginia request legislation every year to grant them enabling authority for specific powers they do not have already. These requests generally originate from the City Council, City staff, and boards and commissions.
The goal of the City’s Legislative Package is to clearly communicate the City’s legislative and budget priorities to legislators, staff, advocates, and the general public. The requests that form the Package generally originate from City Council members, City staff, and the City’s many boards and commissions.
The City's Legislative Package
The City's Legislative Package is drafted through requests that originate from City Council members, City staff, and boards and commissions, with additional input coming from the public through the public hearing process. In the fall of 2021, staff worked collaboratively with these groups to develop legislative and funding proposals for the City's 2022 Legislative Package. Council reviewed the draft package on November 9, 2021, and accepted input from the community and other outside stakeholders at that meeting as well as the November 13, 2021, public hearing. A Work Session was held with the City’s Legislative Delegation on November 13 where we received input on their priorities for the 2022 session and their feedback on the Legislative Package.
The approved 2022 Legislative Package has the proposals organized into two sections — Legislative Principles and Legislative Priorities.
The section of Legislative Principles is structured around the City’s Strategic Plan and creates a clear nexus between the City’s goals and the legislative and funding measures necessary for us to achieve these goals. The Legislative Principles are, generally, broadly crafted and focus on comprehensive legislative strategies rather than specific legislative tactics.
The Legislative Priorities are, generally, specific revenue and legislative proposals that the City has identified as the issues of greatest impact to the City. These are the issues the City intends to continue expending significant political capital on and the issues that we intend to ask our General Assembly delegation to engage in on behalf of the City.
The 2022 General Assembly Session will be a “long” 60-day session, beginning January 12, 2022, and ending March 12, 2022.
The Council Legislative Subcommittee will meet weekly beginning on January 7, 2022 and continuing until the Friday after the final day for bill introduction. These meetings allow the Legislative Subcommittee to review legislation with the input of City staff subject matter experts and recommend positions on legislation with an impact to the City.
The City’s Assistant City Manager and Legislative Director, Sarah G. Taylor, will represent the City during session, and will report regularly on the status of legislative and budget issues that arise during the 2022 General Assembly Session.
The Honorable Members of Alexandria City Council adopted this 2022 Legislative Package on December 14, 2021.
2022 Virginia General Assembly Legislative Principles
This vision for our City drives and directs the work of City Council and City staff and is the foundation for the efforts that will make this vision of Alexandria a reality in our community. The work of City staff at the General Assembly each legislative session is key to ensuring that City staff and City Council have the legal framework, authority and funding necessary to achieve this vision for our community.
As we work to create and maintain distinct and vibrant neighborhoods throughout Alexandria, the City supports legislation that affords localities the authority necessary to encourage smart, appropriate development in our community, preserve the diverse, mixed-income character of our neighborhoods, and protect the historic fabric of our City.
As we work to be an inclusive city of kindness, the City supports legislation that safeguards and expands the protection of the most basic human rights of all residents of, workers in and visitors to our City and our Commonwealth and opposes legislation that attempts to restrict these same basic rights. The City supports legislation to ensure Alexandria is a livable community for all, with affordable housing, a living wage, and workforce protections available to all Alexandrians. The City supports legislation to ensure immigrants, refugees, and their families can fully participate in the economic, civic, social, and cultural life of our city and our Commonwealth. The City opposes legislation that would require local law enforcement officials to enforce federal immigration laws unless the federal law requires such enforcement.
As we work to provide a well-managed government for our residents, businesses and visitors, the City supports legislation and appropriations that fund or remove unfunded mandates from our local government, provide additional revenue or revenue authority in order to support core municipal operations and services, and support the City’s facility needs and plans. The City supports the preservation of existing state aid to localities, requests the full funding of all state funding commitments to localities, and opposes efforts to shift the costs of shared services to localities. The City supports legislation that affords localities flexibility and additional authority in the areas of hiring and procurement, so localities can provide services efficiently and in a fiscally responsible manner while also encouraging hiring local workers and the involvement of local businesses in municipal projects and services. The City supports legislation that enhances the ability of localities to take full advantage of renewable energy sources and remove barriers to the deployment of these renewable energy sources. The City supports efforts to make membership on public bodies more accessible to residents by expanding allowances for electronic participation in meetings of public bodies.
As we work to create a safe and resilient city for every resident, worker and visitor in the City of Alexandria, the City supports legislation that helps our well-trained staff protect the most vulnerable members of our community, including children, older adults, survivors of domestic and sexual violence, individuals in behavioral health crisis, and those of differing abilities. The City supports legislation that reforms our criminal justice system so it operates fairly and equitably for all members of our community. The City supports legislation to enhance positive police/community relations. The City supports legislation and funding to enhance pre-trial services in communities as part of our responsibility to those being served, and protected, by our criminal justice system. The City supports common sense gun safety legislation. The City supports efforts to ensure that prisons and detention facilities are operated as part of the pursuit of justice rather than the pursuit of profit. The City supports legislation that would strengthen efforts to reduce unsafe cut-through traffic on local streets.
As we work to achieve a community with flourishing arts, culture and recreation opportunities, the City supports legislation that would provide state funding for the preservation and interpretation of historic sites, with an ongoing focus on the preservation, maintenance, interpretation and operation of historic sites related to the history of slavery and civil rights in our community and throughout the Commonwealth.
As we work to create a strong economy in our community that benefits every resident, business and worker in our city, the City supports efforts to encourage and incentivize family-friendly workplace policies in businesses throughout the Commonwealth, including the need for paid family leave for all workers. The City supports legislation to enact a state prevailing wage and protect workers from wage theft. The City supports legislation to modernize Virginia’s alcoholic beverage laws in order to ensure our small, local businesses can be competitive in the region, including making temporary provisions permanent. The City supports efforts to increase efficiency and minimize the impact of the distribution and delivery of alcoholic beverages on our neighborhoods. The City supports efforts to minimize the health, safety, environmental, and social impacts of products and packaging, as an opportunity for both job creation and environmental stewardship. The City supports legislation that assists in the deployment of universal, affordable access to broadband technology and efforts to ensure a fair and open Internet.
As we work to ensure children and youth in our community are thriving, the City supports legislation and budget priorities that fully fund K-12 education and acknowledge the true cost of K-12 education in education funding. The City supports efforts to ensure that our schools are safe and in good condition, free of environmental health and other hazards. The City supports legislation and budget priorities that invest in Pre-K programs, reduce the local match for the Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI), and encourage flexibility and creativity in the delivery of VPI programs in our community. The City supports efforts to provide comprehensive crisis mental health care specifically for youth/adolescents. The City supports efforts to increase accessibility and affordability of high-quality early childhood education and childcare. The City supports legislation to protect vulnerable youth in our community, especially those youth who cross-over between our human services and juvenile justice systems.
As we work to create an environmentally sustainable city, Commonwealth, nation and world, the City supports and funding to plan for and mitigate urban and inland flooding that is often the result of climate-triggered historic rain events. The City supports legislation that assists in our efforts to expand our tree canopy and attain clean air and clean waterways. The City supports legislation to increase recycling in the Commonwealth, including container deposit laws to reduce beverage container litter. The City supports efforts at the General Assembly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Commonwealth 50% by 2030, including efforts to decarbonize the statewide electricity supply, give communities choice over their electricity supply, and other policy strategies included in the City’s Environmental Action Plan 2040.
As we work to sustain and enhance the health of our residents, the City supports legislation and funding that reduces inequities in our health system, increases access to healthcare for all residents, and provides a system of support for residents with behavioral health needs. The City supports legislation that promotes mental and physical well-being for every resident in our community. The City supports efforts to separate access to behavioral health services, care, and support from the criminal justice system. The City supports efforts to ensure Medicaid recipients have access to dental care by increasing reimbursement rates for dental services. The City supports efforts in the General Assembly to identify and maintain adequate resources to respond to the emergent needs of residents experiencing a mental health emergency, including increasing the number of psychiatric beds available in the Commonwealth.
As we work to support a wide variety of safe, connected, multimodal transportation options in our city that enable access to daily activities in our community and our region, the City supports legislation and budget priorities that ensure Alexandria has safe, reliable and frequent mobility choices regardless of resources or ability. The City supports efforts in the General Assembly that protect vulnerable road users, including bicyclists and pedestrians, and help us achieve our Vision Zero goal to eliminate all traffic deaths and serious injuries in our community by 2028. The City supports legislation that protects vulnerable road users, including bicyclists and pedestrians, and specifically supports legislation to reform Virginia's negilgence laws to more fairly compensate those injured in accidnets, especially vulunerable road users.
As we work to act deliberately, thoughtfully and thoroughly to end racial injustices and structural inequities in our community and across the Commonwealth, the City of Alexandria, the City supports efforts to ensure that race and social equity is incorporated and centered in all planning , including assessing the potential impacts of policy, budget and regulatory outcomes on racial and ethnic subgroups compared to their share of the population. The City supports efforts to align and implement policy efforts designed to advance race and social equity goals, including: investment in stronger, safer communities through quality affordable housing, living wage employment, public transportation, education and healthcare that includes voluntary, harm reduction and patient-driven, community-based mental health and substance abuse treatment; investment in community-based transformative violence prevention and intervention strategies, that offer support for criminalized populations; and legislation to ensure access to services, care and support is separate and distinct from the criminal justice system. The City supports legislation that establishes and sustains structures and systems to advance race and social equity in our community and across the Commonwealth. The City supports accountability mechanisms on the State level related to the progression and transparency of work to advance race and social equity.
2022 Virginia General Assembly Legislative Priorities
The City of Alexandria considers the following proposals to be key initiatives for the City during the 2022 General Assembly legislative session: