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.
2024 Legislative Package
On December 16, 2023, City Council adopted the 2024 Legislative Package.
The 2024 Legislative Package is organized into two areas - Legislative Principles and Legislative Priorities. The Legislative Principles are generally broadly crafted and focus on comprehensive legislative strategies rather than specific legislative tactics. The Legislative Priorities are intended to be specific revenue and legislative proposals that have been identified by City Council as the issues of greatest impact to the City. The City plans to expend significant political capital on these issues and will ask our General Assembly delegation to engage in on behalf of the City.
2024 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES
Recognize and Strengthen State Partnership with Localities
- The City supports legislation to extend the mandated July 1, 2025 deadline for the completion of the Alexandria CSO project by one year and supports additional State investment in this generational infrastructure project.
- The City supports policies and investment that ensure the WMATA system is safe, reliable, and financially sound and that addressing the WMATA funding gap is done without increasing the funding obligation of Northern Virginia localities.
- The City supports statewide programs and funding to address the need for additional affordable housing in our community and to preserve currently affordable housing stock, including an increase in funding for the Virginia Housing Trust Fund (VHTF), one of the Commonwealth's most important tools to assist local and regional efforts in crafting housing affordability solutions.
- The City supports efforts to increase funding for the state’s childcare subsidy program and enact changes to increase participation of child-care providers in the program, including reducing the administrative burden, and increasing reimbursement rates to account for administrative costs and the actual cost of tuition in a locality.
- The City supports a comprehensive study and actionable policy and funding recommendations on the adequate funding of “shared employees” that better reflects the true cost of compensation for employees supported – either statutorily or practically – through a combination of State and local funds, including employees in our Health Department, Court Services Unit, Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Department, and public schools.
- The City requests State matching funds to complete restoration of Alexandria’s historic Douglass Cemetery.
Preserve and Expand Local Authority and Funding for Localities
- The City supports additional local tools and authority to protect and expand the stock of affordable housing in the region and across the Commonwealth and supports legislation and budget items that facilitate a housing economy in Alexandria, and across Virginia, that helps provide the necessary range of price points, safe and sustainable housing options, and the associated services to meet the needs of a thriving city, and a thriving Commonwealth.
- The City supports legislation to provide localities with the authority to regulate the use of gas-powered leaf blowers and to create incentive programs to encourage the adoption of energy efficient technologies, machinery, and appliances.
- The City supports legislation to allow localities that supplement their Alcohol Safety Action Programs (ASAP) to charge a local administrative fee to offset shortfalls in their ASAP budgets.
- The City supports legislation to expand local authority to utilize automated traffic enforcement solutions in targeted, data-driven locations.
- The City supports legislation to provide localities with the authority to enforce the provisions of the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act related to health and safety of tenants, to establish a vacant building registry, and authority related to rent stabilization.
- The City supports legislation to allow localities to establish more stringent “high performance” or “stretch” building codes to encourage energy efficiency in our built environment.
- The City supports efforts to protect existing multimodal transportation funding and to ensure that transportation projects in Northern Virginia continue to receive appropriate funding after decades of underfunding by the state;
- The City supports efforts to modernize the local tax structure. Short of comprehensive tax reform, the City is supportive of opportunities for additional local revenue authority to increase funding for critical local needs, including transit, transportation, school construction and renovation, and other significant capital needs.
- The City supports additional, innovative school construction funding options for new school construction and the renovation of older school facilities, including flexibility in bonding capacity, additional local revenue authority, and public-private partnership authority for localities.
- The City supports legislation to provide flexibility to localities regarding the ways in which precinct boundaries can be drawn to protect neighborhoods and communities of interest.
- The City supports legislation to provide permissive authority to local Human Rights Commissions to enhance their ability to enforce local human rights ordinances.
Protect and Support Vulnerable and Underserved Populations
- The City supports efforts to address learning loss and chronic absenteeism among Virginia students, especially among disengaged youth and students with higher level, more specialized needs, including special education students, English language learners, and students living in economically disadvantaged households.
- The City supports legislation and budget items that prevent evictions and protect individuals and families who are precariously housed and facing housing challenges, including legislation to: reinstate the 14-day pay or quit notice; require full fee disclosure and transparency and require any fee increases to coincide with the term of a lease; require that critical lease information be made available in languages other than English; and establish a minimum amount owed for an eviction filing.
- The City supports establishing a refundable Child Tax Credit and strengthening and expanding access to Virginia’s newly refundable Earned Income Tax Credit.
- The City supports studies and legislative efforts to ensure the best possible outcomes for children and families involved in the child welfare system, including impacting reunification rates, speeding up permanency, reducing disproportionality, reducing entries, and providing parents access to adequate, effective legal representation and support during child welfare proceedings.
- The City supports a Constitutional amendment to automatically restore the voting rights of people convicted of felonies when they return to society.
Enhance Public Engagement, Health, and Safety
- The City supports increased State funding for gun violence intervention programs, including the Virginia Firearm Violence Intervention and Prevention Fund and the Operation Ceasefire Grant Program.
- The City supports legislation to authorize localities to seize illegally operated ATVs and off-road vehicles.
- The City supports legislation that makes it easier for law enforcement agencies to recruit, hire, and retain officers, including recruiting and hiring non-citizens who have been in the country for five years and are on the path to citizenship.
- The City supports legislation to increase opportunities for electronic participation by members of public bodies and members of the public accessing meetings of public bodies.
- The City supports efforts to reform our campaign finance system, including efforts to enhance disclosure, restrict personal use of campaign funds, and enforce regular auditing.
- The City supports legislation to enhance building safety in the Commonwealth, particularly in high-rise buildings, including: establishing new reporting requirements and transparency regarding current structural findings by homeowners and condominium associations; granting local building code officials additional authority to proactively inspect buildings and structures in their communities for structural deficiencies; establishing a building inspection/recertification process; and requiring homeowners performing work on a condominium unit that requires a local permit to list a licensed contractor on the permit application.
Improve Resilience, Promote Energy Efficiency, and Encourage Clean Energy Investment
- The City supports efforts to protect and expand the provisions of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, with a focus on legislative strategies that provide a sustainable and reliable power grid while achieving lower emission levels associated with renewable energy sources in the Commonwealth.
- The City supports efforts to ensure that current funding sources for flood resilience and energy efficiency projects are, at minimum, maintained and any funding that is removed is replaced, dollar for dollar, by a dedicated funding source.
- The City supports State investment in clean energy and energy efficiency, including funding for a State E-Bike rebate program and funding for the existing state electric vehicle rebate program to complement the federal rebate program.
- The City supports legislation to establish innovative energy efficiency incentive and finance programs for residential dwellings, including condominiums.
- The City supports efforts to make shared solar programs more accessible to those who cannot access rooftop solar, including increasing program limits and the removal of high administrative fees imposed by utilities on shared solar customers.
- The City supports a budget amendment to fund viable Virginia “Buildings UP” projects not funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, which will convert buildings into more energy-efficient and clean energy-ready homes and commercial spaces.