Legislative Record

Senator Bill Stanley’s Legislative Record 2011 – 2015

The following is a listing of some of the important legislation that Sen. Stanley has authored, since being elected in 2011, that has become Virginia law:

SB 1379: The Governor’s Economic Development Opportunity Fund: Senator Stanley sponsored legislation that modified the criteria for which the Governor could award grants to businesses establishing operations in Virginia. Specifically, Stanley’s bill lowered the minimum criteria required for grants for areas in the state (such as Southside and Southwest) where there is a high poverty rate or an unemployment rate that is higher than the state average, that would allow smaller companies to participate if they established operations in these regions. Became law July 1, 2011.

SB1382: Assessment of Unfunded State Agency mandates on local governments: This bill drafted by Senator Stanley required that the state government re-assess all unfunded mandates (orders of action that require the localities to spend local funds without state financial support) with a detailed cost/benefit analysis and utilization of performance based metrics to determine the value of the mandate in relation to the required or intended result. If the mandate does not produce the intended result and is not cost efficient, then it shall be eliminated. Became law July 1, 2011.

SB1472: Modification of State Corporation Commission Rulings on Utility Rate Cases and requests for rate increases: This bill requires the State Corporation Commission to enter its final order in biennial rate review proceedings not more than nine months after the date of filing.  Previously, such an order is required to be entered not more than nine months after the end of the investor-owned electric utility’s test period under review. Under the old system, electric utility customers would pay a higher electric bill during the wait period; the new measure limited that time and saved the consumer significant money on their electric bill during this period. The measure had an emergency clause, so it became law when the Governor signed it on March 22, 2011.


SB128: Creation of Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID): Senator Stanley was the Chief patron of this bill which created the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund. The bill establishes an innovative economic development grant program targeted specifically at agricultural and forestry operations. Grants will be awarded to support localities’ efforts to attract value-added or processing facilities using Virginia-grown products. Under the program, localities will apply for grants after having established a relationship with a new or expanding business. Became law on July 1, 2012.

SB131: School Choice for low income families: Senator Stanley authored and carried the historic bill that allows children of low-income families to receive scholarships to attend private schools of their choice if public schools are not serving their education needs. Before this legislation, families living at or below the poverty level in Virginia did not have the option to send their children to private educational institutions because they could not afford the tuition. This bill establishes a credit beginning in taxable year 2013 for corporations and individuals who donate cash to nonprofit organizations providing education improvement scholarships to students who would have been eligible for the free and reduced-price lunch program under federal law, in order for them to attend nonpublic elementary or secondary schools. Became law on July 1, 2012.

SB417: Streamlining of Grievance Procedure for State Employees who are terminated for cause or unsatisfactory job performance: This bill eliminated certain overly burdensome steps in the grievance procedure by mandating that grievances following terminations due to formal discipline or unsatisfactory job performance proceed directly to a hearing. The bill also (i) allows only the implementation of the official hearing decision of the hearing officer by either party, and not any recommendations of the hearing officer, (ii) reduces from 60 to 30 days the administrative review by the Director of the Department of Human Resources after termination and filing of grievance in order to streamline the process for state employees. Became law on July 1, 2012.

SB418: Streamlining the approval process for the construction of electric transmission lines for Industrial Parks: Prior to this legislation sponsored by Senator Stanley, all of the industrial parks in Southside and Southwest Virginia were losing prospective businesses clients who were considering locating their business operations in the region, due to the fact that the approval process for having electric power lines and bringing commercial electricity to these sites would take up to 18 months for approval by the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC). This bill eliminates the requirement that an electric transmission line of 138 kV obtain State Corporation Commission approval, based on findings that the line is needed and that its corridor or route will reasonably minimize adverse impact on the scenic assets, historic districts, and environment of the area concerned, if a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the line is not required. The measure provides that such a certificate is not required for such a line if the public utility has obtained approval pursuant to requirements regarding local planning commission approval of the comprehensive plan and applicable local zoning ordinances by the locality or localities in which the transmission line will be located. This bill reduces the wait time from 18 months to less than 6 months with the approval of the local government authority. Became law on July 1, 2012.

SB652: Requiring Electric Cooperatives and Cable Companies to negotiate in good faith for cable line pole attachments: In Rural areas, most of the electricity brought to our farms and residents has been through those residents banding together and forming their own electric cooperative companies, where the farmers are the owners. Too often, the large cable companies use the power poles of those co-ops to run their cable lines to more dense cable customer areas, leaving the co-ops with the expense, and not bringing cable and high-speed internet to our rural areas. In this bill sponsored by Senator Stanley, it requires cable television systems and cooperatives to negotiate in good faith to resolve certain issues, including the rates, terms, and conditions of contracts permitting attachments by a cable television system to a cooperative’s poles. If an issue cannot be resolved, either party may petition the State Corporation Commission to resolve the issue. In adjudicating the issue, the Commission shall ensure that the cooperative is compensated by the cable television system for certain costs. Became law on July 1, 2012.

SB674: Expanding wrongful death civil statute for mothers who suffer loss of unborn child due to the negligence of third parties to maintain separate action in state court for loss of their unborn child: In this historic piece of legislation drafted by Senator Stanley, this law expands the wrongful death civil statute, for the purpose of maintaining a cause of action separate from any civil claim of the mother to include that the death of a “person” to include a fetus, regardless of viability. This legislation passed with wide bi-partisan report, and became law on July 1, 2012.

SB750: Requiring nursing homes and assisted living facilities to carry liability insurance coverage: Prior to the passage of this critical piece of legislation, it was a little known fact that nursing homes and assisted living facilities did not have to carry liability insurance coverage to protect their residents in case they were hurt due to the negligence of third persons while at the facility. This legislation authored and carried by Senator Stanley provides that regulations of the Board of Health and the Board of Social Services shall require nursing homes, certified nursing facilities, and assisted living facilities to maintain liability insurance coverage in a minimum amount of $1 million and professional liability coverage in an amount at least equal to the recovery limit set forth in 8.01-581.15, to compensate patients or individuals for injuries and losses resulting from the negligent or criminal acts of the facility. The bill also provides that failure to maintain such minimum insurance shall result in revocation of the facility’s license. Became law July 1, 2013.

SB846: Community colleges expanding dual enrollment policies for high school students for career and technical trades courses: This important legislation written by Sen. Stanley expands education for our high school students in the professional trades, by requiring the State Board for Community Colleges to develop policies directing community colleges to offer any open seat in any career or technical course that is not at full capacity to students enrolled in public high schools (free of charge to the student) that are located in the region served by the community college. Became law on July 1, 2013.

SB1008: Voter Registration of voters by third parties: This legislation reforms voter registration of citizens by third parties to ensure that the prospective voter is protected. It requires individuals and groups conducting voter registration drives to register with the State Board of Elections or local offices, provide information as required by the State Board, receive training, and execute a sworn affidavit that they will abide by all Virginia voter registration laws and rules. The bill also prohibits pre-populating registration applications with information unless directed by the applicant to do so. Finally, the bill reduces the time limit for mailing or delivering such completed applications from 15 to 10 days. Became law on July 1, 2013.

SB1009: Reforming the Neighborhood Assistance Act to protect the needy who receive benefits: This legislation reforms Neighborhood Assistance Act tax credits to ensure that donations to eligible organizations that serve the poor benefit those in need. This legislation makes several changes to the requirements that a neighborhood organization must meet in order for a proposal to be approved under the Neighborhood Assistance Act tax credit program. In order to be approved for an allocation of credits from the Department of Education, an organization must have been in existence for at least one year, and at least 50 percent of its revenues must be used to provide services to low-income persons or eligible persons with disabilities. In order to be approved for an allocation of credits from either the Department of Education or the State Board of Social Services, a neighborhood organization and any of its affiliates must meet the requirements set forth in the applicable guidelines or regulations. The bill also clarifies the requirements for a neighborhood organization to submit an annual audit, review, or compilation. Became law July 1, 2013.

SB1010: Protecting Virginia citizens from identity theft: Reorganizes existing identify theft law and revises penalties. Under existing law, many penalties are based on the amount of financial loss or the number of persons whose identifying information was misused. The bill eliminates those criteria, and strengthens the penalties for those who commit criminal acts involving identity theft against persons, including senior citizens in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Became law on July 1, 2013.

SB1207: Creating a system of grading individual public school performance: Prior to this legislation sponsored by Sen. Stanley, parents were unaware of how their children’s public school rated in certain achievements in delivering the best education possible to their students. This bill requires the Board of Education to develop, by August 1, 2013, a grading system in addition to the standards of accreditation for individual school performance. The grading system will be based on an A to F grading scale and will include the school’s accreditation rating. The Board will make the system and the assigned grades available to the public. This grading system will not only inform parents of the performance levels of the schools in their area, but also will allow underperforming schools to be identified more easily so improvements can be made to make sure all students are provided with a high quality education. This bill became law on July 1, 2013.

SB1208: Protecting victims of crime: Sen. Stanley sponsored this bill to require the Department of Corrections shall provide notice, by electronic means and otherwise, to local law enforcement and victims of crime of the potential release of prisoners into the public after serving of their sentence. This bill became law on July 1, 2013.

SB1227: Tax credits for donations to nonprofits providing assistance to low-income families. This bill sponsored by Sen. Stanley makes several changes to the Neighborhood Assistance Act Tax Credit and Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits program including (i) allowing tax credits for donations of marketable securities under the Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits program, (ii) changing reporting requirements to the Department of Education, changing the time frame for scholarship foundations to disburse moneys for scholarships, and changing the penalties for failing to make such reports and disbursements under the Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits program, (iii) for both programs, establishing $125,000 as the maximum annual amount of donations by an individual for which tax credits may be issued, and (iv) for both programs, extending the expiration date through the 2027 taxable year. This bill became law on July 1, 2013.


SB31: Methamphetamine cleanup certification. This bill authored by Sen. Stanley requires the Board of Health, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Quality and other entities, to establish a program certifying that a building that was previously a methamphetamine manufacturing site is safe for human occupancy and requires a person convicted of manufacturing methamphetamine to pay the cost of the certification. Current law requires the convicted person to pay cleanup costs. Became law July 1, 2014.

SB110: Work Share, Unemployment compensation; short-time compensation program. This critical legislation was a three-year bi-partisan effort by Sen. Stanley and Sen. George Barker that establishes a short-time compensation program that provides employers with the option of reducing the hours worked by employees, while permitting the employees whose hours are reduced to receive partial compensation for lost wages, rather than laying off the employee which would render them subject to unemployment benefits. Keeping employees on the job allow them to keep their skills sharp while maintaining their health and retirement benefits that they otherwise would have lost if they were laid off. Program participation requires Virginia Employment Commission approval of a plan, which must provide that the reduction in hours of work is in lieu of a layoff of an equivalent percentage of employees and that employees’ health and retirement benefits cannot be reduced or eliminated under the plan. The measure requires the Commission to submit reports on the program’s implementation and accomplishments, with recommendations to improve its effectiveness. The measure becomes effective January 1, 2015

SB266: Unemployment benefits; financial literacy course. One of the main ways of breaking the cycle of poverty is through achieving financial literacy. In the ever changing world of modern finance, too often those who are unemployed or who live at or below the poverty level lack financial literacy skills. While Virginia teaches these skills to students in the public school systems, no such educational opportunity is offered to those who are unemployed or receive government benefits. This bill authored by Sen. Stanley creates a partnership between the Virginia Employment Commission and Virginia’s community college system to develop a financial literacy course that is made available (free of charge) to those unemployed Virginians who are receiving benefits. Became law on July 1, 2014.

SJ23: Study; construction of I-73; report. The construction of Interstate I-73 is crucial to the future economic success of Southside and Southside Virginia. This bill authored by Sen. Stanley creates a Senate subcommittee to conduct a two-year study to develop a plan and promote the construction of I-73 in Virginia, consulting with the states of North Carolina and South Carolina to work together to ensure that this vital roadway is built within our lifetime. Became law on July 1, 2014.


SB 717: Medical school scholarships. Expands eligibility for the medical school scholarship program administered by the Board of Health for medical students who agree to practice in rural and in underserved areas of the Commonwealth to include students of any accredited medical school. Under current law, only students who attend medical schools in Virginia are eligible for the scholarship program. Became law July 1, 2015.

SB 732: Right to Try: Expanded access to investigational drugs, biological products, and devices. Provides that a manufacturer of an investigational drug, biological product, or device may make such drug, product, or device available to a person who has a terminal illness, prior to its approval by the Federal Food and Drug Administration. Became law July 1, 2015.

SB 809: Commonwealth certification of local industrial parks. This legislation develops a program through the Virginia Economic Development Partnership where local industrial parks may become certified by the Commonwealth, including factors such as planning, zoning, engineering, title ownership, and general development readiness, for industry-specific uses, for marketing to companies as being “shovel-ready” to build and produce and distribute their products more quickly specific to the requirements of their business. The bill will enable localities to be more aggressive in the marketing of their industrial parks to particular industries in their quest for economic development and local job creation. Became law July 1, 2015.

SB 845: Immunity for volunteer first responders in route to an emergency. Provides that no volunteer firefighter or volunteer emergency services personnel shall be liable for any injury to persons or property arising out of the operation of a motor vehicle when such volunteer is in route to render emergency care or assistance to any ill or injured person at the scene of an accident, fire, or life-threatening emergency, unless such injury results from gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct. Became law July 1, 2015.

SB 846: Financial Literacy Course. Financial illiteracy is one of the main perpetuators of the cycle of poverty. Last year, Sen. Stanley sponsored and passed a bill that created an educational program sponsored and created by Virginia’s community college system that would teach financial literacy to those who received unemployment benefits; this bill will now make this program available to all Virginians who receive public assistance in order to assist them in providing them with a free education in financial literacy that will help them learn how to manage their money, save for the future, and break the cycle of poverty. Became law July 1, 2015.

SB 847: Interstate 73 Transportation Compact. This bill creates the Interstate Transportation Compact to develop and plan interstate transportation projects, advocate for federal and other funding resources for such projects, and facilitate plans and programs for such projects between the signatory states. The bill establishes the Interstate Transportation Compact Commission, which shall include a five-member delegation from Virginia, meet at least twice annually, and annually report on its activities to the Governor and the legislature of each signatory state. Such compact shall not become effective until enacted by at least one other signatory state. Became law July 1, 2015.

SB 848: Commonwealth’s Twenty Marksmanship Award. Establishes the “Commonwealth’s Twenty” marksmanship award to recognize the top 20 competitors in each of the rifle and pistol Excellence-in-Competition matches conducted at the annual Virginia State Championships conducted by the Virginia Shooting Sports Association. Became law July, 1, 2015.

SB 1001: Sale and procurement of certain pets. This bill closes the “puppy mill” loophole and prohibits the sale or display of a dog or cat on or in a roadside, parking lot, flea market, or similar place and limits the sources of pet shop dogs to humane societies, public animal shelters, and breeders who meet certain qualifications. The bill also establishes a record-keeping requirement for pet shops selling dogs and applies the existing misdemeanor penalty for a violation of the section to each dog sold or offered for sale. Localities are empowered to adopt ordinances more stringent than the provisions of the bill. Became law on July 1, 2015.

SB 1381: Definition of private animal shelter. Clarifies that the purpose of a private animal shelter is to find permanent adoptive homes and facilitate other lifesaving outcomes for animals. Prevents shelters like PETA that are primary kill shelters from operating as a “private animal shelter” under Virginia law. Became law on July 1, 2015.