VIRGINIA'S HOSPITALITY & TRAVEL BLOG
VRLTA Priority Bills Signed into Law
In the time since the end of the 2023 General Assembly Session, several pieces of legislation that will make a big difference for members of the Virginia Restaurant Lodging and Travel Association (VRLTA) have been amended and signed into law by Governor Youngkin:
Association Health Plans – SB1171, which VRLTA worked on alongside Senator Siobhan Dunnavant of Henrico has been signed. Starting July 1, associations like ours will be able to offer members access to an association-wide healthcare benefits plan, much like an employer. VRLTA is working closely now with United Healthcare to plan a comprehensive rollout of our plan as soon as possible, and hope to have more news for members on that topic soon.
ABC Manager Status – HB1730, which VRLTA worked on alongside Delegate Elizabeth Bennett-Parker of Fairfax has an added technical amendment from the Governor, and will take effect July 1 as well. This bill helps reduce the barrier crimes that would bar a citizen returning from being involved with the justice system from achieving ABC Manager status at a Virginia restaurant. This is a big step in providing more and better employment opportunities to folks that are returning from incarceration, which is one of the most important indicators of how likely someone is to re-offend.
Oyster Replenishment Fund/Tax Credit – HB1438 and SB997, which VRLTA worked on alongside Delegate Tim Anderson and Senator Monty Mason of Hampton Roads, establish a fund by which the Commonwealth will be able to compensate folks for the recycling of their empty oyster shells. The credit is available up to $1,500 per year, and could make a big impact both for the bay and for the restauranteurs and hoteliers who delight in serving its produce.
Norfolk Delegates Cheer On Students at VPSI
This year’s Virginia ProStart Invitational took place at Old Dominion University on April 12. Teams of high school students from across the Commonwealth converged on Norfolk to compete in culinary and restaurant management competitions. The annual event, hosted by VRLTA, was also attended by area legislators Delegate Jackie Glass and Delegate Angelia Williams-Graves who both represent the area.
Still Waiting for Draft Pool Regulations from Health Department
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is still working on the forthcoming re-write of Virginia’s statewide pool regulations. VRLTA has connected with VDH to re-iterate how important it is to hotel industry operations for these regulations to contemplate the difference between public pools and hotel pools for the purposes of lifeguard mandates. Once these draft regulations are released, VRLTA will be working closely with members to facilitate public comment from the industry regarding the proposed changes and advocacy for the common-sense course forward on the topic.
VRLTA PAC Fundraising Dinner is a Huge Success
VRLTA staff were grateful to host a coterie of the Commonwealth’s leaders in the hospitality, restaurant, and tourism industries in April at an evening event at L’Auberge Chez Francois, experiencing the famous hospitality of Chef Jacques Haeringer and Carol Huebner in the warm embrace of Great Falls in Northern Virginia. VRLTA PAC was able to raise over 12,000 dollars to help support the legislative champions that we rely on in the halls of the General Assembly to craft good policy and address industry threats. With every seat of the Virginia General Assembly up for grabs this year, and historic turnover in the legislature already guaranteed, VRLTA PAC remains one of our most potent tools to protect our industries from harmful legislative threats in the future.