Legislative Update from Lannie Ballard

The Virginia General Assembly has been in session for a couple of weeks.  This session is a short session (45 days).  I’m going to try to bring you up to date with some issues going on in Richmond.  As most of you know Governor McDonald removed the funding for the grant in his proposed 2013 budget.  Governor McDonald had approved the funding in the last session for 2013-2014.  The grant had some bad editorial press in the Richmond area when the Governor approved the funding.  But I’m not sure who if anyone got to the Governor on this funding.  A few days before the legislature went into session the Governor’s budget became public.  I was informed that the Governor had removed the grant funding in his proposed 2013 budget.  I immediately contacted Senator Deeds and Delegate Ed Scott about the funding.  They both assured me that they would introduce a budget amendment to reinstate the funds and both of them have done so.  Also Senator Hanger has signed on as a co-sponsor.  We will not know where we stand until the final budget is proposed which will be about the last item to go back to the Governor.

Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter from Woodbridge, VA introduced HB1839 (by request).  If I understand this bill and it becomes law no beekeeper in the state of Virginia who is not state inspected will be able to sell honey except to the end user.  This would wipe out everything we got passed two years ago.  I called Delegate Lingamfelter to find out more about the bill and who made the request.  Delegate Lingamfelter’s Legislative Assistant and I played phone tag for days.  I finally sent him background information on past legislation and the problem with honey bees in Virginia. With this and the help of others in Richmond the legislation was tabled in committee this past Monday (28th) by a voice vote.  We will need to monitor this just in case it raises its head again. See this link to the committee report. http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=131&typ=bil&val=HB1839&submit=GO

Delegate Robert D. Orrock, Sr, from Thornburg, VA, introduced HB1852. This legislation deals with labeling.  At this point it should not affect beekeepers who are in the “not inspected” program.  But all food products (honey, tomatoes, etc.) from an inspected facility will have to be labeled that it was state inspected.  On Monday (28th) this legislation was passed in committee with amendment.  See this link to the legislation.  http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?131+ful+HB1852

Lannie Ballard
VSBA Legislative Chairperson