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|2014 General Assembly|
Commonwealth of Virginia General Assembly 2014
How you can help: See the comments in bold for how you can add your voice to ours and others for the industry. Please communicate with your senators and delegates and with the new Administration on the importance of these legislative priorities.
Update August 15
Governor Terry McAuliffe reported to the legislative money committees on the status of general fund revenues, Virginia’s economy for FY2014 (which ended this past June 30) and an “Interim Economic Outlook and Revenue Forecast” for the next two fiscal years.
The Governor painted a bleak picture for the foreseeable future for revenues projected to flow into the state coffers. Operating in this economic environment is a painful reminder that there will be very few initiatives requiring general fund revenues that will be well received by the Governor or General Assembly coming into the 2015 regular session that begins January 14.
We will continue to monitor the budget status and communicate updates as they become available. Governor McAuliffe’s full presentation can be found here.
Virginia Bio retains Hunton & Williams to assist with navigating the legislative and administrative developments in state government in order to help Virginia Bio explain, promote and support commercialization of biosciences in the Commonwealth. Today, we received this update from our colleagues at Hunton & Williams, occasioned by the news you may have seen in Monday morning's paper:
Virginia Bio is working to bring to the attention of the legislators who are most involved in budget negotiations and the Administration the importance of the following two items to the bioscience community.
Funding for VBHRC, the Virginia Biosciences Health Research Corporation, was zeroed out in the first year and maintained fully the second year in both bills.
VBHRC (the "Catalyst”) is a state created non-profit corporation that awards grants to collaborations of two or more of the Commonwealth’s major public research universities and private industry which are aimed at near term, commercialization of translational research with the potential to have a major impact in the biosciences health field. VBHRC has caused countless new contacts and incentivized collaboration across the state, and soon the first round of grants will be announced. Its original two year funding is expiring, and The Budget Bill introduced by the Governor specifically included same level funding another two years. It is important to give this innovative and bold program time and resources to show the impact it can have on our industry and on Virginia’s economy.
Please communicate with your legislators the importance of continued same level funding for the VBHRC. This program is poised to make a significant difference in the commercialization of breakthrough bioscience technologies in the Commonwealth, and the way our industry and universities collaborate with one another. Tell them it is a priority to maintain same level continued funding, found at the Governor’s Introduced Budget Item 101(J).
The House budget bill cut funding for the CRCF - the Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund administered by CIT. The cut is significant, from $4.8 million per year down to $3.0 million per year. CRCF funding is directed to Virginia companies, universities and research institutions for the commercialization of high potential research. Historically more than 60% of all CRCF funds awarded have gone to the life sciences. It is an important resource for translating research technologies and emerging companies.
Please communicate to your legislators the importance of maintaining same level funding for the CRCF.
The conferees for HB/SB 30 (the biennial budget), who are most important to contact, are:
House: Jones, Cox, Landes, O’Bannon, Greason and Joannou
Senate: Colgan, Hanger, Norment, J. Howell, Saslaw and Watkins
R&D Qualified Expenses Tax Credit
The legislation amending the Virginia Qualified Research and Development Expense Tax Credit was approved by the Governor on March 7, and is effective for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2014. The text of the law as revised is at: http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?141+ful+CHAP0227 . The legislation increases the total authorization to fund the program, increases the amount of credit potentially available to any single taxpayer, and provides an easier alternative for pass through entities to benefit from the tax credit, among other things. Virginia Bio was one of the authors and sponsors of this legislation.
Please communicate to Senator McDougle and Delegate Comstock our appreciation for their sponsorship of this important legislation.
Anti Patent Troll legislation. The identical compromise bills SB 150 and HB 375 passed the chambers with near unanimity after crossover, are awaiting approval by the Governor. The legislation prohibits any person from making in bad faith an assertion of patent infringement. The Attorney General or an attorney for the Commonwealth is empowered to accept assurances of voluntary compliance and seek injunctive relief. The Attorney General is authorized to issue civil investigative demands. The measure does not create a private cause of action. The measure makes allowance for university and tech transfer office, and it does not apply to a demand letter or assertion of patent infringement that includes a claim for relief arising under 35 U.S.C. § 271(e)(2) or 42 U.S.C. § 262.
Please take a moment and thank Senator Richard Stuart for his leadership in bringing together various perspectives to reach a balanced compromise, and Attorney General Mark Herring whose office facilitated the negotiations and the redrafting.
Please call our office at (804) 643-6360, or email with any questions. Watch for further updates on our website.