In Virginia’s 2019 elections, Democrats successfully took control of the General Assembly (House of Delegates and State Senate) for first time in over two decades. With Ralph Northam (D) elected governor in 2017, Democrats gained a political trifecta over the governance of the commonwealth when the General Assembly was sworn into office in early January 2020. With newfound power, the Democratic majorities took up a number of initiatives, including the passage of legislation that would eliminate Virginia’s Fair and Open Competition statute, which currently restricts government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs). If signed by Gov. Northam, state and local governments will be allowed to mandate PLAs on public works construction projects.
In partnership with the AGC of Virginia and other construction partners, the Fund helped finance digital advocacy ads urging the governor to veto this legislation. It believed such activity met the “national significance” prerequisite for CAF funding requests from AGC chapters as this is the first time a state is statutorily allowing its localities the power to mandate PLAs on construction projects. The Fund worried that other states may take notice and take up similar legislation, if not stopped in Virginia.
Update (April 22, 2020): Unfortunately, Gov. Northam did not veto this legislation. Instead, he sent the legislation back to the legislature and proposed moving the start date from January 2021 to May 2021.