Winners and losers of the 2018 General Assembly session

RICHMOND — As the 60-day General Assembly session closed Saturday, lawmakers had successfully sifted through more than 3,000 pieces of legislation.

Although lawmakers still have to finish budget negotiations and vote on a final, two-year budget — a task that will require the full legislature to reconvene at a later date — the brunt of the legislative process has been completed.

Lawmakers evaluated a slew of legislative proposals, and many did not survive.

Here’s a look at the legislative winners and losers of the 2018 General Assembly session:

Winners: Business incentives

A proposal to spur economic growth in Virginia’s coalfields region passed the General Assembly.

Legislation proposed by Del. Will Morefield, R-Tazewell, offers incentives to companies that locate in “economically distressed” regions such as Virginia’s coalfields, Southside and Eastern Shore.

One of the more unusual parts of his proposal — a tax break for the company’s employees — did not survive the legislative gantlet. Instead, the legislation now includes a provision that the Governor’s Opportunity Fund may offer grants to new companies of up to $2,000 for each new job created. But the businesses would be required to pass half of the grant funds on to their employees.

Student privacy

The General Assembly passed two bills that shield students’ personal contact information.

Lawmakers passed proposals by Sen. David Suetterlein, R-Roanoke County and Del. Tony Wilt, R-Rockingham, exempting a student’s address, phone number and email address from public information.

The two bills will change both the state’s Freedom of Information Act and student records policies in response to a progressive political group’s use of FOIA to obtain thousands of student cellphone numbers from college and university campus directories.

Wilt’s bill requires Virginia K-12 schools, colleges and universities to…

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