County Board Adopts 2019 Legislative Package

Published on December 15, 2018

  • Seeking to preserve critical funding streams

  • Calling for ratifying ERA

  • Supporting net metering

The Arlington County Board today approved a 2019 General Assembly Legislative Package focused on preserving critical funding streams for public education, public safety, human services, transportation and other core services.

"As we enter especially difficult Fiscal Year 2020 budget deliberations in Arlington County, we've renewed our legislative package's focus on state funding priorities. Recent state actions, particularly on transit, have further shifted funding burdens to localities like ours, and we ask that the state pay a share of these core services, particularly at a time of state budget surplus. To that end, we celebrate and greatly support Governor Northam's proposed one-time funding for education, and would also strongly support an increase in ongoing funding for schools."

The Board voted  unanimously to adopt the package ahead of the January 9, 2019 start of the General Assembly "short session," scheduled to run through February 23, 2019. During that time, the General Assembly will consider Governor Ralph Northam's proposed amendments to the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 budget, as well as a host of other issues, including net metering and other energy-related items; mental health access; non-partisan redistricting; transit issues; voting access, and long-term care assistance.

Read the staff report and the complete list of legislative priorities.

Comments and suggestions that the Board received from the public, environmental advocates, other civic bodies and Arlington's legislative delegation led to changes the Board made to the legislative package after holding a public hearing in November and meeting with the delegation in December, Cristol said.

"We have had more robust participation from our commissions, our delegation and the public than ever before," she said. "They set a new high-water mark for community involvement in setting our state legislative priorities."

Environmental initiatives

Cristol credited the County's Environment & Energy Conservation Commission and the Sierra Club's input with the Board's decision to support removing barriers to net metering in the Commonwealth. Net metering allows renewable energy system owners to receive credit for the electricity they add to the grid.County seal

Arlington supports removing the one percent cap on the total amount of solar energy that can be net-metered in a utility service territory. It also supports allowing a locality to receive a billing credit at a government property for the excess renewable energy generated at a non-contiguous government-owned property. The County also supports removing barriers to power purchase agreements, including on multi-unit residential properties.

The County also supports providing greater incentives to preserve tree canopies in the context of compliance with the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, and related environmental laws, and encourages the adoption of local option authority to develop incentives or regulations to decrease or regulate the distribution, sale or offer of disposable plastic bags.

Equal Rights Amendment

The County joins the League of Women Voters of Arlington in supporting ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution that was proposed by Congress in 1972.

Firearm Safety  

Arlington supports granting law enforcement the authority to pursue "substantial risk orders" to prohibit individuals deemed by the courts to be at risk of harming themselves or others, with adequate due process safeguards, from purchasing, possessing, or transporting firearms. The County supports conforming state code to current federal law that ensures that an individual who has been convicted of sexual assault or battery against a household member forfeits any firearms in his or her possession.