The General Assembly session ended last week with a few new bills passed by both the House and the Senate that likely will become effective July 1, 2014.

EMINENT DOMAIN

PASSED SB 194 Eminent domain; date of valuation; inverse condemnation proceeding.  Amends Code § 8.01-187 to provide that the "date of valuation" of property for taking purpose shall be the date determined by the court as the date on which the property was taken or damaged.

LAND DEVELOPMENT AND ZONING

PASSED HB 209 Preliminary subdivision plats.  Amends Code § 15.2-2260 to allow localities to require the submission of preliminary subdivision plats only for plats involving 50 or more lots.

PASSED HB 1084 / SB 578 Damages for unconstitutional grant or denial by locality of certain permits and approvals.  Adds a new Code § 15.2-2208.1 providing that an applicant aggrieved by the grant or denied of  special exception, special use permit, conditional use permit, rezoning, site plan, plan of development, subdivision plan, construction plan submittal, waiver, or building or occupancy permit for reasons that are a violation of the United States or Virginia Constitutions shall be entitled to an award of compensatory damages, reasonable attorney fees, and court costs and an order remanding the matter to the locality with a direction to grant or issue such permits or approvals without such conditions.

PROFESSIONAL REGULATION

PASSED HB 1045  Board for Contractors; suspension and monetary penalty for certain violations.  Creates a new law (Code § 54.1-1106.2) that requires the Board for Contractors to impose an additional monetary penalty up to $10,000 when a contractor violates a statute or regulation involving fraudulent, improper or dishonest conduct which  occurs while engaged in work undertaken as a result of a declared state of emergency (such as hurricane, tornado, storm, flood, high water, wind-driven water, tidal wave, earthquake, etc.).

PUBLIC PROCUREMENT

PASSED HB 948, SB 461 Exception to limits on term contracts for design and inspection work.   Amends Code § 2.2-4302.2 to eliminate the job order contracting limit of $400,000 for environmental, location, design, and inspection work regarding highways and bridges by the Commissioner of Highways, or architectural and engineering services for rail and public transportation projects by the Director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation.

WORKERS COMPENSATION

PASSED HB 458 Penalty for failure to obtain workers' compensation insurance.  Amends Code § 65.2-805 to increase to $50,000 the maximum civil penalty that may be assessed against an employer for failure to obtain workers' compensation insurance or provide evidence of compliance with the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act, plus costs of collecting the penalty.