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Board Meeting Report - Important VA Legislative Information

December 2, 2011

Below is the report from MarkTate of Jackson-West Consulting from our October 24, RAMW Board meeting atColumbia Firehouse in Alexandria, VA which contains important legislativeinformation impacting Virginia businesses:

Virginia Delegate DavidAlbo’s address to RAMW Board:

ABC regulationsincluding ABC advertising laws and Happy hour promotions

Delegate Albo addresseda number of changes in the ABC regulations and state code and the ongoingregulation review being done by the Virginia ABC board. Reviewingthe restrictions on distilled spirits outdoor advertising and the changes thatoccurred last session, Albo noted that Lamar Advertising forced a change in therestrictions on advertising distilled spirits with billboards by filing alawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law. The General Assemblyrapidly changed legislation to allow limited billboard advertising fordistilled spirits but left the remainder of the restrictions on distilledspirits in place. DelegateAlbo stated in the meeting and privately afterwards that it is probably theright time to try and adjust “Happy Hour Advertising Laws” in the next GeneralAssembly session.

Delegate Albosuggested if RAMW has changes it would like to see we should send suggestionsto his office ( A list of theregulations at issue appear here :(scroll down to BOARD: Alcoholic Beverage Control Board) and include suchissues under consideration as “Infusion of Distilled Spirits by Mixed BeverageLicensees”, “Penalty Waiver for First-Time Violations”, and “Alcoholic beverageadvertising on outdoor signs and billboards”.

Please, if you emailcomments to Delegate Albo, or any Northern Virginia Delegate, cc or forwardcopies of your emails to sothat RAMW may keep a record of the comments and issues that are important tomembership.

The new Corkage lawthat RAMW was instrumental in getting passed during the last legislative seasonwas the most significant new law regarding ABC legislation to be addressed insome time. Goingin, RAMW faced stiff, and established, opposition. Common sense and thecollective voice of RAMW members were heard, however, and corkage passed.Taking the corkage campaign as our template, please help us identify the issuesthat matter to you and get your position to lawmakers.

ABC privatization

Delegate Albo gave hisassessment of the prospects of ABC privatization for the next General Assemblysession.  Albo gave an honest criticism of the currentproposals that the Governor has tried to advance and stated that, currently,any efforts are dead on arrival unless certain criteria are met. These criteriaincluded: a limit on the number of new ABC stores, new revenue to cover thecosts of implementing the privatization and to help pay for new roadconstruction, access to underage users, differing advertising rules,availability of distilled spirits and a wide variety of brands for restaurantsand consumers. Then, if the details of going forward with privatization areworked out, the General Assembly would need to dismantle an 80-year-old systemof ABC laws. Board members had a healthy exchange on what they saw as benefitsfrom a privatized ABC system in Virginia. Delegate Albo stated that it is acomplicated issue but that the next proposal needs to not be just revenueneutral but also provide more monies for transportation and other services.Absent that, Albo said, the effort will have little chance of success.

RAMW is engaged with thenew ABC privatization coalition led by Total Beverage and working to ensurethat this new proposal protects the restaurant industry.

Pilot E-Verify Program

Delegate Albo reviewedthe current pilot program in Virginia regarding E-Verify. Inthe pilot program all state agencies are required to use E-verify for newemployee hires. The pilot program is intended to last two years and ifsuccessful there will be an effort to apply to all employers in Virginia. TheBoard members had an opportunity to engage Delegate Albo on E-Verify generallyand the pilot project specifically. Board members brought up a variety of validissues related to the pilot, including the fact that State agencies employ fewminimum wage workers and the fact that not many illegal employees would seekjobs from a state agency seems to make the pilot program an inappropriatemeasurement of E-Verify effectiveness for all employers in Virginia.

RAMW will seek toinform as many legislators as possible about these issues over the two yearspan of the pilot program.

Engaging your Delegatesand Senators

Delegate Albo addressedthe importance of each member engaging Delegates and Senators concerning issuesin the General Assembly. Albo stated that as few as eight letters on a singleissue will let a Delegate know that their constituents have concerns.

Delegate Alboexpressed his willingness to work closely with RAMW on issues and encouragedRAMW to continue to engage his office and other Delegates and Senators.