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Legislators discuss assembly ‘13 issues
Stanley proposes fund to aid those renovating buildings for businesses

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

A local lawmaker wants the 2013 General Assembly to develop a program aimed at reducing the number of vacant commercial buildings.

State Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Glade Hill, recently prefiled Senate Bill 748 which would establish a Building Revitalization Grant Fund.

The fund would provide up to $100,000 to firms making a $1 million capital investment toward refurbishing buildings that would become their new places of business. He did not say how money for the fund would be generated.

It would be administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

Stanley told area business people and government officials about his bill at the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce’s annual Pre-legislative Breakfast, held Tuesday at the Virginia Museum of Natural History.

The fund would be another tool for economic development and one “using infrastructure we have” in the area, he said.

There are many vacant industrial buildings that are “ready to serve” new uses, Stanley said, adding they should be “markers to our future” and not “tombstones to our past.”

The Senate has referred the bill to its Committee on General Laws and Technology, the General Assembly’s website shows.

Also, Stanley has put forth Senate Bill 750 which would force assisted living facilities and nursing homes to have at least $1 million in liability insurance to compensate patients and others for injuries or losses occurring there.

The measure mainly aims to ensure that people’s older relatives are “well taken care of,” Stanley said.

He added that many people do not realize that those institutions currently are not required to have such insurance.

The Senate has referred the bill to its Committee on Education and Health.

Del. Don Merricks, R-Pittsylvania County, has prefiled House Bill 1319, which would let Martinsville, Danville, Henry County and Pittsylvania County schools open before Labor Day. The bill is pending a committee referral.

Laws generally prohibit public schools in Virginia from opening before Labor Day unless they meet certain conditions or requirements.

Similar bills have failed repeatedly, but Merricks said he will “try one more time” to get one enacted into law.

Del. Charles Poindexter, also Republican from Glade Hill, did not prefile any bills, the legislative website shows. The deadline was Dec. 3.

The website shows that Del. Danny Marshall, R-Danville, prefiled some bills but during the breakfast, he did not discuss any of the ones listed.

Lawmakers said they welcome constituents’ ideas for legislation.

“Please get in touch with us on any issues near and dear to your heart,” Marshall said.

“Don’t feel like you’re bothering us” by calling or emailing them — they are in office to serve the public, Merricks said.


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