Virginia Approves Several EV Bills, While Dedicated Funding Remains Absent

The Virginia General Assembly concluded their 46-day session last weekend, and nearly every major electric vehicle bill that was proposed has now been sent to Gov. Ralph Northam for his signature. Notably, however, the state budget lacks dedicated funding sources to help implement the EV tax credits that were authorized.

In the past two weeks, both chambers passed HB 1965, the bill sponsored by Del. Lamont Bagby (D-Richmond) which would require automakers to guarantee Virginia dealers with a minimum amount of EVs based on overall annual sales.

HB 1979 also passed, and it outlines a rebate program of $2,500 per EV sold in the state, beginning in 2022, with additional rebates available for low-income families. However, the associated impact statement anticipates tens of millions of dollars in rebates each year, yet the final two-year state budget stripped the mere $5 million that had been budgeted for the rollout of the program, leaving the near-term future of the credit in significant doubt.

The General Assembly also passed HB 2282, which ensures that the State Corporation Commission solicit input from a wide range of viewpoints, including those of franchised car dealers, when producing a required report on the best ways to accelerate electrification infrastructure in the state. That bill, if signed by Gov. Northam, requires the report to be published no later than May 1, 2022, and it was the only one of the four major EV-related bills to pass with any meaningful Republican support.

SB 1223, which ensures that the state’s plan to get to net-zero carbon emissions by 2045 includes an analysis of EV charging infrastructure, also passed both chambers right before the General Assembly adjourned.

The General Assembly also made some other noteworthy changes to state law during this session. Virginia, which has executed more prisoners since 1973 than any other state except Texas, will eliminate the death penalty. Lawmakers also approved a framework to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana beginning in 2024.

All 100 members of the House of Delegates will be up for re-election this November, when the state also holds elections for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general. Members of the Senate are elected to four-year terms, and will not be up for re-election until November 2023.

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