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New Legislation Impacting Economic Developers

New Legislation Impacting Economic Developers

New Legislation Impacting Economic Developers

Stemming from an investigation into, and subsequent embezzlement charges filed against, the Executive Director and members of the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority, Virginia State Senator Mark Obenshain and House of Delegates member Michael Webert, introduced new legislation this year aimed to prevent future similar criminal actions among economic development authorities (EDA). 

For more information on this legislation, here is a brief article that addresses Senator Obenshain’s bill and intent as well as a press release Delegate Webert issued when his bill passed the House. For additional information on what precipitated the legislation, please consider reading this 2019 feature piece from the Washington Post. A simple Google search also yields a wealth of articles written on this issue. 

While these bills are of interest and relevant in their application, their impact on economic development authorities is generating additional discussion in the media. Some EDA members are having an unfavorable response to the new Statement of Economic Interest provision.  Please see this link to a July 27, 2020 NBC-29 print and video piece on three Albemarle County EDA members, including its chairman, who resigned over these new reporting requirements.


Both the Obenshain and Webert bills passed every subcommittee, committee, and floor vote in both chambers during the 2020 General Assembly Session — and they did so unanimously.  In early March, Governor Northam signed the bill and it became law on July 1 of this year.  To view the bills’ history and to read the actual language, please click this link.

John Putney is the Director of Government Relations at the Alliance. For questions about this piece or other relevant legislation, reach out to John at (434) 845-5966 or send him an email.


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