Legislative Update from Lannie Ballard

The Virginia General Assembly has been in session for a couple of weeks.  This session is a short session (45 days).  I’m going to try to bring you up to date with some issues going on in Richmond.  As most of you know Governor McDonald removed the funding for the grant in his proposed 2013 budget.  Governor McDonald had approved the funding in the last session for 2013-2014.  The grant had some bad editorial press in the Richmond area when the Governor approved the funding.  But I’m not sure who if anyone got to the Governor on this funding.  A few days before the legislature went into session the Governor’s budget became public.  I was informed that the Governor had removed the grant funding in his proposed 2013 budget.  I immediately contacted Senator Deeds and Delegate Ed Scott about the funding.  They both assured me that they would introduce a budget amendment to reinstate the funds and both of them have done so.  Also Senator Hanger has signed on as a co-sponsor.  We will not know where we stand until the final budget is proposed which will be about the last item to go back to the Governor.

Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter from Woodbridge, VA introduced HB1839 (by request).  If I understand this bill and it becomes law no beekeeper in the state of Virginia who is not state inspected will be able to sell honey except to the end user.  This would wipe out everything we got passed two years ago.  I called Delegate Lingamfelter to find out more about the bill and who made the request.  Delegate Lingamfelter’s Legislative Assistant and I played phone tag for days.  I finally sent him background information on past legislation and the problem with honey bees in Virginia. With this and the help of others in Richmond the legislation was tabled in committee this past Monday (28th) by a voice vote.  We will need to monitor this just in case it raises its head again. See this link to the committee report. http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=131&typ=bil&val=HB1839&submit=GO

Delegate Robert D. Orrock, Sr, from Thornburg, VA, introduced HB1852. This legislation deals with labeling.  At this point it should not affect beekeepers who are in the “not inspected” program.  But all food products (honey, tomatoes, etc.) from an inspected facility will have to be labeled that it was state inspected.  On Monday (28th) this legislation was passed in committee with amendment.  See this link to the legislation.  http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?131+ful+HB1852

Lannie Ballard
VSBA Legislative Chairperson

Preliminary Agenda for the Fall Meeting!

As we get ready for Winter, we thought it would be beneficial to post the preliminary program for the Fall Meeting! It's right around the corner (Nov 2 and 3)!

For more information, please click here. This is subject to change and we will keep you updated as more decisions are finalized. We should also have a registration form up soon!

Update! The testing times for anyone wishing to take the Qualified or Certified Master Beekeeping tests has been posted!

Update! The registration form is now available here! Be sure to print it off and get it in as soon as you can.

Update! Some nearby hotels have been added as well as a few more vendors!


New Leadership and Some Changes!

The Spring meeting was incredible. We had some real powerhouse speakers that were both full of information and very entertaining. I do not think many of us will forget the Spring Meeting of 2012, both for the venue and the miraculous scramble that enabled us to secure a new location when the State Fair went into default.

In the meeting, we welcomed new leadership, led by Bill Bundy of Leesburg, and voted on some changes to our by-laws. There will be more on both of these topics in the coming weeks and months, but I wanted to use this post to say thank you to Frank Walker, the VSBA President of the last two years. His enthusiasm for the Honey Bee and the Beekeeper is a true inspiration. To that effect, Frank will be taking on a new role of Master Beekeeper Chair for the VSBA! Welcome back, Frank!

But, with the new leadership comes more enthusiasm and ideas! We will be making a few changes to the Web Site over the coming days and expect to include updates on upcoming meetings and events, as well as making the site a bit more user friendly. We have a good site here, but all sites need a periodic review to keep from becoming stale!

Stay tuned!

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