The state Senate has passed several pieces of legislation on the subject of coastal resiliency. Senator Lynwood Lewis posted this yesterday on his Facebook page:
“Yesterday, the Senate passed SB397, my bill to create a regional coastal resiliency authority in Hampton Roads. This authority’s locality membership is permissive and its establishment is based upon the outcomes presented by the Infrastructure Working Group for the Hampton Roads Sea Level Rise Preparedness and Resilience Intergovernmental Pilot Planning Project convened by Old Dominion University and chaired by Rear Admiral Ann Phillips.
We also passed SJ21 and SB219, a constitutional amendment to allow localities to implement a property tax abatement for individuals or businesses that undertake efforts on their real estate to mitigate recurrent flooding. If this passes the House, it will be on the ballot in 2018 and Virginia voters will be given the opportunity to pass the measure.
And — perhaps most excitedly — the legislation that I have worked closely on with Delegate Chris Stolle to create a cabinet-level secretariat position for coastal resiliency and flooding adaptation passed in an amended form. While not what we had originally fought for, the amended version of SB265 is a compromise that remains a huge step forward in Virginia’s efforts in resiliency. As it reads, the legislation creates a stand-alone special assistant to the Governor tasked solely with addressing coastal resiliency and flooding adaptation. This individual will be the lead in developing and in providing direction and ensuring accountability for a statewide coastal flooding adaptation strategy. The Special Assistant will initiate and assist with economic development opportunities associated with adaptation, will work to advance academic expertise at the Commonwealth Center for Recurrent Flooding and Resiliency, and will pursue federal, state, and local funding opportunities for adaptation initiatives. Delegate Stolle’s companion bill, SB345 passed the full House today as well. This initiative was a recommendation from the Joint Subcommittee on Recurrent Flooding and was a key legislative priority for stakeholders and cities throughout Hampton Roads.”