SD30 - Report of the Virginia Small Business Commission
A. COMMISSION BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
The Virginia Small Business Commission, established by the 1995 Session of the Virginia General Assembly, is required by its enabling legislation (Va. Code § 9-336 et seq.) to undertake the following:
• Evaluate the impact of existing statutes and proposed legislation on small businesses.
• Assess the Commonwealth's small business assistance programs and examine ways to enhance their effectiveness.
• Provide small business owners and advocates with a forum to address their concerns.
• Report annually its findings and recommendations to the governor and the General Assembly.
The commission is comprised of 14 members, including six members from the House of Delegates, four members from the Senate and four at-large members appointed by the governor. The at-large members are required to be individuals with small business experience or expertise.
The following General Assembly members served on the commission in 1996: Senators Stanley C. Walker of Norfolk, Charles R. Hawkins of Chatham, Janet D. Howell of Reston, and Edward L. Schrock of Virginia Beach, together with Delegates A. Victor Thomas of Roanoke, I. Vincent Behm, Jr., of Hampton, Robert S. Bloxom of Mappsville, Vincent F. Callahan, Jr., of McLean, Glenn R. Croshaw of Virginia Beach and Franklin P. Hall of Richmond. Gubernatorial appointees serving in 1996 were Robert A. Archer of Salem1 Thomas E. Inman II of Williamsburg, Jorge M.P. Ponce of Centreville and Bernice E. Travers of Richmond. Senator Walker served as the commission's chairman, and Delegate Thomas as its vice chairman.
B. SUMMARY OF THE COMMISSION'S 1996 ACTIVITIES
The commission's 1996 activities included receiving its second annual briefing from the Department of Business Assistance concerning the current status of the Commonwealth's small business financing and development programs. Information from that briefing spurred commission activity in aid of the Virginia Small Business Finance Authority's Child Day Care Financing Program, a program commission members view as vital to working parents employed by small businesses. The commission also reviewed Virginia's recent health care reform legislation and assessed its current impact on the affordability and availability of health care coverage in the small business community.
At the request of the 1996 General Assembly Session, the capital access needs of rural small business enterprises were examined by a commission subcommittee pursuant to House Joint Resolution 34 (1996). The commission also reviewed initiatives to promote Virginia's export industry through an export loan guaranty program, and to furnish an exemption from state court jury service for sole proprietors (paralleling an exemption provided by the federal courts).
Finally, the commission's continued interest in encouraging links between Virginia's small business community and high technology led to a commission meeting at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Laboratories) in Newport News. Technology developed at Jefferson Laboratories is being made available to aid small business development through consulting and technical services and cooperative ventures.