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§ 2.2-900. Creation of Department; appointment of Director; powers and duties.
A. There is created a Department of Business Assistance (the "Department") that shall be headed by a Director appointed by the Governor to serve at his pleasure.
B. The Director of the Department shall, under the direction and control of the Governor, exercise the powers and perform the duties conferred or imposed upon him by law and perform such other duties as may be required by the Governor.
(1996, cc. 589, 599, §§ 2.1-548.44, 2.1-548.45; 2001, c. 844.)
§ 2.2-901. Additional power of Department.
The Department or, with the approval of the Director, a division of the Department shall have the power to adopt regulations and issue guidelines necessary or incidental to the performance of the duties or execution of the powers conferred under this title and other relevant chapters, which regulations shall be adopted by the Department in accordance with the provisions of Article 2 (§ 2.2-4006 et seq.) of the Administrative Process Act.
(1996, cc. 589, 599, § 2.1-548.46; 2001, c. 844.) § 2.2-902. Duties of the Department; state agencies to furnish information.
A. The Department shall serve as the liaison between the Commonwealth's existing business and state government in order to promote the development of Virginia's economy. To that end, the Department shall:
1. Provide for training or retraining of individuals for specific employment opportunities at new or expanding business facilities in the Commonwealth;
2. Develop and implement programs to assist small businesses in the Commonwealth in order to promote their growth and the creation and retention of jobs for Virginians;
3. Establish an industry program that is the principal point of communication between basic employers in the Commonwealth and the state government that will address issues of significance to business;
4. Make available to existing businesses, in conjunction and cooperation with localities, chambers of commerce, and other public and private groups, basic information and pertinent factors of interest and concern to such businesses; and
5. Develop statistical reports on job creation and the general economic conditions in the Commonwealth.
B. All agencies of the Commonwealth shall assist the Department upon request and furnish such information and assistance as the Department may require in the discharge of its duties.
(1996, cc. 589, 599, §§ 2.1-548.47, 2.1-548.48; 2001, c. 844.) § 2.2-903. Nonstock corporation to assist small businesses.
The Department may establish a nonstock corporation under Chapter 10 (§ 13.1-801 et seq.), Title 13.1 as an instrumentality to assist the Department in providing support to the small business segment of the economy of the Commonwealth. The Department may do all things necessary to qualify such corporation as a certified development company under Subchapter V of the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 (15 U.S.C. § 695 et seq.), or any amendment or successor statute thereto, as well as regulations adopted thereunder by the United States Small Business Administration. Any action by the Department to establish such a corporation prior to July 1, 1986, is ratified and approved.
(1986, c. 297, § 9-249.1; 1996, cc. 589, 599; 2001, c. 844.) § 2.2-904. Workforce Retraining Program.
A. The Department shall develop a program to provide consulting services and funding to assist companies and businesses with retraining their existing workforces to increase productivity.
B. There is hereby established in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Workforce Retraining Fund. The Fund shall consist of any moneys appropriated thereto by the General Assembly from time to time and designated for the Fund. Any moneys deposited to or remaining in the Fund during or at the end of each fiscal year or biennium, including interest thereon, shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund and be available for allocation under this article in ensuing fiscal years.
C. To be eligible for moneys from the Fund, a company shall:
1. Demonstrate that it is undergoing integration of new technology into its production process, a change of product line in keeping with marketplace demands, or substantial change to its service delivery process that would require assimilation of new skills and technological capabilities by the firm's existing labor force;
2. Demonstrate that, for each such integration of new technology into its production process, change of product line in keeping with marketplace demands, or substantial change to its service delivery process:
a. No less than 10 and no more than 200 full-time employees are involved; and b. A minimum capital investment of $500,000 is committed within a 12-month period; 3. Certify that:
a. The company has not received moneys from the Fund in the previous 24 months; b. The company counted only full-time employees to qualify for the program; and c. Such full-time employees carry a minimum pay rate of $8 per hour; and 4. Meet such additional criteria as may be promulgated by the Department.
D. As used in this section:
"Capital investment" means an investment in real property, personal property, or both, at a manufacturing or basic nonmanufacturing facility within the Commonwealth that is capitalized by the company and that increases the productivity of the manufacturing facility, results in the utilization of a more advanced technology than is in use immediately prior to such investment, or both. In order to qualify as a capital investment, an investment in technology shall result in a measurable increase in capacity or productivity, a measurable decrease in the production of flawed product, or both.
"Full-time employee" means a natural person employed for indefinite duration, requiring a minimum of either (i) 35 hours of the employee's time per week for the entire normal year, which "normal year" must consist of at least 48 weeks or (ii) 1,680 hours per year. Seasonal or temporary employees shall not qualify as new full-time employees under this section.
E. Moneys in the Fund shall be used solely for grants to eligible businesses as provided in this section. The total amount of funds provided to eligible businesses under this section for any year shall not exceed the amount appropriated by the General Assembly to the Fund for such year. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by the Director or his designee. The Fund shall be administered by the Director.
(2003, c. 338.)
§ 2.2-904.1. One-stop small business permitting program.
A. As used in this section:
"Business Permitting Center" or "Center" means the business registration and permitting center established by this section and located in and under the administrative control of the Department.
"Comprehensive application" means a document incorporating pertinent data from existing applications for permits covered under this section.
"Comprehensive permit" means the single document designed for public display issued by the Business Permitting Center that certifies state agency permit approval and that incorporates the endorsements for individual permits included in the comprehensive permitting program.
"Comprehensive permitting program" or "Program" means the mechanism by which comprehensive permits are issued and renewed, permit and regulatory information is disseminated, and account data are exchanged by state agencies.
"Department" means the Department of Business Assistance or any division of the Department to which the Director has delegated or assigned the duties and responsibilities of administering the comprehensive permitting program.
"Permit" means the whole or part of any state agency permit, license, certificate, approval, registration, charter, or any form or permission required by law, to engage in activity associated with or involving the establishment of a small business in the Commonwealth.
"Permit information packet" means a collection of information about permitting requirements and application procedures custom assembled for each request.
"Regulatory" means all permitting and other governmental or statutory requirements establishing a small business or professional activities associated with establishing a small business.
"Regulatory agency" means any state agency, board, commission, or division that regulates one or more professions, occupations, industries, businesses, or activities.
"Renewal application" means a document used to collect pertinent data for renewal of permits covered under this section.
"Small business" means an independently owned and operated business that, together with affiliates, has 250 or fewer employees or average annual gross receipts of $10 million or less averaged over the previous three years.
B. There is created within the Department the comprehensive permitting program (the Program). The Program is established to serve as a single access point to aid entrepreneurs in filling out the various permit applications associated with establishing a small business in Virginia. The Program in no way supersedes or supplants any regulatory authority granted to any state agency with permits covered by this section. As part of the Program, the Department shall coordinate with the regulatory agency, and the regulatory agency shall determine consistent with applicable law, what types of permits are appropriate for inclusion in the Program as well as the rules governing the submission of and payment for those permits. The website of the Department shall provide access to information regarding the Program. The Department shall have the power and duty to:
1. Create a comprehensive application that will allow an entrepreneur, or an agent thereof, seeking to establish a small business, to create accounts that will allow them to acquire the appropriate permits required in the Commonwealth. The comprehensive application shall:
a. Allow the business owner to choose a business type and to provide common information, such as name, address, and telephone number, on the front page, eliminating the need to repeatedly provide common information on each permit application;
b. Allow the business owner to preview and answer questions related to the operation of the business;
c. Provide business owners with a customized to-do agency checklist, which checklist shall provide the permit applications pertinent to each business type and provide the rules, regulations, and general laws applicable to each business type as well as local licensing information;
d. Allow the business owner to submit permit applications by electronic means as authorized by § 59.1-496 and to affix thereto his electronic signature as defined in § 59.1-480;
e. Allow the business owner to check on the status of applications online and to receive information from the permitting agencies electronically; and
f. Allow a business owner to submit electronic payment for application or permitting fees for applications that have been accepted by the permitting agency.
2. Develop and administer a computerized system program capable of storing, retrieving, and exchanging permit information, while protecting the confidentiality of information submitted to the Department to the extent allowable by law. Information submitted to the Department shall be subject to the provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.) as the same would apply were the information submitted directly to the Department or to any permitting agency.
3. Issue and renew comprehensive permits in an efficient manner.
4. Identify the types of permits appropriate for inclusion in the Program. The Department shall coordinate with the regulatory agency, and the regulatory agency shall determine consistent with applicable law, what types of permits are appropriate for inclusion in the Program.
5. Incorporate permits into the Program. 6. Do all acts necessary or convenient to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
C. The Business Permitting Center shall compile information regarding the regulatory programs associated with each of the permits obtainable under the Program. This information shall include, at a minimum, a listing of the statutes and administrative rules requiring the permits and pertaining to the regulatory programs that are directly related to the permit. The Center shall provide information governed by this section to any person requesting it. Materials used by the Center to describe the services provided by the Center shall indicate that this information is available upon request.
D. Each state agency shall cooperate and provide reasonable assistance to the Department in the implementation of this section.
E. Any person requiring permits that have been incorporated into the Program may submit a comprehensive application to the Department requesting the issuance of the permits. The
comprehensive application form shall contain in consolidated form information necessary for the issuance of the permits.
F. The applicant shall include with the application the handling fee established by the Department. The amount of the handling fee assessed against the applicant shall be set by the Department at a level necessary to cover the costs of administering the comprehensive permitting program.
G. The authority for approving the issuance and renewal of any requested permit that requires an investigation, inspection, testing, or other judgmental review by the regulatory agency otherwise legally authorized to issue the permit shall remain with that agency. The Center may issue those permits for which proper fee payment and a completed application form have been received and for which no approval action is required by the regulatory agency.
H. Upon receipt of the application and proper fee payment for any permit for which issuance is subject to regulatory agency action under subsection G, the Department shall immediately notify the regulatory agency with authority to approve the permit issuance or renewal requested by the applicant. Each regulatory agency shall advise the Department within a reasonable time after receiving the notice of one of the following:
1. That the regulatory agency approves the issuance of the requested permit and will advise the applicant of any specific conditions required for issuing the permit;
2. That the regulatory agency denies the issuance of the permit and gives the applicant reasons for the denial;
3. That the application is pending; or
4. That the application is incomplete and further information from or action by the applicant is necessary.
I. The Department shall issue a comprehensive permit endorsed for all the approved permits to the applicant and advise the applicant of the status of other requested permits. The applicant shall be responsible for contesting any decision regarding conditions imposed or permits denied through the normal process established by statute or by the regulatory agency with the authority for approving the issuance of the permit.
J. Regulatory agencies shall be provided information from the comprehensive application for their permitting and regulatory functions.
K. The Department shall be responsible for directing the applicant to make all payments for applicable fees established by the regulatory agency directly to the proper agency.
L. There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Comprehensive Permitting Fund, hereafter referred to as "the Fund." The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. The Fund shall consist of all moneys collected from
the handling fee established by the Department pursuant to subsection F and such other funds as may be appropriated by the General Assembly. Interest earned on moneys in the Fund shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Moneys in the Fund shall be used solely to administer the Program. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by Director of the Department.
M. Unless otherwise directed by the regulatory agency, the Department shall not issue or renew a comprehensive permit to any person under any of the following circumstances:
1. The person does not have a valid tax registration, if required.
2. The person is a corporation, limited liability company, business trust, limited partnership or registered limited liability partnership that (i) is delinquent in the payment of fees or penalties collected by the State Corporation Commission pursuant to the business entity statutes it administers; (ii) does not exist; or (iii) is not authorized to transact business in the Commonwealth pursuant to one of the business entity statutes administered by the State Corporation Commission.
3. The person has not submitted the sum of all fees and deposits required for the requested individual permit endorsements, any outstanding comprehensive permit delinquency fee, or other fees and penalties to be collected through the comprehensive permitting program.
N. The Department may adopt regulations in accordance with § 2.2-901 as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this section.
(2007, c. 706.)