Arlington County Board holds legislative work session

Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49th) speaks at the 2017 Arlington County Board legislative work session. He is flanked by state Sen. Janet Howell (D-34th) and Del. Mark Levine (D-45th).

 Efforts by a local legislator to make a minor but potentially significant change in the definition of “small business” has died in the House Committee on Appropriations.

Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49th) long has contended that the commonwealth’s definition of small business, when it comes to state- and local-government procurement, is too broad, because businesses qualify if they have 250 or fewer employees or average annual gross receipts of $10 million or less. The vast majority of Virginia businesses meet at least one of those requirements, rendering the designation largely irrelevant.

Lopez’s legislation would have changed the current “or” to “and” – requiring businesses to be under both the employee and revenue thresholds in order to meet the definition.

The measure was reported out of the House Committee on General Laws on a 20-0 vote, but then died on an 8-0 vote in a subcommittee vote in the Appropriations Committee. No members of the Arlington delegation sit on that subcommittee.

A companion bill, patroned by Democratic state Sen. David Marsden of Fairfax, died on a 22-18 vote in the state Senate, with Arlington’s three state senators among the 18 supporting it.

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