The house version ( HB 2609 ) was stopped in the House Finance Committee Monday morning. Chairman Purkey (Republican,82nd House District), Vice-Chair Orrock (R- 54), R. Lee Ware (R-65 ), Johnson(D-4) , Melvin (D-80), Watts (D-39), Hall (D-69), Hugo (R-40), and Cline (R-24) voted in favor and deserve our support.
Sadly, some legislators have a knee-jerk reaction against imposing fees, even if only on discretionary luxury items used by a transient population.
Bouchard (D-83), Byron (R-22) , Cole (R-88), Frederick (R-52), Gear(R-91), R.G. Marshall (R-13), Lohr (R-26), Peace (R-97) , Massie( R-72), Caputo (D-67), Armstrong(D-10), Pollard(D-99), and Lewis(D-100) voted against reporting the bill out to the House floor. Understand that Delegates are facing a November election this year. Some members who did not want to stand with us on this committee vote may still support the final bill. Your voice can help persuade them of the merits of developing media production in Virginia.
You can let these lawmakers know how important the Digital Media fee will be to keeping film jobs here. If Virginia can not offer incentives to filming here, movie production will not come to the State. The Commonwealth stands to lose millions of dollars to other States with incentive programs, and local production will suffer if crew and talent can not find work.
This bill is not dead! With your support, the Senate version (SB1421S1) passed the Committee on Finance, and passed the full body on Tuesday with 37 Senators voting in favor of the fee. The bill was removed from the uncontested en bloc group, and three Senators went on record against it. Out of all 40 Senate Districts in Virginia only Senators Cuccinelli (R-37), Obenshain(R-26) and Smith(R-22) opposed creating the fee. Now, the bill will cross over to the House of Delegates. The VPA has a chance to show how important this bill is to maintaining film-related jobs in the State. If your Representative is listed above, you owe it to yourself to contact them. Every VPA member should contact the General Assembly Delegate for their District and persuade that lawmaker of the necessity of charging a user fee on Hotel In-room movie rentals to help Virginia’s Motion Picture Opportunity Fund. You can even offer to share half the revenue collected with the General Fund.