NoVa state senator Chap Petersen has shepherded HB791 to passage, but without the odious provisions that would have allowed HOAs to impose fines on residents. Petersen was part of the conference committee that reconciled the House and Senate versions of this bill, with the fining power being the point of greatest contention.
If you live in NoVa, there’s a good chance you live in an HOA. Some of those already have the power to fine you for violations of their rules, but that power existed when you joined the HOA. In theory, you agreed to it by contract. (in practice, how many of us really read all those papers we sign at a closing?) HB791’s original form would have allowed your HOA to fine you, even if its contract with you didn’t allow it.
But the version Petersen helped draft in conference didn’t include that.
If you are religious, you can thank God for the defeat of the fining provision. If you’re not, or if you’re generous with your thanks, you can thank Chap Petersen on the Senate side, and delegate Scott Surovell on the House side, for making sure the already bumptious members of some HOA boards didn’t just get a new way to boss you around.
Interestingly, this bill, which already confused one senator so badly that he literally didn’t know he voted for it, seems cursed to befuddle others. The conference version passed once, by a vote of 37-2. But, apparently, senator Steve “pregnant women are hosts” Martin messed up and voted backwards, so the Senate courteously extended him a do-over, whereupon Senators Wagner and Newman also realized they had messed up, so they switched their votes, too. However, Senator Garrett, who had voted “nay” on the first vote, messed up and voted “yea” on the do-over vote, having intended to vote “nay” that time too.
No word yet on how Dick Black really meant to vote, either time.