Legislation to Fix the Virginia Beach Tragedy Fund is Now Law

Dec 27, 2019

In this June 1, 2019, file photo, a makeshift memorial rests at the edge of a police cordon in front of a municipal building that was the scene of a shooting in Virginia Beach.
Credit AP Photo / Patrick Semansky, File

Before they left town for the holidays, members of Congress and President Trump took action to help victims of the Virginia Beach shooting.

A few days before Christmas, President Trump signed the Virginia Beach Strong Act — a piece of legislation designed to fix a flaw in the Virginia Beach Tragedy Fund. The bill was introduced by Congresswoman Elaine Luria, who represents Virginia Beach.

“My heart continues to grieve for those who lost their lives, their families and everyone who loved them," she said. "Today, many of the families are still facing financial hardships related to the shooting.”

Until Trump signed Luria’s bill, donations to the fund were not tax deductible because of how the fund was set up. Senator Mark Warner carried the bill on the Senate side.

“In Virginia Beach, they set up and named the victims and the victims’ families specifically," Warner explains. "That violates the IRS rules.”

The IRS has regulations that prevent funds from benefiting specific people instead of causes. The new law was narrowly tailored to allow donations to this particular fund to be tax deductible without changing any of the existing IRS rules for other charitable giving.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.