On Wednesday, lawmakers across the state return to Richmond to consider Governor Terry McAuliffe’s amendments and vetoes of legislation passed during the General Assembly session that concluded in March. We will consider McAuliffe’s vetoes of 32 bills, the most by a governor since Republican Gov. Jim Gilmore rejected 37 bills advanced by a Democrat-controlled General Assembly in 1998. In two years, the Governor has vetoed more legislation than Governors McDonnell, Kaine, and Warner vetoed in each of their four year terms.
A number of the bills McAuliffe vetoed were passed along partisan lines. Six of the bills vetoed by the Governor has bipartisan support from Democrats in the House or Senate (HB 70, HB 259, HB 298, HB 382, HB 587, SB 44). There is concern in the General Assembly about the (i) number of bills vetoed, (ii) the type of bills vetoed, (iii) the nature of how the Governor is vetoing bills, and (iv) the inconsistency of his rationale for vetoing legislation.
McAuliffe also has made 30 amendments to the state budget that passed in March on votes of 38-1 in the Senate and 91-8 in the House. Ten of the amendments change spending and total $12.6 million, including additional investments in clean energy, cybersecurity education, minority scholarships and maintenance for juvenile justice facilities. McAuliffe said the additional spending is supported by additional balances in state coffers that were not previously identified but will be available at the beginning of the fiscal biennium, which starts July 1.
The governor already has signed into law 732 pieces of legislation, the overwhelming majority of which will go into effect July 1. The date also is the beginning of the new fiscal year in the commonwealth, when the two-year state spending plan goes into effect.
Veto sessions typically last only one day, and this year should be no exception.
If you have any concerns, questions, comments or issues that I or my Aide, Jenna, can help you with, please contact us at (434)821-5929 or email at Delmfariss@house.virginia.gov. You can also keep up with me on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DelegateMattFariss.