His thoughts — Back in business

Published 12:15 pm Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Reconvened Session on April 27th is likely to be a lengthy session given the number of actions taken by Governor Youngkin. Governor Youngkin has sent down more than 100 amendments and vetoed 26 bills.

Most of the Governor’s amendments are innocuous, many merely offering technical fixes or clarifications requested by executive agencies.

He added emergency clauses to a few Republican bills and reenactment clauses to 10 other bills, overwhelmingly those sponsored by Democrats.

Currently garnering the most attention is his revision to Del. Reid’s bill regarding the Loudoun County School Board.

The Governor’s amendments took a bill that would have staggered the terms of elected school board members and put all of them on the ballot for new terms this November.

Speaking to the press about the bill, the Governor said that his amendment was designed to give parents a more immediate voice in the school board’s affairs.

Democrats have called the amendment an “affront to democracy” and accused the Governor of attacking Loudoun County because it voted for McAuliffe, which is ridiculous.

Many have also defended the school board, which has been a touchstone for the national debate over critical race theory, masks in schools, school reopening, parental control and other issues.

The Board has been under fire for several decisions, including the way they handled reports of sexual assault in their schools.

Local media outlets have reported, and the school system has confirmed that a grand jury has been empaneled to investigate the way the school system dealt with multiple assaults in their schools.

The Governor’s vetoes, however, are a different story.

All the bills vetoed were sponsored by Democrats.

Nine of the 26 vetoes are bills by Sen. Adam Ebbin. Of those, six were identical to House Bills that the Governor signed into law.

Like it or not, the Governor is part of the legislative process in Virginia, and this Governor has acted as just that.

To call it unprecedented or petty or anything of the sort belies the truth – Governor Youngkin can act almost as a third chamber and has done so.

It takes 67 votes in the House to override a veto, and it takes most of the members present to accept the Governor’s Amendments to any legislation.

Veto overrides in Virginia are exceedingly rare. During the 2020 reconvened session, Democrats flipped votes to keep from overriding a Northam veto, HB 795 regarding association health plans.

Should either chamber reject an amendment, the bill goes back to the governor in its original form for signature or veto.

Republicans, including myself, listened to Virginians last year and won. We promised that we’d make Virginia the best place to live, work, worship and raise a family. Republicans will continue to listen to ensure our constituents feel the direction we are trying to take Virginia.

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Easter. May The Lord continue to watch over us for He Has Risen.

Del. Tommy Wright can be reached via email at DelTWright@House.Virginia.gov or (804) 698-1061.