The following Va. leg. session speed-read comes by way of Dentons50 partner Shawn Day of Capital Results–editor
In his first year as governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Democrat Ralph Northam’s 10 vetoes survived the legislature’s reconvened session this week.
Northam had vetoed bills addressing myriad topics, including immigration enforcement, more regulation of local government contractors’ wages, prohibition of market-based efforts to promote clean energy and reduce carbon emissions, changing the frequency of redistricting and imposing new mandates on local officials to investigate registered voters.
Republicans, who hold a tenuous one-seat majority in the House and Senate, attempted to override Northam’s veto of a bill banning localities from becoming “sanctuary” cities for illegal immigrants but failed to come close to the two-thirds of seats needed in each chamber.
Northam led a Democratic wave in November that resulted in all three statewide offices being won by Democrats, and significant change in the House of Delegates. Republicans salvaged a one-seat advantage in the chamber – where they previously enjoyed a nearly two-thirds majority – after a drawing of lots determined the Republican candidate won a House district race that had ended in an electoral tie.
Republican legislators did succeed in defeating the governor’s amendments to a measure pertaining to funding for the Washington area’s Metro transit system. Northam had amended the bill to raise deed and lodging taxes in Metro localities to fund improvements to the system, and he needed a simple majority in the legislature to approve. While Northam and fellow Democrats were able to win approval in the Senate, they failed to persuade a single Republican in the House to support the plan.
Virginia’s General Assembly remains in special session, which the governor called after delegates and senators failed to negotiate a new two-year budget during the regular session.
Republicans and Democrats in the House of Delegates have approved a budget proposal that aims to reform and expand Medicaid under provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act; Senate Republicans have remained steadfast in refusing to accept a budget that accepts federal tax dollars to cover Medicaid expansion.
The fiscal year ends on June 30.