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.
President-elect Donald Trump released last week his “Contract with the American Voter,” a set of 18 specific policy objectives aimed at “restoring honesty and accountability, and bringing change to Washington.”
The manifesto includes some ten legislative measures spanning taxes, the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, immigration and crime. The plan, a revival of Republicans' 1994 “Contract with America,” brings new clarity to the broad legislative and regulatory pledges the incoming president made in the course of the last 16 months, including:
- Proposals to modify federal lobbying and campaign finance law, including term-limiting members of Congress, an extended five-year “cooling off” period for White House and Congressional officials transitioning to work as lobbyists, a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of the foreign government and a ban on foreign lobbyists fundraising for American elections;
- Regulatory reform proposals, including a requirement that two existing regulations be eliminated for every new federal regulation, lifting restrictions on oil and natural gas production on public lands, jump-starting stalled energy infrastructure projects such as the Keystone XL Pipeline, and cancelling US payments to the UN Green Climate Fund and redirecting the funds to domestic water and environmental infrastructure;
- Renegotiating or withdrawing from existing trade deals, such as NAFTA and the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, as well as directing the Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator; and
- New immigration and public safety-related measures, such as cancelling federal funding to sanctuary cities, suspending immigration from terror-prone regions without adequate vetting procedures and deporting criminal illegal immigrants.
Mr. Trump's 100-day plan includes the following legislative measures that he expects to pursue in Congress to accomplish these objectives, including:
- Middle Class Tax Relief and Simplification Act: Features broad tax reduction and tax code simplification, condensing the number of tax brackets and lowering the top business tax rate to 15%.
- End the Offshoring Act: Establishes tariffs to discourage companies from relocating overseas.
- American Energy and Infrastructure Act: Leverages public-private partnerships and private investments through tax incentives to spur infrastructure investment.
School Choice and Education Opportunity Act: Redirects education dollars to increase school choice, ends Common Core, expands vocational and technical education, and brings greater local control to education.
- Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act: Fully repeals the Affordable Care Act and replaces it with health savings accounts (HSAs), removes restrictions on purchasing health insurance across state lines, lets states manage Medicaid funds, and speeds up drug-approval times at the FDA.
- Affordable Childcare and Eldercare Act: Allows tax deductions for childcare and eldercare, incentivizes employers to provide on-site childcare services, and creates tax-sheltered dependent care savings accounts for young and elderly dependents, with matching contributions for low-income families.
- End Illegal Immigration Act: Funds the construction of a wall on the Mexican border “with the full understanding that the country of Mexico will be reimbursing the United States for the full cost of such wall,” as well as increases sentences for illegal immigrants with criminal convictions or previous deportations.
- Restoring Community Safety Act: Creates a task force on violent crime and increases funding for programs to train and assist local police, and increases resources for federal law enforcement agencies and federal prosecutors.
- Restoring National Security Act: Eliminates the defense sequester and expands military investment, increases options for veterans seeking privately-offered healthcare outside of the VA, establishes new screening procedures for immigration and new programs for protecting infrastructure from cyber-attacks.
- Clean Up Corruption In Washington Act: Enacts new ethics and campaign finance reforms to reduce the influence of special interests.
The plan can be read in its entirety here.