The Governor has issued his vetoes and amendments. We will take them up when the session reconvenes on April 8th.
Here are some of the higher-profile actions:
Voting Access: The Governor has amended a bill to put “no excuse absentee voting” before the whole Assembly. Good move. “No excuse absentee” passed the Senate easily but was killed in House Committee. We’ll finally get an up or down vote before the full House. Let’s see if we can make it pass.
Death Penalty: The Governor has vetoed all bills expanding the use of the death penalty. Some interesting votes coming here. I support his veto of the bills eliminating the “triggerman” rule for capital crimes. That change would turn our whole death penalty system upside down. I will likely sustain his vetoes on all the death penalty bills but need to see the actual language.
Firearms: The Governor vetoed the “guns in restaurants” bill again. I disagreed with his logic last year (note: guns are already legal in restaurants — the current ban only effects concealed carry holders). We’ll see how this is different.
Unemployment Benefits: The Governor amended bills to expand Virginia’s unemployment benefits, which also receives Federal support. As a small business owner, I need to read these changes carefully as they carry added costs. However, it’s hard to turn down additional Federal aid if that is in the offing.
The Governor did sign the bill permitting the “Choose Life” license plate in Virginia, which was a subject of much debate. The cause is more than worthy but there are a lot of First Amendment issues here — it potentially opens the door to all kinds of political license plates. God forbid we now have to pass an “End Life” license plate.
All in all, the Governor is using his executive power to move forward on his principles. That’s all you can ask.