Virginia Viewpoint – April 29, 2022 – In the words of Julius Caesar – “Et tu Brute?”
April 29, 2022
April 29, 2022
On Wednesday, April 27th the General Assembly returned for the Reconvened Session. Unfortunately they didn’t bring a budget with them. Conferees report that they are meeting regularly to work out their differences. Most notably the plans differ by approximately $3 billion with the politically divided General Assembly still stuck on the issue of tax cuts like doubling the standard deduction and gas tax relief.
All of the Governor’s vetoes were sustained in party line votes or without contest. The Senate rejected the Governor’s amendments on a bill targeting the Loudoun County School board. The amendments would have called for the entire board to be up for election this fall instead of their usual staggered election cycle. Some senators argued this would set a dangerous precedent.
Click here for a link to the list of bills with Governor’s recommendations adopted.
Several bills were debated at length and the use of parliamentary procedures to “pass them by for the day” effectively killed the proposed amendments. One of the Governor’s proposed changes was to a bill regulating cannabis products that contain THC to help prevent the increase in poisonings from edible products that contain delta-8. The hemp industry argued against these restrictions.
House Democrats decided to add to the drama with a leadership battle. In a secret ballot vote House Democrats voted to remove Del. Eileen Filler-Corn as Minority Leader. Del. Don Scott (Portsmouth), resigned his position as vice chairman for outreach, spearheaded the effort to remove Del. Filler-Corn and nominated himself as her replacement. Many members of the democratic caucus hold Del. Filler-Corn responsible for the 2021 election results putting the party in the minority. While over a record $4 million dollars were spent on House races, many have criticized Filler-Corn for having over $800,000 on hand after the elections. They argue those resources could have helped several close races. A replacement for the Minority Leader has not yet been chosen.
Special Session continues. As noted above, the budget is still in limbo. Additionally, Governor Youngkin lost his attempt to suspend the gas tax in Senate Finance Committee on a 12-3 vote to reject the suspension. Republican Sen. Emmett Hanger (Augusta) broke ranks and voted against the Governor’s bill. The House version of the bill is still alive and will be heard in the House Appropriations Committee, meaning the suspension of the gas tax may still become reality.
By MICHAEL MARTZ AND PATRICK WILSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall – 7 articles a month)
Gov. Glenn Youngkin didn’t lose any veto battles in the General Assembly, but his first-year record was mixed, with numerous defeats on bills he attempted to amend, including a hotly debated bid to force an election this year for all members of the politically embattled Loudoun County School Board. The Senate voted 22-18 to reject Youngkin’s amendments to require Loudoun’s School Board members to face re-election a year early, after a bitter floor debate that reflected many of the same political divisions over public school policy that were pivotal in his election last fall.
By SARAH RANKIN AND DENISE LAVOIE, Associated Press
The divided Virginia General Assembly slogged through scores of Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s proposed amendments to legislation and effectively upheld all of his vetoes Wednesday. Lawmakers met for this year’s one-day “reconvened” session, which also featured a dose of political drama as House Democrats voted for a leadership shakeup months after an unsuccessful election cycle that saw their party lose full control of the state government. Democrats still narrowly control the state Senate, where lawmakers challenged many of the Republican governor’s 26 vetoes but failed to secure the two-thirds vote needed to override any of them.
By LAURA VOZZELLA, Washington Post (Metered Paywall – 3 articles a month)
Gov. Glenn Youngkin marked his first 100 days in office on Thursday by reprising the high-wire act he pulled off on his way to the governor’s mansion, serving up a mix of sunny determination and partisan fare in a campaign-style video and appearance. A political newcomer who took office in January, Youngkin (R) used the milestone to issue a list of achievements and goals, many of the latter stalled in a politically divided state Capitol.
By MICHAEL MARTZ, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall – 7 articles a month)
The General Assembly will have plenty to consider when it reconvenes Wednesday to act on nearly 150 pieces of legislation Gov. Glenn Youngkin either amended or vetoed. But legislators won’t have to worry about acting on a budget. Assembly budget leaders made clear on Friday that they won’t have an agreement on a revised budget for this year or a new one for the next two years in time for the one-day session next week.
By LAURA VOZZELLA AND GREGORY S. SCHNEIDER, Washington Post (Metered Paywall – 3 articles a month)
House Democrats ousted Del. Eileen Filler-Corn as their party’s leader in a closed-door meeting at the state Capitol on Wednesday, deposing the former House speaker who drew criticism after the party lost control of the chamber in the November elections. A handful of fairly new state delegates engineered the revolt against Filler-Corn (Fairfax), led by Del. Don L. Scott Jr. (Portsmouth), who was seeking to replace her as minority leader. Democrats voted to remove her in a private caucus meeting. But Democrats rebuffed Scott’s call to immediately hold elections to replace her, Del. Mark D. Sickles (D-Fairfax) said after the meeting, adding that they wanted to give other people who might be interested in running time to prepare.
By PATRICK WILSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch
The Virginia House Democratic Caucus voted via secret ballot on Wednesday to remove former Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn as the party’s leader in the chamber.
By PATRICK WILSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall – 7 articles a month)
The Democratic delegate who earlier this year said Gov. Glenn Youngkin was using Black bodies as campaign props now hopes to unseat his own party’s leader in the House of Delegates. Del. Don Scott Jr., D-Portsmouth, has spent weeks planning a bid to unseat House Minority Leader Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax. Scott made it public on Sunday by sending a letter to party leaders calling for a House Democratic leadership vote on removing Filler-Corn on Wednesday when the General Assembly convenes to consider the governor’s vetoes and amendments to legislation passed earlier this year.
By LAURA VOZZELLA AND ERIN COX, Washington Post (Metered Paywall – 3 articles a month)
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin tipped his hat to the state next door as his plan for a gas tax holiday advanced in Richmond, but his bill faces stiffer opposition than what Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan pulled off on his side of the Potomac. As Maryland’s 30-day gas tax reprieve wrapped up, Youngkin compared his five-month plan for easing pain at the pump to the one Hogan delivered. Yet there are differences — in the sweep of the Republican governors’ plans and the politics of their respective state legislatures — that make the tax break a tougher sell in Richmond.
By GRAHAM MOOMAW, Virginia Mercury
When the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the 2020 U.S. census, Virginia had a uniquely big problem. As the only two states with legislative elections scheduled for 2021, Virginia and New Jersey had a more urgent need to get the new population data and start the redistricting process in order to have new political maps in time for last November’s elections. When it became clear that wasn’t going to happen, New Jersey asked its voters in 2020 to change the constitution to officially delay its redistricting timeline. In Virginia, where constitutional amendments move slower and take two years to enact, political leaders mostly avoided the issue. But a pending federal lawsuit seeks to force new House elections in November, which could mean back-to-back-to-back elections for the General Assembly’s narrowly divided lower chamber.
By JOHN R. CRANE, Danville Register & Bee
Caesars Entertainment has chosen Whiting-Turner as the contractor that will build the $500 million Caesars Virginia casino resort. The firm, headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, since 1909, has also built the Horseshoe Baltimore, as well as projects at Caesars Palace Las Vegas, The LINQ Hotel+Experience Las Vegas, Harvey’s Lake Tahoe and more, according to a Monday afternoon news release from Caesars Entertainment.
By ERIC KOLENICH, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall – 7 articles a month)
In front of several hundred at The National theater in downtown Richmond on Sunday, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., called unionizing Starbucks workers “heroes and heroines,” criticized the massive wealth of CEO Howard Schultz and called for an economy that functions for everyday workers. “How much does anyone need?” Sanders, 80, asked the crowd. “Why can’t they pay workers a living wage with decent benefits?
By MICHAEL MARTZ, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall – 7 articles a month)
The Virginia Employment Commission has agreed to pay $200,000 to three legal aid organizations to settle a federal lawsuit filed almost a year ago to force the state agency to promptly handle claims for unemployment benefits filed by Virginians who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
By COLLEEN CURRAN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall – 7 articles a month)
Virginia ABC is hoping to say goodbye to the long lines of bourbon hunters standing outside their doors, waiting to snap up a bottle of high-demand, limited-availability bourbon, such as Buffalo Trace Bourbon or Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon. After a month of allocated bourbon disappearing from Virginia ABC shelves and conspiracy theories flying among whiskey enthusiasts, the state agency is rolling out a new program for selling allocated bourbon. “The new process will be randomized,” said CEO Travis Hill.
By SARAH RANKIN, Associated Press
Virginia’s attorney general has launched an inquiry into the Washington Commanders following allegations of financial improprieties raised by a congressional committee. Attorney General Jason Miyares, a Republican, disclosed his office’s investigation in a letter to a team lawyer on Monday, saying he viewed it as his “responsibility to carefully examine the material facts regarding this matter.”
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