Tommy Wright: We upheld the governor’s vetoes

The General Assembly completed its Reconvened Session April 17 in which we considered the vetoes and amendments sent to us by Governor Youngkin. 

We were also scheduled to complete our work on the two-year state budget, but significant work remains to be done before that process is completed. 

When we came to Richmond, Governor Youngkin had vetoed more than 100 bills passed by the Democratic majorities in both chambers. 

Many of these bills were rejected. Now the Governor can try to improve these bills. 

Governor Youngkin did his best to make these bad bills better, but even after his amendments, there would still be legislation that the General Assembly would not fully support. 

Rather than help make a bad bill into a less bad law, I voted to send these bills back to the Governor in their original form in the hopes that he would veto them and keep them from becoming law at all.

I am pleased to report that the House upheld all the Governor’s vetoes, and none of these questionable policy ideas will become law in the Commonwealth this year. 

Bills like HB 351 which included firearm locking device required for purchase of a firearm, with warnings against accessibility to children that would result in a penalty. Basically, if you bought a firearm, you must obtain or purchase from a licensed dealer a locking device for the firearm if a minor is present in your residence for 14 days or more in a calendar month or complete a certification statement on a form provided by the Department of State Police certifying that a minor is not present in your residence for 14 days or more in a calendar month or you would have been charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor. 

Another bill was HB 1088 which requires the Board of Education to adopt model policies related to climate change and environmental literacy. People are more affected by bad climate change policies than actual climate change. I also feel that Green Energy is not the most productive way to supply our demands on energy needs. 

Opposition was so strong to these bills that Democrats did not even attempt to force a vote on any of these vetoes. Quite simply, they knew that they didn’t have the votes.

And while I’m disappointed that we didn’t complete the biennial state budget, I am encouraged by the rapid movement toward a deal that happened this week. 

As of Sunday, it appeared that Democrats had dug in on their position and were willing to shut down the state government to force the Governor to sign a budget laden with tax increases. 

Republicans and Democrats both agreed that we were at an impasse on the budget, and the best way forward was to simply wipe the slate clean and begin again in a special session that will convene on May 13. 

We still have significant differences over how we should spend our hard-earned tax dollars. We will work hard to find agreement. I will keep you updated as the process moves forward. 

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