Virginia lawmakers fail to override any of Gov. Youngkin's vetoes

Stephen Newman
Posted at 9:29 AM, Apr 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-27 18:24:33-04

RICHMOND, Va. — All of Gov. Glenn Youngkin's 26 vetoes were sustained during the General Assembly's veto session on Wednesday afternoon.

With Republicans in the majority in the House of Delegates, Democrats failed to reach the necessary two-thirds of support in both chambers to override the vetoes.

Some of the bills saw wide majorities when passed during the regular session, but failed to get enough support on Wednesday.

A bill by Del. Marcia Price (D-Newport News) sought to give tenants more rights in dealing with landlords. "A lot of people back at home were shocked by this veto," Price said during a passionate speech.

The bill passed 59-41 during the regular session, but failed along party lines Wednesday. "This veto chooses rats, mice, roaches, mold ... over [parents'] kids' ability to be safe in their homes," Price said.

Youngkin vetoed the bill, saying it wasn't necessary and Republicans followed suit. "[Tenants] have a remedy. We don't need to give localities the ability to just close buildings," said Del. Wren Williams (R-Franklin County).

The lawmakers also debated the more than 100 bills Youngkin amended, including a closely watched one dealing with marijuana and hemp.

Gov. Youngkin proposed banning the sale of Delta 8 THC, which is synthetic hemp that's for sale across in Virginia as edibles or vapes. He also wanted to add criminal charges if someone is in possession of more than two-ounces of marijuana.

Senators debated a variety of options for the bill, including possibly tackling the issues through the budget. "This is an issue that is complicated enough that it needs more deliberation," said Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond).

Other lawmakers pushed back on that idea as lawmakers continue to struggle to reach a deal on a budget. "We can't even get a regular budget out of here much less throwing marijuana into it," said Sen. John Cosgrove (R-Chesapeake). "You want to talk about a budget going up in smoke - this will do it."

In a surprising move, Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears broke a 20-20 tie, siding with 19 Democrats and one Republican to reject Youngkin's proposals.

Following that, Senators reconsidered the bill and sent the bill back to committee, ending debate on it for the year.

Earlier in the day, Senate Democrats killed a proposal from Gov. Youngkin to suspend the state's gas tax for three months. The Senate Finance committee voted 12-3 to reject the proposal. Previously, House Democrats had proposed giving drivers a $50 rebate, but that proposal was already rejected by the Republican-controlled House.