Another Year, Same Results at the General Assembly

Feb 23, 2017

Governor Terry McAuliffe, seen here at a news conference last month, has vetoed several measures this year that also made their way to his desk the past two years.
Credit Steve Helber / AP

In Virginia, Governor Terry McAuliffe is breaking out the veto pen — killing many of the same bills he vetoed last year and the year before that. Michael Pope has this look at Groundhog Day at the General Assembly.

It’s deja vu all over again at the Capitol, as Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoes coal tax credits and limitations on abortion rights and efforts to allow home school students to play on public sports teams. He vetoes the same bills year after year.

Republican Majority Leader Kirk Cox, who’s in line to become the new Speaker of the House next year, says the governor should tell people what he’s for and not just what he’s against. 

“I think it’s time for them to step up and have some state issues instead of grandstanding on vetoes,” Cox says, adding that some of it is election year politics. 

All of Virginia's lawmakers are up for re-election this year. After lawmakers head back to their districts this week, Cox has to worry about holding 66 House seats.

Plus, the top of the ticket features a hotly contested race for governor because McAuliffe can’t run again this year.  

One of the candidates for Governor is Democratic Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, who says politics have been a little more pronounced this year than normal. 

“At the end of this session, it’s projected that there will be over 100 vetoes in (McAuliffe's) four-year term, which will be a record,” says Northam.

One trick Senate Republicans are using against Northam is to engineer tied votes so they can get him to go on the record for controversial bills, things like cracking down on sanctuary cities and expanding charter schools.

Northam says he expects Republicans and maybe even some of his primary opponents to use those votes against him on the campaign trail.