State Lawmakers Head Back to Richmond for Veto Session

Apr 4, 2017

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Lawmakers will be back in Richmond this week for a one-day session. As Michael Pope reports, the day looks to be an important sequel to the debates that happened earlier this year.

Members of the General Assembly will be back at it this week, arriving at the Capitol to formally consider the governor’s actions since they left town in February. They’ll be considering 40 of the governor’s vetoes. Robert Denton at Virginia Tech says much of the back and forth this year had more to do with politics than policy.  

“Whether it was defunding in terms of Planned Parenthood or the Tebow Bill where homeschool children could play, a lot of the legislation delegates knew the bill would be vetoed. But it was something they could run on, that they could say they have introduced.”

Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington says it’s unlikely, though, the Republican majority will have the two thirds needed in the House and the Senate to overturn any of the governor’s vetoes.

"Normally in Virginia vetoes are upheld. The legislature isn’t really able to reverse the veto. But what Virginia does have that some states don’t is the opportunity for amendments.”

27 amendments, everything from providing mental health assessments in jails to after-school meals for at-risk children. The General Assembly can reject those amendments or they can make tweaks of their own. Then, the governor’s got an up or down choice — sign them into law or add more vetoes to his record.