As I write this, the General Assembly is scheduled finish its work for the year tomorrow. Having completed its principal legislative work on February 28-45 days after convening-the Assembly returns 45 days later to consider the Governor’s vetoes and amendments.
That day this year is April 8. Therefore, the Assembly’s work should be completed by the time you read this because it is highly unusual for the legislative action on gubernatorial vetoes or amendments to take more than one day.
Several contentious issues will be acted on April 8. As I have reported, two measures related to activities permitted in restaurants. In both cases, a majority of members in the Senate and in the House voted to ban smoking in places were food is sold-and to allow concealed weapons in those same establishments.
The Governor signed the smoking limitation measure, but he vetoed the other measure-as he has done previously. In contrast to the legislative process to approve a bill-a majority required in both houses-a veto can be upheld if either the House or the Senate casts 34% of its votes against the override In other words, if 34 members of the 100-member House, OR 14 members of the 40-member Senate vote to uphold the veto, the veto takes effect and the bill dies.
Governor Kaine also vetoed bills expanding the death penalty to include accomplices to the crime, not just the “triggerman.”
In addition, he also vetoed an item in the Budget that required the privatization of the reporting and inspection functions of the weights and measures staff of the Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). The original language would have private sector entities take over inspections. With the current VDACS staff, inspections occur less frequently than every two years-particularly in the case of owners of gas pumps. Theoretically, privatization would improve and increase inspections.
It is my understanding the at the gas retailers oppose the measure, partially because they believe the current system works well, and they use private parties now to provide checks so that they lose money on sales.
Also, I have received a number of phone messages from constituents about several amendments that would increase renewable energy supplies.
If you have an interest in the outcomes of the measures, and would like to have an update, please call my office at 703-560-8338.