LYNCHBURG, Va. – Virginia’s General Assembly reconvened in the Capitol Wednesday, this time to review more than 100 pieces of legislation amended or vetoed by Governor Glenn Youngkin.
“I think that there’s a general understanding that we’ve improved some bills with our amendments, and I expect there to be some discussion and debate about that of course,” said Youngkin.
Youngkin himself vetoed 26 bills and amended more than 100 pieces of legislation.
One issue we’re keeping a close eye on is modifying the definition of “marijuana.” Senate Bill 591 would create two new misdemeanors for personal marijuana possession. For now, Virginia’s Senate chose to set it aside, passing it by temporarily.
Both parties considered vetoes and amendments as they remain in a stalemate over the state budget.
Another issue many are watching closely is the proposed gas tax holiday.
Youngkin wants to fully suspend the tax -- from May through July -- before phasing it back in August and September.
The Senate’s Finance and Appropriations Committee discussed the topic Wednesday morning before Senator Steve Newman, who sponsored the bill
“Unless we pass this bill, or a bill, or we do something in the budget; the fact is that there is an 8.5% increase coming in the cost of gasoline. That will hit your consumers, my consumers, my constituents in July,” said Newman.
The committee voted 12-3 to block the bill. Another version of it remains alive in the Republican House of Delegates, and the two sides could also put some form of gas price relief in the state budget.
Youngkin commented on the vote, saying:
Yeah, I’m really disappointed. And I just think we need to recognize, first of all, the runaway inflation and the cost of living escalation in Virginia is hurting Virginians. The second thing we got to recognize it’s Virginia’s money, Virginians' money, not the government’s money. And we have a billion dollars in our Commonwealth Transportation fund more than we thought. This money belongs to Virginians and it’s a chance for us to give Virginians a break when they need it most. And so yeah, I’m really disappointed that the Democrats don’t see that and I continue to think it’s their money. As we work through the budget, I hope that our tax package absolutely gets done the way it’s needed to get done. Because it is time to bring taxes down in Virginia, we have an opportunity to bring taxes down and invest in education, law enforcement and behavioral health. Virginia has been waiting a long time, and it’s time for him to stop waiting. We got to get on with this budget process and give Virginia what we need to do. lower taxes, investments in education, investments in law enforcement, investments and behavioral health, we can accomplish it all. We just need to get on with it.