RICHMOND – On Saturday, hours after being sworn in as the 74th governor of Virginia, Republican Glenn Youngkin unveiled his agenda for day one.
Gov. Youngkin, the first Republican elected to the office since Bob McDonnell was elected in November 2009, has already signed 11 executive actions.
Those orders include removing Critical Race Theory and what the administration describes as ‘divisive concepts’ from public education, withdrawing from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, making masks optional in schools and several others.
“It’s Day One, and we are going to work just like we promised,” said Youngkin. “It’s a new day in Virginia, but the work is only beginning.”
Below is a breakdown of the 11 executive actions Youngkin has signed as released from his office. This will include nine executive orders and two executive directives, making 11 executive actions.
Executive Order Number One: Youngkin pledges to remove what his office defines as ‘divisive concepts’ from public education. This includes Critical Race Theory. Critical Race Theory is an academic concept developed in the 1970s and 1980s that claims racism is deeply rooted in the health care system, policies and laws that make America.
Executive Order Number Two: Youngkin plans to make masks optional in schools. He feels as if mask mandates have been ineffective in schools thus far. This executive order comes as area school districts report record-high COVID-19 numbers.
Executive Order Number Three: He strives to “restore integrity and confidence in the Parole Board of the Commonwealth of Virginia.” He plans to do this by terminating the current board, selecting five qualified members for the board and assisting with reviewing board procedures. This order comes after Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lee resigned from the Virginia Parole Board on Thursday.
Executive Order Number Four: Youngkin has ordered Attorney General Jason Miyares to conduct a full investigation into a sexual assault at Loudoun County Public Schools that the office says was handled wrongly. After the incident, which happened in the spring of 2021 in a Loudoun County high school, the assaulter was transferred to another Loudoun County high school. There, the student assaulted a second person. According to the office, school officials held back key details and lied to parents.
Executive Order Number Five: As Youngkin strives to make “the government work for Virginians,” he will establish a Commonwealth Chief Transformation Officer. The officer’s job duties include hearing the concerns of citizens and then producing reforms to those complaints.
Executive Order Number Six: Youngkin pledges to declare Virginia open for business. A myriad of businesses throughout the Commonwealth were impacted by the pandemic, some closing their doors for good. With this order, he will reassess if there is a need for the “Permanent Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus That Causes COVID-19.” This standard requires that employers take proper precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Executive Order Number Seven: He strives to prevent human trafficking and provide support to survivors. 24.9 million people are victims of forced labor, which includes sex trafficking, according to Safe Haven, an anti-trafficking nonprofit.
Executive Order Number Eight: He will establish a commission to combat anti-Semitism. The commission will work to reduce the number of anti-Semitic incidents that occur in the Commonwealth. Youngkin will also provide public schools and state institutions with learning resources about anti-Semitism and its ties to the Holocaust.
Executive Order Number Nine: As planned, Virginia will withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The reason for this, he explains, is to protect businesses and ratepayers from rising costs. The RGGI is a market-based program designed to reduce and regulate carbon dioxide emissions. His plan to withdraw from the initiative sparked much debate, with some calling the move ‘disappointing.’
Executive Directive Number One: Youngkin pledges to “jumpstart our economy by cutting job-killing regulations by 25 percent of regulations not mandated by federal or state statute.”
Executive Directive Number Two: He pledges to remove vaccine mandates for all state employees. Youngkin explains that he will continue to ensure Virginians have the necessary information to stay safe during the pandemic; however, he believes that enforcing a COVID-19 vaccine on employees and requiring employees to submit vaccine documentation is “harmful to their individual freedoms and personal privacy.”