Home Ralph Northam Gov. Northam Vetoes Bills on “Sanctuary Cities,” Redistricting, Wage Standards for Contractors,...

Gov. Northam Vetoes Bills on “Sanctuary Cities,” Redistricting, Wage Standards for Contractors, Climate/Clean Energy, etc. [UPDATE: Country Club Bill Vetoed!]

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Lots of vetoes today by Gov. Northam, mostly of terrible bills by Republicans, so I decided to put them all in one blog post. Enjoy. 🙂

Governor Northam Vetoes Bill Overriding Local Taxing Authority

RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam today vetoed House Bill 1204, which would override Arlington County’s decision making authority with respect to how the county assesses property taxes to two country clubs. The Governor’s full veto statement is below.

April 9, 2018

Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 1204, which requires the County of Arlington to assess two private country clubs within its boundaries as land dedicated to open space rather than its current method of highest and best use.

This is a local dispute over a local government’s method of assessing land for property taxation. As such, the solution to this dispute should be reached on the local level without the involvement of the state

I have been assured that an agreement acceptable to both sides of this dispute is close to being reached. I encourage the parties to continue negotiations to find a solution so that similar legislation will not be necessary in the future.

Accordingly, I veto this bill.

Sincerely,

Ralph S. Northam

 

Governor Northam Vetoes Legislation Limiting Virginia’s Ability to Fight Global Warming and Create Clean Energy Jobs

RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam today vetoed House Bill 1270, which would limit the Governor’s authority to use a market-based carbon trading program to reduce carbon pollution and grow the clean energy sector. The Governor’s full veto statement is below:

April 9, 2018

Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 1270, which prohibits the Governor or any state agency from adopting any regulation establishing a carbon dioxide cap-and-trade program or establishing participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or any similar program without explicit majority vote approval by both houses of the General Assembly.

Climate change affects all citizens and business entities in the Commonwealth, especially those located in coastal regions. The Commonwealth must have all the tools available to combat climate change and protect its residents. These tools include the ability to adopt regulations, and rules and guidance that mitigate the impacts of climate change by reducing carbon pollution in the Commonwealth. The Governor and state agencies should not be limited in their ability to protect the environment and in turn, the citizens of the Commonwealth.

Furthermore, this prohibition would tie Virginia’s hands in the global race to lead the clean energy economy and create the jobs that come with it. A Commonwealth with our resources and workforce should be on the leading edge of this promising sector, not erecting barriers to innovation and economic growth.

Finally, the legislative veto set out in House Bill 1270 violates two provisions of the Virginia Constitution: Article III, Section 1 (Separation of Powers) and Article IV, Section 11 (Enactment of Laws).

Accordingly, I veto this bill.

Sincerely,

Ralph S. Northam

Governor Northam Vetoes Legislation Seeking to Change Redistricting Lines outside of Constitutional Process

RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam today vetoed House Bill 158, which would change legislative district boundaries outside of the redistricting process prescribed by the Constitution of Virginia. The Governor’s full veto statement is below.

April 9, 2018

Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 158. House Bill 158 authorizes the General Assembly to change legislative district boundaries outside of the decennial redistricting, in order to conform boundaries of legislative districts to the boundaries of local voting precincts.

This bill violates Article II, Section 6 of the Constitution of Virginia, which states: “The General Assembly shall reapportion the Commonwealth into electoral districts in accordance with this section in the year 2011 and every ten years thereafter.” This bill would allow the General Assembly to reapportion at any time of its choosing, regardless of the Constitutional mandate. This would jeopardize a Virginian’s constitutional right to equal apportionment.

Accordingly, I veto this bill.

Sincerely,

Ralph S. Northam

 

Governor Northam Vetoes Legislation Burdening Local Election Officials with Redundant Requirements

RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam today vetoed legislation that would require local election officials to investigate lists of registered voters, despite the fact that Virginia already has significant measures in place to preserve the integrity of the Commonwealth’s voter rolls. The Governor’s full veto statement is below:

April 9, 2018

Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto Senate Bill 521. Senate Bill 521 requires local electoral boards to direct their general registrars to investigate lists of registered voters anytime the number exceeds the number of persons age 18 or older in that city or county. The bill would also require general registrars to investigate the lists of persons voting in an election when that number exceeds the number of registered voters in that city or county.

This legislation is unnecessary and places onerous responsibilities on local election officials. Virginia already has robust list maintenance procedures in place. The list maintenance system is a complex process of cross-referencing voter registration across the United States to ensure that voters are not registered in more than one location. The Department of Elections already uses information from the United States Postal Service, the Social Security Administration, the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, and several other databases to ensure the maintenance of its voter lists.

In addition, I have concerns about the implementation of this bill. This legislation would give general registrars investigative authority they currently do not have, but provides no government oversight for how they exercise that authority. This could lead to privacy issues and potential legal challenges for electoral boards, general registrars and localities.

Accordingly, I veto this bill.

Sincerely,

Ralph S. Northam

 

Governor Northam Vetoes Legislation that would Divert State and Local Law Enforcement Resources for Political Purposes

RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam today vetoed House Bill 1257, which would force state and local law enforcement agencies to use resources and manpower to perform functions that should be executed by federal immigration enforcement agencies. The Governor’s full statement is below:

April 9, 2018

Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, and after consulting with law enforcement and local stakeholder groups, I veto House Bill 1257, which imposes an unnecessary and divisive requirement upon localities regarding the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

This legislation would force local law enforcement agencies to use precious resources to perform functions that are the responsibility of federal immigration enforcement agencies. It also sends a chilling message to communities across Virginia that could have negative impacts on public safety.

Localities have the right to determine whether to expend the resources and voluntarily enter into an agreement with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. Police divisions across the Commonwealth have a long tradition of engaging in community policing strategies, and many have determined that it is more important to develop a relationship with immigrant communities in order to keep all of those who live within the locality safe. This legislation would strip localities of that autonomy and force them to divert money and manpower away from their core public safety functions.

Were it to become law, this bill would send a clear message to people across this Commonwealth that state and local law enforcement officials are to be feared and avoided rather than trusted and engaged. The safety of our communities requires that all people, whether they are documented or not, feel comfortable reporting criminal activity and cooperating with local law enforcement investigations. This bill would make it harder for the men and women who keep us safe to do their jobs.

There are many actions we can take to support law enforcement and keep Virginians safe. Placing new unfunded mandates on state and local public safety agencies in order to make a political point is not one of them.

Accordingly, I veto this bill.

Sincerely,

Ralph S. Northam

 

Governor Northam Vetoes Legislation Prohibiting Local Governments from Maintaining Higher Wage Standards for Contractors

RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam today vetoed House Bill 375, which would prohibit local governments from requiring their contractors to pay employees a higher wage than the state requires. The Governor’s full statement is below.

April 9, 2018

Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 375, which prohibits local governing boards from establishing provisions requiring a wage floor or any other employee benefit or compensation above what is otherwise required by state or federal law.

Local governments can require contractors to pay certain wage levels in contracts with localities. These initiatives have provided localities with qualified, high-skilled workers and contractors and successfully addressed significant cost-of-living and workforce disparities in these localities.

The ability of local governments to make this choice should be supported, not limited. Decisions regarding municipal contacts should be made by local leaders who fully understand local needs, and the needs of their workforce.

Accordingly, I veto this bill.

Sincerely,

Ralph S. Northam

 

Governor Northam Vetoes Legislation Regarding the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity

RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam today vetoed legislation that would move certain functions of the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity to another agency. The Governor’s veto statement is below:

April 9, 2018

Pursuant to Article V, Section 6 of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 1568, which transfers certain functions of the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity to another agency.

My administration worked with the bill patron during the session to address our concerns with House Bill 1568. While we made some progress, we did not resolve our concerns.

As I continue my term, I will review the performance of this and all of our executive branch agencies. As I said when I took office, I am committed to regulatory reform when appropriate, and I will be pleased work with the bill patron and others on this very important matter.

Accordingly, I veto this.

Sincerely,

Ralph S. Northam

 

Governor Northam Vetoes Legislation that Would Threaten Reliability of Elections Information

RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam today vetoed House Bill 1167, which would require jury commissioners to collect information from people who are not qualified to serve on juries and present that information to local registrars for list maintenance purposes. Governor Northam’s full veto statement is below:

April 9, 2018

Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 1167, which would require jury commissioners to collect information from persons not qualified to serve as jurors for specific reasons and subsequently make that information available to the general registrar of that locality. The bill would also require the general registrars who receive this information to initiate list maintenance procedures.

My Administration is committed to protecting the right to vote and ensuring that Virginia elections are conducted with integrity. There is no evidence or data that jury information is a reliable source for voter list maintenance. Relying on jury information to maintain our lists could weaken the veracity of our voter rolls and thus our elections. Furthermore, this unreliable information could endanger the registrations of eligible voters and prevent them from successfully casting a ballot.

House Bill 1167 could harm qualified voters and undermine the democratic process in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Accordingly, I veto this bill.

Sincerely,

Ralph S. Northam

  • DCStrangler

    Noticably absent is HB1204. 6 hours and 30 minutes to go. What’s going on over at 2100 Clarendon Blvd? Haven’t they learned to compromise?

    • VETOED. So much for “Northam isn’t likely to veto something he knows will be overridden. There is no percentage in that.” 😉

      • DCStrangler

        We shall see. They only need what, to take 1 vote back? I’ll take Northam at his word that a compromise is near. I wouldn’t be surprised if the ACB drags their heels. That would be a really, really dumb idea. It would show them to be disingenuous, make Northam look bad and piss off the legislature who already holds Arlington in high disregard.

  • The guy who wants to succeed Bob BADlatte would be even WORSE, if that’s possible. Here’s Ben Cline’s statement in response to Northam’s veto of his “sanctuary cities” bill.

    “Ensuring that Virginia localities abide by federal immigration laws is a matter of public safety and upholding the rule of law. Governor Northam’s veto of my bill to ban sanctuary cities in Virginia is indefensible. The governor has continuously changed his position on this important issue, but it appears he has once again caved to the extreme left of his party. It is my hope that the General Assembly will override the governor’s veto when we meet next week,”

  • Governor Northam Vetoes Bill Overriding Local Taxing Authority

    RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam today vetoed House Bill 1204, which would override Arlington County’s decision making authority with respect to how the county assesses property taxes to two country clubs. The Governor’s full veto statement is below.

    April 9, 2018

    Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 1204, which requires the County of Arlington to assess two private country clubs within its boundaries as land dedicated to open space rather than its current method of highest and best use.

    This is a local dispute over a local government’s method of assessing land for property taxation. As such, the solution to this dispute should be reached on the local level without the involvement of the state

    I have been assured that an agreement acceptable to both sides of this dispute is close to being reached. I encourage the parties to continue negotiations to find a solution so that similar legislation will not be necessary in the future.

    Accordingly, I veto this bill.

  • From a press release by Gov. Northam’s office (“Governor Northam Finalizes Actions on Legislation in Advance of Reconvened Session”)

    House Bill 1539 and Senate Bill 856: Dedicated Funding for the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority

    The Governor sent down a number of amendments. The amendments restore $0.10 of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority’s Grantor’s Tax and raise a $0.05 Northern Virginia Transportation Commission Grantor’s Tax. The amendments also increase the NVTC Transient Occupancy Tax to 3% from 2%.

    In addition, there are a number of technical and clarifying amendments.

    The Governor’s amendments ensure a funding stream for WMATA while reducing by $30 million the annual negative impacts on NVTA for other transportation projects in Northern Virginia.

  • RobertColgan

    I’m glad Northam is separating the chaff from the wheat…….but I am left wondering:
    how is it there is SO much chaff — when the winnowing should have already been done at the House or Senate level…. . .?
    Really mysterious.
    It’s as if your hamster who escaped his cage is leaving elephant-sized droppings all over the house.
    I guess politics is even more arcane than I realized.

    • notjohnsmosby

      I’m not sure if I understand your rambling post, but if you asking why the House and Senate passed the bills, it’s because they’re controlled by Republicans majorities. If 21 Republican Senators agree with 51 Republican Delegates, then a bill will get passed regardless of what Dems think of it.

      • RobertColgan

        It was the strangeness of the hamster’s bowels, wasn’t it, that confused you…?
        Perfectly understandable.

    • Yeah, nothing really mysterious about it…the House and Senate are both controlled by Republicans, unfortunately. Let’s change that situation in 2019!

  • Del. Mark Levine on “this terrible” country club bill.

    Governor Vetoes Country Club Bill

    HB 1204 was a bill introduced by Republican Delegate Tim Hugo that, if passed, would override Arlington County’s authority to set property tax assessments for two country clubs in Arlington, cutting their taxes. Note that this was not an effect of a larger, statewide bill; this was the entire bill! It was narrowly crafted to only apply to Arlington County and only these two country clubs. The issue is currently the subject of litigation and is being negotiated between the country clubs and the County, so it would be absolutely wrong for the General Assembly to step in. It would also be against the state constitution to interfere with a locality’s property tax assessments like this. I stood up on the House floor during Session and made that argument, but the Republican majority passed the bill over my objections. That’s why my Arlington colleagues and I lobbied the Governor and sent him a letter asking him to veto HB 1204.

    I’m pleased to report that the Governor has taken our advice and vetoed the bill! We’ll be taking up vetoes at the Reconvened Session next week, and I’m confident that we’ll have the votes to sustain his veto and keep this terrible bill from becoming law.