Mount Vernon Column: The Veto Update

Mount Vernon Column: The Veto Update


Rejoice! The season of Governor’s vetoes are upon us. With the Democrats picking up enough seats to sustain Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s vetoes, we are finally able to prevent some poorly-considered legislation from becoming law.

Last week, the Governor rejected legislation that would prohibit localities from making their own decisions to improve wage and benefit conditions. A number of localities have wage policies that allow the employees of contractors performing services for those localities to generate enough income to allow them to live and raise a family in the area.

I agree with the Governor that companies not inclined to participate at these wage levels need not contract with the localities. House Bill 1371 would undermine these laudable policies to no apparent advantage.

This legislation attempts to restrict wage growth and impedes future labor agreements. I will vote to uphold the Governor’s veto because Virginia’s efforts should be focused on increasing wages, which will improve the lives of our families and aid our efforts to build a new Virginia economy, rather than placing artificial restrictions on their future growth.

The Governor also vetoed a bill requiring voter registrars to reject registration applications submitted by qualified Virginians.

The Voting Rights Act expressly prohibits denying applications for omissions that are not material to determining voter eligibility. Under 52 U.S.C. § 10101(a)(2)(B), “[n]o person acting under color of law shall deny the right of any individual to vote in any election because of an error or omission on any record or paper relating to any application, registration, or other act requisite to voting, if such error or omission is not material to determining whether such individual is qualified under State law to vote in such election.”

House Bill 9 would require the automatic denial of certain eligible Virginians and all applicants who fail to check a box indicating that she or he will be at least 18 years of age on or before the next general election. The checkbox is not material to determining whether the applicant meets the age requirements to register to vote because the applicant is already required to provide his or her date of birth.

Government works best when as many citizens have a voice in our democracy as possible. We should be seeking ways to make it easier for qualified Virginians to participate in elections, not disenfranchising them over technicalities.

Finally, I fully support the Governor's critically important veto of House Bill 1090, that would prevent equal access to health care for women through defunding Planned Parenthood, which provides critical health care services, including access to contraception and screening and treating sexually transmitted infections.

I intend to stand with the Governor in all his vetoes of these bad bills.