Friday, June 20, 2014
Vetoes Drop and Virginia Moves Forward
First, the Governor announced that he is going to expand Medicaid administratively using his power as Chief Executive. There was bipartisan support to do this legislatively, but the most conservative members of the House of Delegates were blocking it.
He has directed the Secretary of Health and Human Resources to have plans drawn up by September 1, 2014.
He has also directed officials to hold all plans to construct a new $300 million General Assembly Building. He said that he cannot support this construction while Virginia cuts funding from homelessness.
Veto #1 - Medicaid Innovation Review Commission
The Governor has vetoed the Medicaid Innovation and Review Committee (MIRC). The MIRC was created as a compromise in the 2013 session after some members objected to passing the Governor's transportation package without also passing Medicaid Expansion. We were promised that the MIRC would lead to expansion. It has done nothing.
The Governor also believes that the MIRC is a "sham" and he has directed his staff to stop participating in meetings or providing information.
Veto #2 - Stanley Amendment Banning Medicaid Expansion
The Governor has also vetoed "the Stanley Amendment" to the budget which specifically prohibited a Medicaid Expansion without the approval of the legislature. There is no money tied to this language so the Governor believes it may be vetoed on its own.
Veto #3 - Funding for New Judgeships
The Governor has vetoed all funding for new judgeships. He believes that funding judgeships and leaving a special session open for appointments is an assault on his power as Governor (the Governor gets to appoint temporary judges to Circuit Court and appellate courts if we are out of session).
Veto #4 - Chesterfield-Petersburg School Partnership
The Governor is vetoing language allowing Chesterfield County to partner with Petersburg City on public schools. The Governor believes this is rife with legal problems and was not requested by either locality.
Veto #5 - $4.6 Million cut from FACT Fund
The legislature created the FACT Fund to deal with contingencies created by cuts caused by the sequester. The Governor believes that these cuts are an assault on Virginia's military and he does not support it.
Veto #6 - Funding for Ethics Advisory Commission
The Governor argues that the ethics legislation passed by the General Assembly this year was window dressing that did little (I agree with him). He has vetoed money to pay for staff for a new Ethics Advisory Commission and he will introduce legislation next session.
Veto #7 - Forfeiture & Settlements
There was language inserted in the budget that limited how the Attorney General could use monies recovered from forfeitures and settlements. The Governor vetoed this language at the request of the Attorney General.
We vote on these vetoes on Monday night starting at 5:00 p.m. Get your popcorn ready.