Yesterday's veto session was an enormous success for Governor McAuliffe, who did not lose a single veto despite Republican majorities in both chambers. None of the Governor's 68 vetoes have been overturned during his tenure. This would not have been possible without House and Senate Democrats who took a stand against these bills through tireless advocacy, floor speeches, and by sustaining all of the Governor’s vetoes.
Governor McAuliffe and Democrats reject discrimination, efforts to limit women’s access to health care, efforts to disenfranchise voters, and legislation that limits economic opportunity for the middle class. These are Virginia values. Yet, Republicans in the General Assembly continue down a divisive path, taking their political cues from Washington and GOP presidential spectacle.
It’s simple: Virginians want leadership focused on growing the Commonwealth, not creating barriers. This legislative session, Republicans doubled down on creating barriers.
Here are some key takeaways from the 2016 veto session:
Governor McAuliffe was loud and clear about what he’d veto during his State of the Commonwealth address. Yet, Republicans in the General Assembly decided to waste time and taxpayer dollars on pursuing this type of legislation. Here’s an excerpt from the speech:
"Our ideas and proposals are not partisan, nor should they be controversial. I do not expect that you will accept every single one of them, but I am optimistic that our work will be defined more by cooperation than by conflict.
I hope that same approach will be reflected in the bills that you send to me for consideration as this session progresses.
I am ready to work with you on your proposals that will grow our economy, expand opportunity, make our government work better and take better care of our taxpayer dollars.
But I will not hesitate to veto legislation that I believe harms those important goals. Specifically, I am prepared to veto bills that roll back the progress that we have made on marriage equality and women’s access to health care.
I will also reject proposals that limit this Commonwealth’s ability to keep Virginians safe from gun violence or to react to the very clear and present danger of climate change and sea level rise." - Governor McAuliffe's 2016 State of the Commonwealth Address
Again, when Governor McAuliffe said #NoBadBills in January, he meant it:
The Republicans’ overt partisan obstructionism cannot be denied:
"House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) has been fond of saying he prefers an “alternative” to Medicaid expansion that spares Virginia taxpayers, although he has never offered such a proposal in the form of legislation and has no other vision for covering the hundreds of thousands of people who now lack health insurance. Now, presented with just such an alternative, he barely bothers to explain his refusal to budge, saying merely the governor’s budget has “overpromised.”
In fact, Mr. Howell is content with Virginia’s status quo, in which, in one of the nation’s wealthiest states, hundreds of thousands of people have no health insurance. That ongoing disgrace will be an undeniable part of Mr. Howell’s legacy." – Washington Post Editorial
Governor McAuliffe and Democrats in the General Assembly believe that basic civil rights should extend to women and members of the LGBT community - especially at a time when anti-women, anti-LGBT bills are being passed in state houses across the country.
Headline: "Hero Governor Vetoes Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood at a Planned Parenthood Clinic" - New York Magazine
Governor McAuliffe has spoken with CEO’s around the Commonwealth and their message was singular: discrimination is bad for business and bad for the economy. http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000506278
If Republicans in the General Assembly had their way, Virginia would be facing similar economic and social backlash to North Carolina:
“Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe also deserves praise for turning aside a wrong-headed “religious freedom” bill passed earlier this year by the General Assembly. It, too, would have been bad for business. For all his faults, the governor keeps his focus on making the state an inviting place to open up shop.
Ultimately, that’s one of government’s missions. That means staying clear of policies that alienate and encourage division and discrimination, that undermine corporate and municipal governance.
It means focusing on helping forward-thinking entrepreneurs develop opportunity, create jobs, attract talent and put people to work.
Virginia lawmakers have yet to entirely learn that lesson, as the legislature’s passage of its “religious freedom” bill makes clear. But divided government served its purpose with McAuliffe’s veto.” -- Virginian-Pilot Editorial
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