May 15, 2017

On May 3rd, Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell directed the Clerk of the House of Delegates and Keeper of the Rolls of the Commonwealth to notify Governor Terry McAuliffe of five invalid veto actions on HB 1500 (the budget bill). Clerk G. Paul Nardo sent a letter to the Governor, explaining the invalid veto of Item 436, among others, of the re-enrolled budget document. Item 436 contains the transportation provisions of the Budget, including language that would prohibit the Commonwealth from mandating PLAs on P3 projects.

On May 12th, the Governor issued Executive Order 65, which directs Virginia Executive Branch Agencies to ignore Clerk Paul Nardo’s letter and enact the budget in accordance with each of the five item vetoes he returned to the General Assembly on April 28, 2017.

Speaker of the House William J. Howell brushed off the governor’s order with a bristling response: “The idea that an executive order can supersede the Constitution, decades of Supreme Court precedent, and longstanding legislative practice is nonsensical,” the speaker said in a statement. “This is the culmination of four years of executive overreach, disregard for the law, and contempt for a duly elected branch of government by this governor.”

Where are we? The budget will be printed without the five vetoes of the Governor. State agencies that report to the Governor will begin to act in accordance with his executive order, basically enacting policies as though the vetoes had not been rejected. The next move will likely result in litigation over the constitutionally of the actions of the House and Governor.


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