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Governor Takes Final Actions on Remaining Bills from 2024 Regular Session

On Friday, May 17, Governor Youngkin announced his final actions on the 55 bills that were returned to him by the legislature after consideration of his amendments at the April 17 reconvened session.  The Governor had thirty days to take final action on these bills; at this stage in the legislative process, the Governor may sign or veto bills, or take no action, in which case a bill takes effect without his signature.  Governor Youngkin signed seven bills, including legislation that allows additional local authority to reduce speed limits, as discussed below, and vetoed 48 bills.

Of interest to local governments are the following actions on bills:

Legislation Signed Into Law by the Governor:

Local authority to reduce speed limits:  HB 1071 (Carr) allows any locality to reduce the speed limit to less than 25 miles per hour (but not less than 15 miles per hour) on highways within its boundary that are located within a business or residence district, provided that signage and notice requirements are met.  VACo has historically supported this concept and advocated for passage of HB 1071.

Legislation Vetoed by the Governor:

Teacher salaries:  HB 187 (Clark)/SB 104 (Lucas), as passed by the General Assembly, would have required the state to provide its share of salary increases over the next three legislative sessions sufficient to raise the average teacher salary in Virginia to at least the national average teacher salary by the end of the next biennium, with the increases phased in at increments specified in the bill.  The Governor’s amendments, which were rejected by the General Assembly in April, would have modified the bills to require an annual review of teacher compensation (rather than the current biennial review), and required the budget bills introduced in the next two sessions to propose funding for compensation incentives for Standards of Quality-funded instructional and support position salaries to remain competitive (at or above the national average).  In his veto message, the Governor expressed concern about the bills’ proposed methodology and potential to limit future flexibility in developing budgets.

K-12 funding for At-Risk Program and English language learners:  HB 624 (Rasoul)/SB 105 (Lucas) would have revised the At-Risk Add-On program to create a new At-Risk program and funding formula and required staffing for English language learners to be based on student proficiency levels, as well as revising the National Teacher Certification Incentive Program.  The bills also would have directed the Department of Education to collect data on English language learner expenditures and student proficiency levels, and to develop a plan for revised special education staffing requirements that would address needs in each school division.  The Governor had proposed to add a reenactment clause and direct the Department of Education to collaborate with the Joint Subcommittee on Elementary and Secondary Education Funding to determine the impact of modifying the proxy used to estimate the number of at-risk students, as well as the impact of eliminating the Standards of Quality Prevention, Intervention, and Remediation program.  In his veto message, the Governor reiterated his interest in further review of the K-12 funding structure.

Skill games:  SB 212 (Rouse) would have established a regulatory and tax framework for skill games, as defined in the bill.  The Governor’s April amendments proposed significant changes to the legislation, including increasing the tax rate, allowing local governing bodies to hold referenda to prohibit electronic gaming devices (as defined in the bill) within a locality, revising the distribution of tax revenues, and barring electronic gaming devices within certain distances of casino gaming establishments, horse racetracks or satellite facilities, or schools, child day centers, or religious institutions.  In the Governor’s veto message, he cited the need for “a robust set of safeguards” for expanded gaming options, but also indicated a willingness to work with the legislature on the issue; additional legislation on skill games is expected to be considered as part of the special session that convened last week.

Recordation and property tax exemptions:  HB 568 (Askew)/SB 517 (Williams Graves) would have eliminated the recordation tax exemption for the Virginia Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and eliminated the real and personal property tax exemption for this group and several other entities.  The Governor’s April amendments would have required a broader study of the effects of existing recordation tax and property tax exemptions that were granted by designation prior to 1971 and added reenactment clauses to the bills; his veto message explains that property tax exemptions previously granted by General Assembly designation are “ripe for reform,” which should, in his view, “involve broad-based measures, allowing local governments autonomy in determining tax exemptions and considering the locality’s tax base and deed transfers.”

A full list of the Governor’s veto statements may be found at this link.

VACo Contact: VACo Legislative Team

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