Glenn Youngkin from Virginia, United States via Wikimedia Commons

Governor Glenn Youngkin signed 23 bills and vetoed seven after the General Assembly voted to accept, accept in part, or reject Youngkin’s amendments to the original legislation. Although the Senate rejected Youngkin’s amendment to force the whole Loudoun County School Board (LCSB) to run again this year, Youngkin approved Delegate David Reid’s (D-Loudoun) underlying bill, originally created to facilitate beginning a staggered election cycle for the various seats on the board.

“Governor Youngkin has signed the unamended version of HB1138, bringing a peaceful closure to his attempt to undermine the duly elected members of Loudoun’s locally elected school board. This is a victory for free and fair elections across the entire Commonwealth,” Reid tweeted Friday.

Youngkin vetoed House Education Chairman Glenn Davis’ (R-Virginia Beach) bill to protect state employees who speak out during public comment period after the Senate rejected Youngkin’s amendments. Davis introduced the bill at the request of The Family Foundation to protect government employees from being penalized by their employers, a reaction to teacher Tanner Cross’ firing after speaking at a LCSB public comment period.

Where Davis’ HB 384 sought to broadly protect state employees expressing their opinion about actions from “a unit of state government at a hearing of a public body,” Youngkin’s amendments focused on comments about actions from a “local public body or school board.”

The governor explained that the Virginia Supreme Court already addressed the situation between Cross and the LCSB.

“Despite the positive intentions, the legislation has practical implications for the effective management of state government that may lead to significant confusion when state employees comment during legislative or regulatory public comment periods,” Youngkin wrote in the veto explanation. “I strongly support the foundational principle of free speech and as Governor will always be an advocate for policies that protect this founding principle.”

In Youngkin’s Friday press release, he said, “On April 27th, the General Assembly agreed to the vast majority of my recommendations, and today, I have taken final action on the remaining bills. While most of these bills were returned to me in an imperfect form, I firmly believe they offer a bipartisan path forward.”

“However, select bills required essential changes. Therefore, I have vetoed seven additional bills that would not be in the best interest of the Commonwealth as my recommendations were not adopted. While the action from the bills passed during the 2022 regular session is now complete, I eagerly await the return of the General Assembly next week to send a budget to my desk that will offer significant tax relief for all Virginians while making historic investments in education, public safety, economic development, and behavioral health,” Youngkin said.

This article originally appeared in The Virginia Star. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of The Republican Standard. Republished with permission.