One week until veto session in Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — In exactly one week, lawmakers will return to Richmond for reconvened session, or “veto session.”

It’ll be the first time the general assembly comes together since adjourning February 25.

On April 5, members will be looking at a long list of recommendations and vetoes by Governor Terry McAuliffe.

There’s a lot to consider after McAuliffe recently broke the record for most vetoes by a Virginia governor.

“They’re going to come up fast and furious because it’s only a one-day session,” said Del. Jeff Bourne (D – 71st District). “We’ll have to do a lot of work in a short amount of time.”

Wednesday will be Bourne’s first veto session. He believes McAuliffe will get his way.

“I feel very confident that Governor McAuliffe’s vetoes will fair very well and have the ability be sustained on April 5,” the democrat said.

Delegate John O’Bannon (R – 73rd District) has been at it for 17 years. The republican says, this veto session, the governor had no real surprises.

“At the end of the day, I don’t make too much of it,” he said of the governor’s new record. “It’s pretty consistent with his style.”

Both delegates Bourne and O’Bannon say it’s unlikely the house and senate will both find the two-thirds vote needed to override any of the vetoes.

“The chances of overriding a governor’s veto are very low,” said O’Bannon. “And that’s why his record is as good as it is.”

Though republicans hold the majority in both the house and the senate, they don’t make up enough to be a real threat to the two-thirds majority rule.

Of the 100 members of the house, 66 are republican. Sixty-seven votes are needed to challenge a veto. The senate has 40 members. Twenty-one are republicans.

As far as amendments, both delegates O’Bannon and Bourne agree the governor’s recent proposal to restore the state’s “one gun a month” rule will likely be a big talker.

O’Bannon says, procedurally, it’s raised some eyebrows.

“That in the past has always come through the regular order, where it was introduced as a bill, came through, was deliberated in the committees and decisions were made,” said O’Bannon. “What he’s done now is sort of stuck this in at the last minute and I doubt very much that that will survive.”

Bourne, on the other hand, calls it an “important” amendment.

“It wasn’t too long ago we saw our law enforcement partners break up a very, very complicated, complex and large gun-running organization. I was struck — but not surprised — that one of the perpetrators remarked and almost joked about how lax Virginia’s gun laws are and the fact that he could buy 20 guns a day and nobody would probably notice,” said Bourne.

Bourne suspects another hot topic on the table Wednesday will be expanding Medicaid.

Reconvened session begins at noon next Wednesday in at the Virginia State Capitol.

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