Following long established legal precedent and the only course of action available to him, the speaker of the House of Delegates ruled that the governor’s veto of my budget amendment “out of order,” thus preserving the full and complete language in the amendment.
The “Stanley Amendment” was specifically designed to prohibit the unilateral implementation of Medicaid expansion by the governor without the approval of the General Assembly.
Most importantly, the amendment was crafted to be veto proof. With his ruling, the speaker agreed by rejecting the governor’s veto.
The budget returns to the governor’s desk with the amendment to prevent Medicaid expansion while preserving the bipartisan Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission established by former Gov. McDonnell.
The speaker also declared that the veto to abolish funding for new judges to be out of order. Funding to staff judicial vacancies remains in the budget, and again, with no action required by the Senate.
The recent weighted caseload study of the commonwealth’s judicial system demonstrates the need for immediate relief.
To ignore the critical shortage of judges by the governor creates undue hardships on the many citizens waiting to have their legal claims adjudicated in an efficient and timely manner.
Virginia’s legal system cannot be impeded by a governor who doesn’t understand that justice delayed is always justice denied.
The out-of-order ruling by the speaker retains increased funding levels for this critical need.
The rulings by Speaker Howell are fully supported by the Constitution of Virginia and subsequent rulings by the Supreme Court of Virginia.
The governor’s decision to bypass the legislative process violated the constitution, and represents the governor’s personal desires to saddle the taxpaying citizens of the Virginia with unsustainable Medicaid expenses and stymie an already overburdened court system.
While I firmly believe that we must find solutions to help our working poor get access to affordable healthcare, the expansion of a flawed program such as Medicaid is not the solution.
It has been disappointing to witness the governor’s desire to play games with the legislative process since March. It has been needless and unwarranted.
The citizens of Virginia deserve better leadership from our governor, and do not need his Washington-style gamesmanship by executive fiat.
After handling the budget amendments, the Senate of Virginia reorganized to reflect the new leadership.
The Senate restored the composition of the standing committees in a realignment which both Democrats and Republicans were elevated to new leadership positions.
I am pleased to keep many of my existing committee assignments, including Courts of Justice and Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources, and to return to the Commerce and Labor Committee.
These assignments will enable me to continue to fight for jobs and increased prosperity in Southside and Southwest Virginia.
Sen. Bill Stanley of Penhook represents the 20th District, which includes part of Danville and Pittsylvania County.