For Immediate Release: May 20, 2016
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Brian Coy, Brian.Coy@governor.virginia.gov

Governor McAuliffe Signs Biennial Budget, Uses Line-Item Veto to Remove Unconstitutional Provision Regarding Expanding Health Care

 

Governor Terry McAuliffe completed his actions on legislation from the 2016 legislative session by signing House Bill 30, the biennial budget bill. The Governor also released the below statement to accompany his actions on the budget.

For more information on the budget, please read the Governor’s communication to the General Assembly at the end of the 2016 legislative session: http://governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/newsarticle?articleId=14589.

 

May 20, 2016

I have completed my review of House Bill 30.  Overall, this budget represents a significant accomplishment.  I am pleased that we were able to work together to develop a fiscally responsible biennial budget.  This historic budget provides $1 billion in additional funding for education, and it enhances funding for critical needs like transportation, support for our veterans, and initiatives to strengthen the new Virginia economy.

I am also pleased that the General Assembly concurred with the majority of the amendments I proposed during the reconvened session.  As a result, we will provide resources to advance Virginia’s position as a cybersecurity hub, better coordinate our bioscience research efforts, and strengthen protections for Virginia workers.

I am returning House Bill 30 with my signature.  However, pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto Item 306.JJJ.4, which is unconstitutional.  Item 306.JJJ.4 purports to condition “all appropriations in this act” and to govern “notwithstanding any other provision of this act, or any other law,” such that no funds may be expended or appropriated to implement expanded coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Item 306.JJJ.4 violates Article V, Section 6(d), which provides the Governor line-item veto power in appropriations acts.  By conditioning all appropriations in the budget on Item 306.JJJ.4, the Governor’s ability to issue a line-item veto is removed.  I object to Item 306.JJJ.4 as a condition on Item 306, yet I am unable to reject it without also rejecting all of the monies appropriated in this $100 billion budget bill.  By drafting Item 306.JJJ.4 in its enrolled form, the General Assembly has attempted to entirely remove the Governor’s ability to reject an objectionable item, which is an unconstitutional overreach. 

Additionally, Item 306.JJJ.4 violates Article IV, Section 12, which mandates that “[n]o law shall embrace more than one object,” a constitutional prohibition on combining into one legislative act multiple provisions that separately may not each receive majority support.  If the policy underlying Item 306.JJJ.4 were a separate bill, as it should have been, then I would have vetoed it and that veto certainly would have been sustained.  The General Assembly has attempted to avoid that result by embedding that policy in the budget bill.

Accordingly, I sign HB 30 and return it with a line-item veto of Item 306.JJJ.4, which is unconstitutional.

 

Sincerely,

 

Terence R. McAuliffe

 

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