Youngkin, Miyares, and Earle-Sears Commemorate Armed Forces Day with Ceremonial Bill Signing

Governor Glenn Youngkin signed a proclamation honoring Armed Forces Day and ceremonially signed 23 bills focused on veterans and the military. Youngkin, Attorney General Jason Miyares, and Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears spoke at the bill-signing held at the Virginia War Memorial on Friday.

“It’s a powerful statement: 23 bills were passed unanimously,” Youngkin said. “I want to thank our veteran caucus for all the work that you do in order to make sure that our veterans are taken care of. These 23 bills are just the beginning. When the time comes for service members to retire, to turn the page on the next chapter of their life, we want them to make their permanent home in Virginia.”

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Del. Roem Cites Republican LGBTQ Legislation in Campaign Announcement for Senate District 30

Delegate Danica Roem (D-Manassas) is running for Senate District 30, a newly-created district that slightly favors Democrats in the Virginia Public Access Project ranking. In an announcement video, Roem, who is transgender, highlighted Republican-led legislation on LGBTQ issues.

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In Regent University Commencement, Youngkin Criticizes Higher-Ed Conformity; Earle-Sears Named Alumna of the Year

In a commencement speech at Regent University, Governor Glenn Youngkin told graduates to follow two guides: mentors and a “compass that points us in the direction of core values that define us.” He told them that they were not called to comfort, and criticized conformity in academia.

“Sometimes we are called to speak up, to say unpopular things, to invite ridicule and scorn. If I could offer one critique of higher education today, and I mean this in the most global sense, it’s that there’s too much group-think, too much conformity to modern doctrine, too much intolerance that rears itself in the form of a canceled culture,” Youngkin said.

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Lt. Gov. Earle-Sears Kicks Off 2022 RPV Advance with Stories from Her First General Assembly Session

HERNDON, Virginia – Republican Party of Virginia faithful are gathered at a Hilton outside Washington, D.C., to build on the momentum of their 2021 wins and help their 2022 congressional candidates. Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears kicked off the Advance on Friday at a reception held by the Virginia Federation of Republican Women.

Earle-Sears regaled the crowd with stories from the recent General Assembly session. Governor Glenn Youngkin once confused Senator Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth) with Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton,) leading Lucas to rib Youngkin about it on Twitter.

“And then a curious thing happened: I started mixing her up with Mamie,” Earle-Sears said to laughter. “I would call, ‘The Senator from Hampton, Senator Lucas.’ They got mad.”

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Pro-Life Activists March with Youngkin

RICHMOND, Virginia – Pro-life advocates rallied outside the Virginia capitol on Wednesday, the same day legislators returned to the capitol to consider Governor Glenn Youngkin’s changes to their legislation. Several Republican General Assembly members joined the rally, and Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears spoke to the crowd.

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Roanoke College Survey: Virginia Gov. Youngkin Approval at 50 Percent, Disapproval at 41 Percent

A new survey finds Governor Glenn Youngkin with a 50 percent approval rating and a 41 percent disapproval rating. Roanoke College’s Institute for Policy and Opinion Research (IPOR) survey also found that 47 percent of Virginians think the Commonwealth is headed in the right direction, and 47 percent think things are going in the wrong direction.

“This is consistent with his winning margin in November. This poll shows that Governor Youngkin’s initiatives have received bipartisan support. The governor will continue to hear directly from Virginians and is focused on delivering on his promises,” Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter said in a statement.

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Virginia House of Delegates, Senate Pass Budget Bills with Competing Tax Policy

RICHMOND, Virginia – The House of Delegates and the Senate have passed their separate budget proposals for Fiscal Year 2022 and 2023. Both chambers debated floor amendments to the bills on Thursday before passing them, but the final versions are broadly similar to the proposals announced earlier this week. Each chamber’s proposal is based on former Governor Ralph Northam’s budget proposal, but the money committees made significant amendments before sending them to be passed out of the House and Senate. The Senate bill contains fewer tax cuts than the House bill, allowing for more spending, while the House bill is closer to the tax policy Governor Glenn Youngkin has called for. The two chambers now enter a process of working to a compromise.

Senate Finance Chair Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) told the Senate that the proposal fulfilled promises made amid spending cuts during earlier hard times.

“In this budget we’ve done that, by making significant investments in education, natural resources,  public safety, and human services. We’re also chipping away a funding cap on support positions for K-12 education over both years of the biennium, embracing increased teacher and state employee pay, and adding to those compensation increases a one-time bonuses for teachers and state employees,” Howell said.

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General Assembly Drafting Legislation to Potentially Build New Washington Commanders Stadium in Northern Virginia

The Virginia General Assembly is working on legislation that may bring the newly renamed Washington Commanders to Northern Virginia. The NFL team is currently based at the aging FedEx Field just outside Washington, D.C., in Maryland, and the team has approached Virginia legislators about potentially building a stadium in the commonwealth. Both the House of Delegates and the Senate have passed bills that would create a football stadium authority to finance construction of the stadium; now, the chambers are evaluating each other’s bills, which have significant differences in tax incentives offered to attract the team.

“I would love to have a professional sports team and a football team in Virginia,” Governor Glenn Youngkin told The Virginia Star on Thursday. “We’ve got a Senate group and a House group in discussions in order to bring a very thoughtful bill to me. I believe that my job is to represent Virginia taxpayers, and so we’ll do a good deal. I just want to make sure that what comes out of the House and Senate gives us the capability to do a good deal because I sure would like Virginia to be the best place to raise a family, live, work, and have a professional sports team.”

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Lieutenant Governor Earle-Sears Breaks First Tie of Her Term

RICHMOND, Virginia – Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears cast her first tie-breaking vote in the Senate on Thursday. Senator Jeremy McPike (D-Prince William) voted with Republicans against SB 137, a bill that would allow defendants in most felony cases to appeal a judge’s discretionary sentence if the judge does not provide a “written explanation that adequately explains the sentence imposed[.]” When the 20-20 vote result was clear, Earle-Sears asked bill patron Senator John Edwards (D-Roanoke) and opponent Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham) to come to the dais, where they discussed the bill. Then, Earle-Sears voted against the bill.

“What I wanted to do was to give the patron an opportunity to talk to me about the bill in a way that I may not have, you know, heard before. And then I also wanted to hear the opposing view. I always want to give people the opportunity so that they can make their case. And as I was listening to all sides, what appeared to me was that the bill unfortunately is poorly written,”she told The Virginia Star.

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Nearly Half of Virginia Senate Democrats Support Legislation to Allow Parents to Opt Children Out of School Mask Mandates

Virginia’s Democrat-controlled Senate is suddenly about to pass a bill allowing parents to opt their children out of wearing masks. In Tuesday’s session, Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) amended Senator Siobhan Dunnavant’s (R-Henrico) in-person learning bill to include the mask-opt-out clause – and 10 out of 21 Democrats voted with Republicans to approve the change, setting up the bill for final passage on Wednesday.

Despite vocal Democrats and some urban school boards pushing back against Governor Glenn Youngkin’s executive order requiring a school mask mandate opt-out, Petersen has been calling for a masking off-ramp. On Monday, he sent a letter to several northern Virginia schools warning of his plans to introduce legislation to that effect. He argued that mask-wearing is a political decision.

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Seven School Boards Sue Over Youngkin Mask-Optional Order; Sen. Petersen Threatens Legislative Action if Schools Don’t Find Mandate Off-Ramp

Seven school districts are suing Governor Glenn Youngkin over Executive Order Two, which requires schools to allow parents to opt children out of mask mandates. The lawsuit challenges Youngkin’s authority over school boards and his ability to override Senate Bill 1303, which requires schools to follow CDC guidelines.

“At issue is whether locally-elected school boards have the exclusive authority and responsibility conferred upon them by Article VIII, Section 7 of the Constitution of Virginia over supervision of the public schools in their respective communities, or whether an executive order can unilaterally override that constitutional authority. Also at issue is whether a governor can, through executive order, without legislative action by the Virginia General Assembly, reverse a lawfully-adopted statute,” Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) said in a Monday press release.

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