Youngkin Gas Tax Holiday Legislation Includes a Two Percent Cap on Future Rate Adjustments

Tara Durant and Steve Newman

Senator Steve Newman (R-Bedford) and freshman Delegate Tara Durant (R-Stafford) have introduced the Youngkin administration’s three-month gasoline tax holiday bill. In addition to the tax holiday, the bill includes a two percent cap on the annual rate adjustment, which is based on the consumer price index.

“There are so many hard-working Virginians who need some type of break at the gas pump right now. Governor Youngkin is leading by putting forward a bill, which I’m proud to sponsor in the Senate of Virginia, that will temporarily suspend the Virginia gas tax,” Newman told The Virginia Star in a statement.

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With No Budget Compromise Ready, General Assembly Meets and Adjourns Special Session for Now

RICHMOND, Virginia – The General Assembly met briefly on Monday afternoon after Governor Glenn Youngkin recalled them for a special session to complete and pass a budget compromise and finish other legislation. The legislators passed rules for the special session that allow them to adjourn until Speaker of the House Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) or Senate Rules Committee Chair Mamie Locke (D-Hampton) recall the legislators with 48-hours’ notice. Then, since the budget compromise isn’t ready, the legislators adjourned.

“I was disappointed at the pace the work was going,” Youngkin told the media after a ceremonial bill signing on Monday morning. “I was disappointed there wasn’t more work last week. Everybody’s here today, and I expect them to get to work today. And I know that there are meetings that can be held, and should be held, and will be held. So it’s important to go ahead and get people back to work, and I think calling them back to special session is an important motivator to do that.”

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As Budget Negotiations Continue, Gov. Youngkin and Virginia Legislators Make Last-Minute Pitch for Pet Proposals

As legislators work towards a budget compromise balancing increased spending with revenue losses from tax cuts, Governor Glenn Youngkin and legislators are continuing to argue for their positions.

“The idea that we have to choose between tax relief and our shared priorities is a false choice. It is critical that we do our part to reduce the tax burden on our citizens, particularly at a time when present receipts continue to be as robust as they are,” Youngkin wrote in a Wednesday Richmond Times-Dispatch column.

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General Assembly Passes Dog-Breeder-for-Testing Oversight Bills; Sen. Stanley Celebrates with Puns

Both the House of Delegates and the Senate unanimously passed several of Senator Bill Stanley’s (R-Franklin) bills on Monday and Tuesday to regulate dog breeders, the result of bipartisan work spurred by dramatic reports at a Virginia beagle-breeder-for-medical-testing Envigo. The bills are now headed to Governor Glenn Youngkin’s desk. An outright ban on the practice sponsored by Senator Jennifer Boysko (D-Fairfax) is set to die in the House Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources Committee after being passed by the Senate. Oversight bills from Bosyko and Senator David Marsden (D-Fairfax) are also doomed in the same committee.

“I want to thank all of you for the hard work that y’all did. We had the Envigo incident and Senator Boysko, Senator Marsden, Senator [Barbara Favola (D-Arlington)], Senator [Travis Hackworth (R-Tazewell)], Delegates [Rob Bell (R-Albemarle)] and [Bobby Orrock (R-Carolina)] worked very hard to make sure that we’re going to hold those people that breed dogs, especially beagles, for scientific purposes, accountable,” Stanley said.

In one of his floor-speech comedy routines, on Monday, Stanley exhorted senators to adopt beagles rescued from the facility. Stanley said that there were 480 beagles that were overbred during the pandemic and that Envigo was allowing them to be adopted instead of euthanized. Half of those have already been adopted.

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Virginia Gov-Elect Youngkin Taps His Nonprofit’s CEO Caren Merrick to Serve as State Sec of Commerce and Trade

Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin has tapped Caren Merrick to be his Secretary of Commerce and Trade. Merrick currently helms Youngkin’s non-profit VA Ready, which Youngkin started in June 2020, a month before announcing his departure from the Carlyle Group.

“Virginia’s jobs machine has stalled out, and Caren is going to play a pivotal role on the team that will jumpstart our economy and reinvigorate job growth here in the Commonwealth,” Youngkin said in a Tuesday press release. “Caren is an innovator, a business builder, and a true leader in workforce development—the kind of experience needed to develop talent, train workers, attract investment, and make Virginia the best state to start a business as we set out to add 400,000 jobs and launch 10,000 startups.

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Virginia Senate Passes Bill Repealing Witness Signature Requirement for Absentee Ballots

The Virginia state Senate on Monday passed legislation that would repeal the witness signature requirement when people in the Commonwealth use absentee ballots to vote in elections.

Introduced by Sen. Barbara Favola (D-Arlington), Senate Bill 1097 passed the body by a 21-18 straight party-line vote, with all Republican members opposing the legislation.

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Issue of Paid Sick Leave Returning to Virginia General Assembly in 2021

The debate over whether or not businesses should be required to provide eligible employees with paid sick leave will again be taken up by the Virginia General Assembly when it convenes for its regular session on January 13th.

After multiple bills calling for paid sick leave were killed by a Senate committee during this past summer’s special session, those same lawmakers are once again intending to offer legislation on the issue.

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Constitutional Amendment on Redistricting Commission Approved by Virginia Voters

The majority of Virginia voters approved a constitutional amendment this week aimed to prevent and stop political gerrymandering by changing the Commonwealth’s redistricting process.

Sixty six percent of Virginians answered yes to constitutional amendment question 1 on ballots and, overall, voters in every locality were in support except for Arlington, while 34 percent voted no to the question, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

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Senate Bill on Budget Includes Details on the Proposed Virginia Redistricting Commission

As part of the Senate’s bill for the biennial budget, one amendment offers details and more specifics on the proposed Virginia Redistricting Commission. 

Included in the budget amendment item 4-14 is eligibility criteria for citizen commission members, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and public participation in the redistricting process. 

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