2014 Special Session I

Budget Amendments - HB5002 (Governor's Veto Explanation)


Re:  HOUSE BILL 5002

Today, I have signed House Bill 5002, the biennial budget for Fiscal Years 2015 and 2016, and I have exercised the authority given to me by the Constitution of Virginia to veto specific provisions in this appropriation bill.  I have included eight line item vetoes.  The bases for my vetoes are set out below.

Veto: The Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council

Item 25.10.

The General Assembly added $150,000 and one position in Fiscal Year 2015, and $300,000 and three positions in Fiscal Year 2016 to the newly created Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council.

The creation of this Council, in part, moves the responsibility for collecting and tracking Executive branch conflict of interest filings from the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth to the new Council in the Legislative Department.  This is an overreach by the legislature, and encroaches on Executive authority.

The ethics reform bill passed by the General Assembly was far weaker than what Virginians deserve from proper ethics reform.  I have vetoed this item as I am planning to present revised legislation to the 2015 General Assembly session on this topic.  The creation of a new bureaucracy beforehand would be premature and unwise. 

Veto:  Petersburg-Chesterfield school partnership funding

Item 136.A.19.

The General Assembly's proposed budget provided up to $600,000 in general fund support in Fiscal Year 2016 to support a contract between Petersburg and Chesterfield, with the assumption that Chesterfield can better manage Petersburg's schools than Petersburg can. 

I have vetoed this item because it presents a number of legal problems and bad precedents and was not requested by either locality.

Veto: Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission (MIRC)

Item 301.TTT.6. and part of 7.a.

The enrolled budget bill included language requiring the Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) to seek the approval of the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission (MIRC), prior to expanding Medicaid coverage pursuant to the Affordable Care Act.

I have vetoed this language as it is increasingly clear that the MIRC has no authority to move forward with Medicaid expansion, nor was that the intent of the legislation.  This Commission has been used as a roadblock for meaningful reforms that would bring healthcare to more than 400,000 Virginians.

Most importantly, the MIRC is unconstitutional.

Veto:  Prohibition language on the use of appropriation for Medicaid Expansion

Item 301.TTT.9.

The enrolled budget included a provision prohibiting any appropriation in the budget being used to pay for the costs of an expansion of Medicaid pursuant to the Affordable Care Act.  This action prohibits even the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission (MIRC) from approving an expansion in accordance with existing law approved in the 2013 Session.

I have vetoed this language because it is unnecessary given that there is no appropriation for expanded Medicaid pursuant to the Affordable Care Act.  The language simply restricted something that doesn’t exist.

Veto:  Reversion of Federal Action Contingency Trust (FACT) funds

Item 468.G.1.c.

The General Assembly reverted $4.4 million in balances from the Federal Action Contingency Trust (FACT) Fund which would otherwise be available to address adverse actions of Federal budget policy on the Virginia economy. 

My intent is to use some or all of this money to protect our interests in military facilities that may otherwise be at risk of Federal cut backs. This reversion of funds could cripple our military assets and disadvantage Virginia in future base realignments.  It is an unwise action and an unnecessary one.

Veto:  Appropriation and related language authorizing filling judgeship vacancies

Item 468.L.

The General Assembly approved provisions and funding to fill specific judgeships, contingent upon the General Assembly filling the vacancies either through the budget language or action during a Special Session of the 2014 General Assembly.

I have vetoed the appropriation and language restricting any filling of these judgeships because it is plainly an attempt to significantly limit the constitutional authority of the Governor to fill vacancies and appoint judges when the General Assembly is not in session. 

Veto: Asset Forfeiture Language

§ 4-2.02d.  “Settlements Negotiated by the Office of the Attorney General”

The General Assembly added language that would require a Disbursement Review Committee to review and consider all settlements negotiated by the Attorney General relating to the distribution of funds or property as a result of civil or criminal dispute, asset forfeiture, or other legal action in a multistate action.

At the request of the Attorney General, I am vetoing this budget language as it creates a variety of unforeseen problems that may jeopardize the Commonwealth’s ability to continue in equitable sharing arrangements that provide tremendous resources to law enforcement entities within the state.  The Office of the Attorney General has stated that it will continue to work with the General Assembly to mitigate future issues in this area. 

Veto: Requirement of the Department of Planning and Budget (DPB) to provide separate attachments to agency budget request submissions

§ 4-8.02b.  “State Agencies”

The General Assembly expanded the requirement for the Department of Planning and Budget to provide detailed information on agency budget requests.  Specifically, language is added for the Department of Planning and Budget to include "all attachments that were submitted separately as part of these budget requests, amendment briefs, or requests for amendments and are not fully incorporated into the electronic submission by the Director, Department of Planning and Budget".

I have vetoed the paragraph that includes the expanded requirement.  The language places confidential information at risk, and I view it as an encroachment on my executive authority.