Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin vetoed two high Democratic legislative priorities on Thursday: payments that might have allowed the leisure retail gross sales of marijuana to start subsequent 12 months and measures mandating a minimal wage enhance.

FILE – Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin speaks to members of the press contained in the Rotunda of the state Capitol constructing, Feb. 25, 2023, in Richmond, Va. Youngkin’s administration stated Tuesday, July 18, that it had finalized new mannequin insurance policies for the therapy of transgender college students, steering that may direct native districts to roll again some present lodging and enhance parental notification necessities about discussions involving gender identification. (AP Photo/John C. Clark, File)(AP/John C. Clark)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin vetoed two high Democratic legislative priorities on Thursday: payments that might have allowed the recreational retail sales of marijuana to start subsequent 12 months and measures mandating a minimal wage enhance.

The improvement, which drew criticism from Democrats who management the General Assembly, didn’t come as a shock. While Youngkin had not explicitly threatened to veto both set of payments, he advised reporters he didn’t suppose the minimal wage laws was wanted and had repeatedly stated he was tired of organising retail marijuana gross sales.

In 2021, Virginia became the first Southern state to legalize marijuana, adopting a coverage change that allowed adults age 21 and as much as possess and domesticate the drug. But the state didn’t arrange retail gross sales on the time and nonetheless hasn’t, as a result of shifts in partisan energy and coverage variations since then.

Advocates say the disconnect is permitting the illicit market to flourish, whereas opponents have well being and security issues with additional increasing entry to the drug. In an announcement, Youngkin stated he shared these worries.

“States following this path have seen antagonistic results on youngsters’s and adolescent’s well being and security, elevated gang exercise and violent crime, vital deterioration in psychological well being, decreased street security, and vital prices related to retail marijuana that far exceed tax income. It additionally doesn’t remove the unlawful black-market sale of hashish, nor assure product security,” he stated in a veto assertion connected to the payments.

Currently in Virginia, dwelling cultivation and grownup sharing of marijuana are authorized. And sufferers who obtain a written certification from a well being care supplier can buy the product from a dispensary.

Under the payments, the state would have began taking functions on Sept. 1 for cultivating, testing, processing and promoting the drug in preparation for the market to open May 1, 2025, with merchandise taxed at a charge of as much as 11.625%.

The laws was supported by a variety of business pursuits and opposed by non secular and socially conservative teams.

Democratic Sen. Aaron Rouse of Virginia Beach, who sponsored his chamber’s model of the invoice, stated Youngkin had adopted a “dismissive” stance towards the problem.

“This veto blocks a pivotal alternative to advance public well being, security, and justice in our Commonwealth,” he stated in a written assertion.

Virginia first took on legalization at a time when Democrats had been in full management of state authorities. Elections later that 12 months modified that, with Youngkin successful and Republicans taking management of the House of Delegates for 2 years.

While there was some Republican legislative assist for the reason that 2021 session for organising authorized leisure gross sales, bills to do so have failed in 2022 and 2023.

As for the wage laws, which might have elevated the present $12-per-hour minimal wage to $13.50 on Jan. 1, 2025, after which to $15 on Jan. 1, 2026, Youngkin stated the payments would “imperil market freedom and financial competitiveness.”

The payments would “implement drastic wage mandates, elevate prices on households and small companies, jeopardize jobs, and fail to acknowledge regional financial variations throughout Virginia,” he stated in a information launch.

Virginia Democrats started an effort to extend the minimal wage in 2020. They passed legislation that year — which took impact with a delay as a result of coronavirus pandemic — establishing incremental will increase as much as $12, with additional bumps requiring one other Assembly vote.

They and different advocates have argued the laws would assist working households afford primary requirements and sustain with inflation.

Democratic Sen. L. Louise Lucas stated in an announcement that the invoice would have set “a typical that might affirm our dedication to the dignity of labor and the assumption that everybody deserves a good shot at financial stability.”

Youngkin took motion on a complete of 107 payments Thursday, in line with his workplace. He signed 100, together with measures that his workplace stated would “strengthen regulation enforcement’s means to prosecute baby predators and develop Department of Corrections inmate entry to high quality well being providers.”

Besides the marijuana and wage payments, he vetoed three others. One would have eliminated an exemption for farmworkers from the state’s minimal wage regulation.

Another would have required that roughly 315 people incarcerated or on neighborhood supervision with a felony marijuana conviction obtain a sentencing evaluate, in line with Youngkin’s workplace.

“Ninety-seven inmates convicted of a violent felony offense, reminiscent of first and second-degree homicide, kidnapping, and theft, can be eligible for a lowered sentence below this proposal,” he stated in his veto assertion.

Thursday’s closing veto got here for a invoice that handled the kind of proof that may be thought of in sure employees’ compensation claims. The governor stated present regulation offers a “balanced method” whereas the proposal would “create a disproportionate imbalance in favor of 1 celebration.”

The part-time General Assembly adjourned its regular session earlier this month and can meet once more in Richmond for a one-day session April 17 to contemplate Youngkin’s proposed amendments to laws. They may additionally try to override a number of vetoes, a transfer that requires a 2/3 vote of each chambers, that are solely narrowly managed by Democrats.

The marijuana laws superior largely alongside celebration strains, and the minimal wage payments handed strictly on celebration strains, that means any override try can be virtually sure to fail.

Youngkin introduced the vetoes a day after the public collapse of one in all his high legislative priorities: a deal to convey the NHL’s Washington Capitals and NBA’s Washington Wizards to Alexandria. The groups’ majority proprietor introduced they’d as a substitute be staying in D.C.

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