Virginia onAir 2/11-2/18

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YOUNGKIN… shifts focus from masks to taxes and more Virginia headlines
Virginia Mercury, STAFF REPORT February 18, 2022

Gov. Glenn Youngkin says he’s optimistic about the remainder of his agenda for the General Assembly’s 2022 session. “This legislative process is one that I find incredibly encouraging,” he said. ”I’m inspired by it.” Democrats in the Senate said they welcomed his sunny outlook, but said his bills are “going to get voted down over here.”—Associated Press

• Youngkin’s administration turned its attention from masks to taxes at a series of campaign-style appearances Thursday.—Washington Post

• Youngkin’s push for lab schools echoes a similar effort pursued by former Gov. Bob McDonnell, whose 2012 push never got off the ground.—VPM

• Attorney General Jason Miyares returned four campaign donations totaling $70,000 he reported depositing Monday in violation of a state ban on accepting contributions during the legislative session. Miyares’ spokeswoman said the donations were received prior to the cutoff but deposited late in error.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

VIRGINIA HOUSE… sends Youngkin bill ending school mask mandates
Virginia Mercury, Graham MoomawFebruary 14, 2022

The Virginia House of Delegates approved a bill ending school mask mandates Monday on a party-line vote, fast-tracking the proposed law to Gov. Glenn Youngkin just five days after it was passed by the state Senate.

Youngkin is expected to recommend an emergency clause that could cause the legislation to take effect immediately rather than July 1, the default effective date for new laws approved by the General Assembly. Youngkin, who briefly walked onto the House floor Monday to mark the legislation’s passage, confirmed he plans to send a bill revised with an emergency clause to the House as early as tomorrow. That means the legislature could be taking its final votes on the matter later this week.

“It’s time we end the insanity and let our kids be kids again,” House Speaker Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, said in a news release. “Virginia is behind the curve for states ending masking mandates and I’m proud of the legislature for getting this done quickly.”

To emphasize the speediness of the effort, House Republicans immediately took the bill to Youngkin’s office at the Capitol to deliver it to the governor in person.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin is asking a circuit court for one of the state’s most populous counties to allow him to join in a lawsuit filed by a group of parents who oppose their local school board’s mask mandate.

It’s the latest effort by the recently inaugurated Republican governor to roll back school Covid-prevention measures championed by state Democrats, including Youngkin’s predecessor, Ralph Northam.

Youngkin, Attorney General Jason Miyares and Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow are also seeking a temporary injunction and a temporary restraining order against the Loudoun County School Board, court documents filed on Wednesday show.

Upon taking office last month, Youngkin, who campaigned heavily on what he characterized as restoring parents’ influence in public education, issued an executive order that allowed parents and guardians to “elect for their children not to be subject to any mask mandate in effect at the child’s school or educational program.” Northam had previously issued a public health emergency order mandating masks in schools.

YOUNGKIN… hustles to push swing state Virginia to the right
Associated Press, WILL WEISSERT and SARAH RANKINJanuary 31, 2022

Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin has used his first two weeks in office to push Virginia firmly to the right, attempting a dramatic political shift in a state once considered reliably Democratic that’s being closely watched by others in the GOP.

In his opening days, the new governor issued executive orders methodically checking off his top campaign promises. The orders undermined classroom mask mandates, aimed to restrict how students are taught about racism, approved an investigation into a wealthy suburban Washington school district that’s become a national symbol for battles over so-called parents’ rights, and attempted to scrap Virginia’s participation in a carbon-limiting initiative meant to combat climate change.

Youngkin has also expanded the duties of a state diversity officer created by his Democratic predecessor to include being an “ambassador for unborn children” as Virginia dropped its opposition before the Supreme Court to a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.


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