Youngkin vetoes bills on birth control and Confederate tax break removal

Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) vetoed 48 bills on Friday, including one surrounding contraception and another that would have removed tax breaks for some organizations.

Among the nixed bills was SB 238, which defined contraceptives such as IUDs and Plan B and would have protected their use by requiring that insurance companies provide coverage for them. It passed with a 24-15 Senate vote and a 69-29 House of Delegates vote without Youngkin’s proposed amendments.

“Despite hearing from literally thousands of Virginians in support of their right to contraception, the Governor chose to stick with the most extreme faction of his party to prevent a legal right to contraception in Virginia,” co-sponsor and Delegate Cia Price wrote on X. “By vetoing our legislation, Governor Youngkin is now on the record agreeing with extremists in his party — including Donald Trump — who conflate contraception with abortion.”

“By vetoing this bill, Youngkin just proved to Virginians that once again, he does not care about their health or rights,” Susan Swecker, the chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, said in a statement. “Contraception is used to manage a wide variety of health conditions, and by choosing not to protect it, he is hurting thousands of people. This comes down to health and freedom, and Youngkin and Republicans continue to carelessly and blatantly disregard both.”

Youngkin defended his veto by asserting that the Virginia code already protected access to birth control. The governor called for any changes related to the matter to “be coupled with robust conscience clause protections for providers and uphold the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning their children’s upbringing and care.”

The governor also vetoed SB 517, which would have removed the tax exemption status of organizations dedicated to Confederate history, including the Virginia Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the General Organization of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Confederate Memorial Literary Society, and the Stonewall Jackson Memorial. It passed by a smaller majority in the House, with a 52-43 vote, but passed along the same party lines in the Senate as the birth control bill.

“[Youngkin] is willing to give tax breaks to idealogues of the Lost Cause but unwilling to protect the rights of Virginians in the face of extremists on the Supreme Court,” state Sen. Ghazala Hashmi said.

“The Commonwealth should pass necessary reforms regarding exemptions from local property and
recordation taxes,” Youngkin wrote in a statement. “Narrowly targeting specific organizations to gain or lose such tax exemptions sets an inappropriate precedent. … Choosing winners and losers is imprudent and undermines the tax system’s fairness. ”


Youngkin also signed seven bills, including a consumer data protection act, a teacher licensure act that provides one-year licensure, and a reduction in speed limits. Still, he was met with calls to vote against his party next year from Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), who is running for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

The governor is halfway through his term. Virginia’s term limits prohibit governors from serving consecutive terms but do allow for previous governors to run again.

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