Youngkin amends bills to prevent tax increase, force school board election

(The Center Square) – Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin proposed amendments to more than 100 bills that passed the General Assembly, including amendments to prevent a potential tax hike, to force the Loudoun County Board of Education to have elections in the fall and to ban the sale of Delta 8 THC.

“The bipartisan accomplishments of this legislative session will be strengthened by the amendments I have added and will increase the positive impacts on Virginians,” Youngkin said in a statement.

“We engaged stakeholders on important issues in community safety and provided a commonsense path forward on facial recognition technology for law enforcement without compromising individual freedoms,” the governor added. ”We provided accountability and transparency in education by ensuring school boards reflect the will of their constituents right now. We eliminated a possible tax increase on charitable organizations and lowered the tax rate on charitable gaming receipts. We protected Virginians from potentially harmful synthetically-modified substances while preserving the market for regulated CBD products currently available. I call on the General Assembly to adopt these changes and quickly enact them into law so that they can benefit all residents of the Commonwealth.”

House Bill 763, sponsored by Del. Paul Krizek, D-Alexandria, would increase regulations for charitable gaming by limiting them to qualified social organizations. The bill would eliminate certain exemptions, such as ones for bingo, pull tabs and seal cards and establish civil penalties for violations at no less than $25,000 and no more than $50,000. Some of the language in the original bill, however, could have led to a tax increase on charitable gaming. The governor’s amendment seeks to correct that language to prevent a tax increase.

Legislation sponsored by Del. David Reid, D-Loudoun, would reform the Loudoun County Board of Education. House Bill 1138 would stagger the members’ terms so not every official is elected in the same year. The governor’s amendment would speed up the process by requiring an election this fall.

The Loudoun County school board has come under fire over the past year for how it handled sexual assault allegations. Some groups have accused officials of trying to cover up an assault because it could have given bad publicity to their transgender locker room and bathroom policy, but the officials have denied such accusations.

Youngkin also proposed amendments to a bill that would restrict the sale of Delta 8, which comes from the cannabis plant. Delta 8 has an intoxicating effect, but does not fall under the legal definition of marijuana. One amendment, according to the governor’s office, would clarify that the legislation bans the sale of Delta 8. One amendment would also increase penalties for people caught with more than two ounces of marijuana. The possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is legal in Virginia.

The governor also proposed amendments on legislation that would regulate facial recognition software use by police and other amendments, some of which are only technical in nature and do not change the substance of the bills.

Lawmakers are already in Richmond for a special session on the budget and other bills, which did not pass during the regular session. Both chambers would have to accept the amendments for them to become law or send alternative bills back to the governor.