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Despite a few losses, McDonnell claims success on most issues with one-day legislative session

Rosalind Helderman

So what was the scorecard for Gov. Bob McDonnell at Wednesday's reconvened session of the legislature?

The vast majority of McDonnell's proposed changes to 122 bills and 96 amendments to the state's two-year budget cleared both chambers of the General Assembly. (Ninety-two percent, raved his office in a news release put out shortly after the Senate finished action and adjourned at 9:45 p.m. Wednesday.)

"I want to commend the legislature," McDonnell said in a late-night meeting with reporters shortly after the legislative conclusion. "They were overwhelmingly supportive."

McDonnell successfully got new restrictions on state funding of abortions, more money for economic development and an increase in fines for speeders. But several proposed cuts to health care were rejected, with some votes from members of his own party in the House of Delegates.

Among McDonnell's amendments to bills that cleared both chambers: A change to an environmental bill that will allow coal-fired power plants in Northern Virginia to participate in an Environmental Protection Agency pollution credit program rather than forcing them to abide by pollution limits set by their state air permits. Environmental groups had been pushing the legislature to reject the amendment, but they were accepted on a 23-17 vote in the Senate and a 53-42 vote in the House.

Legislators also accepted a tweak to a bill that will require the state board of education to develop a curriculum to teach gun safety in elementary schools, incorporating guidelines included in a National Rifle Association program for children.

McDonnell stripped language from the bill that would have allowed the state board to also consult with the National Crime Prevention Center, arguing that no such group exists. Gun control had intended to include the National Crime Prevention Council. The amendment was approved 32 to 7 in the Senate and 68 to 24 in the House.

McDonnell said he was disappointed that one of his amendments, a proposal to make it illegal to euthanize dogs based purely on breed, was ruled not germane by House Speaker Bill Howell (R).

And he said he had concerns about the Senate's rejection of two of his amendments to a bill dealing with the procedures for handling ethics complaints against General Assembly members who have resigned from the legislature.

McDonnell has the power to veto bills if he does not like their final form after they are approved by the legislature. But he said he was unlikely to veto any this year.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  April 22, 2010; 11:40 AM ET
Categories:  General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate  
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