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General Assembly considers Youngkin amendments

Barry Knight
Steve Helber
House Appropriations Committee Chairman, Del. Barry Knight, R-Chesapeake, standing at left, explains budget amendments during the special session of the 2022 Virginia General Assembly, Friday, June 17, 2022, in Richmond, Va.

Virginia legislators considered dozens of budget amendments from Governor Glenn Youngkin in a session that ran into late Friday evening.

Senate Democrats stopped some of Youngkin's more controversial amendments like a ban on using state money for abortions as well as a three-month gas tax holiday.

But Republicans were able to siphon off some Democratic votes to get a few measures passed. Among them: an expansion of lab schools, a rollback of good-time credit for some incarcerated people and a re-allocation of scholarship funds away from undocumented students. Instead that money will go to the state's Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Budgets in Virginia don’t only mean more or less money. They could even mean a new felony.

Governor Glenn Youngkin wanted to create a new crime for protesting at homes of judges. But Friday, the House of Delegates didn’t vote on the amendments that would’ve done that.

This year protests have taken place outside U.S. Supreme Court justice’s homes, following a leaked draft opinion that indicated the court would remove federal protections for abortion.

One amendment would have created a Class 6 felony for those protesting at homes to interfere the work with courts – both state and federal.

Marcus Simon, a Democrat from Fairfax, encouraged Delegates to vote to shelve the measures.

“Ok, Mr. Speaker I would encourage folks to vote yes on the motion to pass by," he said. "I think we all recognize the governor really didn't get it, right? He went too far in trying to put a felony to take away people's liberty through the budget. I think we all realized together that he'd gone too far. This is just too radical for any of us.”

Delegates also turned away an amendment that provided money for space in prisons because of the new crime.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Jahd Khalil is a reporter and producer in Richmond.