What’s Tim Kaine’s Next Move?

So… the GOP compromise on transportation has won approval in both the Senate and House of Delegates. The bill now goes to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, who has expressed major reservations about it. In a press release yesterday, he stated:

When the final conference report on a long-term revenue package for transportation was developed, too few people were involved, and as a result, the bill on its way to my desk is not only insufficient to address Virginia’s needs, but contains numerous issues to address. I will use the 30 days between now and the reconvened session on April 4 to consult with legislators, local elected officials, and other stakeholders to fix the problems in the bill and reach a comprehensive, long-term, and statewide transportation solution.

I’m not familiar enough with the legislative process to know what leverage, other than threatening to veto the bill, the Governor has to tinker with the legislation at this point.

Whatever procedural influence he may have, it seems clear that the Governor has lost much of his political leverage. His call earlier this year to take the transportation issue to the people in the fall elections now rings hollow. Despite long odds, Republicans shed their differences to pass a far-reaching piece of legislation. Between taxes, fees, bonds and penalties, they will throw even more money at transportation than Kaine would have in $1 billion-a-year plan. Furthermore, GOP passed their bill with a measure of bipartisan support. While six Republicans in both chambers voted against it, 13 Democrats voted in favor.

If Kaine vetoes the transportation financing bill, he will be the obstructionist. He will be the one who prevented what Speaker William J. Howell calls Virginia’s “best chance” to address the transportation crisis. Kaine can point out all sorts of problems with the bill, but his job in persuading the public, which is not particularly attentive to arcane policy details, will be rendered far more difficult.

Is the financing piece of the GOP compromise an abomination? In my mind, it certainly is. Is the idea of empowering opaque and unaccountable regional authorities a potential disaster in the making? Absolutely. But the GOP has the “Big Mo” now. I will be most interested to see what the Governor’s next move is.

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7 responses to “What’s Tim Kaine’s Next Move?”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    It’s my understanding that he has a line item veto, so it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. He can amend the bill and send it back to the General Assembly in the veto session, which will in turn put the impetus back on legislators.

  2. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    May I ask a simple question from those who are opposed to Regional Authorities?

    Assuming that you support the idea of letting Regional votes decide if they want to pay higher taxes for transportation improvements..

    Who would you have administer those monies?

    What exactly would you advocate to your elected leaders in the GA to put in place a more accountable replacement?

    I’m no more an advocate of unelected and unaccountable government than most bloggers here.. but I’m trying to understand what exactly has been advocated to the GA if we don’t like the current plan?

    The GA can’t make the MPOs go away and the Federal law is pretty clear – ANY transportation monies dedicated to a Region from any source, Federal, State, Local, even private/proffers WILL be allocated by the MPOs.

    That’s my understanding.

    Do others know differently?

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    Here is the Constitutional provision at issue. The Governor cannot propose a substitute bill; he must make specific proposed amendments to the bill as passed:

    (iii) The Governor may recommend one or more specific and severable amendments to a bill by returning it with his recommendation to the house in which it originated. The house shall enter the Governor’s recommendation in its journal and reconsider the bill. If both houses agree to the Governor’s entire recommendation, the bill, as amended, shall become law. Each house may agree to the Governor’s amendments by a majority vote of the members present. If both houses agree to the bill in the form originally sent to the Governor by a two-thirds vote of all members present in each house, which two-thirds shall include a majority of the members elected to that house, the original bill shall become law. If the Governor sends down specific and severable amendments then each house may determine, in accordance with its own procedures, whether to act on the Governor’s amendments en bloc or individually, or any combination thereof. If the house of origin agrees to one or more of the Governor’s amendments, it shall send the bill and the entire recommendation to the other house. The second house may also agree to one or more of the Governor’s amendments. If either house fails to agree to the Governor’s entire recommendation or fails to agree to at least one of the Governor’s amendments agreed to by the other house, the bill, as originally presented to the Governor, shall be returned to the Governor. If both houses agree to one or more amendments but not to the entire recommendation of the Governor, the bill shall be reenrolled with the Governor’s amendments agreed to by both houses and shall be returned to the Governor. If the Governor fails to send down specific and severable amendments as determined by the majority vote of the members present in either house, then the bill shall be before that house, in the form originally sent to the Governor and may be acted upon in accordance with Article IV, Section 11 of this Constitution and returned to the Governor. The Governor shall either sign or veto a bill returned as provided in this subsection or, if there are fewer than seven days remaining in the session, as provided in subsection (c).

    Va. Constitution Va. Con. Art. 5 § 6 (1995)

  4. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake


    The taxes generated by the plan rests not on the approval of the people, but the whims of the politicians. They are given a blank check, with no possible avenue to suffer repucussions from bad decisions.

    A dinky county gets the same amount of votes as a major city.

    This regional authority will be just as unaccountable to the public as all the others around here. The only time the citizens will hear anything will be when the newspaper publishes bad news.

    Experience has shown that regional transportation authorities have a habit of morphing into full scale regional government. It becomes yet another layer of approval in an already confusing legal environment.

    No citizen participation, led to defeat of this exact system of authority in the 2002 polls.

    Here read this;


  5. Reid Greenmun Avatar
    Reid Greenmun

    Please read my approach for better regional cooperation and decsion-making – Jim B. published it in THIS week’s Bacon E-Zine – it is available under the WONK section.

  6. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Hey Reid and Darrell.

    I HAVE read what you guys advocate.

    But you guys have not answered my question about what is the path if the MPOs are in place and have Federal authority with regard to transportation planning?

    I am ON YOUR SIDE. I think Regional Planning authorities are, as currently operating, a serious problem – including the MPOs but advocacy for advocacy sake is not going to change things .. is it?

    What is a realtistic path to pursue?

    To this point in time.. I’ve not seen or heard a single elected official at the Local, State or Federal level AGREE with the concerns that we have expressed.

    As an activist – my view is that one cannot morally be opposed to something without advocating something realistic to fix it.

    “realistic” means that the argument finds it’s way into the public realm and that elected or challenging candidates support the advocacy for change.

    So .. what is the answer to the MPOs?

    For the record.. I believe that the MPO laws and regs offer activist significant opportunity… especially if taken to the public

    I don’t think politicians “move” in advance of the public but rather in response to it.

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