Youngkin Kicks the Can Down the Road on Affirmative Action

by Jock Yellott

By partisan votes, the Democrat controlled General Assembly presented Republican Governor Youngkin with HB 1404, mandating affirmative action in Virginia government contracts.  

Bacon’s Rebellion published a piece that listed the bill as a veto candidate. One of those that would “have the greatest negative economic impact on the Commonwealth.”

But instead of a veto, at the 11th hour on Monday April 8, 2024 Governor Youngkin proposed amending it.

The amendments would postpone its effective date for a year — if reenacted by the General Assembly. Meantime, let’s have more “input.”

The Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity is to fund a survey, asking whether we need more small business and supplier diversity.

This is so silly, the outcome so obviously pre-ordained, one wonders if kicking the can down the road rather than just vetoing it was a political sop to the Democrats? With 228 prospective amendments to the Virginia budget, the Governor needs their cooperative goodwill to keep the state functioning.

Democrats argue we still need discrimination to make up for past discrimination even after fifty years of affirmative action.

“Time’s up,” a Republican appointed federal judge told the federal Small Business Administration a month ago. No more discriminating in federal government contracts. It’s unconstitutional.

But will the state of Virginia under a Republican administration start an expensive new program at the behest of Democrats to do exactly what the federal Small Business Administration is already forbidden to do? Likely we won’t know until next year.

Jock Yellott is an attorney in Charlottesville and an occasional contributor to Bacon’s Rebellion.