McDonnell’s staff tried to amend bills after deadline

Gov. Bob McDonnell attempted to amend two bills after his statutory deadline last week, but legislative staffers rejected them and they were not recorded.

McDonnell’s policy staff hand delivered amendments at 2 a.m. April 10, two hours after the midnight deadline, to a pair of identical property and casualty insurance bills, House Clerk G. Paul Nardo confirmed Tuesday.

McDonnell (R) had been working right up until the deadline to sign, amend or veto the General Assembly’s bills, as is his practice, even walking over to the state Capitol at 11 p.m, according to the governor’s and legislative staff.

McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said last week that the governor’s office did not send over vetoes or amendments past the midnight deadline. But on Tuesday, the governor’s office said a file with the bills had been accidently left behind after staff informed the clerk’s office that the amendments would be coming.

“The governor’s actions on bills were completed Monday night,’’ Martin said. “This was just a matter of a file folder being inadvertently left behind in the physical act of taking all the bills to the clerk’s offices. It was a paperwork issue.Once it was determined that a bill had been left behind, it was quickly run over to the clerk’s, but it was too late to be accepted.”

The bills were introduced by Del. Tom Rust (HB872) and Sen. Frank Wagner (SB520) and provided for the State Corporation Commission to license and regulate public adjusters. The bills now become law, Nardo said.

Wagner said McDonnell’s office told him the governor planned to veto his bill because of concerns about increasing regulation. But Wagner said he asked them to look at the bill again.

Wagner said McDonnell also tried to amend another one of his bills after the deadline but he could not say which one. Nardo and Martin have no record of that.

McDonnell’s office released a list of amendments and vetoes the afternoon of April 10 while state workers continued to update Virginia’s online system for tracking bills.

As of the deadline, McDonnell had signed 735 bills and proposed amending 130 others, including making it slightly easier to vote on Election Day and allowing localities to spread the cost of new pension regulations over years.

McDonnell vetoed an unprecedented seven bills but signed hundreds of measures, including one that would permit faith-based adoption agencies to deny placements that conflict with religious or moral beliefs and another that narrowly alters his transportation plan, although not to add significant new funding for roads.

One of his vetoes sidelined a measure that would have directed the Virginia Department of Education to develop uniform guidelines for physical education in public schools. McDonnell had concerns the legislation would be an unfunded mandate on localities.

Rust did not immediately return a call.

This post has been updated since it was first published.

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