(Matt Demlein, WRVA)

Northam Vetoes "Man-Min" Bills

Announces He'll Veto Mandatory Sentence Bills For Rest Of Term

May 01, 2019 - 3:49 pm

Richmond, Va. (Newsradiowrva.com) - Governor Ralph Northam (D) has announced he will no longer sign any mandatory-minimum sentence bills for the rest of his term.  Northam made the announcement in a release, in which he also announced he was vetoing two such bills.

Northam, in the statement, said, "In recent weeks, I have visited with community leaders across the state seeking input on how I can best utilize the power of the governor’s office to make our Commonwealth fairer and more equitable for communities of color. My commitment today will not solve all of the issues with our criminal justice system, but I believe it is a step in the right direction.”  The Governor also pointed out Virginia currently has over 200 mandatory-minimum sentences.

The two bills the Governor vetoed would have created such sentences for repeat offenses against family members, as well as as offenses against law enforcement animals.  

Republicans have already criticized the decision.  House Mjority Leader Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) said "when Republicans called on Ralph Northam to resign in February, it was because we felt he could no longer effectively govern.....Today’s vetoes are proof of that. When given the choice of protecting women who have survived domestic abuse or attempting to repair his own racist legacy, he put himself first.”

Gilbert was referencing the Governor's recent blackface scandal, in which it was revealed there was a racist photo on his 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook page.