Governor Bob McDonnell's legislative amendments received broad support during the reconvened session of the 2012 General Assembly as the House of Delegates and Senate of Virginia approved 88 percent of the amended bills the governor sent down. The General Assembly also upheld all of the governor's vetoes of legislation.
Speaking about the General Assembly's actions, the governor remarked, "Today, we saw the General Assembly come together in a bipartisan manner to pass the biennial budget and consider the amendments I proposed to legislation passed during the General Assembly session. Last week I sent down amendments to 113 pieces of legislation, and today the House and Senate upheld 88 percent of those amendments. This follows their earlier support of 88 percent of my 2012 legislative agenda. I want to thank the General Assembly for coming together to support, in a broad bipartisan manner, our legislative agenda which focused on the top issue facing our Commonwealth: the need to continue to get our economy back on track and Virginians back to work."
Governor McDonnell continued, "This session we put forward a bold legislative agenda focused on 'kitchen table' issues in nine core areas: jobs and economic development, K-12 education, higher education, pension system reform, government reform, transportation, public safety, energy and efforts to make Virginia the most veteran-friendly state in America. This legislation builds on the successes we have seen over the past two years that includes passage of landmark higher education that creates a framework for the awarding of 100,000 more higher education degrees over the next 15 years; the allocation of $4 billion to transportation projects -- the most money for transportation in a generation; over $100 million in funding to help spur private-sector job growth; and, ensuring greater education options for Virginia's schoolchildren. Through our efforts, working together, Virginians see an emphasis on education so that every child, elementary school to college, is guaranteed access to a high-quality education. They see more Virginians back to work, with Virginia's unemployment rate down to 5.7 percent, the lowest rate in over 3 years. Finally, they will see transportation projects underway all across the state, record Virginia agricultural exports, and more veterans choosing to make Virginia home."
Governor McDonnell continued, "This year's successful session is highlighted by the great strides we made in bringing new jobs and more opportunities to all Virginians. Building on previous job creation and economic development initiatives, this year we passed measures that will increase access to capital for small businesses and implement greater coordination among economic development entities. Starting this fall, more children will have access to a high-quality education, regardless of their zip code, through my 'Opportunity to Learn' education agenda which raises third grade reading standards for children, reduces mandates on local school divisions, and expands educational options such as tuition tax credits and charter schools for Virginia's students. Our government reform initiatives streamline government, making it more efficient and effective. We passed historic legislation that reforms the Virginia's Retirement System ensuring its long-term solvency for our hard-working state and local employees. We implemented strong energy legislation that encourages development of renewable thermal energy, increases energy efficiency programs, and creates the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Conversion Fund to advance Virginia as the energy capital of the East Coast. Finally, through significant public safety initiatives we will continue to keep our streets and children safe and our legislation in support of Virginia's veterans will advance this administration's goal of making this the most veteran-friendly state in America. I thank the General Assembly for their strong bipartisan support of these vitally important legislative initiatives that will truly create a 'Commonwealth of Opportunity' for all Virginians."