McAuliffe breaks all-time veto record for Virginia governors
RICHMOND, Va. (WSET) -- Gov. Terry McAuliffe broke the record for most vetoes by a Virginia governor Thursday by vetoing two Republican-backed bills aimed at protecting religious groups that oppose same-sex marriage.
McAuliffe vetoed the bills during a live radio appearance on Washington's WTOP, calling the bills "another attempt to stigmatize LGBT Virginians."
"You already have religious protection. Why would you push this bill out that does absolute nothing?," McAuliffe said. "All you're doing is trying to divide people. And I"m just not going to tolerate it."
Gov. McAuliffe has attributed his high veto count to Republicans' insistence on passing controversial bills knowing full well that they wouldn't get past his desk.
"No one should be surprised," McAuliffe said.
Republican leaders say the vetoes show McAuliffe's disinterest in working with the legislature and have argued some of the bills aren't as divisive as the governor makes them out to be.
McAuliffe had already vetoed bills this year that would legalize switchblades for some purposes, defund Planned Parenthood, allow homeschooled students to play public sports, let military members under 21 apply for concealed carry, and add photo ID requirements for absentee ballots.
McAuliffe has repeatedly vowed to oppose bills on social issues like abortion and gay rights that he says could hurt Virginia's economy by causing businesses to steer clear when searching for new locations.
Legislators will reconvene in Richmond on April 5 to take up the governor's vetoes; they will need two-thirds of both chambers' votes to override them.
The governor's votes have never been overriden because Republicans lack veto-proof majorities, giving McAuliffe a perfect 71-0 record.
Keeping his pristine score may have partly motivated McAuliffe to sign some legislation he may not be enthusiastic about. McAuliffe vetoed a GOP-sponsored bill last year to allow retired law enforcement officers to carry guns in schools for security purposes, but he signed the legislation this year after tighter vetting measures were added.
McAuliffe's veto record is expected to be a recurring talking point in this year's governor's race as Democrats seek to highlight what could happen if Republicans gain control of both the legislature and the executive branch.