New Virginia laws 2024: Youngkin acts on 107 bills, vetoes 7

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin acted on 107 bills on Thursday, signing 100 and vetoing seven – including bills that would have allowed a recreation marijuana marketplace to begin next year and measures mandating a minimum wage increase.

Youngkin signed into law 100 bills that "strengthen law enforcement’s ability to prosecute child predators and expand Department of Corrections inmate access to quality health services," according to a statement from the governor. 

The Governor signed 100 bills which included: 

HB 14 HB 55 HB 59 HB 69 HB 90 HB 105 HB 121 HB 128 HB 131 HB 133 HB 155 HB 163 HB 205 HB 220 HB 223 HB 227 HB 238 HB 255 HB 269 HB 279 HB 281 HB 288 HB 299 HB 380 HB 425 HB 435 HB 441 HB 460 HB 479 HB 501 HB 566 HB 583 HB 595 HB 596 HB 601 HB 652 HB 679 HB 690 HB 712 HB 713 HB 715 HB 730 HB 763 HB 832 HB 870 HB 898 HB 908 HB 1015 HB 1058 HB 1067 HB 1103 HB 1112 HB 1133 HB 1135 HB 1210 HB 1357 HB 1362 HB 1389 HB 1399 HB 1466 HB 1488 HB 1513 HB 1526 

SB 13 SB 109 SB 111 SB 112 SB 131 SB 154 SB 261 SB 297 SB 298 SB 342 SB 381 SB 386 SB 399 SB 401 SB 402 SB 412 SB 413 SB 424 SB 425 SB 450 SB 464 SB 521 SB 530 SB 537 SB 545 SB 581 SB 585 SB 630 SB 646 SB 657 SB 658 SB 676 SB 692 SB 702 SB 706 SB 728 SB 731 

Here's a full list of the signed bills. 

Youngkin vetoes legal marijuana marketplace

In 2021, Virginia became the first Southern state to legalize marijuana, adopting a policy change that allowed adults age 21 and up to possess and cultivate the drug. But the state didn’t set up retail sales at the time and still hasn’t, due to shifts in partisan power and policy differences since then.

Advocates say the disconnect is allowing the illicit market to flourish, while opponents have health and safety concerns with further expanding access to the drug. In a statement, Youngkin said he shared those worries.

"States following this path have seen adverse effects on children’s and adolescent’s health and safety, increased gang activity and violent crime, significant deterioration in mental health, decreased road safety, and significant costs associated with retail marijuana that far exceed tax revenue. It also does not eliminate the illegal black-market sale of cannabis, nor guarantee product safety," he said in a veto statement attached to the bills.

Under the bills, the state would have started taking applications on Sept. 1 for cultivating, testing, processing and selling the drug in preparation for the market to open May 1, 2025, with products taxed at a rate of up to 11.625%.

Democratic Sen. Aaron Rouse of Virginia Beach, who sponsored his chamber’s version of the bill, said Youngkin had adopted a "dismissive" stance toward the issue.

"This veto blocks a pivotal opportunity to advance public health, safety, and justice in our Commonwealth," he said in a written statement.

Youngkin vetoes minimum wage bill

Younkin vetoed a bill that would have increased the current $12-per-hour minimum wage to $13.50 on Jan. 1, 2025, and then to $15 on Jan. 1, 2026. 

Youngkin said the bills would "implement drastic wage mandates, raise costs on families and small businesses, jeopardize jobs, and fail to recognize regional economic differences across Virginia," in a news release.

Virginia Democrats began an effort to increase the minimum wage in 2020. They passed legislation that year  — which took effect with a delay due to the coronavirus pandemic — establishing incremental increases up to $12, with further bumps requiring another Assembly vote.

They and other advocates have argued the legislation would help working families afford basic necessities and keep up with inflation.

Democratic Sen. L. Louise Lucas said in a statement that the bill would have set "a standard that would affirm our commitment to the dignity of labor and the belief that everyone deserves a fair shot at economic stability."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.