Governor Glenn Youngkin signed 45 non-controversial bills on Friday, ahead of the General Assembly’s return to the capitol for a special session on Monday. Youngkin’s announcement highlighted bills to cut fees for sportsmen, increase law enforcement training to recognize human trafficking, and strengthen school safety audits.

“We are here to provide solutions to the problems that matter to Virginians and we are working every day to serve our parents and students, veterans and law enforcement,” Youngkin said in the press release. “I thank these bipartisan legislators for their ability to find common sense solutions for their constituents and the Commonwealth.”
Many of the bills passed with unanimous support, while others received only a small handful of negative votes. One of the bills that received the most negative votes is Senator Emmet Hanger’s (R-Augusta) SB 186, requiring owners of farm-use vehicles to apply to the Department of Motor Vehicles for a $15 placard. Delegate Robert Bloxom’s (R-Accomack) companion HB 179 passed the House and the Senate with no negative votes, but at the end of February, four House Republicans voted against Hanger’s bill, which still passed with 95 House votes and unanimous support in the Senate.
In January, Hanger explained to the Transportation Committee that currently, farm-use placards are available in retail establishments, and there is no clear way for law enforcement to determine who should legitimately receive farm-use exemptions for license plates or registration. Farm and law enforcement lobbyists also supported the bill.
Supporting the bill, Senator Steve Newman (R-Bedford) said, “I gotta tell you, a lot of good people, even in farm country, are getting tired of the fake farm tags, and I feared that it was all going to collapse.”
He said, “It seems like, to me, this is the right way to do it to preserve this long-term without the public kind of coming down hard on these vehicles.”
So far, Youngkin has signed 76 bills and vetoed one, although the veto could come into play as Youngkin tries to help House Republicans prevail over Senate Democrats in budget negotiations during the special session.

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network.  Email tips to [email protected].