March 10, 2022

General Assembly Passes Suetterlein’s Limit on Emergency Powers


Unilateral Executive Emergency Orders would be Limited to 45 Days

RICHMOND – Bipartisan legislation limiting the duration of emergency executive action is heading to Governor Glenn Youngkin’s desk. Senator David Suetterlein’s Senate Bill 4 passed the House of Delegates 91-8 following the Virginia Senate’s own 29-11 vote.  

Virginia has been in the minority of states that does not have legislative oversight over executive emergency orders. SB4 would require an affirmative vote by both legislative chambers for an emergency action to be allowed to continue after 45 days. Without SB4, an executive emergency order issued when the General Assembly adjourns this month could stay in effect for fifteen months until June 30, 2023. 

“Limiting the duration of unilateral emergency executive orders with the force of law is critical to restoring checks and balances in the Commonwealth. It is important that we do this while we have a reasonable Governor like Glenn Youngkin, because the kind of Governor that would need these limits would never sign them into law in the first place,” said Suetterlein.

This is the third time Suetterlein has carried this legislation, but it was not considered by the then-Democratic controlled legislative chambers during Ralph Northam’s administration

Ten of the 21 Senate Democrats and 39 of the 48 House Democrats joined all of the General Assembly Republicans in supporting the bill this year. Democratic Senators Chap Petersen and Lynwood Lewis were among Suetterlein’s eleven co-patrons. 

Following its bipartisan passage, Suetterlein’s SB4 joins his six other bipartisan bills passed by the Democratic-controlled Virginia Senate and the Republican-led House of Delegates that are now on Governor Youngkin’s desk. Also among these proposals are bills to make Parole Board votes public, allow for car tax relief, and increase supports for Virginians with developmental disabilities. His SB3 to end election night mirages by counting absentee votes by precinct is expected to be considered later today or Friday.

Virginia Senator David Suetterlein was elected in November 2019 to a second term representing parts of the Roanoke Valley, New River Valley, and Southwest Virginia in the Virginia Senate. He lives in Roanoke County with his wife where their children attend public schools. He is a Realtor with the Roanoke Valley owned and operated MKB, REALTORS.

Suetterlein for Senate
    PO Box 20237
      Roanoke, Virginia 24018

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