RICHMAND, Virginia (WRIC) – After a bill passed by both houses of the state legislature on Monday aimed at preventing public school boards from introducing masked mandates, Gov. Glen Yangkin said he would amend the measure to give it strength immediately.
Yangkin, who has been working for a month now, told the republican leadership that he was looking forward to signing the bill. after passing the Republican-controlled House of Delegates along party lines.
But in order for the bill to take effect immediately, the governor must first add a paragraph on emergencies and send the measure back to the General Assembly. If both chambers of the legislature approve the bill with amendments, it must be signed by Yangkin.
Hours after the bill hit Yangkin’s desk, 8News asked the governor if he planned to add this item on emergencies.
“We will work on it tonight and tomorrow morning, and tomorrow morning we will send it to the General Assembly with an item on emergencies, and then the House and Senate must do their job and send it to me.” Yangkin said during an appearance near Richmond Fox Elementary School.
The governor added that he hopes to sign a bill to suspend school masks for a while this week. If the House and Senate approve the bill with a clause on emergencies, it is possible that Youngkin could pass the bill as early as Tuesday.
Democrats remained steadfast on Monday before their assembled group lost to the Republican majority in the House of Delegates.
“We are unable to predict the future or take away tools from local communities,” said minority leader Eileen Filler-Korn (D-Fairfax).
Despite a split in the House of Delegates, the measure received bipartisan support in the Democrat-controlled Senate last week.
Some parents are still skeptical about the abolition of school masks, especially for students with weakened immune systems – 8News also put pressure on the governor on this occasion.
“I urge everyone to do: if you want to wear a mask, wear it. And, in fact, I think there are masks, and if there aren’t, we’ll be happy to help. And I think this is the moment when parents make the best decision for each of their children, ”Yangkin said.
While the governor urged everyone to wear a mask, a face coat helps prevent the spread of disease, not just protects people from disease.
Questions of legality remain whether the bill can take effect immediately. Virginia Code says the bill requires a four-fifths majority before an emergency amendment can be added and sent back to the legislature for immediate entry into force.
Votes in the House of Representatives and Senate failed to reach that threshold. However, a recent precedent in 2020 undermined this process.