- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 12, 2006

RICHMOND — Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said yesterday that he vetoed seven bills, including a measure that would have allowed those without a concealed weapons permit to store guns in their cars as long as the weapons were in locked compartments.

“This measure runs contrary to existing state law regarding concealed weapon permits, allowing people who have not completed a criminal background check, and who are untrained with a handgun, to possess a firearm in a concealed manner with a locked compartment in their vehicles,” Mr. Kaine said in a written statement.

Mr. Kaine, a Democrat who took office in January, also vetoed bills that would have taken away the governor’s power to appoint members of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, the director of the Tobacco Settlement Foundation and the director of the Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission.

The governor announced the vetoes on the last day he could stop from becoming law any of the 958 bills passed by the 2006 General Assembly. The Republican-controlled legislature will reconsider the governor’s vetoes and amendments when it reconvenes for a one-day veto session next Wednesday.

On Monday, Mr. Kaine said he would urge Virginians to vote against a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage because he is concerned that it could have unintended consequences. The proposed amendment will be on the ballot in November.

“I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman, and current Virginia law makes that abundantly clear,” Mr. Kaine said. “But I am concerned that the broad wording of the proposed constitutional amendment goes much further than that, threatening the constitutional rights of individuals to enter into private contracts, and also threatening the discretion of employers to extend certain benefits, such as health care coverage, to unmarried couples.”

Governors have no authority over proposed constitutional amendments. Once passed in two successive legislative sessions separated by a House election, the issue goes directly to voters for ratification, the final step in amending the Virginia Constitution.

Mr. Kaine could have amended or vetoed the bill that mandates the proposed amendment for the ballot, but it would have been futile. The bill passed the House and the Senate with more than the two-thirds majorities required to override a veto.

Yesterday marked a month since the General Assembly adjourned from its regular 60-day session without a new two-year budget in place. Mr. Kaine called the legislature into a special session March 27 that was devoted to the budget.

Still, the House and Senate cannot agree on how to pay for improvements to the state’s transportation system.

The House wants to set aside $1.3 billion in a transportation reserve fund, pass the remainder of the budget and take up transportation later.

The Senate wants to raise $1 billion a year in new taxes to pay for a statewide transportation solution.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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