Democrats in Virginia’s General Assembly are advancing a bill that would increase the minimum wage to $13.50 per hour in 2025 and $15 per hour in 2026. While the bill still has multiple steps until it passes, a powerful Democratic state senator is threatening to end future cooperation with the governor if he vetoes the bill.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin recently stated that he believes increasing Virginia’s minimum wage is unnecessary. However, he did not outright say he would veto the bill if it makes it to his desk.
“I don’t think that you need to send a bill because the market is handling it,” Youngkin said while speaking to the press at an event earlier this week. “And they should allow small businesses to handle this.”
Following the reporting that Youngkin might not support the legislation, Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, chair of the Senate Finance Committee and the bill’s sponsor, says a veto could threaten any bipartisan cooperation between Democrats and Republicans in the future.
“PREDICTION,” she posted on social media Friday. “If Glenn Youngkin vetoes my minimum wage bill, he will quickly find the cooperative tone from Democrats changing very quickly.”
The current minimum wage in Virginia is $12 per hour — Democrats passed legislation in 2020 that would have increased it again this year — but disagreements between the House of Delegates and Senate led to a failure and the need for reenactment on the bill this year.
“This is a simple bill,” said Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Charlottesville, who chairs the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee. “It just reenacts what we did before.” The Virginia Mercury first reported his comments.
A Youngkin spokesperson declined to comment on the statement from Lucas Friday.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, also declined to comment.
The legislation passed the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on a party-line vote. It will be heard next in the Finance Committee that Lucas chairs.
Youngkin will have to work with Democrats to pass any legislation, and vice versa, as Democrats hold control of both chambers in the General Assembly. Their majority is slim, however, leaving them far short of the numbers necessary to override a veto from Youngkin.
It is unlikely that any Republicans would vote with Democrats to override a veto on this bill.