It took hours of debate for the Virginia State Board of Health to eventually decide to grandfather in existing reproductive health clinics, exempting them from new regulations designed to force them into expensive renovations or shut them down completely.
Now, unhappy with the board taking the teeth out of the TRAP law, Republican Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli is refusing to sign them.
Via The Washington Post:
Senior Assistant Attorney General Allyson K. Tysinger had told the board that it lacked authority to grandfather in existing clinics, saying the law passed by the General Assembly requiring the regulations specifically mandated the tougher building standards. She reiterated that advice in a memo to state Health Commissioner Karen Remley.
“The Board does not have the statutory authority to adopt these Regulations,” she wrote. Because of the conflict between the amendment passed by the board and the state law, she said, “the Board has exceeded its authority.”
Cuccinelli had already threatened the Board of Health, telling them that if they moved forward with grandfathering in the clinics he would refuse to sign the new regulations, a move that caused the Virginia ACLU to question whether he was exceeding his own authority as attorney general. Katherine Greenier, Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia’s Patricia M. Arnold Women’s Rights Project wrote previously that, “By threatening to refuse to ‘certify’ the Board’s authority, the Attorney General essentially has claimed veto power over the Board’s policy decisions – a threat that is intended to force the Board to rewrite the rules to suit the AG’s policy objectives. That is not the AG’s job, however.”
The new regulations still need to be approved or rejected by the governor before they can become law.