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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Youngkin vetoes bill to establish ‘green bank’

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Thursday, May 23, 2024   

Gov. Glenn Youngkin has vetoed a bill establishing a green bank in Virginia.

Senate Bill 729 was set to create the Virginia Clean Energy Innovation Bank, to help finance clean energy projects across the state. The bill passed both General Assembly chambers with some bipartisan support.

Lee Francis, deputy director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, said not signing the bill is a missed opportunity for clean-energy investment.

"The biggest impact is those dollars go to other states," Francis pointed out. "Virginia has not taken full advantage of the federal dollars that are out there for clean energy. We did have a good solar announcement recently for 'Solar for All.' That's really been the first solidified program that we've funded here in the state."

Youngkin said he vetoed the bill because an amendment he drafted resolving conflicts between the Department of Energy and the green bank was not included in the final bill.

Francis noted the amendment also called for the General Assembly to vote on the plan again in 2025, which is why it was rejected. The Virginia League of Conservation Voters will host a webinar at 7 p.m. about the bill.

Although the bill did not pass, it could return next session. Francis feels the General Assembly can build off this bill by setting seed money aside for the green bank. He added the green bank bill would help Virginia develop a clean energy future.

"We are a state that has laws on the books to reach 100% clean energy and the more tools and mechanisms we can bring to Virginia to help meet those goals, I think, the better," Francis asserted. "This is a way that we can meet existing policies with new tools and do it in a way that's also going to be creating jobs and bringing investment to communities."

Across the country, 16 states and the District of Columbia have a total of 21 green banks, with Connecticut's being the first established in 2011.


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