McAuliffe vetoes bill changing direction of abandoned funds in court cases

virginiaGovernor Terry McAuliffe today vetoed House Bill 577, which would have allowed funds that are abandoned in certain types of court cases to be directed to the Virginia Housing Trust Fund.

Governor McAuliffe is a strong supporter of the Housing Trust Fund, but determined that the legislation violates the constitutional requirement that any such funds be directed to the Virginia Literary Fund.


The Governor’s veto statement

Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 577. This bill would allow abandoned funds held in escrow by real estate brokers in interpleader cases heard in general district courts to be directed to the Virginia Housing Trust Fund.  While I fully support the Virginia Housing Trust Fund, the mechanism established by this legislation is unconstitutional.

Article VIII, Section 8 of the Constitution of Virginia requires that all escheated funds be deposited in the Literary Fund.  Although House Bill 577 does not use the term “escheated funds,” the abandoned monies identified in the legislation nevertheless qualify as escheated funds.

In order to rectify this constitutional problem, I proposed amended language that replaced the Virginia Housing Trust Fund with the Literary Fund.  The General Assembly elected not to accept the proposed language, returning House Bill 577 to me in the original, unconstitutional form.

I was pleased that the General Assembly concurred with my investment in the Virginia Housing Trust Fund for the upcoming biennial budget. I commend Delegate Robinson and supporters of this bill for attempting to further enhance the Fund. While the mechanism outlined in HB 577 is unworkable, I look forward to working with interested parties to identify a better solution.

Accordingly, I veto this bill.

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