Executive orders vs. laws: What’s the difference?

Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 4:08 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV) - Ending mandatory masking in schools was just one of 11 executive orders Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin signed as his first order of business, and while executive orders are not technically laws, there can still be consequences for violating them.

A law requires congressional approval and can be repealed by congress, which is not the case with an executive order.

A new order would have to be created to eliminate an executive order that is in place, and once the governor leaves office, the executive orders are deemed invalid.

“An executive order is something that is not a statutory law, it is by definition, that is why they call it an executive order, but it has the force of law,” said David McQuilkin, retired professor of history and political science at Bridgewater College.

McQuilkin adds that executive orders can be overridden by the legislature or a court if deemed it has exceeded executive authority.

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