Newman files bill to repeal electric vehicle mandate

Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 9:08 PM EDT
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BEDFORD CO., Va. (WDBJ) - Legislation that was passed to encourage Virginia’s transition to electric vehicles has drawn criticism from Republicans including Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

And now Bedford County Sen. Steve Newman has filed a bill to repeal the mandate.

House Bill 1965 cleared the General Assembly in 2021, and was signed into law by Governor Ralph Northam.

It ties Virginia to California’s vehicle emissions standards. And last month, a California air resources board decided that all new cars sold in the state must be electric by the year 2035.

“To me that is undoable,” Sen. Steve Newman told WDBJ7. “The people of Virginia should not be required to buy an electric vehicle because an unelected board in California decided to do so.”

This week, Newman said he has filed legislation that would effectively repeal the legislation he says would require Virginians to buy electric vehicles.

“Working Virginians simply cannot afford an electric vehicle necessarily,” he said. “They may choose to do that, but we should not force them to do that.”

Del. Lamont Bagby defended the legislation in a phone interview with WDBJ7.

“We need to protect our share of electric vehicles. It’s coming. Folks are excited about it coming, but we want to make sure we get those vehicles.”

Bagby said he wishes Republicans who oppose his legislation would instead focus on building up Virginia’s infrastructure, so the state will be prepared for the coming transition to electric vehicles.

“We want to make sure we get our fair share,” Bagby said. “And we want to make sure that the Commonwealth of Virginia looks more like the Jetsons and less like the Flintstones.”

Lawmakers will take up the issue in January.

Democrats should still hold a slim majority in the State Senate, so it remains to be seen if Newman’s legislation can pass.