House GOP leader warns McAuliffe over executive orders

Terry McAuliffe pledges to sign two executive orders on his first day as governor, but the leader of the GOP-controlled House of Delegates says the Democrat shouldn’t get too comfortable handing down edicts.

“Governor-elect McAuliffe has the ability to issue executive orders. This ability is not, however, an unlimited one,” House Speaker Bill Howell told

McAuliffe vowed to set a $100 gift cap on himself and his family, in response to the “gift gate” scandal that has embroiled Gov. Bob McDonnell.

The first-time office holder also said he will sign an executive order protecting gay, lesbian and transgender state workers from discrimination. That order would revive a policy of McDonnell’s Democrat predecessor, Tim Kaine.

Howell said McAuliffe’s non-discrimination order could be contested by lawmakers.

“I don’t believe he can do an ENDA run around the General Assembly by executive order,” Howell, a Falmouth Republican, said, referring to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, currently blocked in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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