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This Week at the 2018 Virginia General Assembly-Week 1

January 12, 2018 by Jeff Caruso

This Week at the 2018 Virginia General Assembly-Week 1

The 60-day 2018 session of the Virginia General Assembly kicked off Wednesday against a backdrop of changes in the political makeup of the House of Delegates and tomorrow’s changing of the guard in the governor’s mansion with the inauguration of Governor Ralph Northam.

In its work this session, the Virginia Catholic Conference welcomes Diocese of Richmond Bishop Barry C. Knestout, who was installed today and will join Diocese of Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge on the Conference's board of managers. See Executive Director Jeff Caruso’s statement welcoming His Excellency, Bishop Knestout, here.

Also this year the Conference welcomes to its advocacy efforts associate director Felicia Pricenor, a Virginia native and attorney who joined the team in November. Her efforts will be focused on an array of issues involving the principles of the dignity of the human person and subsidiarity, including religious liberty, parental choice in education, health care and concerns for people with disabilities. Read more about our staff here.

The makeup of this year’s General Assembly has changed since the 2017 session, with Democratic gains in the House of Delegates. Republicans continue to control both houses, but with narrow margins: with 21 Republicans and 19 Democrats in the Senate and a 51-49 Republican-Democrat split in the House. Therefore, the VCC expects to deal with many close votes in both houses during the 2018 session. The Conference takes positions on issues that cut across the political spectrum.

Before this year’s session, our advocacy staff sat down with reporters from the Catholic newspapers in both dioceses to talk about the upcoming session. Read the Arlington Herald story  and the Catholic Virginian story. See our 2018 legislative agenda here.

As the session continues, please plan to join us for these upcoming advocacy and prayer events:

Virginia Vespers: Evening Prayer for the Commonwealth: Please join Virginia’s bishops, legislators, fellow Catholics and people of all faiths as we pray for our civic leaders and the needs of the Commonwealth at our third annual Virginia Vespers, on Thursday, February 15th at 5pm at Richmond’s historic Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. A wine and appetizers reception follows.  Sign up here.

Catholics in the Capital:  On Thursday, February 15th, come to Richmond and meet your delegates and senators and advocate for the important issues outlined in our agenda. Just schedule your February 15 legislators’ visits and our staff will be happy to provide talking points and updates beforehand. Find legislators’ contact information here. Let us know after you’ve made the appointment by emailing