We hope everyone had a restful break celebrating the joy of Christmas and ringing in the New Year with family and friends.  Things are heating up here in Richmond, as the Virginia Catholic Conference prepares for the opening of the 2014 Virginia General Assembly on January 8th, which we will kick off that same day with the 2nd annual Virginia Stands for Life rally on Capitol Square.

On January 11, Virginia will swear in a new governor. With that comes a changed climate in Richmond.  Rest assured that the Virginia Catholic Conference has a full legislative agenda  for the 2014 session.  We will advocate for a wide variety of initiatives this session. Our top priority remains the protection of life and the defense of recent pro-life gains made in the past few years, including Virginia’s ultrasound informed-consent law and abortion clinic safety regulations. We will also continue to defend traditional marriage between one man and one woman, united for life.

The Conference will also advocate for Medicaid expansion, which will provide 400,000 low-income Virginians with access to affordable health care and protect hospitals in the Commonwealth from devastating cuts to federal funds for charity care.  Protecting religious liberty and conscience protections for all will also be a priority, along with preserving the new Education Improvement Scholarships tax credit, which makes nonpublic schools affordable for more low-income children.

Please view our complete 2014 Legislative Agenda, and check your inboxes and our website, Facebook and Twitter often for updates on our advocacy efforts.  Also, make plans to attend our annual Catholic Advocacy Day Thursday, January 30, in Richmond, which is a great opportunity for Catholics across the Commonwealth to meet with their legislative representatives and advocate in-person for the common good.

As we approach Epiphany and rejoice with the Magi in the good news that a Savior has been born to us, let’s resolve to bring Christ’s message of love to our neighbor through legislative advocacy in the New Year!