The 2015 session of the Virginia General Assembly convened on Wednesday and is in full swing.  This session is a “short session,” lasting only 46 days.  It promises to be busy and interesting as our legislators tackle the budget crisis and bills pertaining to life, marriage and the common good.

Want to get in on the action?!  Sign up for our annual Catholic Advocacy Day, to be held January 29th in Richmond.  Don’t miss this opportunity to come together with fellow Catholics from across the Commonwealth, hear from Bishop DiLorenzo and Bishop Loverde, and meet with your legislators to advocate for issues important to Catholics!

Here’s what happened at the General Assembly this week:

In-state tuition for childhood arrivals:  Conference-opposed legislation, SB 722 (Black), passed the Senate Education and Health Committee on an 8-7 vote.  This bill will prohibit students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status from receiving in-state tuition even if they meet all other requirements for Virginia domicile.   DACA students are considered to be lawfully present in the United States by the Department of Homeland Security.  Those voting NAY supported the Conference’s position.

Protecting individuals with intellectual disabilities from capital punishment: The Conference supported legislation, SB 855 (Marsden), to strengthen safeguards against executing those with intellectual disabilities. The bill, which is needed to make Virginia’s death penalty consistent with a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, passed the Senate Courts of Justice Committee 14-0.  A vote by the full Senate is expected early next week.