This Week at the 2020 Virginia General Assembly-Week 1
Session began Wednesday, with Democrats in control of both the Senate and the House for the first time in decades. The Senate organized quickly and its committees are already well underway with hearing bills. After some initial difficulty Wednesday in passing a package of rules for how debates on bills would proceed, the House adopted its rules yesterday. The Senate and the House will both undoubtedly be ramping up committee hearings into the typical frenzied full swing next week. Over 2500 bills have already been filed, with more still to come!
As our agenda priorities demonstrate, the new composition of the General Assembly feature stiff, unprecedented challenges in some areas and opportunities in others. We have already rolled out two urgent action alerts this week.
Take action to oppose the ERA! As expected, this issue got off to a fast start, with the Senate Privilege and Elections Committee advancing an ERA resolution yesterday to the Senate floor by a 10-5 vote. Though the General Assembly will very likely ratify the resolution this year, the ERA’s legal future is murky. But it is undeniable that in other states where ERA language has been adopted, pro-abortion groups have used it to dismantle pro-life laws. The same efforts would ramp up on a national scale if the ERA were to become federal law. For this reason, we oppose the ERA and will continue to make our concerns known to the General Assembly.
Take action to save the EISTC program! A newly introduced bill for the 2020 session would repeal the Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits program. This is Virginia’s only school choice program and because of it thousands of Virginia students receive the financial assistance they need to attend the school that best fits their needs. It is a vital lifeline for low-income families seeking life-changing educational opportunities and options for their children. The program is popular and widely utilized. In fact, just last year the General Assembly expanded EISTCs to include pre-K students. So many low-income students and students with disabilities rely on the opportunities this program provides and we must save it!
More alerts expected next week. Stay tuned!
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In prayer and in public, your voices are urgently needed to bring Gospel values to bear on vital decisions being made by those who represent you.
~~~The Virginia Catholic Conference is the public policy agency representing Virginia’s Catholic bishops and their two dioceses.