VoterVoice Post

This Week at the 2020 Virginia General Assembly--Week 4

January 31, 2020 by Jeff Caruso

This Week at the 2020 Virginia General Assembly--Week 4

Week 4 at the Virginia General Assembly was a busy one as floor sessions had long agendas and House and Senate committees started to weed out bills that will not be advancing this year.  Bishop Knestout gave the invocation to open Wednesday’s session of the House of Delegates, praying for justice, peace, civility and hope.  Here is a summary of the decisions our elected officials made this week on pending matters:

Abortion: The House passed its omnibus abortion bill on Tuesday by a vote of 52-45, and the Senate followed suit on Wednesday with Lt. Gov. Fairfax breaking a 20-20 tie.  These bills now cross over to be considered by the other chamber, respectively. Bishop Burbidge and Bishop Knestout issued a statement expressing their deep sadness and disappointment on the advancement of these bills and urging the General Assembly to oppose any legislation that allows for the taking of innocent life.  Yesterday, Bishop Burbidge gave his additional thoughts on what’s happening in Richmond on his Walk Humbly Podcast, starting at the 12:37 mark.  It is important to keep opposing these bills as they still need to be voted on by the other chamber. These bills would repeal health and safety protections at abortion facilities. They would also allow nurse practitioners to perform first-trimester abortions, and in the case of the House bill physician’s assistants and certified nurse midwives as well. And their sweeping provisions would severely roll back essential informed consent requirements, including the opportunity to view an ultrasound.
Show your opposition to the General Assembly’s actions by planning to attend the VA March for Life on February 13!
Death Penalty: The Senate passed a bill yesterday on a strong bipartisan vote of 32-7 to exempt people with severe mental illnesses from the death penalty.  The VCC supports this bill as we seek to protect life from the moment of conception until natural death.

Several VCC-Opposed Bills Not Advancing This Year: SB 635, which sought to deem abortion a “fundamental right”, was stricken at the request of its patron, meaning that it will not be considered this year. Also, after hearing many concerns, a House subcommittee decided not to advance HB 1051, which would have ended a law ensuring religious liberty protections for faith-based adoption and foster care agencies. And at the patron’s request, HB 521, which sought to repeal the Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits program, has been carried over until next year.

Attend Virginia Vespers on March 5!  Please register now for Thursday, March 5, as the Virginia Catholic Conference once again presents a special opportunity to come together with Catholic bishops, priests, parishioners, people of all faiths, educators, social service providers and public officials to pray for the needs of Virginia.  Bishop Knestout, Bishop Burbidge and the Virginia Catholic Conference will host the fifth annual Virginia Vespers: Evening Prayer for the Commonwealth at the beautiful historic Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond. The liturgy begins at 5 p.m. A reception follows, and all are invited!

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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.