This Week at the 2021 Virginia General Assembly--Week 2
Deliberating during a 30-day session, the Virginia General Assembly is accelerating its consideration of bills, include some of top priority concern to us. Here is a rundown of the relevant legislative and regulatory action in Richmond this week.
Abortion: SB 1276, a bill that would allow plans participating on Virginia’s health insurance exchange to cover abortion without any limits, passed the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on Monday 12-2 and subsequently passed the full Senate this afternoon 20-17 (link not yet available). Here is a statement by Bishop Burbidge and Bishop Knestout on this deeply disappointing and tragic result. The identical House companion bill, HB 1896, passed the House Labor and Commerce Committee yesterday 13-9. The full House of Delegates is likely to vote on it next Tuesday. Taxes pay for managing the exchange and for subsidizing health plans in many cases. Polling consistently shows that Americans do not want their tax money spent on abortions, and Virginia law currently reflects this. Contact your Delegate now to urge him or her to oppose this change and another House bill that would expand abortion in the Commonwealth!
Death Penalty Abolition: SB 1165 would abolish Virginia’s death penalty, and passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday by a vote of 10-4. It now goes to the Senate Finance and Appropriations committees. Please email your Senator now and ask him or her to support this effort!
Marijuana: SB 1406, a 500+ page bill which would legalize commercial marijuana in Virginia, was referred to a newly created “Marijuana” subcommittee formed specifically for its consideration. The subcommittee met Tuesday and Wednesday and advanced the bill to the full Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee, which it heard earlier today. By an 8-7 vote the committee advanced the bill and forwarded it concurrently to the Courts of Justice and Finance committees. Data and the experiences of other states clearly show that legalizing commercial marijuana would lead to more addiction, mental illness, suicide and traffic deaths – dangerously harming many children, breaking up families and even ending lives. Please tell your legislators you do not want Big Marijuana setting up pot shops in the Commonwealth.
Department of Education Transgender Policy: In case you missed it, an Arlington Catholic Herald article by Father Paul Scalia, the Diocese of Arlington’s Episcopal Vicar for Clergy, explains the Church’s role and teaching relating to discussions about the Virginia Department of Education's proposed policies on transgender issues in public schools. Read this very informative article and then click here to act on our alert if you have not already submitted your comments to the DOE. The comment period ends on February 3.
Pregnant and need help? Find pregnancy resources within the Diocese of Arlington and the Diocese of Richmond.
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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.