VoterVoice Post

Virginia General Assembly Update–Week 5

February 10, 2023 by Jeff Caruso

Virginia General Assembly Update–Week 5

Tuesday of this week was the “crossover” deadline for the 2023 General Assembly session. As a result, the only bills still alive are ones that have passed their chamber of origin. Senate committees are now considering legislation that has passed the House, and House committees are now considering legislation that has passed the Senate.

Each year, crossover features a flurry of floor votes, and this year was no exception. Here are key outcomes from this action-packed day and the days leading up to it. To see how your legislators voted on these and other items, stay tuned for our end-of-session report.

Abortion: The House passed the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, a bill to restore Virginia’s informed consent law, and legislation to increase public awareness of life-affirming assistance available to pregnant women. Last week, Defending Life Day participants urged their legislators to support all three of these VCC-supported bills. The Senate, on the other hand, passed a radical and dangerous proposal to add a so-called “right to abortion” amendment to the Virginia constitution. Fortunately, a House subcommittee has already rejected an identical measure.

Religious Freedom: The House passed a VCC-supported bill to strengthen Virginia’s law regarding access to clergy visits by patients at hospitals and other facilities during public health emergencies. The Senate, however, has already rejected similar legislation.

Education: The House passed VCC-supported legislation to make several improvements to the Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits program. However, a Senate committee has already defeated an identical measure.

Isolated Confinement: The Senate passed a bill to limit isolated confinement in prisons to no more than 15 consecutive days in any 60-day period. Isolated or solitary confinement has many negative consequences. Acknowledging these consequences as well as circumstances in which limited isolated confinement is necessary, the VCC supports the bill as an appropriate way to curb the damaging effects of this practice while simultaneously protecting the life, dignity and safety of all members of a prison community. The House has also passed a similar measure.

Delta 8:  As noted in our recent action alert, the VCC supported legislation to address the growing crisis caused by child-tempting edibles infused with Delta 8 and other forms of synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) derived from hemp. Poison control calls are skyrocketing across the commonwealth, especially relating to toddlers. Unfortunately, the bill to ban Delta 8 and other synthetic cannabinoids did not advance out of a House committee. Separate legislation to regulate these substances did, however, pass the House. The VCC will continue to track these bills in the Senate, and support only measures that protect children.

Budget Issues: The House and Senate have passed their respective budget bills. There are big differences between the two versions, including some differences that are critically important to the VCC. Please stay tuned for details and key advocacy opportunities coming soon.



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The Virginia Catholic Conference is the public policy agency representing Virginia’s Catholic bishops and their two dioceses.