Virginia General Assembly Update – Week 5
The House and Senate are racing to complete work on their respective bills by the Feb. 13 crossover deadline. After that date, with the exception of the budget, the House can only consider bills that have passed the Senate, and the Senate can only consider bills that have passed the House. Some key issues loom large in the final days before crossover.
Assisted suicide: Harmful and deadly assisted suicide legislation (SB 280 and HB 858) continues to advance. This afternoon, the Senate passed SB 280 by a 21-19 vote (link not yet available). The House will vote on HB 858 Monday (Feb. 12) or Tuesday (Feb. 13). Click here to oppose this legislation!
Abortion shield bills: Senate legislation (SB 716) would shield abortion providers in Virginia from criminal or professional liability for violating other states’ pro-life laws. This VCC-opposed bill passed the Senate 21-18. Other similar bills are also advancing. We will provide further updates on those soon.
Contraceptive mandate: VCC-opposed legislation (SB 238 and HB 819) would require health plans to cover all drugs the FDA defines as contraceptives, including some drugs that can cause abortions. The Senate passed SB 238 24-15. The House passed HB 819 65-31.
Isolated confinement: VCC-supported legislation (HB 1244 and SB 719) to limit isolated confinement in prisons is advancing. HB 1244 passed two committees by votes of 12-10 and 11-10 respectively. SB 719 passed two committee by votes of 8-7 and 9-5 respectively. Both bills will receive floor votes early next week.
Marijuana commercialization: In 2021, Virginia enacted legislation to legalize marijuana possession (including high potency THC edibles) and home cultivation. Though commercial sales remain illegal, Senate and House committees have advanced commercialization bills (SB 448 and HB 698). Floor votes on these measures will be early next week. We oppose these bills because of the substantial risk they pose to public health and safety.
Virginia Pro-Life Day: Register now at www.vaprolifeday.org!
Pregnant and need help? Click here to find pregnancy resources offered by our two dioceses.
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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.