Victoria Cobb, President
Saturday, January 25, 2020

This week, the third week of the General Assembly Session, The Family Foundation Policy Team worked hard to oppose radical bills that elevate “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to protected classes in the law, attack religious liberty, and lead to countless more unborn lives lost to the evil of abortion.  It’s clear by now that the radical Left is bent on ridding Virginia of any common sense laws that protect the sanctity of life, religious liberty and traditional family values.

Here are the highlights of the good news and bad news from this week:

Some Good News….

“Death Tax” defeated –  HB 736 (Watts, D-Alexandria) would reinstate the estate tax, commonly known as the “death tax,” which amounts to a double tax on property and takes so much of what a person planned to leave as an inheritance to their families.  After opposition testimony, the patron had the bill go by for the year. Click HERE to read more.

Still alive: Conscience Protection for Christian adoption agencies –  HB 1051 (D-Levine) seeks to repeal Virginia's longstanding conscience rights protection for religious child placement and adoption agencies. After comments from many people, the Subcommittee gave the patron the opportunity to produce data on the full impacts of the bill, so they will take up the bill again next week.

Requiring Online Posting of FLE content – Passed House Education Com. – HB 1394 (R-Leftwich) requires each local school board to make sex-education materials available on the school division’s official website to be more accessible for parents to review. It passed the House Education Committee 17-5 and will be voted on by the full House next week.

Still Fighting: “Day of Tears” Repeal – HR 6 (D-Convirs-Fowler) would recognize January 22 (anniversary of Roe v. Wade) as the “Day of Women” and repeal a past resolution that recognized it as the “Day of Tears” to honor the unborn lives lost to abortion. The attempt to “repeal” this unofficial designation is nothing more than petty and spiteful.  After a contentious discussion, the resolution was put on hold until next week.

Now the Bad News….and Lots of It.

Expanded and Unsafe Abortion Access  HB 980  (D-Herring) and SB 733 (D-McClellan) i) allows almost anyone – not just physicians – to perform abortions, including physician's assistants, nurse practitioners and even certified nurse midwives; ii) eliminates all requirements involved with informed consent prior to an abortion, including written materials and even the performance of an ultrasound before performing an abortion so that the woman has the opportunity to see the image and hear the baby’s heartbeat; iii) removes the 24 hour wait period between the ultrasound and abortion; (iv) eliminates all the health and safety regulations and oversight from the state’s abortion centers that have proven so very necessary; and v) removes the civil penalties for abortionists who failed to do these things. 

HB 980 passed the House Courts of Justice committee 12-9 and SB 733 passed Senate Education and Health Committee 9-6, both party line votes.  They will soon be voted on by the full House and Senate.

Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act – SB 1001 (R-Chase) banned abortions after the point at which a baby in the womb can feel pain, which is generally agreed to be around 20 weeks old. This bill was defeated in Senate Education and Health committee.

Sex Education (FLE) Opt-In – HB 683 (R-LaRock) would not have allowed a child to participate in FLE lessons unless a parent has first given permission.  Under current law the student participates in the lessons unless the parent opts the child out.  The bill failed to pass a House Education subcommittee 5-3.

Same-Sex “Marriage” – HB 1490 (D-Guy), which repeals the dormant statutes that prohibit same-sex “marriage” and civil unions in Virginia, passed 14-8 in a House committee and now goes to the full House. The same bill in the Senate, SB 17 (D-Ebbin), passed the Senate 25-13.

Prohibition Against Talk Therapy – HB 386 (D-Hope) prevents parents from seeking counseling for their child who may be struggling with their sexual identity or is experiencing unwanted same-sex attractions, by prohibiting licensed counselors and therapists from helping them in this way. It passed 5-1 in a subcommittee. An identical bill, SB 245 (D- Surovell), passed the Senate 21-18Click HERE to read more.

Counselor Free Speech Protection – HB 966 (R-Walker), a bill The Family Foundation initiated, would have allowed health boards to promulgate regulations prohibiting the use of electroshock therapy or other non-speech therapy for minors seeking counseling for unwanted sexual feelings, but protecting talk therapy, which the Left is actively trying to thwart.  A House subcommittee voted 4-2 to defeat the bill.

SOGI Nondiscrimination – HB 1663 (D-Sickles) rolls all the “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” (SOGI) bills into one giant bill, and incorporates these as specially protected statuses in public and private employment, public accommodations, housing, appointments, credit, and the Virginia Human Rights Act. It also creates both civil and government-initiated causes of action to sue people claimed to be in violation. And it adds draconian and far-reaching powers to the Attorney General to subpoena, investigate, and prosecute anyone in relation to any claims of such discrimination. This is clearly designed to target and destroy any dissenters from the sexual revolution. The bill passed in a subcommittee 5-1.  

Sex Change on Birth Certificate By Request  – HB 1041 (D-Simon) allows anyone to legally “change” their birth sex on their official birth certificate by doing nothing more than make a simple request to the State Registrar using a form, along with a simple doctor’s note. The bill specifically says the Registrar shall not require any evidence or documentation of any medical procedure. It passed a subcommittee 5-3. An identical bill, SB 657 (Boysko-D), passed the Senate 24-15. Click HERE to read more.

Statewide “Transgender” Policies in Schools – HB 145 (D-Simon) directs the Department of Education to develop model policies for all local school divisions on how they must handle “transgender” students in facilities use, pronoun use, etc.. A House subcommittee passed it 6-2.  An identical bill, SB 161 (D-Boysko), passed the Senate 23-16Click HERE to read more.

Gambling Expansion (Internet Lottery, Sports Betting, Increased “Charitable” Gaming) – A Senate subcommittee passed several gambling bills that will allow lottery tickets to be sold over the internet, legalize sports betting at both a central location and online, and greatly expand options for “charitable” gaming.  Also passed by the subcommittee was the Governor's bill, SB 1063 (D-McPike), which will allow gambling video game machines to be placed in virtually every convenience store, bar, and gas station in Virginia. This does not include the casino bills that will be heard next week. 

Legalization of Recreational Marijuana – SB 2 (D-Ebbin) and SB 815 (D-Morrissey) decriminalize (effectively the same thing as "legalizing") marijuana in Virginia. A Senate Subcommittee recommended reporting the two bills for the full committee to consider.

Mandated Health Coverage for “Transgender” Services –  HB 1429 (D-Roem) would prevent any health carrier from denying or limiting coverage or imposing additional costs for coverages to any person for “transgender” health related treatments including “gender reassignment surgeries” – and it includes children!  It also defines "Gender identity" as “an individual's internal sense of gender, which may be male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female.” A House Labor and Commerce subcommittee passed it 5-0.

Required Training on “LGBTQ” Cultural Competency – HB 581 (D-Guzman) requires the Dept. of Human Resource Management to “develop an online training module addressing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) cultural competency” and mandates all state employees to take the training.  A House General Laws subcommittee passed it 4-3.

Required Social Justice Curriculum – SB 853 (D-Boysko) require the Dept. of Education to develop a model curriculum and teacher training on social justice, including bigotry, hate, historically underrepresented groups, dehumanizing injustice, etc.. The bill passed 12-2-1 by the Senate Education and Health committee.

And many more things…

As you can see, everything imaginable – and beyond imaginable – is being thrown at us and foisted upon our Commonwealth. Please continue to pray for The Family Foundation, specifically the Policy Team as they engage in these critical issues that will ultimately impact families all across Virginia.


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