Victoria Cobb, President
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
The 2021 General Assembly Session, which lasted 45 days (30 days, plus a Special Session extension), officially adjourned on March 1. It was very different this year as the House of Delegates conducted all its committee meetings and full sessions virtually and the Senate met in-person at the Virginia Science Museum for full sessions but held committee meetings virtually. Despite some legislators and their staff working from Richmond, the inability to walk the halls of the Capitol and the General Assembly building to speak with legislators added to the challenges created by the virtual environment.
If we could describe this session it could be: “The 2021 session resulted in the approval of more bad liberal policies championed by the majority party, but it could’ve been a lot worse.” Whether it was the limited number of bills legislators could introduce, the Left’s laser-focused agenda, or simple burn-out from the long 2020 Regular session (60 days) and Special Session (nearly 90 days), the breadth of damage was thankfully somewhat contained.
Before the gavel even struck to adjourn the 2021 Session, our team took part in a month-long pastor tour across the Commonwealth (over 20 cities) to discuss the significant legislation and what it means for Virginia families, churches, and individuals. Some of the bad legislation we informed them about included:
- Repeal and Replace Natural Marriage - HJ 582 (D-Sickles) and SJ 270 (D-Ebbin) are the first step toward amending the Virginia Constitution to remove language affirming natural marriage and replace it with language that would require the state to recognize ALL marriages and “treat all marriages equally” “regardless of sex or gender of the parties to the marriage.” These would enshrine in the state constitution the right to “marriage” between individuals of the same sex even if the 2015 Obergefell opinion is eventually overturned by the newly comprised Supreme Court. It also opens up Virginia to polygamy and other currently banned forms of “marriage.” There is a lot more we have to say on this issue, so stay tuned!
- Cultural Competency Training – SB 1196 (D-Locke) and HB 1904 (D-Jenkins) require anyone seeking a teacher licensure to be trained in the vague and undefined notion of “cultural competency” – in reality, code language for more Marxist indoctrination like “Critical Race Theory.”
- Legalization of adult recreational use of marijuana – Under SB 1406 (D-Ebbin) and HB 2312 (D-Herring), adults 21 and older will be able to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and not be subject to any civil fine, and it would become legal to cultivate, manufacture, sell or buy adult-use marijuana beginning July 1, 2024. They also contain a re-enactment clause that would require the General Assembly to re-approve it in 2022, as well as a local opt-out of commercial marijuana through a local referendum that would need to be held by December 1, 2022.
- “Nanny State” Bills – HB 2032 (D-Gooditis), HB 1864 (D-Price) and SB 1310 (D-McClellan) make an “employer” anyone who hires just one person, even if it’s part-time (a few hours a week), as an in-home nanny, babysitter, caretaker, in-home nurse, or tutor for their child, which will open them up to civil lawsuits for “discrimination” under the Human Rights Act by the Attorney General and/or disgruntled applicants or former employees. SB 1310 and HB 1864 go even further by authorizing the Health Department “to enter without delay” the home/premises “to inspect, investigate, and take samples,” and it creates numerous requirements for families hiring a “domestic worker.”
- Health Exchange Coverage of Abortion – SB 1276 (D-McClellan) and HB 1896 (D-Hudson) allow coverage of abortion on demand in health insurance plans in Virginia's Obamacare health exchange. Taxes pay for managing the exchange and for subsidizing health plans in many cases.
We also told pastors about some of the outlandish and unbelievable statements by a few legislators, such as Delegate Mark Levine (D-Alexandria) who compared Catholic Charities’ adoption services to the KKK or a state Senator Barbara Favola (D-Fairfax) who said legislators who hadn’t read the entire marijuana legalization bill (over 250 pages) shouldn’t be worried about voting for it because it was fully vetted in committee, eerily similar to an infamous comment by none other than Nancy Pelosi regarding Obamacare in 2009. Click the images below to hear for yourself!