Tuesday marked the mid-point of the 2010 General Assembly session. "Crossover" is the day that each chamber must complete work on its own bills. On Monday and Tuesday of this week, each chamber dealt with hundreds of bills during long, exhausting sessions. Members introduced more than 2,600 bills this year, which is less than usual. Observers say there are two reasons for this: The large number of freshman in the House (20) — freshman rarely introduce a lot of bills as they are getting their feet wet, and much of what they do patron isn't overly ambitious; and the budget. Everyone knows new spending is off the docket with the deficit. Even tax reduction bills are rare this year — lawmakers are just as wary about decreasing what they have to spend as they are about spending it. There may not be any new taxes, but forget about the current, regressive ones disappearing. Many bills are duplicates that get "rolled into" each other. Add the ubiquitous commending resolutions for local sports teams or military, fire and police heroes, and the number of policy bills is much smaller than 2,600. But still no less work.
We are tracking more than 100 bills that can either positively or negatively affect Virginia’s families. Many are priorities and our legislative team meets with legislators daily on these important issues. It is impossible to blog about everything we come across, but The Family Foundation e-mail alert system is one of the best in the state — if not the best. Sign up here to stay up to date on the most important issues of the session.
One thing is sure, though: Dozens of members of the General Assembly know exactly where we stand on every one of these 100-plus bills. Each week, we distributes a "bill profile" to select members of each chamber. The profile lists the bills, their status, and our position on them. In addition, we distribute one-page "talking points" on many bills so legislators have the key information on why the legislation is good or bad.
To this point, several positive, pro-family bills have passed through either the House or Senate. In addition, we have successfully killed Planned Parenthood and NARAL’s highest priority bill — one that would have unfairly regulated pregnancy resource centers. Unfortunately, there are a few measures that we still need to defeat. Beginning today with education reform, and over the next few days, we will update you on the status of legislation that we are following.