Chuck Colgan

McAuliffe Dealt Setback: Senate Upholds Conscience Protection!

Earlier today, the Democrat-controlled Senate defeated Governor Terry McAuliffe's amendment to SB 330, an amendment that would have seriously weakened conscience protections included in a bill providing for the licensing of genetic counselors. The vote was 23-17 with Democrat Senators Chuck Colgan, Phil Puckett and Chap Petersen joining all 20 Republicans in protecting the right of conscience. The Family Foundation would like to thank Senators Steve Martin (R-11, Chesterfield), Dick Black (R-13, Leesburg), and Tommy Norment (R-3, Williamsburg) who stood and spoke in opposition to the anti-conscience amendment. Special thanks goes to Senator Tom Garrett (R-22, Louisa) who articulated the legal liabilities of the amendment and to Senator Bill Stanley (R-20, Franklin) who questioned the patron of the bill, Senator Janet Howell (D-32, Reston), regarding the genesis of the amendment. Senator Stanley asked Senator Howell if she was comfortable with the initial language of her bill which passed the Senate 38-0. The considerably far-left senator responded that she was "perfectly comfortable" with the conscience clause language the way it was prior to the governor's amendment.

Continuing to prove how out of touch he is with mainstream Virginia, Governor McAuliffe showed today that he is also out of touch with even the most "progressive" leaders of his own party. He bowed to pressure from the ACLU and Planned Parenthood and was reminded by the 23-17 vote that his radical agenda will not be approved even in the Senate simply because he has a "D" behind his name.

The passage of SB 330 without the governor's anti-conscience amendments is a great benchmark for conscience rights in Virginia. If genetic counselors can be protected from being forced to violate their conscience, it follows that all other professions should receive equal protection. Today's vote proves that the freedom of conscience is not a right-wing issue or even a Christian issue — it is about freedom of conscience for all.

We are also very appreciative of our colleagues at the Virginia Catholic Conference, which again worked so hard with us over the past several days on this amendment, as well as the representatives of the genetic counselors who were willing to work with us to protect the conscience rights of their clients. Thanks, also, to all of you who contacted your senators to vote no on this significant legislative action. It does make a difference and your voices are heard.

T-Mac Chili eating

Governor McAuliffe will have to chew on this legislative defeat.

"Close The Window, Pull Down The Shade"

Earlier today, the Virginia Senate voted to pass SB 617, a bill to repeal the 2012 ultrasound update to the abortion informed consent law. The version of the story you'll probably hear is simply that the bill passed on a 20-20 vote with Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam breaking the tie in favor of the bill. What really happened though involves multiple votes, a win and then a loss and then another loss, procedural gymnastics, mistakes and tears. But worst of all, the silencing of one senator's conscience by the strong arm of his caucus. Let me back up though and tell you the whole story. Even before SB 617 passed out of the Senate Education and Health Committee on Thursday, The Family Foundation met with lawmakers, lining up votes in favor of life and against SB 617. As today approached, we were cautiously optimistic that we had the necessary votes to defeat SB 617.

When the bill came up on the floor of the Senate, Senator Mamie Locke (D-2, Hampton) urged senators to vote on the side of John Stewart and Rachel Maddow and repeal this "shameful" law. Senator Locke quoted Family Foundation testimony given in committee stating that an ultrasound is a powerful "window into the womb" and referencing that testimony, she urged the Senate to "close the window, pull down the shade."

In other words: Do not, under any circumstance, show a woman a picture of the life she is carrying. Make no mistake — despite the opponent's rhetoric to the contrary — this bill is about hiding critical information from women.

After much debate, the vote was called and the bill failed, 18-22. The vote was party-line with the exception of Senator John Watkins (R-10, Powhatan) who voted in favor of the repeal and Senators Chuck Colgan (D-29, Manassas), Phil Puckett (D-38, Tazewell) and Toddy Puller (D-36, Mount Vernon) who voted against the repeal. This vote line up struck us as odd because Senator Puller has never (in our recollection) voted pro-life. Sure enough, a few minutes later, she made a motion to reconsider the vote by which SB 617 failed to pass (this is a fairly common procedure when someone accidentally votes the wrong way). The bill's passage was reconsidered and the vote sudenly was 20-20 (Senators Colgan and Puller switched) and  Lieutenant Governor Northam broke the tie in favor of the repeal.

Senator Colgan confirmed with media (see Norfolk Virginian-Pilot) and pro-life lobbyists alike that his vote switch was entirely accidental. He even filed a "yellow slip" in which the official record reflects that he intended to vote no (but that cannot change the outcome of a vote).

Because of Senate Rule 48a, a bill can only be reconsidered once. Therefore, Senator Colgan's mistake would stand unless unanimous consent to temporarily suspend the rule was given by the entire chamber to allow Senator Colgan to change his vote. Proving his sincerity, a very emotional Senator Colgan petitioned his Democrat caucus colleagues to give him unanimous consent to vote his conscience and right his incorrect vote. Senator Watkins, who was on the prevailing side, as required, made the motion to reconsider the vote, but it failed 37-1. The sacrificial lamb for the caucus, Senator Locke, voted no. Clearly, among Senate Democrat leaders, orthodoxy to the abortion industry took precedent over the conscience of even one of their own members. Senator Colgan was not allowed to vote his conscience.

But Senate Republicans were determined to allow Senator Colgan his voice. The next bill up for debate was a bill dear to the hearts of the Democrat caucus — a bill to increase the minimum wage. However, the bill needed unanimous consent for it to be moved to "third read" and properly before the Senate for a vote on final passage (a common procedure). Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment (R-3, Williamsburg) took to the floor to make the point that he could vote against the motion requiring unanimous consent and thus defeat the bill singlehandedly. Senator Norment impressed upon the Democratic caucus the inappropriateness of their stifling the conscience of Senator Colgan and reminded them that if the Republican caucus wanted to retaliate, that they had the perfect opportunity by singlehandedly defeating the minimum wage bill. Taking the high road, Senator Norment made his point and then encouraged the Republican caucus to be statesmen and not vote in a retaliatory fashion. However, the point was clear — the Democratic caucus had played dirty today and their shameful actions would not be ignored.

SB 617 will probably be heard next in the House Courts of Justice Committee where it will likely meet its demise (the same fate as a similar House bill, HB 1056). Senate Democrats are already claiming the "win" on the ultrasound repeal bill's Senate passage, conveniently ignoring that there were more members of the Senate today who opposed the ultrasound bill than supported it. It was only by mistake that it passed. Words cannot express the emotional roller coaster of today and the extreme disappointment felt when Senator Colgan was not allowed to vote his conscience. Please thank the 19 Republican Senators, Senator Puckett, and yes, Senator Colgan, for their principled stand for life.

On a positive note, SB 618, a bill to force taxpayers to subsidize abortions in Virginia's federally-mandated health exchange, failed to pass the Senate on a vote of 18-22 (Senators Colgan and Puckett joined the Senate Republican caucus to defeat the bill).

21-20, 21-20, 21-20: Pro-Life Bills Finally Pass Virginia Senate Roadblock To Become Law; Behind The Scenes At Last Night's Drama!

Near the end of an already extraordinarily long annual "Veto Session" last night, at around 10:00, after intense debate and several failed parliamentary maneuvers by opponents, the Virginia General Assembly handed pro-lifers and Governor Bob McDonnell another big victory. After passing the House of Delegates by a comfortable margin, the Virginia Senate — whose committees long have been the burial ground for commonsense bipartisan pro-life legislation, deadlocked 20-20 on the governor's amendments to HB 2434 — to restrict Virginia's health insurance exchanges (when and if ObamaCare takes effect) from publicly funding abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, or life of the mother — allowing Lt. Governor Bill Bolling to break the tie and send the bill back to Governor McDonnell for his signature. We long have stated that if certain measures could get to the floor, they would pass. This victory, another vote last night to restore the abstinence education funding eliminated by former Governor Tim Kaine, as well as the landmark vote the last week of the regular session to regulate abortion centers (all by 21-20 margins with Lt. Governor Bolling casting the tie-breaking vote each time), vindicates us. As represented by their legislators in Richmond, Virginians are decidedly pro-life.

The hard work began as lawmakers returned to the capitol Monday. Family Foundation lobbyists hit the ground running, going door to door to sure up votes and answer questions from legislators. Preceding that were efforts well before the reconvened session to educate lawmakers and their constituents. While the House looked secure, the Senate was always going to be close, with perhaps one or two senators leaning one way or another, but not fully committed.

Meanwhile, opponents in both chambers used several procedural motions to derail the votes. House members yielded their time from member to member in an attempt to control the debate and even moved to break up the governor's amendments into separate votes. While that succeeded, all four passed. The bill then moved down the hall where Senator John Edwards (D-21) challenged the germaneness of the governor’s amendments. When Lt. Governor Bolling ruled them in order, opponents attempted to overturn the decision by a floor vote, but lost 21-19 (see vote).

After intense debate, the Senate voted 20-20, with all 18 Republicans and pro-life Democrats Chuck Colgan (D-29, Manassas) and Phillip Puckett (D-38, Tazewell) voting yes. Interestingly, Senator Roscoe Reynolds (D-20, Martinsville), who voted to sustain Lt. Governor Bolling's ruling, voted no. When the clerk read the result, The LG decisively announced that "The chair votes aye." Thus, the making of a law (see vote).

Despite the late vote, an early morning event may have had the most impact — the first ever meeting of the Virginia Legislative Prayer Caucus (more on the LPC in a future post). More than 500 Virginians, including many delegates and senators of both parties, gathered at the steps of the historic capitol to pray for God to shower His blessings on our Commonwealth. As Governor McDonnell reminded attendees, Matthew 19:26 says, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

The Family Foundation gives its overwhelming appreciation to Governor McDonnell, Lt. Governor Bolling, all 20 Senators who voted for this pro-life amendment, and to all who contacted their senator to urge their support. If you don't think this has the grassroots excited, see our Facebook page!

BREAKING NEWS: Senate Adopts Abstinence Education On 21-20 Vote!

It was a pro-life, pro-family sweep today at the reconvened "Veto" session of the General Assembly tonight. In addition to a dramatic abortion limiting 21-20 vote within the last hour, the Virginia Senate earlier voted by the same margin to concur with Governor McDonnell and the House of Delegates to restore abstinence education funding that former Governor Tim Kaine cut out of the state budget. As with the vote to ban taxpayer dollars from use in elective abortions in the ObamaCare state run health insurance exchanges, all 18 Republicans were joined by pro-life Democrats Phillip Puckett and Chuck Colgan to get to the magic number of 20 votes and a tie in the chamber allowing pro-life Lt. Governor Bill Bolling to break the tie in favor of the amendment. The funding, match money corresponding to a federal grant, was initially presented in the House budget but, in the final days of session, Senate conferees stripped it out in budget negotiations. But today, the House reiterated its position by a 69-29 vote, which sent it to the Senate. Senator Colgan (D-29, Manassas), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced the amendment and urged its passage. Pro-abortion Senator Mary Margaret Whipple (D-31, Arlington) rebutted the argument, parroting Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Rights Action League, which claim abstinence education is ineffective (despite an Obama administration study that says otherwise).

The Family Foundation thanks Governor McDonnell, Lt. Governor Bolling, and the members of the House and Senate who ensured the success of these two important pieces of legislation that soon will become law, as well as all committed pro-life, pro-family Virginians who answered our call to contact their state legislators this week. More to come tomorrow about today's exciting developments.

BREAKING NEWS: Senate Approves 21-20 Gov. McDonnell's Amendments To Ban Taxpayer Funding Of Elective Abortions In ObamaCare Insurance Exchanges!

Within the last few minutes, in a reprise of its stunning vote to regulate abortion centers in the waning days of the General Assembly's regular session, the Virginia Senate approved by a vote of 21-20 Governor McDonnell's amendment to HB 2434 that bans taxpayer funding of elective abortion coverage when (or if) the state run health care insurance exchanges begin in 2014 as mandated by the federal health care law. Throughout the day it looked like the amendments would die in the Senate, perhaps by a 21-19 margin. But, in a vote that came up in the latter stages of an all day and night annual "Veto Session," all 18 Republican senators and pro-life Democrats Chuck Colgan and Phillip Puckett voted to add the amendments. The other 20 Democrats voted to reject them leaving the tie-breaking vote with Lt. Governor Bill Bolling who, as he did in February, voted in the affirmative. Early on in the intense debate, pro-abortion Senator John Edwards tried to have the amendments ruled non-germane, but Lt. Governor Bolling, who presides over the Senate, ruled that they were. His ruling was upheld on a 21-19 vote. Earlier in the day, the House of Delegates concurred with Governor McDonnell with about 60 votes. Thanks to all who contacted their senators for this incredible win for Life. Because of your dedication and commitment, we have won significant pro-life legislative victories in Virginia during the past three months. More on this story to come.

A Shocking Day: Chief Justice Hassell's Untimely Death, Webb Won't Run For Re-election

I was in the Senate Finance Committee this morning watching, thankfully, two good bills, which may lead to some much needed tax reform, fly through. The committee agenda was short, normal right after "crossover," and only six bills were heard, all passing on unanimous voice votes. Can't be much simpler than that. At what should've been a quick bang of the gavel to dismiss, committee Chairman Chuck Colgan (D-29, Manassas) made the announcement, the first one in public as it turned out: Former Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leroy Hassell, Sr., died, unexpectedly, at age 55 (WTVR.com). He previously stepped aside as chief justice, but remained on the court.  Governor Bob McDonnell ordered that the flag of the commonwealth be flown at half-staff on all local, state, and federal buildings and grounds (WTVR.com). New Chief Justice Cynthia Kinser was scheduled to be sworn in officially this week. There is no word on the status of that ceremony at this point. She will be the first woman Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice.

(Updated 4:45 p.m.: The governor has ordered that flags be flown at half-staff until his burial on all local, state, and federal buildings and grounds in Virginia. Additionally, Justice Hassell will lie in state in the Virginia State Capitol prior to burial. See his official statement honoring Justice Hassell)

Chief Justice Hassell was the first black person to serve in that position. He was a native Virginian, and proudly so. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli included this 2003 quote in the Richmond Times-Dispatch in his statement honoring Mr. Hassell:

I do not wish to serve, however, because I happen to be black. Rather, I desire to serve because I am a Virginian by birth who has a strong affection and love for the commonwealth and its people.

He will be missed. He was a man of great faith, intellect, warmth, stature and humility.

Later in the morning, a bombshell e-mail from a political consultant friend: U.S. Senator Jim Webb will not run for re-election in 2012 (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog). Though not totally unexpected, the timing (through no fault of Senator Webb) was strange, so soon after the sad news about Justice Hassell. Mr. Webb had not actively engaged in fundraising and many thought from the beginning he would term limit himself, given the flukish nature of his election — and a possible Defense Secretary appointment in a potential Obama second term.

Now, the attention turns to who the Democrats will nominate. Early speculation ranges from everyone from former Governor Tim Kaine and Terry McAuliffe (if he can be pulled away from running for governor) to former Congressmen Rick Boucher and Tom Periello, to Krystal Ball, who unsuccessfully challenged Republican Rob Wittman in the first district last year.

Thanking Our Pro-Life Allies For The Abortion Funding Ban Victory!

We hope you are still celebrating with us over the passage of the budget amendment that significantly reduces taxpayer funding for elective abortions in Virginia (Amendment #91)! This is a long-awaited milestone in our journey toward Virginia becoming the most pro-life state in the nation. While Family Foundation staff worked tirelessly for weeks to encourage Governor Bob McDonnell to introduce this pro-life amendment and then for the General Assembly to sustain it, we would be remiss if we did not recognize those who aided us in this fight. Please join us in thanking these important people in the pro-life movement.

First, if Governor Bob McDonnell had not introduced this elective low-income abortion amendment, there would be nothing to celebrate today. His stand on this amendment is commendable. Please click here to send him an e-mail of thanks or call him at 804-786-2211.

Even with the governor's introduction of the amendment, its passage would have been tenuous had there been no one to articulate the amendment's merits and stand in its defense on the Senate floor. Never one to back down from a fight, Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg) was the only senator willing to verbally support the amendment on the floor. Senator Obenshain's reasoned defense was crucial to the amendment’s passage and the retention of key swing votes. Please send Senator Obenshain an email of thanks at district26@senate.virginia.gov or call him at 540-437-1451.

Without votes, success is unattainable. While all votes were equally important, special thanks go to Senators Chuck Colgan (D-29, Manassas), Phil Puckett (D-38, Tazewell) and Roscoe Reynolds (D-20, Martinsville) who, despite intense pressure from their party and Planned Parenthood/NARAL to tow the party line, voted their conscience and made a courageous stand for life. Additionally, thanks to all the delegates (64) and senators (20) of both parties who voted for this important pro-life amendment.

Special thanks goes to the Virginia Catholic Conference, Virginia Society for Human Life and the Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists for working side by side with us in the days leading up to this important vote and for their tireless efforts yesterday, remaining with us and never leaving the capitol grounds from early morning until the end. Iron sharpens iron and we are thankful for their support. Along those lines, we would be remiss if we did not thank all of you who contacted the governor and key legislators throughout the past month. The governor and legislators listened — your voice was crucial to success.

But ultimately, thanks be to God for this miraculous legislative victory! God, like he did with Gideon’s army, whittled down the numbers on the ground to an illogical amount — the absences of Lt. Governor Bill Bolling and Senator Steve Newman (R-23, Forest) — so that in the end, success could only be attributed to the proper source — Him. Join us today in giving thanks to Him for this protection of life after decades of waiting.

Victory For Life: Dem Controlled Senate Agrees To End Taxpayer Funded Elective Abortions!

Late last night (after 9:00), life advocates achieved a significant policy and historic victory when the Democrat controlled Virginia Senate concurred with the House of Delegates on Governor Bob McDonnell's budget amendment eliminating elective, taxpayer funded abortions by a dramatic 20-19 vote (see Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)! Despite Icelandic volcanic eruptions, a pro-life senator's personal travel conflicts, and outright lies from pro-abortion legislative leaders and opponents, Virginia finally adopted provisions of the federal Hyde Amendment — enacted in 1982! — to de-fund state dollars from use in low-income, elective abortions. The Family Foundation and our pro-life allies have been working for decades to achieve this victory and, despite all odds, life triumphed. The amendment brings Virginia substantially in line with federal law that requires we pay for abortions only in the instances of rape, incest or life of the mother (see Washington Post). Prior to the governor's amendment, Virginia was one of only 17 states that funded elective ("health" of the mother) abortions. Other than in cases of "gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity or with a gross and totally incapacitating mental deficiency," this will no longer be the case (see Norfolk Virginian-Pilot). We gratefully thank Governor McDonnell for introducing this important pro-life amendment and  all the delegates and senators who voted for it.

Here's how it happened:

The day began early in the morning as legislators and lobbyists flooded the capitol. While confident of a win in the House, the Senate vote was on a knife's edge. That chamber is almost evenly divided politically (22 Democrats and 18 Republicans), but with two pro-life Democrats. A 20-20 tie with would be broken by pro-life Lt. Governor Bill Bolling. But in something not remotely seen in anyone's memory, the Lt. Governor was stranded in Italy, after completing an economic development mission last week, due to the well publicized  volcanic ash cloud — and tie votes kill bills and amendments.

To make matters worse, pro-life Senator Steve Newman (R-23, Forest), had a flight to catch on personal business and as session dragged on through the afternoon — mainly on technical amendments on non-budget bills — it became apparent he would have to leave before the vote on the elective abortion funding amendment came up. Another vote had to be found. 

Meanwhile, the House did its part during the afternoon by agreeing to the amendment 64 to 30 (see vote here). It received bipartisan support — about a fifth of Democrats voting voted for it, including those from rural, suburban and rural areas.

Back in the Senate, the amendment (technically, "Governor's recommendation #91") didn't come to the floor until 9:00 p.m. Majority Leader Senator Dick Saslaw (D-35, Fairfax) unloaded one of his typical "Saslawstic" comments, firing full bore against the amendment. In a bizarre statement, and in contradiction to a legal opinion from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, opposition lawmakers claimed that if the amendment passed, state employee abortions would no longer be covered by the state health plan. But state employees cannot be reimbursed for abortion expenses anyway, so the claim is unfounded. 

The one and only senator countering the deception was Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg), who articulately defended the amendment from the bizarre attacks and argued brilliantly for its passage. Then, in a moment that directly parallels the Bible story of Gideon’s army, where the odds of victory were logically impossible, the vote was taken — and when the electronic board lit up, the total read: 20 yeas, 19 nays! Joining pro-life Democrat Senators Chuck Colgan (D-29, Manassas) and Phil Puckett (D-38, Tazewell) was Senator Roscoe Reynolds (D-20, Martinsville) and the 17 Republicans in attendance. Long odds made longer with two key absences were overcome and the victory long sought by pro-life advocates was a reality (see vote here).

The Family Foundation would like to thank everyone who contacted legislators to encourage them to vote for this amendment. As the close vote shows, your voice was crucial in this success. We will post information in the coming days to assist you in thanking the important people who made this victory possible. In the meantime, we hope you will celebrate this monumental victory for life and truly meaningful change for the better.

Planned Parenthood Fights Amendment Eliminating Taxpayer Funded Elective Abortions

Planned Parenthood (see LiveAction's latest undercover video) is fighting a budget amendment introduced by Governor Bob McDonnell that would prohibit taxpayer funding of most elective, low-income abortions. The General Assembly will vote on the amendment during tomorrow’s veto session.

We need your immediate action to thwart Planned Parenthood's attack!

Polls consistently show that between 60 and 70 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion. Opposition that crosses gender and political lines exposes Planned Parenthood as extremely outside the mainstream but, unfortunately, they have influence in the Virginia Senate.

The Family Foundation and several of our pro-life partners have advocated for this amendment for several years. The amendment brings Virginia substantially in line with federal law that requires we pay for abortions in the instances of rape, incest or life of the mother. Currently, Virginia is one of only 17 states that funds elective (i.e., "health" of the mother) abortions.

To make matters more interesting, with a Senate chamber almost evenly divided politically, there is a strong possibility the vote on the amendment could be a tie. In that case, the presiding officer would cast the tiebreaking vote, and normally that is Lt. Governor Bill Bolling. Unfortunately, the Lt. Governor Bolling is stranded in Italy due to the travel restrictions over that Europe caused by the volcanic ash cloud emanating from Iceland. Thus, the President Pro Tem, Senator Chuck Colgan (D-29, Manassas), will preside.

We believe the key to sustaining the amendment lies with a few key legislators: Senators Colgan, Roscoe Reynolds (D-20, Martinsville), Phil Puckett (D-38, Tazewell) and Fred Quayle (R-13, Suffolk). Please contact these Senators immediately by clicking the links to e-mail them and urge them to vote yes on Governor McDonnell's elective abortion amendment.

Senator Fred Quayle: district13@senate.virginia.gov

Senator Roscoe Reynolds: district20@senate.virginia.gov

Senator Chuck Colgan: district29@senate.virginia.gov 

Senator Phil Puckett: district38@senate.virginia.gov

Budget Amendments: Convince General Assembly To Uphold Governor McDonnell's Amendment Limiting Elective Abortions

Governor Bob McDonnell late Tuesday amended the FY 2011-12 state budget to prohibit taxpayer funding of most elective, low-income abortions. The Family Foundation and several of our pro-life partners in Richmond have been advocating for just such an amendment for several years. For years, Virginia, despite its reputation as a "conservative" state, has funded abortions well beyond what federal law requires. Although not all elective abortions will be prohibited under the amendment, it would remove Virginia from the small list of states that funds elective (i.e., "health" of the mother) abortions. The General Assembly must accept this amendment at next Wednesday's veto session in order for it to become law. During this year's legislative session, a similar amendment was passed by the House of Delegates but rejected by the radical pro-abortion Senate hierarchy — and that is really where the battle lies. Regardless of what actions are taken by the governor, the Virginia Senate has been the body that has blocked nearly every pro-life effort for several years.

In fact, we wouldn't need the governor to introduce pro-life amendments at all if the Senate would pass budgets that include such language. It is clear that it will not be until the Senate reflects the values of Virginia that we will see these victories. The opportunity to make those changes is quickly approaching, as all 40 Senate seats are up for election in 2011.

But for now — over the next few days — we must put our time, energy and resources into this amendment to ban publicly financed elective abortions. This would be a tremendous victory, but to do this, we need your help.

We believe the key to sustaining the amendment lies with five key Senators:

Fred Quayle (R-13, Suffolk): 757-483-9173 district13@senate.virginia.gov

John Watkins (R-10, Midlothian): 804-379-2063 district10@senate.virginia.gov

Roscoe Reynolds (D-20, Martinsville): 276-638-2315 district20@senate.virginia.gov

Chuck Colgan (D-29, Manassas): 703-368-0300 district29@senate.virginia.gov 

Phil Puckett (D-38, Tazewell): 276-979-8181 district38@senate.virginia.gov

Contact these senators today by phone numbers or e-mail adresses listed above and urge them to vote yes on Governor McDonnell’s elective low-income abortion amendment. With your help, we can make a significant advance in Virginia for the preservation of life and realize the fruits of last November's hard work.

Social Extremists

Well, that didn't take long. Just a few days after yet another poll shows him lagging behind Republican candidate for Governor Bob McDonnell, Democrat Creigh Deeds went on the offensive on social issue (Washington Post) this weekend in an effort to motivate wake up reassure his base (so much for social issues being a distraction from the "important" issues like the economy and jobs).

Anyway, the label tossing has begun, with each side using the word "extreme" almost as much as Obama uses the word Czar (well, maybe not that much). It is always useful, though not very common, to do a little compare/contrast when talking about "extreme" positions on issues like abortion. So, as the Post article touts Deeds' opposition to the ban on partial birth abortion and parental consent laws, let's reflect way back to 2003 when those bills passed the General Assembly in overwhelming numbers (enough to override then-Gov. Mark Warner's killer amendments). It is interesting to see what other abortion "extremists" joined then-Delegate Bob McDonnell (and 105 other members of the GA on Partial Birth and 99 other members of the GA on parental consent) in support of these "extreme" measures:

Senator Russ Potts (R) (D) (I) Senator John Chichester (R) (D) (?) Senator Chuck Colgan (D) (now chair of Senate Finance Committee) Senator Edd Houck (D) (now chair of Senate Ed and Health Committee) Senator Phil Puckett (D) Delegate Ward Armstrong (House Democrat minority leader)

Oh, and the partial birth ban was supported by none other than former Democrat candidate for governor Brian Moran. That's just to name a few.

Now there's a line up of right wing extremists if I've ever seen one.

Quote Of The Day/Bill Of The Day

I am not making this up. In what is a first for Capitol Square Diary, we got both the Bill Of The Day and the QOD in one fell swoop. Within the last couple of hours in Senate Finance, Senator George Barker (D-39, Fairfax), introduced SB 1497 to create a research authority on Geospatial Health, whatever that is.

Apparently not too many people know as Senators Edd Houck and William Wampler and committee chair Chuck Colgan all expressed some concern about the time available to understand the subject. As Senator John Watkins tried to explain, laughter was heard from the middle of the dais, where Colgan, Houck and the brilliant Senator Janet Howell reside.

When their laughter became noticeable, Colgan blew Howell's cover. Said the President Pro Tempore to a room of laughter:

"Senator Howell just said, 'I don't have to understand it to vote for it.'"

As it is said, the comedy that is best is so because it resonates with a degree of truth. We agree, especially in this case. Sadly, however, in Senator Howell's case, it also explains volumes.