Lt- Governor Bill Bolling

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.

Thank Senators, Lt. Governor Bolling For Voting For Abortion Center Regulations!

The day after last week's historic pro-life victory in the General Assembly (see Richmond Times-Dispatch), Planned Parenthood and its abortion industry allies rallied in Richmond to decry the government's "attack on women." Those senators who voted in favor of abortion center safety regulations, and Lt. Governor Bill Bolling who broke the tie in the Virginia Senate, now are likely targets of their action. We need to make sure that those who stood for life and safety receive the thanks they deserve. So please contact Lt. Governor Bolling and the senators who voted in favor of improving the health and safety standards at Virginia's abortion centers (SB 924) and thank them for their vote (see below)! These elected officials deserve our gratitude for their action and political courage for voting to regulate abortion centers after years of stiff resistance and pressure by liberal and pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL. 

Before too long, after more than two decades of hiding behind a veil of secrecy, Virginia's abortion centers will have to meet basic sanitary and safety standards. While the media is framing the legislation as "forcing abortion clinics to become hospitals," the facts are entirely different. Virginia has several categories of hospitals (inpatient, psychiatric, rehabilitation, outpatient surgical, etc.). These categories of hospitals are subject to different regulations. They are not required to meet the standards of general hospitals. Instead, they are regulated according to their specialty. Likewise, abortion centers now will be categorized as a type of hospital and the Board of Health will create regulations that are appropriate.

We hope that you are savoring last week's victory. At our weekly General Assembly session devotion Friday, we were reminded that God is sovereign and directs those in power. While we know that a lot of hard work went into this legislative victory, and many legislators and elected officials took a brave stand, we are well aware that our God is deserving of all the praise for this historic vote!

We also acknowledge our good friends at the Virginia Catholic Conference and the Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists for their help in getting this legislation passed. Both organizations worked tirelessly on this and a host of other issues this session. Their partnership is vital to our, and the pro-life movement's, success.

To thank your senator who voted for SB 924 and Lt. Governor Bill Bolling for breaking the tie vote, click here!

Transcript Of Shad Plank Interview

Click here to read the transcript of the online interview Family Foundation Vice President of Policy and Communications Chris Freund participated in earlier today with The Shad Plank blog on the big abortion center licensing vote yesterday. The Virginia Senate, yesterday, passed a bill mandating the Board of Health to institute regulations on abortion centers. It was historic in several ways: Not only did it pass, but it was the first time ever that such a bill even got on the Senate floor. In addition, the vote tied at 20, necessitating a rare tie-breaking vote by Lt. Governor Bill Bolling.

Abortion Center Safety Passes Senate On Lt. Governor Bolling’s Tie-Breaker Vote!

After a long and passionate Senate floor debate that spanned a few hours over two days, the Virginia Senate voted 20-20 this afternoon to direct the Department of Health to promulgate regulations for abortion centers. After a brief pause for the Senate clerk to announce the vote, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling cast his constitutionally authorized tie-breaking vote in favor of the bill. It now will go to Governor Bob McDonnell for his signature. After more than two decades of hiding behind a veil of political secrecy, abortion centers in Virginia will face greater scrutiny and better health standards. It was the first time ever that such legislation has even reached the Senate floor, despite numerous bills passed by the House. Each year, including earlier this session, the Senate kills the legislation in committee. But all 18 Republicans held together and two brave pro-life Democrats, Senators Phil Puckett (D-38, Tazewell) and Chuck Colgan (D-29, Manassas), resisted pressure from their caucus' leadership.

While the session has gone according to script this year, with the House passing and the Senate Education and Health Committee killing pro-life legislation, a dramatic turn occurred only a few days ago, in last days of session. SB 924, patroned by Senator Ryan McDougle (R-4, Hanover), which directs the Board of Health to promulgate regulations for certain health care facilities, passed the Senate and went to the House of Delegates. Delegate Kathy Byron (R-22, Lynchburg) offered an amendment to add abortion centers. Liberals challenged its germaneness, but after consulting with his parliamentarian, House Speaker Bill Howell (R-28, Stafford) ruled it in order and the House passed it overwhelmingly. That change required it to return to the Senate where the GOP caucus began to coalesce around the amendment. The vote was scheduled yesterday, but after a half-hour of debate it was passed by until today. Senate Democrat leaders pressured its two wayward colleagues, but at the outset of the tenor of today's 90-minute debate it was apparent there were no cracks in the coalition.

Unfortunately, opponents devoid of logic but full of less-than-genuine arguments, demagogued the issue. At one point Senator Janet Howell (D-32, Fairfax) mocked Senator Mark Obenshain's (R-26, Harrisonburg) recitation of federal court decisions upholding abortion center regulations, even though he was replying to her colleagues' calls for proof of legal precedent. It prompted this exchange. Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-35, Springfield) told his colleagues to "get a life!" if they thought the bill was about women's safety, ignoring his own colleagues' faux concerns for the constitution.

Senator John Edwards (D-21, Roanoke) repeatedly claimed the bill was unconstitutional with wild assertions and vague stretches of case law, all of which were refuted by Senator Obenshain, who cited federal appeals and U.S. Supreme Court decisions. One was Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which Senator Edwards said ruled such regulations illegal. Senator Obenshain replied that "standing up and saying so doesn’t make it so," and read from the court’s opinion which plainly disproved Senator Edwards' assertions.

Several liberal senators predicted horrors such as back alley abortions even though states such as South Carolina regulate abortion centers with no such reports and Virginia regulated abortion centers until 1983. They also claimed first-trimester abortions were among the "safest procedures" despite absolutely no corroborating evidence because there are no reporting requirements mandated in Virginia. Senator Dave Marsden (D-37, Fairfax) even compared the bill to the poll tax and efforts to keep minorities from voting in the Jim Crow era.

Another desperate aspect of the debate was the demand by several liberal Democrats that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issue an opinion, perhaps the first time they've wanted his advice. Of course, it was a tactic to delay and kill the bill. Senator Edwards sarcastically said the attorney general would love to defend the bill if it became law because of the other legal actions he’s pursued. But the fact was, and they knew it, he issued an opinion in August in support of the constitutionality of such regulations. He even accommodated senators with a letter composed during a Senate recess — which added to the longevity of the debate.

Opponents' arguments, so twisted, inevitably contradicted each other, with Senator Howell's unwitting admission that abortion is, in fact, used for contraception when she said the bill would take away one method of "determining the size of families."

This was a monumental vote and a historic day. The forces of life, after years of pursuit, finally won an incremental and commonsense victory. Thank you to all who contacted their senators on this important issue! We now look forward to working within the regulatory process to ensure the regulations by the Board of Health ensure abortion centers are safe for women who make the unfortunate choice of abortion.

A Great Day With The Lt. Governor And My Blogger Brethern

Wish I had more time to write about this. Wish I had more time to participate today, but I was wearing my other hat (as lobbyist) — and even ended up lobbying my fellow bloggers to blog about the big property rights vote: But it was a tremendous day at Lt. Governor Bill Bolling's 4th Annual Bloggers Day At The Capitol, capped off with a terrific reception with the LG and Governor Bob McDonnell at the Executive Mansion in the early evening. Thanks a million Lt. Governor! Thanks also to my bloggers in arms. I wish only that I could've solely focused on the fun of talking blog shop and not slugging it out in the legislative trenches with friends and foes (some of which was going on just outside the doorway where where the afternoon bloggers' briefing took place). Oh, what I wish I could blog about!

Intrigue Inside The Senate Parlor: Countdown To Property Rights Showdown

Just beginning to explain the twists and turns of what is happening in the Virginia Senate over property rights would rival War and Peace. Forget about the whole story. So much to say, so much to keep confidential. Maybe a book, one day, is in the offing, or a screenplay. Okay, maybe an op-ed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. You have to have goals. Suffice it to say, the situation is fluid. I would hazard a guess that no one will know the outcome until Lt. Governor Bill Bolling announces the words, "The clerk will open the rolls. The senators will vote. ..." I think some will hesitate and see what it going to happen, who is voting which way and what the count is. On the other hand, maybe a deal will be struck ahead of time. I've learned, when dealing with issues like this, as much of a cliche as it is, anything can — and usually — does happen. Nothing will surprise me. It is, after all, an election year.

Right now it's close. By the vote, maybe not — in either direction. (In 2007, the eminent domain reform statute barely escaped the House and Senate, but the conference report blasted through!) One thing that's not good: A tie vote kills the resolution. A constitutional amendment must receive at least 21 votes of senators. The LG cannot break the tie. Another note: There's a good chance the vote will be put off until Friday. But leave nothing to chance: Contact your senator now!

Here's the breakdown: There's slightly less than the 21 needed for the tougher language. There is probably enough for less strong, but very good language. Here's the problem: There may be a few, who don't get the version they want, who may scuttle the other, leaving us with neither version! Then, there are the out-and-out liberals who don't believe in property right and are going to aid and abet which ever side it needs to accomodate that scuttle.

Does the extra day help or hurt one side or the other? It may slow down the momentum from yesterday's dramatic doubleheader sub- and committee sweep (see Disrupt The Narrative). Yet, it may give the grassroots more time to pound senators' offices. The utilities don't need that kind of time. They just need the army of lobbyists they can deploy to cajole and, shall we say, persuade. It doesn't take a lot of time to do that with the personnel and money they have at their disposal.

We, the people, the grassroots, the ones whose rights are affected by these special-interest laden decisions, have a say. It's not too late by any stretch. Things change on a dime here at Mr. Jefferson's capitol. Do your part!

Contact your senator and urge him or her to vote for HJ 693, (Delegate Johnny Joannou, D-Portsmouth) to support your property protections from big government and big corporations: by e-mail; by General Assemby office phone. Limiting government's power of eminent domain limits government growth and intrusiveness, and secures our liberties. Don't know your senator? Look him or her up here.

Family Foundation Day At The Capitol Is Thursday!

The Family Foundation's Annual Day at the Capitol is this Thursday, with an emphasis 0n education freedom — particularly legislation that provides tax credits for private school scholarships. We need to send a loud message to our legislators that, after years of dragging their feet while public education deteriorates (especially for the underprivileged who are trapped in failing schools by an education establishment unwilling to embrace reforms) and options and competition few, educational opportunity for all children is the right choice for Virginia.    Registration for the event, at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, begins at 8:30. The program begins at 9:00 with a briefing  from lawmakers and policy makers, includes a visit with your legislators, and ends with a rally on the Capitol Square grounds. Some of our special speakers include Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, Secretary of Education Gerard Robinson and Family Foundation Chaplain, Bishop E. W. Jackson, Sr.   You will have an opportunity to meet with your legislators, get updates from The Family Foundation staff and enjoy optional tours of Mr. Jefferson's Capitol, the Governor's Mansion and the Virginia Supreme Court during the afternoon. Tours are available on a first come, first serve basis the morning of the event, so if you are interested get to Richmond early.   While our format is a bit different this year, it will be an extremely exciting Lobby Day at the Capitol. Christian and private schools from across the Commonwealth will participate with us. If you are affiliated with a Christian or private school, please share this information with the school and fellow parents and students, and encourage them to send a delegation to support this effort.

If you would like more information about arranging at special tour for your school or about the event, please e-mail amanda@familyfoundation.org or call 804-343-0010. To register online, click here.

Bolling Op-Ed Offers Ideas On Economy To President Obama

In Sunday's Roanoke Times, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling offered up an op-ed with some basic, sound ideas for improving the economy to President Obama in what amounted to an open letter. He provided seven suggestions to the president's economic team, but the likelihood of the administration adhering to any of them is slight at best. After all, not only is this the most ideologically left-wing rooted president in history . . . but he doesn't have an ecomomic team. They've all resigned (Business & Media Institute). Just in case someone remained behind, the White House should take heed from someone who, in his role of Chief Jobs Creation Officer, meets with people every day who create jobs, not theoriticians who have worked in government their entire lives. The country is overtaxed, over regulated and feels the weight of the behemoth government suffocating the life out of our economic system.

Among the ideas offered by the LG are to extend all of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts and provide additional tax relief, reign in the job-killing EPA and relax restrictive regulations preventing banks from lending money to businesses for expansion. He also advocates repealing "those portions of the federal health care bill that impose massive mandates, fines and penalties on businesses." That may be almost all of the new law, but he should have stated simply that it should be repealed in its entirety.

Lastly, Mr. Bolling wisely suggests a reduction of federal spending by at least  five percent per year until it reaches 2006 levels. A good start, and better than the House Republicans' "Pledge To America" which plans to bring  spending down to the 2008 level. But the federal budget was in the $2.5 trillion range even in 2006. There is much more fat to be cut.

If Republicans do succeed in winning control of either or both chambers of Congress, it's first test will be to prove their seriousness in significantly reducing the size and scope of governement and to provide a glide path down to solvency.

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.

Virginia News Stand: April 20, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Travel Plans, Conservative Media And Scary Sonia

The buzz around Capitol Square today is all about Europe — as in stranded travellers there trying to get back here. Among them, one Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, who is to preside over the Virginia Senate in tomorrow's reconvened General Assembly session (aka, "Veto Session"). There may very well be several tie votes and, at this point, it looks like he won't be there to break them. Ties kill bills or amendments. It's always something when it comes to the General Assembly, although no one seems to remember anything like this.

Nationally, a new conservative television network is about to launch and there are implications for NBC and its propaganda News Division and its whining, scratching ugly step child MSNBC. See Carl Franzen of AOLNews in Analysis. However, the big news was yesterday's hearing at the Supreme Court in the Christian Legal Society case. I especially point that out to you because, if reading is believing, maybe you can see why Justice Sonia Sotomayor is every bit the unqualified jurist her critics portrayed her. It's more than just a little bit scary. Of course, never miss our all-stars: Among them today, Thomas Sowell, Michael Barone and Debra Saunders.

News

Fight brewing over McDonnell health care cuts (Washington Post)

Bolling grounded in Italy by volcano ash (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Bolling stranded in Italy, likely to miss Wednesday's reconvene legislative session (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Virginia State Police told to back governor's plans (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Chesterfield optometrist to run for Nixon’s seat in House of Delegates (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Analysis

Right-Wing RightNetwork Already Causing a Stir (Carl Franzen/AOLNews.com)

National

Court splits sharply on campus Christian argument (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Divorce dilemma: Texas says gays can’t get divorce (AP/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Obama says Boxer could lose if Dems don't work (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Palin set to take stand in Tenn. hacking trial (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Ignoring DC pressure, Crist mulls independent run (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

Using the Oklahoma City Bombing (Debra Saunders/GOPUSA.com)

The Limits of Power (Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)

Tea Partiers Fight Obama's Culture of Dependence (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

Two Views in Conflict (Star Parker/GOPUSA.com)

LATER TODAY: Interview With Senator Jill Vogel!

Later today, we will have another interview with a big name in Virginia politics: Senator Jill Vogel, (R-27, Winchester). She joins Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, who last week participated in a live interview with questions taken from readers (see here); and Dr. Bob Holsworth, Virginia's nationally known and respected political analyst, which we posted in two parts: Tuesday (here) and Wednesday (here). If you don't know Senator Vogel, you should: She's a rising star in Virginia politics and an effective voice for conservatism in the very liberal Senate. She has quickly risen to one of that chamber’s leaders on a number of issues. She is the only Republican woman in the Senate and has carried important legislation for us in the past, such as safety bills for unregulated abortion centers. This year, she is one of the leaders of the soon-to-be-signed-into-law Health Care Freedom legislation that exempts Virginia and Virginians from individual federal government health care mandates.

We look forward to hosting Senator Vogel and hope you check back later today. We are sure you will find the interview informative and insightful.

Family Foundation Virtual Lobby Day: Welcome Lt. Governor Bolling!

Lt. Governor Bolling, welcome to The Family Foundation's Virtual Lobby Day and thank you for keynoting it with this live blog interview. I should say, "Welcome back," as you've been a great friend to the Family Foundation and our blog, participating in interviews in the past. We hope all is well with you and your family. I hope you are ready for some questions — we've got a bunch of them. I'll start us off: What is going to be the biggest single policy initiative for you and Governor Bob McDonnell in your first year?

Family Foundation Virtual Lobby Day: De-Fund Planned Parenthood!

Tomorrow is The Family Foundation’s Annual Virtual Lobby Day and we have a great way for you to participate! You may have heard of "Money Bombs," the latest technique for candidates to raise money quickly — they send an e-mail solicitation asking for a small donation from thousands of people to raise a substantial amount of cash to make a difference in their campaigns. We saw how Senator Scott Brown did this to counter all of the big liberal money raised against him in the special U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts a few weeks ago. What a difference that made — it put the brakes on government-run health care! We’re not asking your for money. But we are asking you to make a difference by e-mailing your senators and delegates tomorrow (Thursday) with a simple message:

DE-FUND PLANNED PARENTHOOD in the Commonwealth’s new budget!

Tomorrow also happens to be Planned Parenthood’s lobby day. Imagine the difference we can make if thousands of values voters e-mailed their legislators tomorrow with the same message about de-funding Planned Parenthood before the pro-abortion lobbyists even stepped foot in the lawmakers’ offices!

If you attended Family Foundation Day At The Capitol in January, following up with an e-mail tomorrow with your delegates and senators is a great way to leverage the relationship you established with them. If you did not attend, now you have the opportunity, simultaneously, with likeminded, concerned citizens across Virginia, to have an impact with the ease of a few keystrokes.

Planned Parenthood is a billion dollar partisan behemoth that masquerades as a health organization. Inside its abortion center doors over a quarter of all abortions in the United States take place. Over the years it has received tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars from Virginia. Virginia’s taxpayers should never be forced to bail out this radical organization, especially while the Commonwealth faces a spending surplus of billions of dollars. It is time for this funding to stop!

In addition to the “De-funding Bomb,” tomorrow Lt. Governor Bill Bolling will conduct a live interview on our blog starting at 9:00 a.m. Click here to leave a question.

In addition, look for several other very special features we have lined up in the next several days, including interviews with noted political commentator Dr. Bob Holsworth and House Republican Caucus Chairman, Delegate Sam Nixon (R-27, Chesterfield).

Remember, tomorrow, Thursday, February 11, please e-mail your senators (click here for contact list) and delegates (click here for contact list) and urge them to end the taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood! If you don't know your delegate and senator, click here.

Family Foundation Advisory Council Scores Virginia's Top Four For Annual Briefing

We've staged a coup. Unfortunately, to the liberal collective's the sigh of relief, we didn't stack the Supreme Court with Matt and Victoria Cobb. However, the four top ranking members of Virginia government, conservatives all — certainly to the chagrin of the liberal collective — Governor Bob McDonnell, Lt. Governor Bill BollingAttorney General Ken Cuccinelli and House Speaker Bill Howell, all will speak at this year’s Family Foundation Advisory Council Legislative Briefing on Wednesday, February 17.

This is an exclusive annual event for our Advisory Council members. However, it shows how important Virginia's top officials view The Family Foundation and its most generous donors (click here for the complete benefits of Advisory Council membership).

Our Advisory Council is more than just perks; its instrumental partnership significantly funds the work of the organization during the General Assembly session and year round: The legislative call to action and subsequent victories, The Truth Project training, Pastors For Family Values, local grassroots networks, your voice in the mainstream media, and much more.

For more information about The Family Foundation Advisory Council, The Advisory Council Legislative Briefing, or any of our development activities, contact Dan Thompson at 804-343-0010 or at dan@familyfoundation.org. To donate to The Family Foundation at any level, you may click here.

Lt. Governor Bolling Speech At Family Foundation Day, Part 2; Will Do Live Blog Interview Here February 11

Here's part two of Lt. Governor Bill Bolling's speech January 18 to the hundreds of grassroots activists who attended our annual Family Foundation Day At The Capitol or, in General Assembly parlance, "lobby day." In part two, you will hear him address education reform, economic development and even Virginia's plans to become the energy capital of the East Coast, with responsible off-shore drilling for oil and natural gas. You can see part one here. Remember, Lt. Governor Bolling also will do a live blog interview here for an hour starting at 9:00 a.m. Thursday, February 11, as part of our annual Virtual Lobby Day. To leave a question for him, post it on this thread or click and post it here. We'll have more information about our activities and ways in which you can participate in the next day or so.

Lt. Governor Bill Bolling speaks to hundreds of values voters about the value of The Family Foundation as well as policy goals of the new administration in Richmond.

A Bill Bolling Sample And Leave Your Questions Here For His Live Blog Interview

We are very pleased to announce that Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, the Commonwealth’s Chief Jobs Creation Officer, will be our special guest for our annual Virtual Lobby Day on Thursday, February 11. Lt. Governor Bolling will answer questions posted by you and our thousands of blog readers live for one hour (exact time to be determined). Simply post a question on this thread, or at this one, and he will answer as many as time permits. From his past blog interviews with us, we know the Lt. Governor likes to give detailed answers, so expect a great read. When we finalize the time, we will let you know and you can follow along, live, as he posts his answers in real time. Of course, the interview will be archived at the conclusion of the interview for you to read and comment on at your convenience. In addition, we have several other major plans for our virtual lobby day. So expect more exciting announcements here and in future e-mail alerts (sign up for our alerts here).

Lt. Governor Bill Bolling at our in-person lobby day, Family Foundation Day at the Capitol, January 18. He'll also take questions from you on our Virtual Lobby Day February 11.

How The Historic Senate Vote On Health Care Freedom Happened

It's not hyberbole to say this afternoon's Senate vote was historic. The legislation it passed in three identically worded bills – SB 283, SB 311 and SB 417 – guarantees Virginians the right to freely choose their health care options irregardless of federal government mandates. It also asserts a notion long ignored but firmly ingrained in the U.S. Constitution. It also shows, from a political perspective, that there are Democrats who understand the small government movement isn't limited to "swastika-wearing" thugs as U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would have us believe. The floor debate wasn't as dramatic as I — and those of us who relish political theater — had hoped. Sure, there were some pointed questions, but judging by the temperment of the questions and their lack of heft, it could have been mistaken for a transportation funding bill. That was an immediate clue the Senate majority knew it had lost more than two defectors from its caucus. If it was only two, there would have been deal making, recesses to sweat them out, arm twisting, all of the above or more.

If there was a surprise, it was in how many Dems defected and who two of them were: Senators Ed Houck (D-17, Spotsylvania) and John Miller (D-1, Newport News). There were rumors about the former last week (acceptable, but believe-it-when-you-see-it) and hope about the latter (no way that's gonna happen). The third new vote, also rumored late last week, Senator Roscoe Reynolds (D-20, Martinsville), was a more likely possibility. Although the 23-17 margin was a pleasant shock, I rooted for a showdown 20-20 tie that Lt. Governor Bill Bolling would have broken in the affirmative. That would have been more headline grabbing.

Not that the debate wasn't sharp. The questions from Senate liberals to the bills’ patrons — Senators Fred Quayle (R-13, Suffolk), SB 283; Steve Martin (R-11, Chesterfield) SB 311; and Jill Vogel (R-27, Winchester), SB 417 — came from Senators Donald McEachin (D-9, Henrico), John Edwards (D-21, Roanoke), and Majority Leader Richard Saslaw (D-37, Springfield), as well as the more moderate Senator Chap Peterson (D-34, Fairfax). But their questions repeatedly missed the point, including questions about contracts, insurance requirements to join athletic clubs, and ex-spouses providing insurance in divorce settlements. Senator Quayle nailed it in his opening remarks when he said, "This bill attempts to reinforce the Constitution of the United States. … The Constitution doesn’t grant rights to anyone. It puts limits on what government can do to us."

Nothing more needed to be said. This being the Senate, of course, more was. Including this gem from the not-smarting-enough-from-his-November-trip-to-the-shed Senator Creigh Deeds (D-25, Bath), who complained that with the economy and employment in bad shape, the General Assembly should not be "legislating in theory." A LOL coming from a guy who was shredded primarily because of national issues involving government intervention. Besides, he should know that it's Washington liberals who have ignored the economy and jobs for an entire year in lieu of health care "reform." But it's not theory. The Constitution is the law of the land. Amazing he doesn't understand that, but his comments today make it clear why his campign was a case study in political disasters, prompting comparisons to other campaigns ("Deeds-like").

At the beginning of session, not many people gave this legislation a chance of getting out of a Senate committee, much less passing the Senate floor by a wide margin. But it happened thanks to a large coalition comprised of thousands of activists from across Virginia, many of whom have been here several times to lobby their representatives and attend committee hearings.

But this is the General Assembly, after all, and nothing becomes law until it is signed. So vigilence is needed. We will stay on top of this legislation — and encourage all supporters to do the same — until it passes both chambers and is signed into law.

Big Senate Vote Monday! Contact Your Senator!

On Monday, the Virginia Senate will debate and vote on SB 283 (Senator Fred Quayle, R-13, Suffolk), SB 311 (Senator Steve Martin, R-11, Chesterfield), and SB 417 (Senator Jill Vogel, R-27, Winchester), three bills that will protect Virginians from being forced by the federal government to purchase health insurance. All three are worded exactly the same. The bill made it to the floor earlier this week when the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee unexpectedly passed it 8-7. Democrat Senators Phil Puckett (D-38, Tazewell) and Charles Colgan (D-29, Manassas) voted with the six committee Republicans. The debate is expected to be intense and widely watched. It also will be close. If the two Democrats hold their votes, it could come down to a tie, with Lt. Governor Bill Bolling breaking the tie.

Don’t let this rare chance at a major victory in the Virginia Senate go to waste! If you want Virginia to protect itself from the federal government’s reach into our personal health care decisions and protect us from the force of the federal government to make us buy insurance — an unprecedented act in the history of our nation — you must contact your senator and ask him or her to support these bills. (If you don't know who he or she is, click here.)

If any of the bills pass the high hurdle of the Senate, it certainly will receive a warm reception in the House. If either Senator Puckett or Senator Colgan represents you, thank them for their courageous committee votes and encourage them to stay strong on the Senate floor on Monday.

There's more great news about bills designed to assert Virginia’s sovereignty and resist federal intrusion into our health care decisions: Thursday, Sub-committee 2 of the House Commerce and Labor Committee voted by an 8-2 margin to report HB 10, The Virginia Health Care Freedom Act, to the full committee. The bill is patroned by Delegate Bob Marshall (R-13, Prince William). Its day in full committee is not yet determined.

TFF's Lobby Day: Committing People To Action

Monday, more than 200 Family Foundation supporters descended on Richmond for Family Foundation Day at the Capitol to make their voices heard as the new session of the General Assembly hit full stride. Attendees heard from several legislators including Senator Steve Newman (R-23, Lynchburg), Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg), Delegate Kathy Byron (R-22, Lynchburg) and Delegate John O’Bannon (R-73, Richmond). Lt. Governor Bill Bolling delivered the headline speech. Afterward, these pro-family Virginians met with their elected officials, taking with them The Family Foundation’s Legislative Priority list, reminding legislators that people back home are watching their votes. While legislators are primarily focused on their self-created $4 billion spending surplus and the continued impact of the recession, we must make sure that they also act on the values issues that are important to many Virginians — such as those we've outlined on this site over the past week. Our grassroots activists brought these issues and principles to their legislators' attention.

While economic issues are critical, we cannot ignore the values issues that underpin our economic strength. While many try to dismiss values issues as irrelevant or "divisive," the fact is that our economy and culture are crumbling around us because of a lack of values. Values  such as honesty, integrity and character that clearly have been missing in recent years from Wall Street to Main Street to Pennsylvania Avenue.

America has the greatest economic system in the world. Our free market system is the most efficient way to prosper. But a free market cannot survive without morality. Our culture cannot survive without the values we work to protect.

As the General Assembly begins, we face a serious uphill battle to make sure the issues we care about receive a fair hearing. As many elected officials, both Republican and Democrat, seek to hide from values issues, we need to make sure that they know these issues matter. That’s why it is vital those who believe in traditional values commit to action during the 2010 General Assembly. We have to make sure that the voice of those Virginians who care about values is heard loud and clear in the halls of the General Assembly. Lawmakers must know on a day-to-day basis that they are being watched and that they will be held accountable for their votes.

This is how you can make a difference during this year's General Assembly:

1. Read! Read this blog and the action alerts we send during the session (sign up for our alerts here).

2. Respond! Write and e-mail your representatives to show support or disapproval of legislation that TFF has informed you about. Our e-mail alerts make it easy to educate your specific delegate and senator. In fact, you don’t even need to know who they are — the system will tell you! You just need to be ready to respond when we ask.

3. Recruit! Find 5 more people to do the same by forwarding this link to friends and family and encouraging them to join you in this effort.

4. Rejoice! Together, we can celebrate our victories!

We need your voice to echo in the halls of the General Assembly. Please commit today by e-mailing familyfoundation@familyfoundation.org with "I commit" in the subject line. Together, we can build a better, more family friendly Virginia.