Lynchburg

Delegate Kathy Byron Addresses Family Foundation Activists

As part of our Virtual Lobby Day, we want to bring you as much flavor of the General Assembly as we can to those who can't make it to Richmond as often as they'd like. In fact, we continue to post videos of committee hearings on bills we support on our YouTube Channel as well as here, making this blog perhaps the best place for information about what your state government is doing. Tomorrow, and throughout session, we'll have more about what we're doing through the Internet and how you can help influence lawmakers. On January 18, Delegate Kathy Byron (R-22, Lynchburg), a former Family Foundation Legislator of the Year, spoke to pro-family activists at our Family Foundation Day at the Capitol. She focused on two pro-life bills she is carrying this session: HB 1033 (defining a baby as separate from the mother's body) and HB 1042 (requiring an ultrasound before an abortion). Both bills are still alive. Click on them to get more information and learn where you need to direct your e-mails.

Delegate Kathy Byron speaks on behalf of the unborn — and the born in patroning the "baby bill" this session.

Delegate John O'Bannon, M.D., On HB 10

Delegate John O'Bannon (R-73, Henrico), the chief co-patron of Delegate Bob Marshall's (R-13, Manassas) Virginia Health Care Freedom Act (HB 10), spoke at The Family Foundation of Virginia Day at the Capitol on January 18. Here are his comments on the bill, why it is necessary, constituent feedback and why it is constitutional. Delegate O'Bannon is a neurologist and was the only doctor in the House of Delegates for several years until 2008. Until this session started, he remained the only physician in the House. Now there are three "delegate-doctors," with Doctors Chris Stolle (R-83, Virginia Beach) and Scott Garrett (R-23, Lynchburg) beating Democrat incumbents last November.

Delegate O'Bannon, long the General Assembly point man on health care issues, speaks about the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act.

Policy Issue 2, Life: Newborn Homocide Bill

This is the second in a series of five policy statements on issues that will come before the 2010 General Assembly. The first, regarding parental rights, can be found here. Each statement covers one of The Family Foundation's five areas of principle. The others will follow over the rest of the week.

Just a few days before Christmas, Virginians learned of an appalling story from Campbell County in which a mother allegedly suffocated her infant to death when it was only moments old. Worse, no charges were filed against the mother. Why has this murder essentially been condoned by the authorities? Because the child was umbillically attached when murdered.

Virginia law is unclear about whether a born child who remains umbilically attached is a "separate and independent life" and, therefore, accorded basic human rights — such as life! The legal standard was set in Lane v. Commonwealth, where the Virginia Supreme Court held that in order to bring charges against someone who killed a newborn, it must be proven that:

» The child is born alive,

» Has an independent and separate existence from the mother, and 

» The accused is the criminal agent that caused the death.

Incredibly, the court saw a distinction between a child "born alive" and one having an "independent and separate existence" from the mother. Abortion advocates are so desperate to protect their "right" to abortion that they blur the lines of homicide as well — the law has been crafted in such a way as to allow for a class of cases in which the criminal code no longer is applied.

For those of us who are pro-life, murder and abortion are synonymous. However, to our opponents, the start of life is ambiguous and even the "I know it when I see it" pornography standard isn't concrete enough to be applied to life. They are always moving the target, always excusing, always apologizing. But no matter what anyone believes about abortion, there is no reasonable argument for the murder of a newly born infant.

Virginia has a partial birth infanticide law and we are investigating whether that law could be applied here. But the action alleged in the Campbell County case is so heinous that is needs to be addressed in our criminal code as well.

Over a year ago state Senator Robert Hurt (R-19, Chatham) began investigating how to make Virginia’s law stronger in this area. He urged the Virginia Crime Commission to study the issue and propose legislative changes, but the commission only did so after being forced to by Senator Hurt and Delegate Rob Bell (R-58, Charlottesville). We have contacted the Alliance Defense Fund and they are reviewing possible legislative remedies for this situation.

Several years ago, a similarly disturbing incident took place in which a pregnant woman shot herself in the stomach on her due date and was not prosecuted for anything more than unlawful discharge of a firearm. She paid a small fine and nothing was added to her record. The Family Foundation took the legislative initiative to address this issue, but the bill was defeated in the Senate Education and Health committee.

This year, The Family Foundation is supporting an Infant Born Alive Act (HB 1033), patroned by Delegate Kathy Byron (R-22, Lynchburg), in the General Assembly in response to the Campbell County incident. Legislators will get yet another opportunity to fix the loophole in the law and protect Virginia’s infant children. Let’s pray that they recognize life when they see it and support life-protecting legislation.

Virginia News Stand: November 4, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  The Earthquake Edition

That wasn't a landslide last night, it was a full blown eruption. Unimaginable margins for the top three elected officials in Virginia and a massive pickup in the House of Delegates, shooting the GOP number there from 55 to at least 60, is no mere landslide. It's The World Turned Upside Down. Only four years ago, Bob McDonnell eked out the closest election in Virginia history, by 300-plus votes. Now, he's a national figure.

In a similar way, Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli won re-election to the Senate by 92 votes in 2007. He's always been the number one target for Democrats, liberal victimization and special rights groups, and left-wing special interests. They didn't get him when they had the chance. Now, they must be horrified. 

It's all election coverage and postmortems today, including a late breaking update from Lynchburg where Delegate Shannon Valentine finally conceded to Delegate-elect Scott Garrett, despite his margin of victory being within her right to call for a recount.

Our own Victoria Cobb is quoted in the Washington Post on how Governor-elect McDonnell will govern. That's at the top. We bookend the News Stand with another social issues story: Maine, of all states, protects traditional marriage. It truly was an earth shattering night.  

News:

*Now, the hard part: Continuing to straddle the center and the right (Washington Post)

McDonnell beats Deeds, wins governor's race; now it gets harder (The Daily Press)

McDonnell leads GOP sweep of statewide races (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

GOP reclaims Virginia (Washington Post)

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling wins second term (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Bolling defeats Wagner, holds on to No. 2 post (Washington Post)

Cuccinelli elected attorney general (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Cuccinelli's sound win rounds out GOP sweep (Washington Post)

Republicans retaining control of House of Delegates (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Republicans boost dominance among Va. Delegates (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

UPDATED: Valentine Concedes: Barrett wins in 23rd District (Lynchburg News & Advance)

Liberty delivers votes by the busload (Lynchburg News & Advance)

Republicans keep 17th House of Delegates district on Election Day (Roanoke Times)

Newcomer Robin Abbott beats veteran incumbent Phil Hamilton (The Daily Press)

Sen. Ken Stolle to become Va. Beach's next sheriff (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Exit Poll: Virginia Voters Older, Energized (FoxNews.com)

Governor's agenda flagging, but not ratings (Washington Post)

Analysis:

Analysis: GOP sweep shows policies, not parties, are paramount in Va. Politics (Jeff Schapiro/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

National:

Gay marriage vote fails in Maine (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

About Last Night: Gala Was A Smash Hit

The nearly 1,300 pro-family Virginians who gathered at the Greater Richmond Convention Center last night at The Family Foundation of Virginia’s Annual Gala were treated to a fantastic evening of inspiration, motivation and topped off by a wonderful keynote address by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. The host of the Fox News Channel hit Huckabee was in great form with an inspirational speech filled with philosophy, morality, Biblical principles, humor (lava soap, anyone?) and capped with a moving exposition as to what happens when people ignore the tragedies around them (see Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog).  Just a week before election day, it was abundantly clear that pro-family citizens are excited about the future and are mobilized to act. The energy in the convention center was palpable. From the beginning of the program with an inspirational rendition of our National Anthem by eight-year-old Alana Springsteen to the final special music by April Lee, no one could leave room last night not feeling excited about the future of Virginia and the future of The Family Foundation.

Governor Huckabee combined humor with personal stories and an emotional challenge to the crowd, encouraging them to fight for our freedom, regardless of the cost. Touching on his time as a pastor and then as a politician, he made it abundantly clear that there is no time when Christians should abandon politics and government. Instead, we must continue to fight for our values to ensure a prosperous future.

As Family Foundation of Virginia President Victoria Cobb told the audience:

We look forward to election day this year with cautious optimism. One might even say we look forward to the future with hope for change. Yet, while we may anticipate electoral victory, we realize that it is just one small part of the cultural renewal that we seek, and there is so much more to be done. The Family Foundation has had one of the busiest years in our history, but the results on Election Day are not the completion of our work – just a new beginning. 

The Family Foundation Gala has become the largest pro-family gathering of its kind in Virginia and Governor Huckabee’s message was perfect for the evening. Joining the him in the program were our emcee, and new Chaplain to The Family Foundation's Pastors For Family Values, Bishop Earl Jackson; Speaker of the House Bill Howell, who introduced Governor Huckabee; and Pastor Jonathan Falwell of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, who gave the invocation and voiced strong support for the Family Foundation's work.

Also last evening, Delegate Glenn Oder (R-94, Newport News) was honored with The Family Foundation’s Legislator of the Year Award for his leadership on payday lending reform (see The Shad Plank). Delegate Oder showed principled leadership and an ability to work with a diverse coalition of organizations and legislators to get results on a tough issue. The compromise bill he was able to craft has significantly reduced the number of payday lending stores in Virginia and helped protect families from predatory lenders.

Voter Guides For November Elections Ready This Weekend!

The Family Foundation of Virginia's 2009 Voter Guides, non-partisan bulletin inserts that compare the positions of candidates on important issues such as life, marriage, parental rights and religious liberty, now are available. These Guides do not endorse or oppose any candidate or political party and are legal for distribution in churches. We were busy all summer encouraging pastors to engage in the civic process. Many have committed to distributing our Voter Guides in their churches. However, Virginia is a very large state and we have areas that have not yet been reached. We need your help in getting our Voter Guides into every church that is concerned about the direction in which our state and nation are heading. Please ask your pastor if your church will take The Family Foundation Voter Guides.

Each year, people contact several pastors and ask them to take the guides. This year, we are offering a small prize for your participation: Win a framed Virginia Capitol photo by submitting the largest number of churches with which you coordinated and delivered Family Foundation Voter Guides before midnight, November 3. Voter guide distribution at targeted events also will be considered.

Plus, we have another incentive: Start by entering just one church you know you can help with Voter Guides and you will be entered into the drawing to receive an autographed copy of our Gala speaker and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee's latest book. Click here to enter.

On Saturday, October 17 (unless otherwise noted), we will have distribution sites across Virginia to pick up the Voter Guides. See the list below for the one closest to you. If there are none in your area, please volunteer to set up a distribution point for two hours that Saturday. To help in any way with this effort, e-mail john@familyfoundation.org or call 1-804-343-0010. Whether you want to take Voter Guides to your church, set up a distribution point in your area or be the contact person for your city or county, we need your help.

The distribution points are:

Richmond (Contact: Mark Earley, Jr., at 804-405-2129)

Grove Avenue Baptist Church, 8701 Ridge Road, 9:30-noon.

Clover Hill Baptist Church, 3100 Old Courthouse Road (Midlothian), 9:30-noon.

Gethsemane Church of Christ, 5146 Mechanicsville Turnpike (Mechanicsville) 9:30-noon.

Loudoun (Contact: Ryan Rogge at 703-674-6948)

Near Panera Bread, 215 Fort Evans Road, NE (Leesburg), 10:00-1:00 p.m.

Tidewater (Contact: Hector Falcon at 757-288-2382)

Kempsville Presbyterian Church, 805 Kempsville Road (Virginia Beach) 8:30-1:00 p.m.

Peninsula (For more information, call 757-592-0312)

World Outreach Worship Center, 1233 Shields Road (Newport News), 10:00-1:00 p.m.

Lynchburg (For more information, call 434-401-0726)

Thomas Road Baptist Church Parking Lot, 1 Mountain View Road, 10:00–noon.

Henry County (Contact: Jeff Evans at 276-233-9407)

Victory Baptist of Fieldale, 1300 Dillons Fork Road, 11:00-1:00 p.m.

Patrick County (Contact: Mildred Layman at 276-340-0549)

Stuart Festival, Patriots of Patrick County Booth, Between 410 and 402 Patrick Avenue in Stuart, 10:00-4:30 p.m.

Harrisonburg and Rockingham County

Available at the "Values" debate between incumbent Republican Delegate Matt Lohr and Democratic challenger Gene Hart, Cornerstone Church at the Lake, 3591 Isaak Walton Drive, Sunday, October 18

Roanoke (Contact: Mickey Mixon at 540-798-8621)

Tanglewood Mall, under the mall sign, 4420 A-Electric Road, Sunday, October 18, 3:00– 6:00 p.m.

Shenandoah County (Contact: Brad Huddleston at 540-820-0810)

Family Fun Day Festival for Christ, Shenandoah County Fairgrounds, 300 Fairgrounds Road, Woodstock, Sunday, October 18, 10:00-4:00 p.m.

Staunton and Surrounding Area (Contact: Brad Huddleston at 540-820-0810)

Free lunch for pastors! Shoney's Restaurant, 30 Sangers Lane, Staunton (I-81, Exit 222), 11:30–1:00 p.m., Tuesday, October 20. The Family Foundation of Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley Teen Challenge are sponsoring a free lunch for pastors. Voter guides will be available there. In order to attend, register by calling Brad Huddleston or e-mailing him at brad.huddleston@tffaction.org.

Another Tea Party In Lynchburg Makes 20

As mentioned in the News Stand, last post, another Tea Party is scheduled in Lynchburg at 3:00 at Monument Terrace downtown. This wasn't listed on the TaxDayTeaParty Virginia Web page, so we wanted to bring it to your attention in case you are in the area, or will be in the area, and can't make the original one scheduled for 5:00 on the Waterfront. This makes 20 in Virginia today and 21 total incuding the one this past weekend in Williamsburg. Looks like Virginia has rediscovered its revolutionary roots.

It's Getting So Close, You Can Taste The Tea

Time is getting near for the various Tax Day Tea Parties across Virginia (and the nation). Click here to get all the times and locations and the link to the Virginia Tea Party Web site (we've updated the thread to include the most recent information we have). Meanwhile, to stoke your patriotic fires, here are two promotional videos, one each for the Richmond and Lynchburg events. The voice on the first one is WRVA-AM/1140 talk show host (and Glenn Beck substitute) Doc Thompson. He'll attend the Richmond Tea Party. In addition, a third is a news report about the Richmond event from WTVR-CBS/6.

More On The Tea Parties

As you well know, in 1773, colonists gathered to dump imported tea into the Boston Harbor to protest the British government's oppressive tax system that allowed for no direct representation. At the Boston Tea Party, determined colonists stood against the expanding British authority and said no more! Expanding government authority . . . sound familiar? Are you tired of bailouts, stimulus packages, endless national debt and increasing subsidization? Do you practice financial responsibility and watch those who do not get rewarded by the government? Along with many other Americans, are you frustrated by our government reaching its hand out to take far more than it needs?

If so, join thousands of Americans on Tax Day, April 15, at your local Tax Day Tea Party to express your frustration over our out of control government and its redistributive economic policies. Whether you are Democrat or Republican, Libertarian, conservative or liberal, all are welcome in this stand against unrestrained government. This true grassroots movement is spreading with Tea Parties planned across the nation.

While those who gather will not be throwing crates of tea into a harbor, many of the Tea Parties will feature speakers, patriotic activities, music and welcomed audience participation. Below is a list of confirmed Virginia Tax Day Tea Parties. Visit the national Web HQ, TaxDayTeaParty, (click here) for more information, to RSVP, or to volunteer.

Virginia Tax Day Tea Parties: (Click here for a Virginia specific Web site. All parties scheduled for April 15 unless otherwise noted.)

Abingdon Time:  5:00 p.m. Location: TBD Information: www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=75478635585

Charlottesville Time: 3-6:00 p.m. Location: Downtown Mall by the Pavilion Information: http://vateaparty.wordpress.com

Franklin County Time: Noon Location: In front of the Franklin County Courthouse (40 E. Court Street in Rocky Mount) Information: http://franklincountyteaparty.blogspot.com

Lynchburg Time: 6:00 p.m. Location: Downtown Lynchburg — Waterfront Information: www.lynchburgtaxdayteaparty.blogspot.com

Northern Virginia Shenandoah Valley Time: Noon Location: Front of Old Frederick County Courthouse Old Town Walking Mall, Winchester

Peninsula/Newport News Time: 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Location: Oyster Point City Center Fountain Plaza in Newport News Information: http://newportnewsteaparty.wordress.com

Reston Time: 6-8:00 p.m. Location: Lake Anne Village Center (1609 Washington Plaza)

Richmond Time: 6-7:30 p.m. Location: Kanawha Plaza, South 8th St. (near Federal Reserve Building) Information: www.richmondteaparty.com/ Video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ndr_vK0akAM

Roanoke Time: 5-7:00 p.m. Location: Wiley Drive (near footbridge to old Victory Stadium)

Virginia Beach/Hampton Roads Time: 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Location: Virginia Beach Town Center Fountain Plaza Information: http://taxdayteaparty.wordpress.com/, http://budurl.com/hrteaparty   College of William and Mary/Williamsburg (April 11) Time: April 11, 1-2:15 p.m. Location: Crim Dell Amphitheater at the College of William and Mary

Tea Anyone?

Boston may have had its Tea Party in 1773 (a fact I know well as a stammering, stage-frightened, scene-blowing actor in my 7th grade play, The Boston Tea Party), but Virginia's rebellious nature against authoritarian rule is no less historic, given Patrick Henry's famous 1765 "Caesar had his Brutus" "Treason" speech in the House of Burgesses. As with Thanksgiving, them Yankees try to steal all our firsts. But it seems the Tea Party movement has revived more than 235 years later. Thousands of Americans are fed up with the large government debt, the printing of money, stimulus packages, government bailouts, and the inevitable higher taxes to pay for it all and resulting inflation that would completely wreak our country.

So, on Tax Day, April 15, as of now, at least five Virginia localities are joining hundreds more across America to have their own tea parties to demonstrate their displeasure with the government's increasing involvement in the private sector.

The tea parties will be in Richmond, Charlottesville, Virginia Beach and Lynchburg (locations, times, etc., here at TaxDayTeaParty.com); as well as Newport News (more info here via Tertium Quids). Richmond and Newport News have wsonderfully appropriate locations: at Kanawa Plaza, in front of the Federal Reserve Building in the Holy City; and in front of the office of 3rd District U.S. Representative Bobby Scott (D-Newport News).

It won't be July 4th. But there should be some (rhetorical) fireworks nonethesame.

Spending Transparency: Close To Two Major Victories, Keep Contacting Lawmakers

Spending transparency is one of our priority issues this session and the bills involved (SB 936 and HB 2285) have had a long and winding path thus far (as do most major reform efforts). Just as predicted, their paths are somewhat similar to eminent domain reform bills in 2007, with many twists and turns and near-death experiences. Although each committee vote has been non-controversial, the behind the scenes efforts have been exhausting to get it to that point, with great credit going to the two patrons — Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax) and Delegate Ben Cline (R-24, Amherst), respectively, and their co-patrons, particularly Senator Chap Peterson (D-34, Fairfax) and Delegate Joe Bouchard (D-83, Virginia Beach). There has been tweaking of the bills to avoid the inexcusably outrageous and bogus fiscal impact statements which would have made the bills cost prohibitive to implement, especially in these tight budgetary times. (Fiscal impact statements once served a good purpose — cautionary breaks for lawmakers on new programs or government administrative expenses. Now they are used as excuses to stop much needed reforms.)

Each bill has gone through numerous committee hearings, amendments and substitutes, been reported and refered to money committees and the House version even was sent to a Senate committee the Senate version had no part of (see here). (As it turned out, HB 2285 was sent to the Rules Committeebecause the Auditor of Public Accounts comes under legislative directive, or some such governmentese, but still begs the question why SB 936 didn't go that route.)

All that said, we are closing in on major victories, but it's not time to let down our collective guard. A final push is needed from concerned citizens who believe the government has a serious obligation to shine the light on where our tax dollars are spent. 

SB 936 unanimously passed the House Science and Technology Committee only to have another obstacle thrown in its path — a trip to House Appropriations tomorrow. Committee members Bob Marshall (R-13, Prince William) and John Cosgrove (R-78, Chesapeake) tried to avoid the referral by asking for a vote to report straight to the House floor.

However, things look positive. Committee Chairman Kathy Byron (R-22, Lynchburg) told committee members the bill had to be referred to Appropriations to be vetted for costs, but that she would inform Appropriations Chairman Lacey Putney (I-19, Bedford) there are no costs associated with this bill. Appropriations meets tomorrow afternoon.

Indeed, Auditor of Public Accounts Walter J. Kucharski and Joe Damico, deputy director of the Department of General Services, both testified that the bill, offered in its third form, would have no fiscal impact on the state budget. Amazingly, the Department of Planning and Budget attached a fiscal impact statement to the bill claiming its original and subsequent amended versions would cost state government between $1.5-$3 million in new equipment and software, man-hours, and more employees. One small problem: no one asked the departments involved (read this about impact statements).

Earlier in the week, HB 2285 emerged with unanimous approval in the Senate Rules Sub-Committee on Studies and now is in the full Rules Committee which meets at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. 

Spending transparency is an important issue (read here) for many reasons: good government, accountability, taxpayer protection and the like (read here). It also will give us a clearer window into how often, how much and for what reasons nefarious profit making groups such as Planned Parenthood get our tax money! We are very close to victory on a major priority this session. Let's not take it for granted.

Contact Rules Committee members here (HB 2285) and Appropriations Committee members here (SB 936).

Another Hurdle For Spending Transparency

Spending transparency (SB 936) cleared another hurdle today only to have another one thrown in its path — a trip to House Appropriations (click here for contact information), this Friday. However, things look positive. It passed on a 21-0 vote and in the House Science and Technology Committee late this afternoon, but then referred to the Appropriations. Delegates Bob Marshall (R-13, Prince William) and John Cosgrove (R-78, Chesapeake) tried to avoid the hurdle by asking for a vote to report straight to the floor. According to committee Chairman Kathy Byron (R-22, Lynchburg), it simply is a safeguard measure — if a cost to it was discovered on the floor, the bill would die because Friday is the last Appropriations Committee meeting. Better for it to be vetted there, and amended if necessary.

However, Auditor of Public Accounts Walter J. Kucharski and Joe Damico, deputy director of the Department of General Services, both testified that the bill, offered in its third version today, would have no fiscal impact. Amazingly, the Department of Planning and Budget posted a fiscal impact statement claiming that the second version of the bill would cost these two departments and state government $1.5 million in new equipment and software, man-hours, and more employees. One small problem: no one asked the departments.  

It's no time to rest, however. SB 936 and HB 2285, patroned by Delegate Ben Cline (R-24, Amherst), and which emerged yesterday with unanimous approval in the Senate Rules Sub-Committee on Studies and now is in the full Rules Committee (contact information here), should both be heard Friday in those committees. Contact members of both committees. We're very close to victory on a major priority this session. Let's not take it for granted.

Tomorrow, In Ed & Health

Tomorrow, the infamous Senate Education and Health Committee will vote on two pro-life measures. While the committee has seen these bills in past years and defeated them, we will once again bring these reasonable pro-life bills to it for consideration. HB 2579, patroned by Delegate Kathy Byron (R-22, Lynchburg) is a bill that would provide a woman contemplating abortion the option to view her ultrasound prior to an abortion. This is merely an update to the informed consent laws already on the books in Virginia. Currently, a woman is offered a pamphlet with generic pictures showing gestational age; however, an ultrasound would give the woman information specific to her child.

Furthermore, an ultrasound provides for a "safer" abortion in that the gestational age of the child is known, not guessed. After 13 weeks gestation, an abortion must be performed in a hospital — an ultrasound can determine the age. HB 2579, therefore, provides for medical as well as legal responsibility, safety for the mother, and truly informed consent.

While HB 2579 passed the House with a vote of 62-36, it is likely to face increased scrutiny in the Senate committee coined the "graveyard" and the "Committe of Death" for its infamous reputation for killing pro-life bills. However, with your prayers and action, anything is possible. Please urge these Senators to vote for HB 2579 and, with that vote, make a pro-woman, pro-child decision.

Another pro-life bill, HB 2634, patroned by Delegate Ben Cline (R-24, Rockbridge) also will be before the committee. This important piece of legislation would add information about the sensitivity to pain of unborn children to informed consent materials. This bill passed the House of Delegates, 64-34.

There is overwhelming medical evidence which suggest that an unborn baby does experience the discomfort we refer to as pain. This being the case there is an issue on which all sides of the abortion debate could join together. It's common sense and it's compassionate — provide information to the mother that lets her know her unborn child can feel pain, and allow her the option of having anesthesia administered to her unborn child undergoing an abortion procedure. 

As straightforward and sympathetic as this might seem, there are forces right here in the Commonwealth who are in opposition to such a suggestion. The good news is you can make your voice heard louder than theirs and once again stand up for those who can't speak for themselves.

Although these bills will meet a tough challenge you can make a difference by contacting members of the Senate Education and Health Committee (click here for contact information) now and letting them know you want them to support this compassionate measure.

As Crossover Approaches, It's All To Play For

Tuesday is "crossover" day in the General Assembly, the day when work on bills from their respective chambers must be complete. The past two weeks have been long and intense, as you have been able to tell by reading this blog and by the number of e-mail alerts you've received. (If you don't receive our e-mail alerts, you should. They are informative, fun, fast and have received critical acclaim. People tell us that when they read them, they feel as if they were in the committee room. Click here to sign up.)   Several bills in The Family Foundation's bill profile were acted on recently. Here's an update:

SB 1270: Abortion Center Licensing Requirement (Support)

This legislation, introduced by Senator Jill Vogel (R-27, Winchester), would have required abortion centers to become licensed, have life-saving equipment in their facilities and submit to one yearly inspection. It was drafted to make abortion centers safer for the women who visit them. In fact, the original bill had numerous regulations, many of which pro-abortion activists claim are onerous and designed put these centers out of business. Anticipating this argument, Senator Vogel stripped down the bill to the three simple requirements listed above.

The fact is that there are several types of medical facilities that are much less invassive, such as podiatry centers; and altogether different types of facilities, such as puppy mills, that have much tougher regulations. Furthermore, all medical disciplines and specialities have oversight by peer review boards, with the notable exception of abortionists.

Finally, the pro-abortion side traditionally argues that the Board of Medicine regulates Virginia's abortion clinics. Fine. Senator Vogel presented SJ 276, which the Senate passed unanimously last year, that slams the Board of Medicine, citing a 1999 JLARC report, that discovered "the Board of Medicine  took too long to resolve cases, did not adequately protect the public from substandard practice by doctors, and did not handle medical malpractice cases adequately," among other charges. When confronted with its hypocrisy and the truth, the pro-abortion side did the only thing it could do — ignore it.

So, this bill, which seemed like a logical and bipartisan issue, failed in the Senate Education and Health Committee by a party line vote of 10-5. So much for "safe, legal and rare." Instead, in Virginia, abortion centers remain an exempted class, untouchable and protected by their overlords in the Senate. Read more about this issue here and see video of the Ed and Health hearing here.

SB 801: "Choose Life" License Plates (Support)

This legislation, from Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax), not only would have created "Choose Life" license plates, but would have sent part of the proceeds from the plates to pregnancy resource centers around Virginia. The bill was debated in the Senate Transportation Committee. Of course, the opposition denounced the plates, claiming they are political in nature and out of the purview for recognition.

Even more infuriating, a family practitioner unashamedly attacked crisis pregnancy centers in her testimony. The bill died in committee by a vote of 6-6 with Senators Harry Blevins (R-14, Chesapeake) and John Watkins (R-10, Midlothian) abstaining. Senator Blevins was in the room up until just before the vote and then walked out — leaving a "proxy" vote of "abstain" behind.

HB 2579: Informed Consent, Ultrasound Requirement (Support)

Delegate Kathy Bryon's (R-22, Lynchburg) bill would require abortionists to take an ultrasound and allow the woman to view it if she desires before having an abortion. The Family Foundation supports this bill not only because it would give women medically accurate information to aid their decision making, but also with hopes that more women would choose life after clearly seeing that life inside them. The House Courts of Justice Committee reported this bill 15-6. It now goes to the House floor.   

HB 2634: Providing Information on Fetal Pain

Another informed consent bill, patroned by Delegate Ben Cline (R-24, Amherst), would require that a woman be told that her unborn child could feel pain during the abortion process and provide her with information on anesthesia for the child. Again, the House Courts of Justice Committee passed this bill 17-5, and the House will vote on it this week. See some of the sub-committee debate here.  

HB 1624, HB 1625, HB 1726, HB 2385, SB 945, SB 1247:  Legislation on "Sexual Orientation" (Oppose)

With homosexual rights advocates feeling emboldened by recent election victories, every effort has been made this legislative season to make sure that the term "sexual orientation" finds its way into Virginia code. It has been attempted in every form from group life insurance and housing discrimination, to making sure that it becomes a protected class under Virginia's human rights laws. Any incremental step they believe they can take, they will. Thankfully, we can report that all efforts to expand the homosexual agenda have failed thus far, with the exception of SB 945 (life insurance). 

These battles are far from over and other skirmishes over other issues undoubtedly will materialize. If ever it was all to play for, this year's second half is it.

Pastors Day At The Capitol: Restoring A Culture Of Life

Fresh off our large turnout of more than 250 grassroots Christian conservative activists at our annual lobby day yesterday, we have another day at the capitol: for pastors. It will be on February 5 and those attending will be treated to every bit the great lineup of speakers and lobbying opportunities with their senators and delegates.

The theme of Pastors Day At The Capitol is:

Restoring A Culture Of Life.

No coincidence, then, that February 5 is the same day as Planned Parenthood's lobby day.

Among the speakers confirmed are Senator Jill Vogel (R-27, Winchester), who is carrying SB 1270, a bill to licence abortion facilities; Delegate Kathy Byron (R-22, Lynchburg), the 2007 Family Foundation Legislator of the Year; and Delegate Ben Cline (R-24, Amherst), who doubles as the co-chairman of the Virginia Conservative Caucus, a group of conservatives senators and delegates who shape alternative and innovative conservative proposals during the General Assembly.

Among the non-legislators slated to speak are the Rev. Bill Haywood and former Virginia State Police Chaplain Steve Lambert, one of the six who resigned rather than obey an order prohibiting prayer "in Jesus' name."

Please make your pastor aware of this unique opportunity. For more information, contact The Family Foundation of Virginia at 804-343-0010.