What Would You Do With Eight Minutes?Jan 14, 2014
In his address last night to the joint session of the General Assembly, Governor Terry McAuliffe lamented the traffic woes facing Northern Virginia:
People from Northern Virginia spend an average of 67 hours per year sitting in traffic. ...
Sixty-seven hours a year, Governor McAuliffe? Maybe Governor McAuliffe took a page out of former Vice President Al Gore's math textbook. Assuming 50 work weeks per year, 5 days per week, and two trips between home and work each day, that computes to eight minutes in traffic per trip.
Eight minutes in traffic? Seems pretty reasonable actually. Eight minutes is about the time you might wait at your metro stop. Eight minutes is about the time you might spend locking and unlocking your bike. Eight minutes is about the time you might wait at your bus stop.
Proving once again that he is out of touch with Virginians, McAuliffe should perhaps check his math.
Governor Terry McAuliffe spent Thursday celebrating the fact that he’s proven to be the most obstructionist Governor in Virginia history.
Earlier this morning, Hillary Clinton’s top cheerleader went live on air with WTOP radio to veto bills (SB 2314/HB 2025) that would have provided modest protections for pastors, churches, and peaceful religious organizations and schools by prohibiting the state from discriminating against them because of their religious or moral beliefs about marriage.
The vast majority of Virginians, nearly two-thirds according to polling by Mason-Dixon, believe that, at a minimum, religious entities should be able to hold traditional beliefs about the institution of marriage without facing retribution from the government. But once again, Governor McAuliffe sided with the radical LGBT lobby and the ACLU in claiming that protecting the faiths of countless churches, religious schools and religious organizations amounts to discrimination and even going so far as to say it equates to “demonizing people”, according to his official statement. The Governor, of course, is all too comfortable with demonizing anyone who happens to disagree with him!
In reality, these bills would have ensured that a religious charity couldn’t be denied equal access to state benefits because of its belief in traditional marriage – something the Governor is trying to do through his Executive Order 61 – and that Virginia students who attend Christian universities or colleges like Liberty, Regent or Patrick Henry wouldn’t be denied access to Virginia’s Tuition Assistance Grants because those schools have policies based on marriage between one man and one woman.
His vetoes were a record 90th and 91st of his term, but sadly, he wasn’t done. This afternoon, he announced the veto of several bills that would have advanced parental rights and provided more educational opportunities for Virginia families.
The Governor proudly vetoed HB 2191, which simply would have provided parents of public school students an opportunity to review and opt their child out of materials they find sexually inappropriate. You may remember that a similar bill met with fierce opposition last year from the education cabal in Richmond as well as the secular “progressive) left. This year, Delegate Steve Landes (R-25, Verona) narrowed the bill to define “sexually explicit” simply as things that are currently against the law under the criminal sexual assault statute, but that still wasn’t good enough for the Governor.
In addition, he vetoed bills which would create a full-time public virtual school option for up to 5,000 new students in Virginia, allowing them to choose, with no tuition, from over a dozen approved education providers. He also vetoed two bills that would allow two or three school districts to band together to form a regional charter school district where each district would have to have at least 3,000 enrolled students and at least one school that failed to be accredited for at least two of the previous three years.
The Governor once again sided with the antiquated, failing, one-size-fits-all education establishment against families and children who want more options and the freedom to choose the school that best fits their needs.
The reality: elections have consequences. Virginians have the opportunity to correct the McAuliffe error later this year. Advancing the values we cherish, like religious freedom, life and education freedom require a governor who not only shares our values but has the courage to fight for them. Four years of Terry McAuliffe’s contempt for the beliefs of a majority of Virginians are enough.
Gone But Not Soon Forgotten
Gone But Not Soon Forgotten
On Saturday, the General Assembly wrapped up its 2017 legislative session, one that saw some surprises, some wins, some losses, and some very big changes.
Amidst final action on dozens of bills on Friday and Saturday, the House of Delegates, unfortunately, failed to override Governor Terry McAuliffe’s veto of legislation that would redirect some taxpayer funds away from Planned Parenthood to real, comprehensive health care clinics. The vote predictably fell short of the two-thirds of the 100 members required to override a veto, something that hasn’t happened during Terry McAuliffe’s administration. Remarkably, a day earlier, the Governor listed protecting Planned Parenthood as a top priority, ahead of feeding starving children and ending the Opioid epidemic. Such is the case for someone whose few accomplishments in four years includes propping up the abortion industry.
Earlier in the week, the House of Delegates put the finishing touches on a resolution that could significantly rebalance power in Virginia government from unelected bureaucrats back to the people’s elected representatives where it truly belongs. By a vote of 52-46 the House, and 21-19 the Senate approved HJ 545, patroned by Delegate Chris Head (R-17, Roanoke). The House majority was supplied by 51 of the 66 Republicans and one Democrat, while the Senate vote was party line.
The resolution would allow the General Assembly, by a majority vote in both chambers, to repeal a regulation by a state government agency. A version of this proposal has been introduced from time to time over the last dozen years or so, but has never even reached the Senate floor.
In order for the resolution to go on the ballot for voters to ratify or reject in November 2018, it must be adopted by both chambers in the exact same language again next year, when a newly elected General Assembly convenes. No gubernatorial action is required.
The legislature also completed work on budget amendments for the final year of the biennium budget. The $107 billion budget includes language fought for in previous years that prohibits taxpayer funding of low-income abortions except in cases of rape, incest and where the life of the mother is at risk, along with funding abortion of unborn children with severe disabilities. Efforts to remove the disability abortion funding failed, but several budget negotiators were appalled at information we gave them showing that the number of disability abortions has more than doubled per year since Terry McAuliffe became governor, and committed to working on this in the next budget, when we have a new (and hopefully pro-life) governor.
In the coming days, we’ll be sending you several action alerts, urging you to contact Governor McAuliffe on bills that have reached his desk, including those that protect the religious charities from government discrimination, give more choices and information to parents regarding education, and protect free speech on college campuses.
This year’s session was also the last that will be held in the current General Assembly Building, commonly called the “GAB.” The decades-old structure, a hodgepodge of several buildings joined together, will be torn down in the coming year and replaced. During the four-year project, the legislature will move to the Pocahontas Building, which sits directly across Main Street from our office. Logistics for next year will be new for everyone, and many questions will remain unanswered until the legislature arrives in January. Regardless, we’ll keep you informed and seek your engagement wherever and whenever the General Assembly meets!
Finally, perhaps the biggest news out of Richmond in the final weeks was the retirement announcement of Speaker of the House Bill Howell (R-28, Fredericksburg). Speaker Howell has been at the helm of the Republican House caucus for fifteen years, a time during which the Republican majority in the House grew, and we saw great success in our legislative agenda. Upon his announcement, House Republicans quickly confirmed that Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-66, Colonial Heights) will be the next Speaker, and Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-15, Woodstock) will become Majority Leader. Delegates Cox and Gilbert are both previous Family Foundation Legislator of the Year award recipients and have worked with us on many legislative priorities over the years. We look forward to working with them in the future in their new roles.
Feed Planned Parenthood, Then the Kids
Feed Planned Parenthood, Then the Kids
Each week, the Governor’s office sends a press release listing their “Top 5” accomplishments from the week. Apparently, this list is supposed to be reflective of the Governor’s priorities.
So the order at the top of this week’s “Top 5” list is very telling:
- Governor McAuliffe Vetoes Legislation Defunding Women’s Health Provider Planned Parenthood
- Governor McAuliffe Signs Bills Strengthening Virginia's Opioid Abuse Prevention and Treatment Efforts
- Dorothy McAuliffe & Kathleen Sandoval: Ending Childhood Hunger Isn't Just the Right Thing to Do — It's Smart
That’s right, this Governor, who derides “divisive social issues” every chance he gets, put making sure taxpayers are propping up Planned Parenthood's abortion centers ahead of dealing with Virginia’s destructive Opioid crisis and ending childhood hunger!
There’s little doubt that advancing the progressive left’s social agenda has been a top priority of this Governor, particularly that of the $1 billion abortion industry, regardless of his rhetoric. Today’s list is simply reflective of that reality. He puts protecting Planned Parenthood, a business responsible for the deaths of thousands of unborn children every year, ahead of ending hunger, ahead of helping people with addiction.
This is McAuliffe’s “new Virginia.” One where Planned Parenthood reigns supreme.
Family Foundation Announces Impending Legal Action
- McAuliffe Administration Notified Today -
RICHMOND–The Family Foundation of Virginia today announced that the administration of Governor Terry McAuliffe has been notified of impending legal action regarding violations of state law by the Department and Board of Health during the abortion center health and safety standards regulatory process.
“Over and over again during the nearly three-year process of amending the standards, the administration and Board violated the Administrative Process Act, the state law that provides the framework for regulatory action, the administrative code, and the Governor’s own Executive Order 17 regarding the regulatory review process,” said Victoria Cobb, President of The Family Foundation. “Regardless of one’s belief about the need for basic health and safety standards for abortion centers – or of any regulation for that matter – we all have to agree that a regulatory body cannot act outside the law when it wields extraordinary power over business, commerce and health care. We have the Administrative Process Act for that reason, to provide legal boundaries and process for unelected regulatory bodies, to provide transparency and public input throughout the regulatory process, and to be able to hold these agencies accountable when they go beyond the scope of their authority.”
Details of the administrative appeal were not released, but will be made available when the action is filed in Henrico Circuit Court within the next thirty days. The Family Foundation is paying the legal fees for one appellant in the appeal, Itzel Melendez, from Richmond. At a Richmond press conference today, Mrs. Melendez said, “In the past, I had occasion to visit an abortion center for the purpose of obtaining an abortion. I am participating in this case because I am concerned that without basic health and safety standards, abortion centers will operate in a way that could put my health at risk if I ever decided in the future that I needed their services. The standards that were in place were there to protect women like me from harm. Without them, I am no longer confident that my health would be protected.”
Cobb did reference one of the examples of where the pro-family organization believes the administration broke the law. She stated, “The agency violated the Administrative Process Act by amending entirely separate and unrelated regulatory sections that had not been included in the regulations’ “Proposed” phase. Several regulatory sections amended by the Board were not included in the “Proposed Regulation Agency Background Document” posted in townhall.gov, and these regulatory sections dealt with matters the public did not have an opportunity to comment on in accordance with the requirements of the law.
“In addition, several regulatory sections the Board amended were not even in the agency’s “Final Regulation Agency Background Document” posted in townhall.gov, let alone its “Proposed Regulation Agency Background Document”. The Code of Virginia requires that the notice requirement contain “(i) a statement of the date, time and place of the hearing at which the regulation is to be considered; (ii) a brief statement as to the regulation under consideration; [and] (iii) reference to the legal authority of the agency to act; ….” Yet, that never occurred for all of the regulatory topics for the sections that were not included in the agency’s “Proposed” regulations. This is an important matter of transparency – providing to the public a clear list what areas of regulation are intended to be reviewed and amended. The public and the entities being regulated should know from the beginning what areas of regulation the agency intends to change. By avoiding disclosing all the areas the Department and Board intended to amend they violated both the letter and spirit of the law.
“In this case, the Department and Board initially indicated they would review and amend only six areas of the regulations, and instead ended up changing more than 20. The public had no ability to weigh in on these changes until after the Board had already voted.”
Cobb said, “There is a specific, detailed, and yes sometimes cumbersome regulatory process that, whether we like it or not, is the law of Virginia. Without a framework, and without criteria and accountability for regulatory agencies, one can only imagine the damage that could be done in any arena by regulatory bodies.”
“The Family Foundation fully supports the actions taken by these appellants,” added Cobb. “It is unfortunate that the McAuliffe administration has in its ideological zeal consistently ignored or violated state law throughout this process, but it must be held accountable for those actions. The regulatory process has rules that must be followed. Again, this appeal is about that legal process and this administration’s ignorance of or disdain for that process.”
Appellants in the case who appeared at today’s press conference were Virginia Board of Health members Megan Getter and Henry Kuhlman, and Itzel Melendez of Richmond. The attorney representing Mrs. Melendez is Dan Carrell of Carrell, Blanton Ferris and Associates, Richmond.
Our 2016 Summer Interns
Our 2016 Summer Interns
The Family Foundation’s summer internship program has grown over the years and attracts some incredibly talented college students. This year, our 2016 intern class is bright, fun-loving, creative, driven, and faithful. With dozens of students applying for a limited number of spots, the caliber of interns continues to improve. This summer, our interns are learning about each area of the organization, from policy research to social media outreach to grassroots activism and community organizing.
One aspect of our summer internship program that continues to evolve is in Biblical worldview training and discussion. Each Friday, our interns spend several hours hearing from various experts on different issues and participate in in-depth discussions of these topics. Our goal is to continue to expand this program in future years, and I look forward to announcing more about these plans in the coming months!
I hope you’ll enjoy the brief bios below and be sure to click on their names to read more about each of them:
Abbey Jessee (Development Intern; Radford University)
Abbey returns to us after interning last summer. This is her second summer interning and she is very excited to be back again. She attended Radford University and graduated in May with a degree in Marketing and a minor in Sports Administration. A fun fact about Abbey is that she has broken her arms 5 times and her foot once. Although it has been a little over a year since she’s been clumsy and broken anything and her family is hoping that the streak continues!
Grace Saunders (Social Media Intern; University of South Carolina)
Grace is the Social Media Intern at TFF this summer. She will be a junior next year at the University of South Carolina, Go Cocks! She is studying Library and Information Science with the hopes of minoring in Political Science, as her dream job is to be a political analyst. Her favorite sport is tennis and she considers herself to be the next Serena Williams. Peanut Butter and Chocolate are her two top favorite foods, so the way to her heart is Reece’s and Cookout Milkshakes. She obviously got the internship start date wrong because she didn’t show up until a month through the internship. She is well traveled and considers herself an expert in traveling abroad. Grace probably knows more than you so she considers humility her best quality
Richard Wiley (Policy Intern; Liberty University)
Born in Jacksonville, Florida and presently living in Goochland, Virginia, Richard was drawn to The Family Foundation because of his interest in the interaction of church and state in local politics, particularly those in the Old Dominion. He was homeschooled for much of his primary education and studied with Liberty’s dual enrollment program to complete high school with an associate’s degree. Richard graduated with a bachelor’s degree in pre-law from Liberty this spring after spending time on the University’s policy debate team, moot court team, and SGA legal team.
Evan Withrow (Grassroots Intern; Christopher Newport University
Evan is an excellent candidate for the new British Prime Minister. After Britain voted to leave the EU last month, Prime Minister David Cameron decided he no longer wanted to steer Britain to its uncertain future and announced his resignation. The nation will be left looking for somebody come October and much to our excitement as the first American non-profit organization to endorse an all-American candidate for Prime Minister, Evan has agreed to act in this capacity should he be chosen, so long as he gets to keep his desk and his American accent. His experience includes, but is not limited to, diligent and faithful service to his country in his softball league for several years, two years of college education at Christopher Newport University studying communications (probably the undercover kind), and YouTube. We can’t guarantee that he’ll be selected by the present monarch due to a less than advantageous situation with the unionist party, but if he succeeds at gaining the position, he’ll leverage technical jargon against malefactors better than Humphrey Appleby ever did.
Cameron Dominy (Elections and Grassroots Intern; Charleston Southern University)
Cameron is very much a Yankee…yet he wears Chubbies and goes to school at Charleston Southern University. Cameron is a Former Division One Javelin Thrower, but his competitive spirit carries over which is why he is currently serving as the President pro tempore for the CSU Student Government and is also the chairman of the CSU College Republicans. The South Carolina Student Legislature is lucky to have him as their chief of staff.
Introducing Abbey Jessee
Introducing Abbey Jessee
Abbey Jessee is the Development Intern at TFF this year. This is her second summer interning and she is very excited to be back again. She attended Radford University and graduated in May with a degree in Marketing and a minor in Sports Administration. One of Abbey’s favorite times in college was when she had the opportunity to intern with the Radford Athletic Department as a Sports Marketing Intern. During this internship she worked with multiple sports teams doing advertising and promoting sporting events on and off campus as well promotions and student involvement during game time.
After, she graduated college she decided that while still looking for a job it would be beneficial to have another internship under her belt in order to gain a little more experience. Coming back to The Family Foundation she was excited to learn more about fundraising and all of the efforts that go into garnering donors. After this internship she would like to get a job doing event planning for corporations.
Her favorite thing to do is go to Virginia Tech football games with her family. This has been a tradition that has been going on even before she was born and she attended her first football game at 4 months old and has only missed a couple home games. Her favorite game that she has been to so far was when Virginia Tech played Ohio State at OSU and Virginia Tech won the game! The atmosphere was by far the craziest she has ever seen it and OSU was one of her favorite stadiums that she has been to. Her favorite movie is Sweet Home Alabama, but Frozen does come in as a close second. A fun fact about Abbey is that she has broken her arms 5 times and her foot once. Although it has been a little over a year since she’s been clumsy and broken anything and her family is hoping that the streak continues!
Abbey is excited to see what God’s plan is for her after the internship!