Help Stop Obamacare ExpansionMar 17, 2014
A week from today the General Assembly will be back in Richmond for a special session to try to pass a state budget. This year's regular session ended with Governor Terry McAuliffe and a majority of senators proposing a budget contingent on expanding Obamacare. While conservatives in Richmond are standing firm in opposition to expansion, all legislators must hear from you!
Without a state budget, thousands of teachers, health care workers and public safety workers are at risk. Local governments cannot budget for next year and neither can local school boards. Liberals in Richmond are endangering all public services because they want to expand Obamacare no matter the cost, but they know the only leverage they have is hijacking the state budget because the majority of Virginians recognize that Obamacare is a complete failure. Last year, lawmakers agreed to keep the budget and expansion issues separate, creating the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission to study expansion. But due to a new governor and Democrat takeover of the Senate, the two issues are now combined.
Each day, we hear more news about Americans losing health insurance for a variety of related reasons: Obamacare itself, more unconstitutional, unilateral actions by the president to delay a failing law without approval of Congress, higher health care costs and a damaged economy. Late last week, we learned that doctors involved with Medicare (not Medicaid) are facing a 24 percent reduction in payments for their services to patients because Congress can't figure out a way to pay. It's more evidence of what every day citizens recognize — the federal government is broke and cannot be trusted to fulfill its future fiscal commitments — including its share of expanding Medicaid. We also recognize that government entanglement with health care is a disaster.
Unfortunately, rhetoric from expansion supporters is making it clear that they are more than willing to bankrupt not only the nation, but they are happy to shut down state and local government to get what they want. The battle in Richmond is a microcosm of the national battle American's must have — when does the spending stop? When do we admit that too many federal programs are not just bankrupting us — they are failing to do what they were theoretically designed to do in the first place.
This is an opportunity for us to draw the line!
Please click the link below to contact your senator and delegate, and share this link with others so that they can make their voice heard as well. Moveon.org, big labor unions, big business and the president's campaign machine are all spending millions to force expansion on Virginians. We have to fight back with the one thing we have — our voice!
Voice Your Support for Abortion Center Regulations
Voice Your Support for Abortion Center Regulations
Yesterday, the public comment period opens for the Virginia State Board of Health’s review of the previously passed abortion regulations. Visit here and then click “Enter a Comment” to voice your opinion.
The public comment period on these regulations will be open for 45 days, ending on July 30, and then in its December meeting, the Board of Health will decide whether or not it will rewrite these much needed regulations. It is imperative that the Board leaves these regulations as they are.
Prior to the implementation of regulations in 2012, the Virginia abortion industry had gone unregulated for too long. Department of Health inspections revealed widespread health and safety violations, including blood splattered exam tables and equipment, unsterilized equipment, poorly or untrained staff, violations of state parental consent laws, and the lack of reporting of possible cases of child sexual abuse, along with over 300 other violations. These violations reveal a serious need for regulations of these facilities in order to protect women who seek out abortions.
While focusing on the construction standards included in the regulations, the media has almost completely ignored the blood stained and unsterilized equipment, along with all the other health and safety violations. The construction standards are necessary to improve access for emergency personnel and equipment when medical emergencies take place, but the rest of the standards are basic to any medical facility that puts its patients ahead of its profits.
Recent information that has come to light about Virginia abortion center owner, Dr. Steven Brigham, exemplifies the need for regulations. Brigham’s license to practice medicine has been revoked in five states because of his complete disregard for the safety of women. The New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners revoked Brigham’s license declaring, “Dr. Brigham’s continued practice would present clear and imminent danger to the public health, safety, and welfare.” Virginia inspections found gaping holes in the ceiling of his abortion center, unsterilized needles, outrageously high complication rates, and incomplete lifesaving equipment. If an abortion doctor like Steven Brigham can continue to operate two abortion centers here in Virginia, it is clear that the regulations must remain in place to protect the women of Virginia from Brigham’s harmful practices.
It is vital that the Board of Health understands how important health and safety regulations on abortion centers are to the people of Virginia. This can only be done by your participation in the public comment period. Leave your comment encouraging the Board to maintain the regulations as they are and ensure that the voices of pro-woman, pro-life Virginians are heard loud and clear!
40 Days Of Prayer, Fasting And Repentance For Marriage
40 Days Of Prayer, Fasting And Repentance For Marriage
. . . remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses. - Nehemiah 4:14
The Family Foundation is asking that you join us for 40 Days of Prayer, Fasting and Repentance for Marriage from August 27 until October 5, 2014. Our state and nation are mired in a morass of confusion and post-modern thinking that does not believe in absolutes nor that any truth can even be known. Nowhere is this more evident than in the current debate raging about what constitutes marriage. Pagan philosophies, a secular humanist education establishment and an entertainment industry that is absolutely determined in pushing the envelope on decency and morality have all combined to turn this great land into a country that our forefathers could not even begin to recognize.
How did we get here? We must look within and ask, "Have we as believers been the salt and light that Jesus commanded us to be?" So many churches in America have become lukewarm and have lost the ability to impact culture in the way they once did. Our nation, built on a Judeo-Christian foundation, has been greatly blessed by the Lord, but instead of being thankful, we have turned our back on the Lord and His teachings and have and followed after other gods. That is why we are asking you to join us zealously in humility and fasting in repentance before God and implore Him to heal our land.
The Virginia Marriage Amendment, which affirms God's design for marriage as the union of one man and one woman, is being challenged in federal court. Our recently elected Attorney General, Mark Herring, has not only refused to defend Virginia in court, he has joined the plaintiffs in attacking our Marriage Amendment. The issue of marriage is out of the hands of the legislators and the people they represent, and is now in the hands of unelected, unaccountable judges.
The Supreme Court begins its session on October 6. We fully expect it to take a marriage case sometime in the next year. In the natural, it looks like a David vs. Goliath battle. The federal government, the news media, Hollywood, the public education system and big business all are arrayed on the side of same-sex "marriage." Only the church stands in support of God's design for marriage. Our 40 Days will culminate on October 5 just before the court begins its session. We don't know what the Lord will do. We do know that He is sovereign. Whatever happens, we must adopt the attitude of the three Hebrew children who refused to bow before the golden image in Babylon:
If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up. - Daniel 3:17-18
If you are a pastor, please consider having your church join with us in this effort. The Family Foundation is partnering with other nationally known organizations to provide talking points, sermon outlines, bulletin inserts, video clips and other resources to help you lead your congregation through the 40 Days. We will also send a daily prayer journal to everyone to help guide our prayers and devotions during that time. Click here to be directed to a page where you can sign up as a partnering church in this effort. You also can indicate on that page that you will prayerfully consider partnering with us.
If you would like a representative from The Family Foundation to come and speak to your congregation about the 40 Days of Prayer, Fasting and Repentance please contact us 804-343-0010. If you are not a pastor, click here to sign up and then forward this link to your pastor to encourage your church's involvement with us.
Urge Override Of Governor McAuliffe’s Vetoes!
Urge Override Of Governor McAuliffe’s Vetoes!
Recently, Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed two bills that would protect religious liberty: SB 236, a bill that would protect the free speech rights of public school students; and SB 555, a bill that would have prohibited government censorship of military chaplain sermons. Both passed with large bipartisan majorities, including a unanimous vote in the Senate for SB 555! The General Assembly will hold its annual "veto session," where it reviews vetoes and amendments to bills, on Wednesday, April 23:
Please urge your senators and delegates to vote to override the governor's vetoes of SB 236 and SB 555 (click the links to find their contact information). If you don't know who your legislators are, click here.
SB 236, patroned by Senator Bill Carrico (R-40, Galax), would create "limited public forums" at certain public school events. Limited public forums restrict the schools from censoring speech simply because it is from a faith perspective. The schools can still "limit" the speech to the matter at hand; for example, a graduation speech still has to be about graduating, but it can contain statements about the importance of faith. The bill also protects students' rights to organize prayer groups, have events such as "see you at the pole" gatherings and wear clothing with religious expressions.
Students in our public schools shouldn't be treated as a second-class citizen simply because their viewpoint is motivated by their faith, regardless of what faith perspective they have. It is tragic that in Virginia, the birthplace of religious freedom, Governor McAuliffe has chosen to listen to the ACLU and has trampled on the right of Virginia's students to simply express their beliefs.
SB 555, patroned by Senator Dick Black (R-13, Leesburg), prohibited state government from censoring sermons given by chaplains in the Virginia National Guard and Virginia Defense Force. This reasonable, common sense measure passed the Senate in January 37-0! The governor's explanation for vetoing the bill is a remarkable misunderstanding of the actual definition of a chaplain.
Overriding a governor's veto requires two-thirds support from both chambers, meaning that 27 members of the Senate and 67 members of the House of Delegates have to vote for an override.
At what point do we finally say, enough is enough? Our God-given, inalienable right to exercise our faith, live according to our conscience, and speak truth to culture is in serious jeopardy if we allow people like Terry McAuliffe to dictate what we can and cannot do in the public square.
Your legislators, regardless of party, need to hear from you. They need to know that you are not going to stand for this type of discrimination any longer! Please act today:
Contact your senators and delegates today and ask them to override Governor McAuliffe's vetoes of SB 236 and SB 555 at the upcoming April 23 Veto Session.
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.
Pro-adoption Bill Poised to Become Law
Pro-adoption Bill Poised to Become Law
To be pro-life is to take a holistic view of the value of human life and to promote those institutions, like the family, which are critical for human flourishing. That’s why, in addition to fighting to protect unborn life, we work hard to encourage adoption for kids who need a mom and a dad. This year in the Virginia General Assembly, we have an opportunity to do that in a unique way.
Senate Bill 1412, patroned by Senator Dave Suetterlein (R-19, Roanoke), creates a new classification of paid leave for a state employee who adopts an infant under a year old. Currently, mothers who give birth to a child are offered paid maternity leave by their state employer, but parents who adopt a newborn child don’t receive that benefit. If this bill is signed into law – and it looks like it will be – then adoptive parents employed by the state will also be able to take that time to bond with their new baby in the same way as natural parents can.
This is a good and pro-life public policy because the Commonwealth of Virginia is saying ‘we are going to value and encourage adoption.’ It’s also good public policy because it seeks to treat new parents equitably, recognizing the critical nature of the first few weeks together between an infant child and his or her parents. Encouraging adoption is also good fiscal policy when considering the cost to the state in the long run for the care of each child until adulthood.
Meanwhile, the more we can promote and facilitate adoption, the more we can take away incentives for abortions. What if every woman who wasn’t ready for a child knew that there was someone waiting who was? Probably more would choose life. And just maybe, with the help of this new law, more people will choose adoption.
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!