Private PartsFeb 21, 2017
It was quite an interesting morning outside the Governor’s Mansion on Capitol Square today. Late yesterday Governor Terry McAuliffe’s office released his “Public Schedule” for the week:
You’ll note that his “Public Schedule” includes “Governor McAuliffe to act on legislation impacting womens health” at 9:45 am today at the Executive Mansion. Now, we are well aware that the so-called “progressive” left has some difficulty discerning what is public and private (see bathrooms), and we learned this morning that this apparently includes what constitutes a “public” event.
You see, several of us who wanted to see the Governor’s “public” activity showed up at the Mansion and tried to gain access. Only when we did we were informed that no, the event wasn’t “public,” it was private. Yet we watched as several people entered the event without showing any form of ID, so how the Capitol Police could distinguish between those invited to the public/private event is anyone’s guess. Perhaps it was the signs we were carrying that said things like “Defund Planned Parenthood” and “Planned Parenthood Lies” that made us undesirable.
So undesirable, in fact, that we were then informed that we couldn’t hold up our signs because we “didn’t have a permit.” This was a bit perplexing since we know that permits aren’t granted for any areas of Capitol Square with the exception of the area around the Bell Tower, far removed from the Capitol and the Executive Mansion; and this despite having witnessed numerous groups all session long being allowed to hold up signs wherever and whenever they pleased. We’ve watched Planned Parenthood apologists line the sidewalks of Capitol Square with their signs. Apparently, they are permitted to do that. In all fairness to the Capitol Police, they were just “doing what we’re told,” apparently by the administration, because we did hold up signs when we first arrived, but then we couldn't.
While standing outside the fence surrounding the Governor’s Mansion unable to hold up our signs, we were able to hear the Governor pontificate on how it is so important to have an “open and inclusive” Virginia where everyone feels welcome. While we were standing outside the fence. Barred from being welcome.
The Governor then very publicly (sort of) vetoed legislation that would have redirected taxpayer dollars away from Planned Parenthood toward real health clinics that offer comprehensive care for women. McAuliffe was joined at this public (oh, never mind) campaign rally by candidate for Governor Ralph Northam and candidate for AG Mark Herring.
For the second year in a row, the Governor celebrated vetoing a bill supported by 54 percent of Virginians; last year he did so at a Planned Parenthood abortion center. At least this year he did it in public/private/behind a fence.
Of Retirements and Vetoes
Of Retirements and Vetoes
Wednesday's one-day “Veto Session” at the General Assembly proved to go largely as expected, primarily along party lines, with the Governor’s legacy cemented as the most obstructionist executive in the history of the Commonwealth.
Since ascending to office four years ago, Governor Terry McAuliffe has vetoed a record 111 bills – with none being overridden by the legislature. A two-thirds majority of those present for the votes is necessary to override a veto, and with no Democrat courageous enough to go against the hysterical “progressive” base that demands nothing less than absolute devotion to its dogmas, overrides were impossible.
With the Governor’s vetoes of many common-sense bills, several of which protected life, rights of conscience, and parental authority, there was plenty for state legislators to consider as they voted. But the day began with the shocking retirement of 24 year House veteran and chairman of the House Courts of Justice committee, Republican Dave Albo. This came on top of the recently announced retirements of Richmond area Republican Delegates Jimmie Massie and Peter Farrell. With the retirement of Speaker of the House Bill Howell already announced, it’s clear the House of Delegates will take on an entirely new flavor next year. We appreciate all the work of Delegates Howell, Albo, Massie and Farrell, with whom we have worked on many issues over the years. They will all be missed.
After nearly two hours of farewell speeches, the House finally got down to business and began the process of reviewing the Governor’s vetoes and dozens of amendments to bills, including the state budget. The Senate methodically worked through its bills dealing with the Governor’s actions as well.
The good news was the House once again rejected the Governor’s repeated effort to expand Medicaid under the failed Obama “Care” government health insurance scheme.
No vote to override a veto showed the left’s dogmatic adherence more than the failure to override the veto on HB 2191, a bill from Delegate Steve Landes giving parents a say when schools want to teach sexually explicit material to kids. When the bill passed the House in February it received 74 votes, meaning several Democrats voted yea. But today, they fell in line with their party and voted with the Governor.
Also in the House, the veto of Delegate Nick Freitas’s HB 2025, which would protect religious charities and schools from government discrimination because of their beliefs about marriage, wasn’t challenged with a vote. However, Delegate Freitas correctly pointed out that in the Governor’s own reasoning for vetoing the bill, he made the argument that religious charities are protected by the first amendment and statute for religious freedom – which means the Governor essentially argued why his own Executive Order discriminating against religious charities is unconstitutional! Remarkably, the Governor’s explanation says, “I veto House Bill 2025, which would shield from civil liability those who actively discriminate against same-sex couples. I vetoed this exact same bill last year, and my rationale for that veto remains the same.” Except we amended the bill this year to remove the civil liability part, which means, of course, it isn’t the “exact same bill”, but apparently neither the Governor nor his staff actually read the bill! You just can’t make this stuff up.
Regardless, even though the House and Senate could not garner the votes necessary to overcome the Governor’s vetoes, our message was heard clearly in the General Assembly yesterday. And credit where credit is due, despite secular leftist and media hysteria on these bills, for the most part Republicans in the General Assembly stood their ground and voted correctly.
The frustrations over the Governor’s vetoes of common sense legislation that protects religious charities, unborn life, taxpayers and parents’ rights must now be translated into action. The next Governor of the Commonwealth will either carry on the obstructionist tradition or be a conservative leader who will side with a majority of Virginians and sign these key bills.
Which Governor that is will be up to you.
Rare Bipartisan Victory
Rare Bipartisan Victory
During a General Assembly session, The Family Foundation takes a position on over 100 pieces of legislation. We try to keep you informed on as many as we can, but often we will work on proposals that never get the attention they deserve.
Case in point is a bill that thankfully on Monday Governor Terry McAuliffe signed into law.
The proposal, HB 1709, requires schools notify parents if their child is involved in an incident of alleged bullying within five school days. Patroned by Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41, Springfield), the bill was amended during the process to give schools fourteen school days – or almost three full weeks – before having to involved parents. Let’s face it, Amazon can deliver packages to third world countries faster than that! We believe parents are the key to their children thriving and that parents should be informed, notified and included as soon as possible when their children are suffering from or being accused of bullying. Three weeks is far too long.
And while the education establishment always claims it wants to involve parents, they allege it’s just too hard or too expensive to quickly pick up a phone and call a parent. We disagree.
Virginia’s definition of bullying is such that it requires very serious, repeated acts. Bullying is a serious problem, and parents should be involved as soon as possible if their child is a victim. And, if their child is suspected of bullying, they should know they are being investigated by the school.
The bill ended up in a “conference committee” on the very last days of session, where a handful of negotiators from the House and Senate worked out the final five-day time period. We’re thankful to Delegate Filler-Corn for working with us on this important issue, and for those conferees for seeing the wisdom of involving parents.
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.
Judge: Ultrasound More Harmful Than Abortion
Judge: Ultrasound More Harmful Than Abortion
A federal judge in Kentucky just struck down a state law requiring an ultrasound to be performed and an opportunity for the woman to see the image and to hear her baby’s heartbeat before an abortion.
According to the judge, "Requiring physicians to force upon their patients the information mandated by HB2 [the law] has more potential to harm the psychological well-being of the patient than to further the legitimate interests of the Commonwealth.” (Never mind that no woman is required to actually view the image or listen to the heartbeat.)
Wow. That’s some kind of legal reasoning. Which is to say, it has nothing to do with legal analysis at all, but is instead prudential and therefore a political judgment reserved exclusively for the legislative body. But shucks, who concerns themselves with federalism anymore?
So let me get this straight. According to this federal judge, it is more harmful for a woman to see and to hear that there is baby in her womb than for the abortionist to skip all that, rip the child apart inside her womb, and then send her on her merry way (since apparently, the latter is the state’s only “legitimate interest”)? Unbelievable though it may be, that appears to be what this judge is saying.
Then again, I suppose he may be right in one sense. It absolutely must be more psychologically scarring for a woman to see her formed child and to hear its separate heartbeat and then to give assent for the “doctor” to terminate her baby, than it would be if she and her abortionist just simply avoided any acknowledgment of her baby to begin with. On the other hand, it seems not to have occurred to this judge that the woman may be inclined, after seeing a 4-D image of her child and listening to its heartbeat, to choose life for her child and motherhood for herself. Did Judge Hale factor into his seemingly omniscient judgment the incomparable joy of motherhood for the many women who would carry their child to term as a result of the information provided to them by this law? It appears not.
But the judge didn’t stop there. In his decision, he wrote that HB2 "overtly trumpet[s] the anti-abortion preference of the legislature and is ideological in nature." Alright, what law school did this guy go to? Or better yet, who appointed him to the federal bench? (Hint: Judge Hale assumed his seat in 2014.)
So according to Judge Hale, laws apparently can no longer demonstrate a preference for life over abortion OR be ideological by nature? By the latter standard alone, this would necessarily eliminate the possibility of passing any more bills ever, since all laws are premised on certain ideological precepts. While the idea of preventing legislative bodies from passing any more laws is tempting, it is clearly untenable. (Though perhaps not for Judge Hale, who seems perfectly comfortable to assert himself as the maker of law by judicial decree.)
And then there’s the ACLU who, to no one’s surprise, filed this suit on behalf of a Kentucky abortion center, arguing in its complaint that "HB2 requires physicians to subject their patients to these images, descriptions, and sounds, when the patient is in a particularly vulnerable and exposed position."
Well of course the patient is in a particularly vulnerable and exposed position. And that’s precisely why Kentuckians felt it was important for a woman to know as much as possible about what it is she’s about to do before she makes such a life-altering decision for herself and a life-ending one for her child. But what the ACLU is saying – and Judge Hale apparently agrees – is that for women “in a particularly vulnerable and exposed position” inside an abortion center, they cannot be given any reason to change their mind and choose life. No, they MUST choose abortion, because that’s what women NEED in their time of particular vulnerability. Trust us. We know best.
Now is that not about the most twisted and patronistic thing you’ve ever heard? I might say “you just can’t make this stuff up,” but then, clearly they did.
So much for being “pro-choice.” It’s become increasingly clear that the forces on the left couldn’t care less about being either pro-women or pro-choice, even as they claim to be the champion for both. Incidents like this expose them as the champion of only one mantle: “pro-abortion.”
But it’s okay, you see, because that’s not “ideological.” It’s amazing how blind some have become to their own inherent biases.
Abortion Group: Free Abortions for Flood Victims
Abortion Group: Free Abortions for Flood Victims
Do you live in or near Houston, TX? Do you feel especially vulnerable and desperate and want an abortion but lack the means to get one because of the extensive flooding in your area? No worries…just come on down for your easy no-cost abortion on demand!
That’s the way at least one group has decided to step in and “help” (read: take advantage of) the victims of Hurricane Harvey that has left much of southeast Texas flooded and many people displaced from their homes and families. The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Health, according to its website, “assists Texans in exercising their fundamental right to abortion by removing barriers to access.”
Typical of the abortion industry, they are seizing this time of great need and desperation to prey on vulnerable women and men who are even less sure about how they will be able to provide for their families’ needs. ‘Why worry about how you’re going to care for yourself and your child when we can help you make it all go away,’ they whisper deceitfully in their ears. It’s their “bread and butter” play.
Insidiously, the Lilith Fund also states that “Our vision is a Texas where all people have the means and opportunity to plan their futures and families with dignity, respect and community support.”
What they don’t explicitly state is that their help in planning for your future and family only includes planning a future in which the family you would otherwise have does not exist. They don’t plainly admit that the extent of the “dignity” to which they refer is access to a largely unregulated abortion clinic, which after the Supreme Court’s 2016 Whole Women’s Health decision, is no longer required to comply with many basic health and safety requirements – exposing women to substantial risks.
If this group truly had in mind “respect and community support” for “all people,” then at the very least, they might also try offering financial support for them and their unborn babies prior to and after their child’s birth. The fact that this is not an option offered to the women and men in need exposes the group’s real purpose. Clearly for this group, “community support” can only mean providing the means to destroy and dispose of your unborn child.
It is quite ironic that the pro-life community is often told that it isn’t really “pro-life” because it allegedly doesn't care what happens to the baby after it's born, and yet it is the churches and pro-life Christian organizations are who are rushing in to help during Texas’s time of need. But notice how the abortion industry is never challenged to support a woman who chooses anything other than abortion. Yet even in times of great crisis, like Hurricane Harvey, it's abundantly clear they won't.
Judge: McAuliffe Position Rejected!
Judge: McAuliffe Position Rejected!
Henrico Circuit Court judge John Marshall has released his decision allowing an administrative appeal against the state Board of Health to proceed. In doing so the judge rejected the arguments of the McAuliffe administration and its Attorney General that individual Virginians do not have the right to challenge regulations that violate other provisions of state law. The judge recognized that two appellants in the case had "standing" to bring the appeal.
“The judge’s decision is a blow to Terry McAuliffe's and Mark Herring’s effort to prevent citizens of Virginia from challenging actions by the government that they deem illegal,” said Victoria Cobb, president of The Family Foundation. “In its zeal to appease the abortion industry and with its dismissiveness of the rule of law, the McAuliffe administration acted outside the law. 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. Judge Marshall’s decision is a first step in holding them accountable for their actions.”
Judge Marshall heard oral arguments regarding “standing” in a Henrico Circuit Courtroom on Friday, August 11. Arguing on behalf of the McAuliffe administration, a deputy Attorney General for the Attorney General's office claimed that none of the appellants challenging the Board of Health’s actions in watering down abortion center health and safety standards had the legal right to bring their case. Judge Marshall's decision to recognize standing for two appellants advances the case to arguments over the merits of the claims by the appellants.
In their appeal, appellants alleged twenty-two violations of the law. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) initially listed six specific sections of the abortion health and safety standards in which it planned to propose particular amendments. Those six sections were stated in the Department’s original “Notice of Intended Regulatory Action” (NOIRA) Agency Background Document. Although the scope of an agency’s proposed regulatory action is limited by law to the parameters set forth in its NOIRA, the Board significantly expanded the object of its rulemaking by amending a total of 21 distinct sections both within and beyond the original six, thus well outside the scope of what was set forth in its NOIRA.
“Regardless of one’s belief about the merits of basic health and safety standards for abortion centers, all Virginians should care about the rule of law,” added Cobb. “Over and over again Terry McAuliffe and Mark Herring have sought to undermine the principle of the rule of law. Our hope is that they will be held accountable for their actions by the courts.”