Yesterday’s one-day “Veto Session” at the General Assembly proved to go largely as expected, but with some encouraging moments along the way. The one legislative highlight came when the House rejected the Governor’s budget amendment that would have reversed the prohibition on using the budget to pay for abortions!  (A Senate vote was not necessary to keep the budget language.)

With Governor Terry “Veto” McAuliffe’s astounding 32 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 on whether to override the Governor’s vetoes.  In the end, those in the Governor’s Party “fell in line” to sustain every one of his vetoes (even when many of them had previously supported that bill!), effectively killing each of the bills by failing to obtain the two-thirds vote needed for an override.   Republican lawmakers called out the Governor for celebrating his vetoes, like holding a pep-rally veto at a Planned Parenthood abortion center, something never seen before from a Virginia governor. 

We were encouraged, however, to see a number of legislators stand with families and people of faith in courageously speaking in support of some of the bills we fought so hard to pass, and they are to be commended.

Delegate Steve Landes (R-25, Verona) and Dave Albo (R-42, Springfield), among others, rose to their feet on the House floor to speak in support of parents’ right to know whether their children have been assigned sexually explicit materials at school and to have a say in their child’s education. Their words were powerful and refreshing.  Others, like Delegate Greg Habeeb (R-8, Salem), took to social media to defend the reasonable proposal.  When the bill first passed the House, the vote was 98-0, but yesterday, ever Democrat who voted in favor of the bill earlier voted to uphold the Governor’s veto.

In another highlight, Delegates Ben Cline (R-24, Amherst), and Nick Freitas (R-30, Culpeper), among others, argued passionately and compellingly to protect life and the rights of conscience, and to promote women’s health by ensuring that taxpayer dollars are not going to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.  They courageously stood up for the unborn and for the people’s right of conscience (click the images to view their remarks).

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. 

As for the Governor’s budget amendments, the one we were watching most closely was the Governor’s amendment to reinstate the state’s ability to use general fund dollars to pay for abortions. The House and Senate both passed versions of the budget which precluded this type of abortion funding. Because the Governor’s proposed budget amendments only need a simple majority to reject, the House and Senate were able to maintain their original language.  Needless to say, this was a significant win for life and the right of conscience.

While yesterday’s adjournment marks the end of the 2016 General Assembly session, today we are already beginning to prepare for 2017!