Events in the Virginia Senate
We've been working hard here in my office, at the General Assembly. And I must admit, I could never get it all done without my great and able staff.
All my own legislation has been reported from the respective committees, but the work load has not eased. My committees have already started hearing House bills - in the week before Crossover Day. That is work we would usually not address until after Crossover. My Republican colleagues (who, until last week, chaired the various committees) are to be commended for their hard work and leadership in the first part of Session; without it, we would not be so far ahead of our firm deadline of February 11th.
The Democrat members of the Senate seem quite focused on their social agenda, with the intent of never actually allowing the issues to be resolved. All the while they push the impression, at a national level, that it is conservative Republicans who will not relent on such issues. Senate Democrats are advancing legislation to make sure abortion clinics do not even have the simple healthcare oversight of a doctor's office, much less of the outpatient surgery center that they are. That's unacceptable and dangerous for Virginia citizens.
Then there's the legislation claiming to repeal a requirement for ultrasound before any abortion. Professional standards of practice already require the ultrasound, so my Republican colleagues and I would be happy to join them in repealing that unnecessary language from the Code of Virginia. But, we believe the images from the ultrasound should still be offered to the patient. It is an important component of informed consent, and there is no reason not to offer viewing to the patient.
Last year, the Democrats supported our position; a prominent member of their caucus even introduced such legislation. That support was a change from the position they had taken, in opposition, just two weeks earlier. Now, this session, they've flipped again - defeating an amendment to do exactly what their bill last year would have done. It's an intentional effort to keep the matter unresolved. They know the bill will die this session without that remedy, and they want the issue to live on in future sessions so they can use it politically.
It is my privilege to co-patron House Bill 1, which will establish a fund from existing revenue to be used to provide support for prevention, intervention, and counseling services in cases of domestic violence and sexual assault. I look forward to seeing this bill through the Senate, once we receive it from the House.
Next week, we will complete consideration of the bills introduced in the Senate, turning our attention exclusively to House bills. We will only see Senate legislation again if it is amended in the House. We then have a responsibility to accept or reject the House amendments, before deciding if we are going to appoint conferees to work out any differences. It is important that you let your Delegate know your thoughts on Senate legislation, and let me and my colleagues in the Senate know your thoughts on House legislation.