Bills that would test welfare recipients for drugs and define life as beginning at conception were flash points for debate Tuesday as state lawmakers cast decisive votes on many proposals and dealt a setback to Gov. Bob McDonnell's plan to scale back job protection for public school teachers.
Delegates racing to meet today's crossover deadline granted preliminary approval Monday to a slew of contentious bills that would, among other things, define life as beginning at conception, require an ultrasound before an abortion and expand eligibility for the death penalty.
The Virginia House of Delegates gave preliminary approval today to a measure that would expand capital punishment in the state.
Pending final House passage, it will go to the state Senate, where an identical measure died in committee last week.
Deputy House Majority Leader C. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) said Tuesday night that he “regretted” his “insensitive comments” earlier in the day about abortion being a “lifestyle convenience.”
Before last year's elections, then-Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw, D-Fairfax, told anyone who would listen that if Republicans gained control of the Senate, the legislature would push through a slew of bills related to guns, abortions and voting.
Virginia will likely become the second state in the nation — after North Dakota — to allow private adoption agencies to turn away parents based on sexual orientation or religious and moral beliefs.
Private child placement agencies might soon have legal backing to deny adoption or foster care to prospective parents for religious or moral reasons.
Two bills creating a so-called "conscience clause" made key gains in the legislature Friday to the dismay of some Democrats and gay-rights advocates who say Virginia's on the verge of providing a license to discriminate to groups that get public money to place children on behalf of the state. Supporters say the measures are necessary to keep faith-based agencies doing such work.
Despite protest from Democrats, Virginia’s House of Delegates passed two significant measures Friday to defund state-paid abortions and protect the right of private adoption agencies to deny placement based on religious beliefs.
Legislation to permit private, faith-based child placement services to reject prospective parents, including homosexuals, whose lifestyle conflicts with their beliefs cleared a House of Delegates committee Tuesday. The measure, HB 189, from Del. Todd Gilbert would enshrine in state law a “conscience clause” for private agencies freeing them to decline an adoption or foster care arrangement without fear or losing their state license.
After advancing it on a voice vote Wednesday, the state’s House of Delegates is likely Thursday to pass a bill that would prohibit localities from adopting a workplace rule preventing employees from storing a lawfully possessed firearm and ammunition in their locked car.