Uh. Should that be "Pubbies" instead of "Pubies?" I don't think we want a "long" U sound here.... :)
Ken Cuccinelli email update:
Dear My Fellow Republicans,
I wanted to give you a brief update on the first half of the session, and (more importantly) offer some suggestions for the second half of the session on important legislation regarding which you may want to contact legislators to express your opinion. Once you read this newsletter, I hope that you feel armed and motivated to advocate your position on these important matters. To find contact information for legislators, look at http://legis.state.va.us/
First, the update.
Both the Senate and the House have repealed the death tax in its entirety effective in 2005 (it tracks the Federal phase out). This is a tremendous boon to farmers and small business owners. Thankfully, the bill passed out of the Senate with a veto-proof majority (assuming no Democrats wilt). This bill was part of the Senate GOP agenda, and all Republicans voted to pass the bill. Please note that Sen. Saslaw voted AGAINST the repeal, and then when he saw how overwhelming the vote was, he asked that the bill be reconsidered, then he voted for the repeal (theres a commitment to tax relief!).
The Senate stopped all of the other attempts to raise taxes, including Sen. Houcks attempt to roll back the car tax cut, with one exception. SB 1166 will raise insurance premiums, and it got out of the Senate today on a close vote
you can guess how I voted. I suspect that this bill will be defeated in the House of Delegates. If you dont want to see any tax increases, you should contact members of the House of Delegates. This bill will probably be referred to the Finance Committee in the House of Delegates.
2 of the 3 abortion related bills got out of the Senate today with 27 votes (you need 27 votes in the Senate to override a veto
well see if they hold). These bills were part of the Senate GOP agenda, and all Republicans voted to pass these bills. Parental consent passed first, after a short debate. Then we moved on to the partial birth bill.
The discussion was more heated on SB 1205, which redefines live birth to mean when a babys head is out or her trunk is out up to the belly button. One effect of this definition of live birth is that babies could no longer be half-delivered for purposes of killing them (i.e., by performing a partial birth abortion on those children). While I have not made it a common practice to speak to many bills (my votes speak for themselves), I could not stay in my seat on this bill. I made 2 basic points: First, to refute an argument made by Sen. Edwards that we shouldnt limit a doctors options in the event a mother was in an emergency situation, I rhetorically asked what possible emergency on the part of the mother would be addressed by stabbing a half-born baby in the back of the head? Needless to say, this question was left unanswered. Second, I made a comparison based on a close vote we took earlier in the day on what is called the writ of actual innocence. This is a writ that allows a person convicted of a Class 1 or 2 felony to petition the Supreme Court based upon previously unknown exculpatory evidence. The details are not important at the moment, but the bill supported the expansion of the writ. Supporting the expansion of the writ required making a judgment call that the cost and inefficiency imposed by expanding the writ were worth the possibility that an innocent person might be freed. Many Democrats voted for the expansion of the writ, joined by me and several other Republicans. I pointed out that all those that voted in favor of the writ, including several Senators that had spoken against SB 1205, were erring on the side of liberty when in doubt, it is better to support the liberty of an individual than to deny that liberty to save money or be more efficient. I then took a moment to restate that famous portion of the Declaration of Independence that is our national credo: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Why then were so many Senators that had been willing to err on the side of liberty unwilling to err on the side of LIFE the first inalienable right? There was no answer to this rhetorical challenge.
One particularly troublesome bill escaped the Senate today on a 24-16 vote. That was Sen. Mary Margaret Whipples redefinition of contraception as not abortion (SB 1104). Sounds simple enough, right? But her bill actually twists the definition in such a way that clears the way for the morning after pill or emergency contraception. These are abortion methods, not contraception. I am hopeful that this bill will be killed in the House of Delegates. I would ask all of you to contact your Delegates to warn them about this bill and ask them to vote against it in committee (HWI) and on the floor (if it gets out of committee).
There are 5 important bills on life issues coming over to the Senate from the House of Delegates. 2 of these bills are essentially the same as the Senate versions of the live birth/partial birth abortion bill and the parental consent bill. So citizen contacts on behalf of those bills is not critical (though thank you emails and phone calls to those who voted for these would be nice, particularly Sens. Potts, Quayle, Blevins and Houck, as we will need them all to vote for the House bills again).
That leaves 3 bills that need your help: HB 1580, HB 1741, and HB 2367.
HB 1580 is Del. Mark Coles bill that would remove mental health as an exception allowing an abortion in the third trimester (third trimester abortions are illegal in Virginia, except to preserve the life or mental or physical health of the mother). The problem with this exception is that it swallows up the rule (you can drive a truck through it). By reasonably eliminating the mental health exception, you return to the original intent of Virginia law, i.e., not to have late term abortions, without risking the life or physical health of the mother. This bill has been referred to the Senate Education and Health Committee. Please contact the members of that committee on behalf of this excellent bill.
HB 1741 is Del. Kathy Byrons bill that would extend the conscience clause for healthcare workers, adding dispensing medication, etc. that cause abortions to the already-existing right not to participate in abortions without risk of retaliation. This bill modernizes the conscience clause in light of advances in abortion techniques. This bill has been referred to the Senate Courts of Justice Committee, though I expect it will be rereferred to the Senate Education and Health Committee. Please contact the members of both of these committees on behalf of this common-sense bill. [Note: I am on Courts of Justice]
HB 2367 is Del. Bob Marshalls abortion clinic regulation bill. It is very similar in application to my bill which died on a 7-7-1 tie in the Senate Education and Health Committee. That is where this bill has been referred. However, after my bill was defeated, I continued working with members of that committee, particularly Senators Quayle and Lambert (who voted no and abstained on my bill, respectively). Both of these Senators have acknowledged to me that we are in need of health and safety regulation of these clinics. I came up with language (based on my bill) that Sen. Quayle is comfortable voting for, so please contact him and encourage him to vote in favor of abortion clinic regulation when it arises again. Also, please contact Sen. Lambert (a Richmond Democrat), as he has also acknowledged that we need higher health and safety standards in abortion clinics, but so far he has been unable to bring himself to vote in favor of such regulation. Please encourage him to do so now. Unfortunately, the evidence that exists suggests that the standard of care in these clinics is often very poor. We pro-lifers are used to focusing on the babies threatened by abortion, but I believe we need to make sure that we also work on behalf of the mothers. This bill helps protect the mothers from chop shop abortion clinics, and I hope that you will actively work on behalf of this bill.
If, as I hope, you are moved to work toward the passage of HB 2367, I would point out an interesting piece of information. A June 23, 1984 AP report read, in part, as follows: The National Organization for Women and the Virginia Society for Human Life urged the Sate Board of Health not to repeal licensing requirements for first trimester abortion clinics. . . . Emily McCoy of Alexandria, the state coordinator for Virginia NOW, urged the board to adopt broader, not narrower, regulations . . . . Repealing the regulations would encourage slipshod operations, she added. . . . Dr. Edward Whealton, a resident in family practice in Portsmouth, said if current regulations were repealed, the people who would profit would be back-alley butchers, the same who victimized women prior to legalized abortion.
Unfortunately, NOW and VSHL were not successful in 1984, and abortion clinics were thereafter exempted from regulation as outpatient surgical hospitals. And while I dont often find cause to say, NOW was right. In this case, they were. The death in Alexandria of a woman undergoing an abortion on November 16, 2002 was the 4th time in only 6 months that the same clinic had to call an ambulance to rescue its own patients. The abortion clinic in Fairfax has had 1 ambulance visit per year for at least the last 3 years. When was the last time you ever heard of an ambulance going to a doctors office to rescue a patient from harm caused by the doctor? And 4 times in 6 months? It is time that the health and safety standards for abortion clinics reflect the real risks these women are undergoing when they submit themselves to the care of doctors in these chop shop clinics.
As always, I hope that you will all be active in letting your opinions be known by contacting legislators and writing letters to the editor. Also, if you have any questions about legislation that we can answer, please email me via my Legislative Aide, Meredith Quillen at Meredith@Cuccinelli.com.
Please feel free to forward this email to your friends and like-minded acquaintances.
The House of Delegates yesterday revived and then killed Gov. Mark R. Warner's signature proposal to permit his successors to serve consecutive terms.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The House passed legislation Tuesday that would give people licensed to carry concealed weapons the right to bring them into certain restaurants that serve alcohol.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A bill to tighten enforcement of Virginia's seat belt law won Senate approval Tuesday and now goes to the House of Delegates, where a similar measure died in committee on a tie vote.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Legislation creating a new form of marriage that requires premarital counseling and makes it harder to get a divorce won House of Delegates approval Tuesday.
More Virginia General Assembly updates: